Upgrade from M1200 to BHK300?

I have had the M1200 in my system for nearly 2 years now. They are wonderful amps, plenty of headroom and tight base. Today I visited my local dealer which offeret my a good price inn exchange for a pair of BHK 300. The M1200 can sometimes be a little edgy on top with some recordings. Anyone that switced from M1200 to BHK300 and have some experience to share?

If you don’t pick the 300’s up would you mind sharing the color and the dealer name? I’m looking.

Thanks

The dealer is in Norway, so maybe a bit far away from you?

1 Like

As much as I love Norway, it is a bit far from the US Pacific NW, though I wish it wasn’t. You live in one of my favorite places in the world. Fantastic people and an unbelievably beautiful landscape. You are very fortunate.

Have you asked your dealer if you can demo them at home for a week?

2 Likes

I’ve never heard the M1200’s but I have the BHK 300’s. I’ve recently been auditioning some Class D amps for some additional channels and I decided to test them out also powering my mains. They all seems just as good as the BHK’s. If your room isn’t treated that additional money might be put to better use by getting some acoustical treatments. Acoustical treatments BY FAR were the largest sonic change I’ve made to my system. Your mileage may vary In your room but in mine it was a significant change.

1 Like

Totally agree.

  1. I was thinking to upgrade from M1200s to BHK 300s too.
  2. Or alternatively upgrade from 2 P12s to 2 P15s.
    Lots of folks here on this forum suggested me to go for upgrade 1) more than for upgrade 2)
    Meanwhile i went for upgrade treatments of my room, adding a few diffusers to well present absorbers. After watching Paul and Chris video (thank you so much for this!) tuning the brand new FR30 during last week… I preferred go on this way.
    Wow I say only wow! How much difference in SQ, spaciousness, richness and speaker disappearance you can obtain from well positioned diffusers! And at a reasonable cost after all.
    So I had been able to stop the irrefrenabile upgrade impulse (for a while).
1 Like

Maybe another (not 5cent) idea: just change the fuse of the M1200 to a SR Purple.

Nobody loves a good upgrade more than me, but how do you know that the top end edginess is coming from your amps?

Fuses in the M1200 are not designed to be user replaceable. I have replaced the fuse however in another amplifier (Mivera M1200) that uses the icePower M1200 stereo module and it really didn’t make a great difference. If an owner replaces the fuse in the M1200, icePower considers the warranty null and void. Their data sheet says that “if the fuse ever blows, the module is defective and needs replacement.”

I would concur with Ron, don’t jump to conclusions that your amps are the cause of the edginess you are hearing. (I was a BHK250 owner before the M1200s, no experience with the BHK300s.) I found that it took a LONG time for the M1200s to settle into their final state of sound, probably over a thousand hours. They also very clearly reveal anything in the system that’s not up to their standards. Cables and supporting feet affect the sound of the M1200s a great deal. IsoAcoustic Orea feet help tame the upper end brightness considerably in my experience. In my case, I ended up preferring the sound of RCA cables (Neotech’s top of the line UP-OCC copper bulk cable NEI-3001 Mk. III) between my BHK preamp and M1200s instead of the balanced connections. That goes against the grain of what most listeners and PS Audio advise, but I found the RCA connections to be more organic, more musical, and less prone to the “edginess” you mention. I also find the M1200s respond extremely well to High Fidelity Cables various power conditioning plugs. One of their advertised benefits is increasing resolution while simultaneously reducing sibilance and high end abrasiveness. I have definitely found that to be the case, especially with the M1200s. High Fidelity Cables is out of business for an indefinite period but their products show up regularly on the used market.

Which class D’s have you found to be just as good as the BHK 300’s for two channel?

Ok. I was an M1200 owner and as you said they are without a doubt world class amplifiers and deserve all the accolades it’s received since it’s debut! IMO they are musically much better than the amps I replaced them with. I recently had the opportunity to trade them plus some cash for BHK 300’s. I do not regret making that decision at all! So to answer your question quickly yes and yes!

This may be system dependent and obviously your speakers are huge in this decision process. I own a very revealing set of speakers so I to noticed what you described as far as edginess on some recordings. It made some recordings less memorable so I stuck to music that was not affected by it as much or at all. When I made the move to the BHK 300 that changed. The edginess that we both share on some recordings with the M1200’s was smoothed out and music that I felt sounded a little harsh on the top end smoothed out and sounds great with the BHK amps!

I don’t think I could justify the $10k gap between them to upgrade to but if your dealer gives you a great deal don’t pass it up! If others own a set of M1200’s and you don’t notice what @eral63 and I describe as “edginess” then grab your favorite beverage and sit down enjoy your favorite music and don’t give this another thought.

If you are curious about my system it consist of full PS audio gear. P10 regenerator, BHK Preamp, Directstream Dac (modified), BHK 300 amps, I’m running Audioquest Hurricane to the regenerator and amps. My sources are the Auralic G2 and modified a Oppo 203. The M1200’s were in the same set up and sounded great the BHK’s sound better (IMO) and for obvious reasons they should! Speakers are Martin Logan CLX Art, JL Audio fathom 113’s (2) and a JL Audio CR1 crossover.

Tweaks I performed to my former M1200’s was Gold Lion tubes with Herbies RX-9 rings and Isoacoustic Orea footers. I was close to doing the 3M 7050 EMI treatment and possibly fuses (tho the fuse voids warranty as stated) then the BHK opportunity presented and I did not go forward with the mods would they of helped?

I contacted Darren and he confirmed that the M1200 benefits greatly from upgraded power cables and he was correct but even upgrading to a Audioquest Hurricane it did not change the edginess. I believe that is inherent of the class D topography and well documented. The BHK 300 made me revisit some of the music I listened to before and what was great with the M1200’s is still great with BHK 300’s what was considered a little harsh is smoothed out and the sustain!!! :pinched_fingers:t2:

Sorry I repeated myself a lot. What ever your decision. Enjoy!

1 Like

Paul172’s post makes many valid points. Most important IMO is that “what’s best” is in large part system dependent. Having heard more than a few Martin Logan fronted audio systems I have little doubt that the intrinsic character of BHK amplifiers are often better suited to them than the M1200s would be. It would be wonderful if there was some way to completely anticipate whether the interaction between any given amplifier and speaker will meet our expectations. Unfortunately, there is some degree of trial and error in the process.

I’ve been testing multi channel amps but thought it would be fun to test them also driving my mains. I thought the ATI Ncore amps were amazing and l also tired the NAD M28 and that was great. The M28 uses the new purifi modules but for some reason I ended up preferring the ATI Ncore amps.

As I was saying earlier, I think the difference between amps is small compared to spending that money on treatments.

Thank you guys for all your input and comments to my question. I really love my M1200’s and the edginess I’m talking about is not a big issue, only on some recordings. I guess you need to make some compromises, if you want a revealing system with very open sound where you can hear everything going on in the background of the music, I guess you have to accept that on some tracks it can be to much openness and tends to be forward sounding. My system consists mainly of PS Audio gear, P5 Power Plant, DS DAC, DS Memory Player and M1200. Preamp is AudioValve Eclipse with NOS tubes and speakers are Piega Coax 90.2 and a 12" Sigberg Audio Inkognito Sub. The Piega with the big coax element (ribbon mid range and tweeter) is a very fast and dynamic speaker.The ribbon mid range and tweeter make a very open and airy sound almost like you can see through the music, and the base is also deep and fast. My room is 5x5 meter where left side opens up, and I put some diffusers behind the speakers at the front wall, and on the right side wall I have a mix of absorbers and diffusers from Vicoustic. Cables are mainly Supra signal cables and speaker cables are Tellurium Ultra Black II. The system clearly respond to different cables. I have also experimented with speaker placements and toe inn/out, and learned that even small steps can have a big impact in sound. Don’t get me wrong, all in all I’m very satisfied with the sound from my system and question is if I can justify to spend 10K more to get the last 5% perfect. :thinking: I guess to find out I have to ask the dealer if I can have the BHK pre and BHK300 for demo at home for a week even if there is danger for ending up keeping them :grinning:

PS: Norwegian is my native language, so sorry if my English is not perfect :hugs:


14 Likes

One more thing to consider are the 12au7 tubes in your Audio Valve Eklipse preamp. Different types 12au7s in my BHK preamplifier sound quite different but I don’t know if that’s the case with your Audio Valve. If tube changes affect your Audio Valve’s sound, 1960’s Raytheon black plate 12au7 tubes might be worth a try if you want a mellower, less sibilant high end. Those tubes don’t cost nearly as much as many NOS tubes here in the USA so it doesn’t cost a fortune to experiment with those. Good luck, getting that last 5% of perfection can be the hard part of this obsession.

1 Like

The Audio Valve Eklipse clearly responds to different tubes and the best tube I have found so far is Cifte 12AU7 from 1962. Not sure where I can get Raytheon ,but worth a try. The Eklipse is very good and give a very open organic sound specially in the mid range and top. in fact I had the BHK for demo one week and though this would be better match with the 1200’s, but in my system the Eklipse is better sounding.

This seller in the USA has three pairs for a reasonable price and ships internationally:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/304370707633?hash=item46dde86cb1:g:lhYAAOSwxvtguCTy

And this seller has two pairs:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/valves-tubes/m.html?item=334301232955&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.m3561.l2562

Brent Jesse is another good source for these (very bottom of the page $50.00 US a pair) :

http://www.audiotubes.com/12au7.htm

1 Like

Beautiful system. I’ll bet it really sounds good too!

1 Like

Thanks, appreciate the nice words about Norway, and yes it’s probably one of the best countries to live.
If I can afford it I will ask the dealer for a demo at home, I’m a bit afraid they will not be returned :grin:

2 Likes