What should I do - DS DAC or BHK300?

Hello PS Audio friends! I’m new to this forum. I own a BHK Pre and a BHK250. I’m struggling at the moment to which to upgrade - DS DAC or BHK300? I have Amphion Krypton3 big floorstanders (4 ohm/89db), my room is 4,5m x 6,5m and I listen to mostly vinyl (Rega RP10 with Aphelion MC/Whest 40RDT SE). I also own a Naim Uniti Serve and I have some 500 CDs ripped on it in WAW. Therefore I do occasionally listen to music also in digital format, but that’s more a relaxed way of listening (shuffle mode in the background or similar) and not as conscious and critical listening as with vinyl. At the moment I do not own a DAC at all. I used to own a Hegel H360 and used its internal DAC for listening of digital music. How do you guys see my situation - which upgrade would give me more pleasure and enjoyment? Personally I’m more leaning towards the BHK300s. Thanks for any help in decision making. Cheers!

Welcome to the forum. Do you stream music at all?

Hi netspecht-2. Basically not at the moment. If I listen to digital music, then I listen to the ripped CDs on my Naim Uniti Serve or I listen to internet radios like Radio Paradise via Naim Uniti Serve’s App, as you can connect it via Ethernet to home Wifi network.

I like Radio Paradise. I live a couple of hours away from Borrego Valley. The BHK 300 is a nice upgrade, but the BHK 250 would be hard to improve upon. There comes a point where the upgrades and diminishing returns merge. Do you listen exclusively to speakers? I branched off into headphone listening a couple of years ago, and now its my preferred method to listen to music.

PS Audio has a trial period, so you could see if the BHK 300 would be worth the outlay.

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Hi. A bit mixed. In the evening sometimes via BHK Pre’s headphone input, as the rest of the house sleeps and otherwise especially if I’m home alone via speakers. I’m in Europe so trial period won’t work. Like said I’m leaning towards BHK300 but a bit concerned if such trade-in would really give me the expected results or if the DS DAC would be a more suitable door to open…?

I will tell you this, I’m not a fan of the Bridge ii. I had one in a DSJ. Maybe stand pat and see how the Octave system is going to roll out.

BHK 300 wouldn’t be a huge improvement over 250, so that’s low value proposition. DAC makes a massive difference, BUT the issue with current DirectStream DAC is the bridge which has been problematic… SO, if you have another streamer, or only would use it for DAC of your 500 CD server, then it’s a great option, or could wait for the upgraded DAC that will probably be coming out later this year.

Alternatively, if you want the best out of digital audio, i.e. streaming, get a dedicated streamer by reputable companies like Innuos, Aurender, or Aurelic, any of those streamers would have a great impact on streaming music to your system.

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You have an extremely good phono system, but why spend as much on a DSD DAC, which does not have an ideal streaming card, as on your phono amp, when you only use digital for casual listening?

I had a unit that was identical to the Naim Uniti Serve and the software is a bit prehistoric.

Personally, I would replace the Uniti Serve with an Innuos Zen Mini Mk3 and external PSU, which will cost you €1,550. It has a decent built-in DAC. Trial Qobuz or Tidal with Roon. Copy in or re-rip your CD’s. You can get Radio Paradise on Roon.

If you find you are listening to more digital music and more critically, you can slot in an external DAC and upgrade the Innuos to a Zen. The Zen Mini would be easy to sell. The DSD DAC apparently works well with the USB output from the Innuos Zen Mk3.

Overall sound might benefit from a sub, like the new REL S/812. My Roon is the same size as yours. One sub is sufficient. You might also want to use an Anti-Mode unit. http://www.dspeaker.com/en/products/anti-mode-8033.shtml

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Both old models. Suggest wait for what’s coming from over the horizon.

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Yes, that’s true…but at a fairly larger price point…

The problem is that for occasional listening a DSD DAC and Octave is overkill and don’t know if it will have a radio function, but will not be able to host Roon Radio, and in Europe for the same money you can get a dCS streamer/DAC/transport and Innuos server. Plus in Europe the BHK 300 is over $20,000 and you can’t give away a BHK 250. The BHK pre is fairly priced with the competition and the DSD DAC has been discounted for years. It really depends on MJM’s budget, but having used the Naim Uniti Serve app for several years, I would have thought he would be better off with an entry level digital device with a great app, like Innuos or Bluesound, as the built in DACs are pretty good. The upgrade path for digital is many and varied.


uhhh…not even a year yet…

Hi all fellow PS Audio friends! Thanks for all the answers so far. I sense that most of you would advice me to shy away from the BHK300 upgrade as not being a good value proposition and not “that huge of a leap” in sound quality? Are there any users thinking the opposite? I have a trade-in offer for about 7650 € for giving my BHK250 away and getting a new pair of BHK300s. It’s a lot of money but I consider it an OK offer here in Europe, but if most of you don’t see it as a huge improvement vs. the money spend, I have to re-think. I’m not super wealthy or anything so I really need to think this decision well through. DS DAC interests me, but maybe a shop demo or a used one, as investing into a new one would be an overkill as someone pointed out for just casual digital music listening. I have also thought trying out brands like Topping D70 or D90 as a pure DAC, but finding a good deal on DS DAC and the synergies with the BHK Pre draws me more into that direction. Thanks for all the advices so far!

If the Mono’s have the potential to be your “forever” amps, go that route. DAC technology state of the art (SOTA) has a very short life cycle at this point. You will be able to pick up last month’s SOTA DAC at very good prices when you are ready to upgrade your DAC - whether it’s a piece of PSA kit or not.

FWIW, I am a proponent of allocating one’s kit budget from the speakers back through the signal chain. So if you are going to stick with your speakers for a while, buy the best sounding amp(s) you can afford next. Then move to sources etc.

Here is a twist for you to consider, you have a very good amplifier by all accounts. Maybe you should consider spending more on your room and/or speaker’s first?

Don’t forget that the current choices you have been pondering over are really neither good nor bad in the grand scheme. Pull the trigger and enjoy the music.


You are making the right decision the DAC will be a great addition to your system and will not be a dead end in that Ted will come up with more software upgrades in the future. I owned the DAC for years before I got my BHK preamp and BHK 250. The system synergy will make for very enjoyable music listening for you.

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I have all kinds of PSA equipment. Went from BHK 250 to 300s. The DSD is, by far, the best money I’ve spent in this hobby.


From my personal experience, getting the DS DAC will be the better bang for the buck. I used to own the Stellar Gain Cell DAC/preamp and M700 combo, and my upgrade path was in the order of DS DAC, BHK250, and in recent days the BHK Pre. Among the three, the DAC brought the biggest improvement where as the BHK 250 being the least to the point that I wouldn’t mind to have kept the M700 mono block.


What speakers are you using with this setup?

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Magnepan .7

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