What's The Optimal Volume Level On Directstream When Used With BHK Preamp?

I’ve been using my Directstream straight into my BHK 250 and controlling the level to the amp with it’s volume control. Now that I’ll be using it with my new BHK Preamp, I’m wondering where I should keep the the level set on the Directstream. I assume it should be all the way up to 100 when going into the preamp, correct?

Thanks for the help in advance!

With Huron, Redcloud and Snowmass some have found that turning the DS down a little and the BHK up a little to have better sound quality: depending on the music you typically listen to, perhaps 84 to 90 on the DS. That number will probably change in different releases so you might just try to see what you like the best.


Okay…great, Ted. Thanks for that quick response!

I have my DSD at 80 into my BHK Pre. I think that Paul likes the input configured to target the BHK Pre output in the 50’s.

I like my BHK pre at 74 and vary the DS from 50-100 plus using the DS vol has the added benefit of more steps and no clicks/noise at the major steps from the BHK

I’ve pretty much settled on a range of about 60-70. That gets my BHK up to about 55-70.

I like my BHK PRE at 70 and vary the DSD from 35 to 70 using the DSD volume has the added benefit of more steps and no clicks/noise at the major steps from the BHK. Oh crap I just saw Paul likes the PRE to be running in the 50s… now I have to change everything, all those posts by Mark and thread working the DSD/PRE… wait a minute… I bought this DSD & PRE… man I forgot for a moment… think I’ll keep my settings… sorry Paul… we can still be pals right? :tired_face:

Thanks for all of the help on this. I put the BHK preamp in my system last night…

Directstream > BHK Pre > BHK 250.

Imaging, sound stage, details & space around instruments improved nicely. However, it’s overly bright/steely and thin sounding. Some of the body is gone. I’m hoping this changes after some burn in time. Has anybody experienced this when yours was brand new?

@stevehardy1 - yes, this is typical for the PRE and DSD. I would wait at least 200hrs before thinking of being critical. My PRE took 400hrs. Oddly enough, I just bought some new tubes (6922) with zero initial harsh, thin… lack of burn in. Tubes make a difference and sometimes they don’t seat for up to 400hrs. Also, they can go from amazing initial to degraded in 100+ hrs… The great thing about tubes is now you have a variable that can be changed to affect the character of the music and for that I am grateful.

Burn-in approach - to accelerate the burn in I have listened during the day and evening I have kept the music on and plugged in head phones, essentially running the system for 24X7 @ 168hrs a week. This approach should get you to better in a week or two and very stable in 3 weeks. The benefit to this approach is the BHK250 tubes get half the life pulled because you’re turning the BHK250 to standby in the evening.

Here is a pic of the BHK PRE if you get adventurous with tube rolling. The BHK PRE top tube vent comes off with (2) screws and the tubes are exposed and very easy to change.

Thanks for your help! Do those Herbie’s tube dampers make much of an audible difference?

Yes - and I have them on my BHK300s. I moved them over from my BHK250 to BHK300s when I updated the amps… added detail… on the pre, make sure they are mm(s) away from any objects. One the BHK250, make sure they are not touching the wall…

Here is the BHK250 when I swapped the tubes and added dampeners. I have different dampeners on the BHK250 cause of room. However, after comparing notes with other audiophiles, I think you could fir the RX9 in the BHK250 chassis…

Love them. They look like “take me to your leader”

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Yes, this is a very common comment when the unit is new. You’ll need to give it a solid week before it comes into its own. Also, are you balanced or unbalanced?

Hi Paul. Thanks for responding! I’m using balanced DH Labs Revelation interconnects and will never go back to unbalanced. I’ve been looping a CD through it for 2 days now and have noticed a change for the better. I’m tickled by with improvement in sound stage, imaging and added detail already, but scratching my head wondering how adding more “stuff” to the signal path enhances that.