Yang to my Focal Utopia's yin?


A good friend has LCD-4’s that he drives with his BHK preamp and that sounds wonderful. It will also play loud enough to damage your hearing, if “that’s your jam.”


@RonP Thanks for the info. My hearing is probably damaged from loud race cars and construction equipment but I don’t listen to ear splitting music anymore. The “right” volume and more fidelity is the goal now. :grinning: Good news that the two work good together.


Over in my part of town we often call it paralysis by analysis :slight_smile:

If you go with ZMF Auteur, I would get the cocobolo wood, although I have not heard it, I have both the Teak version and the blackwood version and preferred the denser black wood by a good margin. Teak sounded flatter, where as the blackwood have more pop to the instrumemts. I am guessing cocobolo is similar, but can’t say for sure.


Thanks. There is a stocking ZMF dealer about an hour away. I think I will check them out but I am also leaning pretty hard toward the Audeze LCD-4. An LCD-3 also crept into view from the sidelines this morning. :thinking:


To add to the craziness, watch today’s Steve Guttenberg “Audiophiliac” youtube video re., his most favorite headphones.


Oh crap…


I ended up buying a set of LCD-4’s from Moon Audio. They are exactly what I was looking for. They give the BHK pre a workout and do sound really really nice in a complimentary but different way to the Utopia.
Thanks to all for the input.

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Vern - great to hear, let us know what the differences are when you have them burned in…


First impression is that they aren’t quite as “edgy” for lack of a better term. Its easier to play them at higher volume without fatigue. The lower mid bass and bass are more prominent.The Utopia might be more “accurate” if that term applies but they are both very very nice to listen to. I will report back with an update as they break in.


Thanks, glad you are happy with them… I find the Utopias very accurate, have not heard the LCD-4 HPs.


They definitely take more power to drive FWIW. The volume on the BHK is set at 50-55 with the LCD-4 to be the same volume as the Utopia when set at 25-30.


I have my PSA DS DAC set to 100 (locked) and very rarely the BHK Preamp goes over 65 with speakers… 70 I am starting to really crank it up. With the Utopias, I have not went over 50, they will hurt you. Yeah, the Utopias are more efficient; however, in the end it is all about what you like in sound.


I leave the DSJr at 100 also. With My Electron speakers 30 on the BHK is pretty loud.

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I’ll try to spend some more of your money. I use Woo Audio WA5-LE 300b headphone amp. Superb on my Utopia’s brilliant on LCD4’s. Elk has one also. It’s on the rack. I spent the better of a week finding a rack that would clear my EML 520B V3 tubes that are about 9” tall. The pictured tubes are different EML tubes.


OK… interesting comment… how is the headphone amp hooked up? From preamp out, hi line amp to amp? Interesting cable routing… I’ll look at that amp. I love the sound of the Utopia HP right out of the BHK Preamp. Don’t know if I would add another HP amp; however, worth investigating… thanks

(1) XLR Input
(2) RCA Input

I assume you use a set of RCA from DAC? I like the (4) pin output for my Nordost Heimdall 2 cable. Yeah the PSA BHK Preamp HP output is single ended (1/4in jack). Woo Audio literature (specs) does not say the (4) pin HP output is balanced.


Thanks for the recommendation.That thing is definitely a beast but I’m out of room for now. Nice looking setup.


My BHK 300’s are connected to XLR and subs to RCA. I just turn of the amps and subs and move the cables. I just plan on a dedicated session using the headphones. I asked why Paul didn’t have more outputs on the BHK Pre and they felt there was limited need. I was ready to get ARC equipment because some ARC preamps do have multiple outputs. Three would have been perfect. In the end the BHK pre won me over. Who knows maybe one day.


OK, gotcha… cause you have a really nice set up and I was trying to understand how you could go XLR to this really nice amplifier. Is that amp balanced. If it is not, RCA from the DS DAC might get you the flexibility you might like. The BHK Preamp HP output is 1/4in jack (single ended). My QP2R has a nice 2.5mm balance output I use a custom Nordost 1m cable with 2.5mm (4) pin jack… I saw no where in Woo Audio spec it was balanced. It inferred with the XLR input and (4) pin output, just didn’t see the words amplifier is balanced.

So, question (1) would be is this Woo Audio amplifier balanced. If not, you’re not going to take advantage of the XLR; therefore, the RCA interconnectors would be OK with a very good, short cable. Based on the pic; looks like a 50cm RCA cable might make it…


The Woo has both XLR and RCA in and out. It has a lovely warm powerful presentation. With the EML 520B v3 it puts out maybe 10 Watts or more instead of 8. That’s a lot for headphones. High impedance and inefficient headphones are no problem to drive. This is tube rollers dream and a banker’s delight.


The question: is the Woo Audio amplifier balanced? Not weather it has XLR in/out… they could tie the XLR L/R GNDs to GND inside the amplifier instead of running separate channels… this would defeat the purpose of the XLR routing. I don’t know, it might be balanced…

It looks like it is single ended…