B&K ST 202+

I am new here and I have a few questions. I have an old B&K St 202+ amp and a matching Pro 5 pre. The amp works great and in fact, it is too powerful for the PSB B25's that I used to test it. The preamp has a burned out power light and the lettering on the units is blue. The RCAs on the back of the amp are not marked and I have no way of knowing how much power there really is. These units were built by a B&K employee for my former neighbor. I do not need this much power and I am leaning toward a smaller Arcam and Rotel system in the near future. This equipment seems in pretty good shape and does it have any value? How do I know the wattage?
I just sold a 202+, and discovered that it is 200 watts per channel into an 8 ohm load. Originally, I was under the misconception that the amp was a mere 140 wpc (but I believe that applies to the 202 sans +). I am a bit confused by what you mean by "too powerful". Generally, having more power in reserve is actually a good thing as it provides ample headroom.

As much as I like the B&K Amp and Preamp, I am looking to get some newer equipment. I have a feeling the power is closer to 200 watts like you said. I like power in the 100 watt range and I would like to get an Arcam A65 to use as a preamp with a Rotel Power amp. I live in a loft apartment with neighbors downstairs. I don't live far from B&K headquarters and I may take it in for a checkup. I understand the benefits of headroom but I am more into music clarity and sound. There is a small smudge on the amps faceplate because I tried to remove a cartoon sticker someone had put on the amp. I know one thing, the Yamaha receiver I was using is going in storage!!! I will probably sell everything.
Try the B&K vs the Rotel. Very different sound. Personally, I find the B&K more neutral and revealing, the Rotel is warmer sounding. I agree with Palasr that too much power is a good thing. Many times a 200 watt amp will sound better than a 60 watt unit because it has more headroom and is much less likely to distort.

Use rubbing alcohol to get the sticker off.

The pro5 is an amazing sound pre. The only reason to unload it is if you don't like the features or need surround?
I have only heard Rotel Once, and when I did it was in a local showroom with some B&W 602 S3's. It was actually an Rx-1052 Receiver. Maybe its just the nice look of the Rotel and Arcam equipment I like though, I hear Arcam is much better than Rotel. I am finding out just how good sounding this B&K is. I am playing a test CD with various songs and its clear as day. I am using PSB Image B25's and the volume is not even at 9 O'clock!!! It sounds like Stevie Ray Vaughn is in the apartment. Diana Krall appears to be at center stage!!! The only reason I want to unload the stuff is to buy some newer equipment. The Pro 5 does sound good and when I hooked it up to a Yamaha receiver it made the music much clearer and the mud disappeared. Perhaps I will sell the stuff on here...it does sound awesome.

It sounds like you are very happy with your B&K, which beggs the question why get rid of it. I upgraded from a B&K PT3II Preamp/Tuner and an ST2140 Amp to a Musical Fidelity A308 Integrated to achieve the performance I was seeking at the time. At twice the cost.

The ST2140 is now in service in my HT setup along with a ST125.2 and a B&K Ref50.

I have been very happy with my B&K equipment to date with no need to upgrade.

Listen to your B&K for a while and go out and listen to other systems before making the decision to run out and upgrade. You may find that an upgrade is not necessary.

I keep hearing about Bryston, and I am looking around Audigon and I see some great deals. In your opinion, just how much better is Bryston than the rest of the pack? I am speaking in terms of sonic quality of course, as well as clarity and refinement. I just split up with my longtime girl and she has the house and some of the equipment (NAD)but I managed to escape with my speakers. I am on a budget and if I could swing a Bryston Amp and Pre for $1500 I may go that way. I like the B&K equipment but I would have to sell it first before moving on. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with other it than the Pro5 lamp is burned out and smudge on the 202 I caused while trying to get off a Gumby sticker.
I had a Pro-5, PT3 series 2 pre/tuner, Reference 4420 AMp.
B&K is nice and well built for under $600 but, at $1,500 for AMP and pre check out McCormack DNA-.5 (100 watts) or DNA-1 (150 Watts) if you want to stay in solid state gear. It has a similar warm, nuetral sound like the B&K but, more detailed and dynamic. It can also be modded by SMC audio ( the designer). I had a DNA-1 but, I sold it and went tube for only about $100 more. Not looking back anytime soon...
You know, I have never even heard of McCormack, but I checked the website and the internet and everyone is raving about them. Man, maybe I have found a new pursuit!!!Getting back to the B&K 202, one thing I have noticed is that it is indeed very warm and up front with its presentation. As old as this amp may be, it certainly seems dignified...proud of itself. Thats a good thing. I have always liked PSB Speakers and I used to power them with NAD. This morning with the B&K they were singing for their supper. They are good with low frequencies but I do not want to push them too far with a potential 200 watt amp. I am going to find a good home for the B&K units and check out McCormack or Bryston. What is your opinion of Bryston vs McCormack Eagleman? Do you mind if I ask?
I heard Bryston Amps in the past. Excellent build quality, excellent warranty, tend to be more forward and brighter than McCormack amps. You would need to spend more per watt then for McCormack. Why, I don't really know. It is important to match speakers with Amp characteristics. Not being familar with the characteristics of PSB speakers it would be hard for me to give an opinion. However, I took a chance with my set up which revolved around Vandersteen 2CE Sigs. They happen to be rather inefficient, around 86 DB or so. Many people were of the opinion that Vandersteen and McCormack were a good match because of the characteristics of the speakers and amp. In your case, you might want to try the lesser expense route first and find a used Mccormack DNA0.5 which you can find fairly regularly on the Gon for around $600. If that doesn't do it for you then you can sell the amp for at least what you paid and find a Bryston. As far as power is concerned, unless you play music very loud, too much power is not an issue on high quality speakers. Anyway, this is what makes this hobby so interesting. You never get sick of tinkering. Although I believe that I found my sit tight combo for a while after 3 amps and five preamps. I went over to the tube side and am quite glad that I did. I bought the DNA-1 for 800 and sold for $825 a year later.

Good luck and let me know how you make out...

Thanks for your feedback. I have read several reviews of the DNA 0.5 and If I get one, that may be enough for now. They seem to make wonderful preamps also. This B&K equipment sounds good in its own right, so I can imagine the McCormack sounding even better. What are your thoughts on using a McCormack pre with a B&K amp? That is of course If I don't sell this 202.
I would definitely keep the 202, its an outstanding amp and will serve you well as a backup or for a 2nd system. You rarely see these for sale and for good reason, they are fantastic amps.
I am finding that out. The B&K 202 sounds awesome. I live in a small loft apartment and I am using PSB Image B25's spaced about 8' apart and they are singing. I was using a Yamaha Receiver and now I put that away...no comparison. It was like some sort of divine intervention occured. I do not live far from B&K Headquarters but I never paid much attention to them. I grew up on old Marantz amps and later on NAD. This unit puts any NAD amp I had to shame. I don't know the exact year this equipment was built, but my former neighbor is friends with some B&K technicians who built this for him. The sound is very warm and transparent. I probably will sell the stuff (I am going to) and perhaps move on to McCormack. I also want to get some PSB Stratus Mini's and I will sell the B25's or put them in one of the other rooms. I wish I could trade the B&K stuff for the PSB's. I also have receivers laying around. Its funny, I walked into a showroom several months ago and almost convinced myself to purchase a Rotel RX-1052. It was the best sounding receiver I have ever heard but now I am addicted to seperates!!!
Frisco...before you take the plunge into other gear...at least do a home demo vs. your current B&K gear...you may be surprised...a good amp is good amp is regardless of vintage...and the few B&K pieces I have heard were extremely pleasing to my ears...good luck...
Your support of the B&k gear is refreshing. If I stay in this forum, I am going to be talked into keeping everything!! Ha! The truth of the matter is that I do not possess the capital I did a year ago. I am addictive when it comes to electronics thats for sure. I used to build computers and I switched 2-3 times a year. I suppose I just want something new. I am anxious to hear some other lines. This amp does seem to be rare...at least not as plentiful as it used to be. Another thing, I do not not believe the previous owner realized what a good "music" piece this is. I used to hear him blasting heavy metal on some huge Klipsch. He didn't even know how to hook it up properly.
Frisco, first your question with the McCormack Pre. Never heard it but, if I were you and had $600 I would buy a DNA.5 and hang on to the B&K until you heard the McCormack. When I had the PT3 Series 2 and the Reference 4420, it sounded real nice. No real negatives, just lacking some dynamics and soundstage. You might even prefer the B&k, who knows. This hobby can be addictive. You buy something real nice, sounds great the first pass through your CD collection. Then you start looking for negatives and what you need to purchase to make your system sound better. So, ask yourself the question, "do I want to pursue better sound or is the sound that I now have something that I can live with and enjoy for a long time". If the answer is the first part then start the pursuit. If it is the second part then save up and buy yourself a Lexus. I can't afford a Lexus so I changed my system by reading reviews, figuring out how I could improve my system without spending big bucks and took some chances. I was fortunate enough to discover Bizzy Bee audio and take the plunge into tubes. That's a whole different ballgame. I spent less than $500 net upgrading through 5 preamps and 3 power amps until I hit the plateau (I think). Anyway, welcome to the world of Audiogon and all the possibilities that you can do with this website.

Anyway, good luck and keep us informed as to your direction...
I too would keep the B&K, and sadly, no offence intended, but PSB speakers are sorely inefficient, and after owning stratus golds, My dynaudio/vifa cerwin vega combination blows the PSB's away- in ALL respects, and they require far less power to do so.

PSB's are energy hungy, what they recieve they do not give back when compared to the same caliber and quality speaker. Open one up and have a look at how they are built, the speakers and the xover's, you'll understand what I mean, esp. after you compare them to a B&W speaker, or equiv.
One other thing, it seems you some-what are new to this game, Try a better cd/source, you wouldn't believe the difference that alone can and WILL make. Try Audio Refinement by YBA, I did and I have never heard a finer player under $3k, I am proud to say, it kills my Denon 1650AR player and made a HUGE difference in sonics.

Yes, I am relatively new to this game and perhaps I am in over my head. The truth of the matter is that I try to make the best moves possible because it is hit or miss with me. I just do not have the finances to play real hardball right now. I speak very highly of PSB because they have always been loyal speakers to me. Furthermore, perhaps they are all that I know. I grew up on Marantz, Pioneer and Harmon Kardon. When I Bought my first NAD in the 1990's I thought I hit the big time. I am in the midst of a career change right now after realizing that I am not going to save the world. Its tough to be roaming a college campus again in my early 40's. Next year I will be in a better position to purchase what I want again, but I have to start somewhere.
Another thing. I realize there are better speakers and I absolutely drool when I see them. Dynaudio has a Contour series, the S 1.4 that I just know is superior. Thiel looks outstanding also. I still believe PSB is a great speaker, but like I said, I do not have the window of experience that most of you have.
I gave up my older Bryston Amp for a rebuilt B+K EX442. The older B+K amps are great. I have since moved on to a Threshold Amp. But if you don't keep the B+K the McCormack is a very good choice.
Hello Benie,
I like my B&K but I am trying to move on. I am trying to sell the amp and pre, and I sometimes I debate whether I should just take it in and have it updated. Is this possible? I don't even know the year these units were built. Circa 1992 I am guessing. Maybe even newer. The markings resemble the Sonata Series. I do know one thing, the previous owner had litle knowledge of what he had. He was friends with some B&K Techs and they custom built it for him. He relied on his friends to install it for him also. I live near Buffalo and B&K headquarters but the price of restoring these units would probably equal the expense of a new amp...or close to it. This time last year I had a house and more room. I just want something in the 100 watt range anyway. I'm switching speakers also.
Hello again,

If you decide to switch speakers, the Dynaudio lines, Vandersteen's, and the Theils (expensive and require very good amplifiers to really "sing") are good, but for the money, have a look at B&W's 600 or 700 series line, they are very good- depending of your choice of music of course. If you are into jazz or classical, give the Maggies or Martin Logans an listen they are more real then ANY speaker I have ever heard, however, for live output levels they will require a sub and good amplification.

What exactly are you looking for? What type of music do you mostly listen to? Consider this before you buy.
Hello Again Alpha,

Yes, I am on a budget right now and I am hoping to get a deal in the $750-1000 range. I am looking at the PSB Stratus Mini's, Dynaudio Contours (older ones) Thiel and Dali. B&W's remain a dark house but I need to hear them. I hear mixed reviews about them. I simply don't like Paradigm so its all still up in the air. I am in my early 40's but as I get older my music taste is more jazz, acid jazz, classical, some Sinatra, and of course I am still driven by some rock. I had a house last year with more room and what I am looking for now is a high performance larger monitor with good soundstage and transparency. I just acquied a Pro 10MC to upgrade my pre so everything should sound even better. My source has been lacking too because I am using a Sony Progressive scan for music. I bought it just for movies but its been a stop gap measure. That is obviously a weak link. I am trying to find a good source. I could pay up to $500 for a DVD/CD and I keep looking for a deal on a Rotel or Arcam. What is your opinion of a Pioneer Elite DVD Player int he $400 range?Also, I need some good interconnects and speaker cable under $100. See how bad it is. No wonder I am back in college for a career change.
Having had 3 of your amps, they are slow, and the bass is way too warm, but I still like them a great deal, and built very well. If you like a "quicker" sound, then the 202 is not the amp for you..IMHO
Guess what?, I have decided once again to sell the units and move onto something else. They do sound good though. I want to actually "downgrade" to a lower watt unit and pre. I have a smaller living space than last year and besides I would like something new. I was also thinking of getting a real good integrated amp. I am spending the next two weeks deciding.
The fickle life of an audiophile. You truly have it bad.
Does Audiogon offer twelve step programs for those of us terribly afflicted?
No. Unfortunately we are all enablers and codepenedents.
Thats funny. What a sick world we live in!!! What would our excuse be? That's it, we can blame the world for our troubles!!! Ha!
Just picked one of these up to match with my PSB Stratus Bronze and it sounds amazing. I was using a 60 wpc Hafler up until now and the difference is huge. I one thing I noticed though; the 202 runs quite warm. This is due to the pre stage being class A, which probably gives it such rich sound. That being said, how much power does this amp draw vs. a similar 140 wpc amplifier? I don' mind the heat generated if I knew I wasn't breaking the bank on power. I know it's a small issue to most audiophiles, but at the same time I don't believe in wastefulness.

I hope you are enjoying the amp. I kind of regret selling mine over the new year. It is a wonderful amp, but I have no idea how much more power it would draw vs a 140...probably not too much. When I had mine, my apartment lights would flicker on occasion. What are you using for a pre?
Frisco64, just using an Adcom GTP-450 for now. Trying to find a nice preamp with a phono board. Maybe the matching B&K Pro10 if I can find one...
Any other suggestions would be welcome.

The B&K 10MC is a wonderful preamp, and they show up on Audiogon on occasion. Another fantastic pre, is the Acurus RL11. Both of these preamps are very good sounding, and many people will tell you that they sound as good as the much more expensive units. I have an Acurus Act 1 that is superb. McCormack males some excellent preamps too, they sound something like B&K. There is one listed now I think that you may like.
I don't think the Acurus has a phono stage, what about the McCormack?
I am not sure about the McCormack. Keep looking for the B&k, because they pop up. How much are you willing to spend? There are other companies too.
Who knows :) Originally wanted a pre with remote, but then decided it's not the most important thing. I really like the NAD 116, gold plated jacks, relay switching, balanced outs...
Also there's a nice Tandberg that comes up once in a while.
I figured about $400 CDN tops.