Is the BAlabo BC-1 MKII Preamp the reigning King?

Tube vs. Solid State...Tube vs. Solid State...Zzzzzzzzzz...
Those days are over. Several years ago both Robert Harley and Jonathan Valin reviewed and Amp and Preamp from a company out of Scotts Valley, CA. called BAlabo, (Bridge Audio Laboratory}. After extended listening sessions Harley and Valin concluded that the BAlabo BC-1 MKII Preamp and the BP-1 MKII amp are the worlds finest sounding products
and what they heard was the greatest listening experience of their entire careers. They concluded that their is no tube or solid state product anywhere on planet earth that even comes close to the performance level of these products.
Tubes have that special liquid, lush, blooming midrange and the BAlabo does all tubes will do but on a much higher, superior level from their solid state designs. Curious if any Philes out there own or have experienced these products.
It was so revolutionary that nobody is talking about it anymore.
Both lost their hearing a long time ago.
In the true form of TAS, we really won't know what they thought of it until the new, improved,BAlabo Preamp comes out. These guys are funny. I really like Jon Valin-read his latest Walker Turntable review. He doesn't tell us the problems with the prior model until all the issues are gone with the new model. I have seen this a few times. Hate to say it (as TAS is my favorite and, as I said, I really respect and admire Mr. Valin), but, TAS obviously, has become an extension of their favored paid advertisers. Sorry to say. These guys are us hobbiest's best eyes and ears...
If all knew the inside industry "stories" of Mr. Valin it would be very clear how he comes to these conclusions.
Rsf507 Are you privy to such industy stories ???
I would say he is.
Greg Weaver, Senior Editor of Positive Feedback, also is on record stating that the BALabo Kit is the best sound he has ever heard and gave BALabo the Positive
Feedback Best Sound of Show Award at CES 2013. Digging further on the net regarding the amp and preamp, one word keeps popping up more than any other, Liquid! It appears by all those who have heard the BALabo separates that they all come to the same conclusion, that no other solid state component on the planet, regardless of price, can even come close to the supreme liquidity that BALabo portrays, equal to, if not better, than the finest tube separates in the world. Looking at the interior of their BC-1 preamp on their website is stunning. Four large attenuators, each in a
separate copper enclosure, integrated onto a long turn shaft. Top class, tier one component. They probably are King of the Mountain. Their Amp, Preamp and DAC together as a system cost $ 177,000.00. Phew!
Declaring something is the "best ever," only to be surpassed by another "best ever" in the next issue is the modus operandi of Absolute Sound. I believe subsequent best linestages that followed included gear from Soulution and Constellation, and who knows what else.

I have not heard the BALabo gear. I would bet that it sounds nice, but, whether it does or does not obliterate the difference between tube and solid state is an issue I always find dubious. I have never heard solid state gear that quite had the same natural sounding initial attack and subsequent decay of the notes. On the other hand, tube gear that can deliver a lot of power and can control bass like the best solid state gear usually do not sound as good on initial attack and decay as lower powered tube gear, so one really cannot have everything. As for warm vs. lean, I hardly think this is a solid state v. tube issue. For example, I can hardly think of ANY top solid state gear that is nearly as lean and analytical sounding as Audio Research tube/hybrid gear.
Gee, I remember when Halcro was the best. Who?
Yes, Halcro is a great example of "best." I believe Stereophile sort of chickened out a bit on this declaration by putting a question mark after the "best ever" designation.

I had only a limited exposure to the amp (at audio shows) so I don't know how it sounds at its best. I know an industry insider who told me that he nearly cried from the overwhelming sense of nostalgia he felt when he heard the Halcro; it reminded his so much of the old Phase Linear 700 (this was NOT meant to be a compliment).

Anyone who would declare anything as a "best" is not credible to me unless that person is limiting the description to a personal judgment in one particular setting (personal opinion based on the particular combination of gear and particular room and particular audition material).
YES, the absolute king! I'm not just saying that because these products are produced in the County and State I live in.

In a personal conversation with an industry manufacture and distributor who regularly advertises in the audio periodicals, I would agree with Rsf507 without hesitation. It's just business, nothing more.

As long as there are LPs that will never be digitized and digitally mastered recordings that will never make it to vinyl what's the point of solid state sounding like tubes and digital sounding like LPs. Both have continued to improve to the point that I doubt that any of us could consistently tell the difference in the blind and especially when using BAlabo products. Trust me.
The Halcro stunk. From first listen. Just as many, many other "new king" components are not great (though Halcro is one of the grossest errors in memory). Yet, reviewers followed one after another, just as most audiophiles did, with collective nodding of heads.

The same thing is happening now with certain "hot products". Everyone laughs at the Halcro thing, but that scenario keeps playing itself out over and over again, and is being played out right now.
It means nothing when one big reviewer raves something (Halcro, Blabbo), they often parrot what the first guy said. It's how component reputations are often made.

There are 2 "herd mentality" masses at fault. First, most reviewers who are blinded by bling, designer dogma, pricing, appearance. They do care about being loudest and first. Not so much about being right about something coming close to real music....most don't play or go listen to music.

Then there are the audiophiles, the majority of who listen to the equipment but hear what the reviewer said, not what is being delivered to the brain by their ears.

It's largely a follower industry. An hobby of wanting to beat the friends' systems, but also of wanting to be admired for having the "right" gear. Most just do not listen.

I'm not denigrating posters of this thread, but flame if you want: flamers often are the ones who know there is a ring of truth to the statements that offend them, and that inflames them.
Kiddman, Chayro and Larryi, as usual insightful, observant and on the mark.
Every time JV and cohorts declare some latest solid state amplifier the
"best" there's the obligatory tube analogy (bridges the gap, yada

yada). I won't question their sincerity (I have no way of knowing) but I've
personally never heard any SS amplifiers that duplicates the
3 dimensional sound of a good tube amp. I don't understand the the need
this constant comparison anyway. They're different devices and will by
nature have different presentations, both technologies have their admirers.
I just happen to prefer tubes ( especially simple circuits and lower power
implementations) and wouldn't want a tube product intended to sound like
a transistor design or I'd just buy a SS amp in the first place. What ultra
level SS amplifier will be deemed the best in the near future? We won't have
long to wait given past history. It seems like only yesterday when Soulution
was getting all the love or was it Vitus, Constellation? I've loss count.
Kiddman writes:

It's largely a follower industry. An hobby of wanting to beat the friends' systems, but also of wanting to be admired for having the "right" gear. Most just do not listen.

Very nicely stated. We all have to be aware of these motives and fight against them colouring our participation in this glorious hobby.

Metralla, thanks and nice summary. The human condition: yes, one must be aware of it, and remember to do things for ourselves, think for ourselves, and resist doing things to be accepted.

It's about the music. Most entered the hobby for that reason. However, most became derailed from that goal when they started reading more and more from the "experts", and it became a different thing. It became about status, envy, prestige, and a chase for anything but the music.

My best advice about equipment: 1. Repeat 50 times everyday, "I know what my ears like to hear more than anyone else".
2. Pick your favorite type of music and search out local concerts, and put as much effort and time into that as you do reading the latest clown who is trying to ape Harry Pearson. You'll appreciate the music more, understand it more, and understand the huge rift that exists between music and this industry. 3. If you go to unamplified concerts (pretty easy to find) resist the temptation to say "my system sounds better". You know that cannot be true. It's like preferring the taste of artificial vanilla to real vanilla, freeze dried coffee to freshly ground very high quality coffee.
Huh? What da?
Kiddman you are right on the mark. I agree with you 100%. If we all used our own ears to judge equipment, not reviewers, and go to live jazz and classical concerts, many manufactures and magazines would go by the wayside.
Believe what your ears say not hearsay.It's a Canadian saying eh!
I don't think they magazines would fall by the wayside, but I think the best products would not be coming from the largest advertisers...
The listeners who are inclined to proclaim their audio system sounds better than unamplified live performers is to a degree understandable. If you prefer what's come to be known as the ultra detail-information-resolution presentation (some would say "accurate" ). If this is your standard then live acoustic instruments will indeed sound different in comparison. These insrruments will be warmer, richer and fuller in tonality and body than the "accurate" sound some have become use to hearing. Components that closely mimic the live and more saturated sound would be perceived as colored and embellished. It depends on what type of sound is the listener's standard of reference (template). These two camps will definitely go in opposing directions when choosing their components.
Charles is right too. These people may use their own ears to judge but are ones that usually don't go to live events.
Live concerts. Too noisy and too much distortion. No thanks.
Here's a post from an unsatified Halcro user. The best indeed! How can an amplifier lay claim to state of the art when it doesn't "thump" or "shake the walls" which is the sign of a great amplifier. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is the standard of all too many people who believe they understand what this stuff is all about, but who am I to judge?
Just guessing here, but perhaps the system is out of polarity. Lots of things have to come together for there to be gut wrenching bass.
Jazz concerts with no amplification and symphony string quartets live too noisy are you kidding?

I own a pair of Halcro DM68 and it's very good amplifiers, far better than what is wrotten in this discussion.

I come mainly from tubes' systems and I found with Halcro a very good balance of the what I heard before. Since I have it (few years), I stopped looking around and it's always a good sign.
You can find stronger, with deeper bass or something else, but it's the first time that I have amplifiers at home and no more questions.

I use it with a pair of JBL K2 S9500.