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I have the BHK Signature 250 driving a pair of Magnepan 1.7i's and I think it sounds really, really good. It replaced a Bryston 4B SST2 and there is no comparison for me. I, and a friend whose ears I very much trust, both preferred the BHK. It simply sounded more natural to both he and I. We were using as a basis for comparison our common experience in attending live (mostly classical) concerts.
I haven't seen that with any of the BHK stuff. I suspect that since PS Audio is now selling direct only price stability is going to be the norm. I would agree that the 250 can be an end game amp for many, especially if you don't need the grunt that the BHK Signature 300 monoblocks can provide. I replaced a 250 with a pair of 300's in a system with Magnepan 3.7i's and its just goodest on top of gooder than anything else I'd had in those systems. The 300's joined the party only because they showed up used at a really good price locally.
I have my doubts about the BHK 250 having; “the power to drive any speaker”. The specs indicate power down to 4 Ohms, and being stable for musical transients into 2 Ohms. “Being stable” only suggests that it won’t go into oscillation, not how much power, at what distortion levels or quality of sound it will provide at less than 4 Ohms. “Musical transients” suggests that it will only be “stable” for brief moments. Speakers with steady low impedances might be problematic for this amp.
I can tell you that the BHK Signature 250 will drive both the Magneplanar 1.7i’s and 3.7i’s to some pretty loud levels with no problems. Both are described by Magnepan as 4 Ohm speakers. I have used the 250 in systems with both. I’m not sure what speaker would provide a problematic load for the 250, but I can say its isn’t either of those. Right now I’m listening to Duke Ellington/Johnny Hodges "Back to Back" using the 250 driving the 1.7i’s and it sounds great to me.
I highly suggest buying used OR check and see if any old dealers have a demo, old stock, or trade-in. The unfortunate thing about the current BHK, one could get at a huge discount before PSA went direct. Thus, any resale value would be dismal if you purchased a new one thru PSA without any substantial discount (I would not do a trade in unless it was a component that would be quite difficult to re-sell via used market). I have a BHK pre that is fantastic. I will eventually resale it for a McIntosh c2700 if funds permit. Since I got a huge discount, my resale hit will not be so bad.
I remember that thread well and puzzled about it. I’ve never had any problem in driving either the 1.7i or 3.7i with the BHK Signature 250 and wondered to myself if 1. the LRS can be that difficult a load or 2. if there was a problem with the speaker itself. In any event, the starter of that thread rendered the discussion moot when he bought a pair of 1.7i’s. I can only go by my experience with the 250 and my 1.7i and 3.7i’s.
There should be no problem with the 250 and the LRS. Maybe quite possible that the owner had the wiring backwards or something. Or one of the speakers or 25o has something defective. I would say many people buying $650 speakers may even be using A/V receivers, or something more economical than the 250.
But there was a problem, and PSA both didn’t dispute and couldn’t explain. The amp was sent in to PSA for exam and possible repair and still repeatedly failed to be able to drive LRS on return.
Many on that forum that is monitored by PSA CEO and engineers stated similar “it should work” statements, but alas, it couldn’t drive that speaker for whatever reason. Something about the impedance curve of that speaker apparently is incompatible with BHK 250 when driven hard. At low/ moderate levels it was ok, but everyone needs to crank it now and then......
If it were able to drive the speaker, surely PSA would have forked over the $650 to acquire the speaker, tested and reported on the success to stem the embarrassing discussion. That never happened.
Now to keep in context it is fair to point out that is an unlikely pairing in real life. But it is also apparently untrue to say the amp can drive basically any pair of speakers, as the lowly Maggie LRS provide a humble counterexample
I agree there was a problem. But, to the best of my recollection, whether or not the problem lay with that pair of LRS speakers was not investigated. The problem was cured when they were replaced, however, with a pair of 17i's, which technologically are very similar to the the LRS's. Again, I've had no issues driving my 1.7i's or 3.7i's with the 250.
Yes, that is true that the owner did not send his LRS to PSA so they could test.
What I am saying is that if the 250 were able to handle the LRS, I suspect PSA would just have purchased LRS, tested, and if positive result reported it on that thread to put the embarrassing incident to bed. Or same with any of the hundreds of 250 owners who followed that thread. Easy to do if they wanted to end all of that embarrassing discussion, if the 250 was up to it (perhaps it is, but nobody has claimed or demonstrated it to my knowledge).
i should clarify I am not anti-BhK and generally speaking it is really well thought of sonically for the price. As long as speakers aren’t difficult load probably great choice. But if speakers are difficult load, maybe dig deeper before purchase if used or buy new and test under their return policy
Thanks so the drive all speakers has been debated,
lets move on to SQ.
I currently have a LM 845 premium best midrange ever (: But sloppy bass.I heard the Gryphon Diablo 300 with my speakers and the bass was amazing.
So I know that my speakers can play bass really and the same goes for the midrange.My interest in the BHK 250 comes from Arnie Nudell that say he sold his tube amps for the BHK. But again the Infinities has active sub so the BHK are not playing real bass
I just got a low mile BHK 250 to replace an Audio Research Ref 150. Took me a minute to adjust to the not as buttery top end but now I’m really liking it. Lower heat, better bass, great mid and smooth top end. Has the Tungsram tubes. I think this will do until i can afford a used ARC Ref 160 S. My speakers are Vandersteen Treo CTs. Good luck!
I also have doubts about the BHK 250. Having heard about blowing fueses at the RMAF 14 and some owners did have issues with it.
I also have doubts about beind stable into 1 ohm or less.
Mosfets can be quite fragile at phase angles and so on. However, old amps designed between 1980 and 1990 ( like Threshold) don’t have this issue at all.
You can still use a great tube and hybrid preamp and rebuilt these old beasts, so for me there is no need to buy a BHK.
I use a BHK 250 with a Pass preamp to drive a pair of Rockports, very nice combination for me. I also replaced an ARC REF 150SE with this amp. I don't miss the large, hot power tubes of that amp. To me, the sound is pretty similar. The Pass preamp adds a bit of etch and detail. My pursuit of the best power amp for my system is over.