Review: Butler 5150 Multichamp

Category: Amplifiers

I came across the Butler after conducting a long search
for a multi channel amp. I wanted an amp with the power
of a solid state; with the caress and finesse of a tube
amp. My research on the Butler led me to believe that
this might be the one.

My musical taste range from Jazz, R&B vocals, Brazilian
to World Music. The recording used in my testing was
Sarah Vaugh meets Clifford Brown, Tom Jobim's Wave;
Joe Henderson's Double Rainbow; Etta James, At Last;
Cassandra Wilson's New Moon Daughter.

As I unpacked the 5150 straight from the box I noticed
how well made it was. The workmanship and the gold
binding post showed that the the designer played
close attention to quantity. This amp is about 50
lbs and could easily fit on my rack on the bottom
shelf. Upon turn on I noticed how well behaved it was
on power up. After all, I had grown accustumed to the
grunts and clicks of my tube equipment. It ran dead
quite and I could only hear a faint sound when I placed
my ear to the speaker's tweeter. In my early buying
decision I was looking for a amp with balanced connectors;
however, with the quietness of this amp, balanced connectors
are no longer a concern

Oh, yes and the sound. I felt like Gordon when he discovered
the King Tut tomb. What do you see? I see marvelous things.
The sound coming from this amp is indeed marvelous with
the truth of timbre. I listen to a lot a live jazz and
the saxophone reproduced by the Butler 5150 has truth
of timbre. The high are extended without any harness and
the midrange is just there. There is none of the artificial
sweetness of some Tube amp nor the treadbare lack of
harmony that some solid state amps present. The midrange
is spot on. I spend countless hours trying to discern a
harmonic signature for the Butler 5150, but I could not.
Finally, I emailed the designer BK and said BK your amp
sounds neither like solid state or tubes. I can't put
make finger on a harmonic signature. Well, what BK
told me described the sound of this amp, that is, it
is the sound of tubes without the transformer. Voices are
clear and glorious. The voice of Cassandra Wilson is
how I remembered her in concert. I listened to some
contemparary music of Katherine Battles, a singer with
a operatic genus and her voice was extended high into
the heavens. The voice of Etta James was reproduced with
that deep contra-alto without being gravel. Even my girlfriend
listened deep in the night and she normally does not sat in
on my listening sessions.

Moreover, the Butler 5150 is not only delicate,it
boogies. It makes you want to get up and dandce. While
playing some Braailian melodies my girl friend keep wanting
to dance. I meanlike Duke E, it don't mean a thing if it
don't have that swing. As for the bass, it would be
hard for me to comment since my Mirage 7s are crossed
over at 45 herz to a subwoofer. But with the extention
that this amp has I don't forsee a problem. Most of my
initial listening was done in stereo; however when I
listed in the Meridian Trifield mode, things got even
better. It's like Diana Krell saying "Wonderful, Marvelous
that you should care for me"

Would I buy this amp again. You bet. How do I rated it?
Nota dez. Are there better Multi-amp of the market?
Probably, but you would have to pay a much higher price and
I still don't beleive you could come close to the performance of the Butler 5150.

I have never written a review as you can probably tell
from my ramblings above; however, I wanted the readers
who are looking for a great multi amp to take a serious
look at the Butler. Many designers have made claim
that their products sound tube like; but BK Butler
got it right this time. You can enjoy the butter
without the fat; and you can't beat that.

Associated gear
Mirage 5s fronts, Mirage 590 rears
and Mirage CM 3 center channel; Pioneer
stable platter CD player feeding an
Meridian 568 processor; homemade subwoofer driven by Adcom amp

Similar products
This comparison is with two heavily modified Dynaco stereo seventies with
a Adcom driven center channel and a
two channel setup with Dynaco bi-wired
Hi Willie, I`d just like to take this opportunity to thank you for writing this review and answering my email. As a result, I`ve just picked up a pair of Butler Audio 3150`s for my 6.1 system. These tube amps ae everything you said they would be and more. Their visual presentation in my audio rack is stunningly beautiful as is the detailed music that pours out from the 150 wpc @ 8 ohms. The 3150`s have been paired up with a Sunfire Theater Grand 3 processor and the connections (digital, ICs, speaker) are all Ridge Street MSE gen.11. As everything is new and I haven`t received my Odyssey Audio`s Lorelei`s yet, my observations are ‘right out of the box’. Even so, I`m impressed enough ‘as is’ that I thought a sincere thank you was appropriate and well deserved Willie. Best regards, Robin Bombard
I was wondering is there any tube preamp processors for the home theater enviroment. Any suggestions how to set up a combo home theater/audiophile stereo system. I would like my mains to be tubed, maybe with a outboard DAC, but incorporated into my home theater system, so that I don't have to spend money on two different systems. Any suggestions out there on how to do this.
You might want to try the Thor Audio TA-1000 Mk.II line preamp, there's a bypass available for a separate hometheater processor and I've read good things about this line preamp with the Butler 5150.