Do speaker designers voice for particular amps?

March 18, 2018
 by Paul McGowan

7 comments on “Do speaker designers voice for particular amps?”

  1. Paul, you mentioned Arnie only switched from tubes to hybrid solid state when the BHK amps were available.

    Does this really mean among all the available sophisticated amps until that time, the PS Audio BHK amps were that outstanding to him? Even not among BHK‘s own designs of Constellation he could find a good one?

    Is the PSAudio BHK design very different from BHK‘s Constellation designs?

    1. It does mean that. Arnie actually had the first Constellation prototype Bascom built in his system for a while but went back to tubes. During much debate Arnie said “why not put a tube in front of the Constellation amp” which we did – using what is now the Bascom designed BHK input stage and then that was it. Arnie never went back to tube amplifiers with his modified Constellation with a tube front end (a prototype we still have). When the BHK stereo (first) and then later the mono 300s were brought to his house, he retired the Constellation to the closet and used the BHK as his reference until his passing. He felt they were the finest amplifier he had ever heard. Period.

      1. Wow this is a great verdict!

        I didn’t know the Constellation amps have no tube input stage. I thought this was BHK‘s usual design and not introduced just with the PSA amps.

        AFAIK my last amps (Lamm monos) before I went active also had such a hybrid design. Surely probably very different from BHK circuits but maybe in that way similar.

        1. Yup. Up until the BHK series he designed for us it’s been rare he was allowed to put a tube in front of solid state. The first time he did it was for Infinity with their Hybrid Class A. He helped Conrad Johnson with some of their tube designs, but then they were more the traditional all tube types. I’d say ours is the first modern amp with a vacuum tube in the front end he designed.

  2. I have a loosely related question for Paul: Do you have a preference of mosfet vs bipolar for solid state amplification? I have read that bipolar produces a more tube-like sound. My experience with bipolar supports that to a degree, but I found it generally lacking speed and punch.

  3. Maybe I’m wrong. I once owned a Gamut ss amp from Scandanavia in the early 2000’s. It was built with multiple bi-polar transistors, and I thought the intent was to provide the smoothness of tubes. It didn’t work for me.

Leave a Reply

Stop by for a tour:
Mon-Fri, 8:30am-5pm MST

4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301
1-800-PSAUDIO

Join the hi-fi family

Stop by for a tour:
4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301

Join the hi-fi family

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram