While not exactly new, PS Audio was showing off their pride-and-joy, the new Bascom King collaboration, the BHK Signature 250 Stereo amplifier ($7,499 US).
The amp is a tube input (6922)/mosfet output “hybrid” design, good for 250 watts into 8Ω and doubling down into 4Ω. The cosmetic is “nouveaux PS Audio” in that it will match right nicely with your other “modern” PS Audio kit, like the Perfectwave P10 Power Plant ($4,999 US) and the Perfectwave Directstream DSD DAC ($5,999 US) (that I review here), both of which were on display here at High End.
In case you were wondering, the Stereo 250 and the BHK Signature Mono 300 share more than a family resemblance — Paul McGowan shared that they’re extremely alike under the cover, too — while the Stereo is, obviously, stereo, the Mono is paralleled all the way up the chain. Not bridged. Paralleled. What does that mean? Well, it means that you’re entitled to twice the current at half the output impedance and that means G-Force-induced grins and breath-snatched giggles. Translation: mo’ betta’ bass, slam, and transient/attack. The Mono, as part of this tweak, is also putting out 300 watts per channel into 8Ω (and still doubling down into 4Ω. The price for the Mono and the Stereo is the same — $7,499 — but, obviously, you’ll need two Mono 300’s to make your Mono set. Availability is expected in June.
The room here was fronted by a massive pair of room-friendly Magnepan 20.7 planar speakers, and quite frankly, the choice was absolutely brilliant. The rooms here at High End were, as a rule, absolutely horrible for acoustics. A dipole, by happy coincidence, would be least likely to excite a room node into choking the life out of your system’s sound. Here, this was absolutely necessary — and by Day 3, with the Maggies pulled way forward and with the tweeters pushed to the outside, the sound was coherent and focused, with a generous and visitor-friendly sweet spot. Even better, “someone associated with REL” was tapped to bring in a very welcome subwoofer to give some foundation to the bass-sucking room, bringing the sound forward dramatically.
I also got a chance to tinker with the Roon Labs‘ new music library interface, and found it to be just brilliant. The tool will help you index your library, grabbing all the metadata you didn’t bother to create when you ripped all those CDs, and present it to you in an intuitive and easy-to-use format. Better still, it has native and transparent integration with Tidal HiFi, so now you can peruse and pursue to your imagination’s content. Better still, it has a native playback mode that lets you Pandora-ize your experience, creating a playback playlist that explores similarities not only in your library — but in Tidal’s. I’m going to need to see more of this, to be sure, but computer-based playback just got a lot more interesting. Expect to see and hear a lot more out of Roon Labs in the near future.