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  1. #1

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    Default B&K Ref 50 arrived, my first real preamp

    I came here with a pair of RT800's, now look what you all have done. I have no regrets.

    I suppose the CX-1000 was my first, but this is different. When I saw the water stain on the box I thought, please no. However unboxing it revealed a very minty preamp, looks brand new......stain was luckily superficial. Previous owner took meticulous care of it.

    Need to get it hooked up and lose more sleep tonight setting it up but, that's fine. Here are some pics.
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  2. #2

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    Congrats! I have always loved the styling on their pres, but have never had a chance to hear one. I hear they are quite the all-around performers though.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  3. #3

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    I had a Ref 10 and liked it. I bet the 50 is REALLY nice. Looks new. Congrats and enjoy!
    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.-John Wooden

  4. #4

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    I didn't go into the setup, will get to that later tonight. I hooked up the digital coax and the analog from the DVD player, I wanted to make sure it worked. The clicking and noises from the different inputs, I don't find what the Ref 50 does is even remotely annoying...perhaps this is what it should sound like and others experienced an extreme case. There is an internal click, then a very light audible noise from the speakers and is very soft, definitely not a "pop". My Denon's "click" when the inputs change so I'm used to it.

    What happened next I was not prepared for.

    I understand better gear generally nets better sound, this was not what I expected. I don't know how to sum it up right now except for amazing smoothness, clarity and detail I have not heard before from any speakers I had the opportunity to audition. I heard a sweet set of B&W 801's back in the late 90's and all I remember is that it sounded real good.

    These 2B TL's are just butter.

    With my narrow room and no treatments the soundstage opened right up, chalk one up for what clean sound will do, garbage in, garbage out. Amplify a little distortion and it snowballs, Jesse you were right.....an AVR does not compare. I believed you but didn't have anything to offer at the time for a comparison.

    Everyone that said "Nothing compares to this", you were exactly right..I don't want to think what I need to spend to replicate this at the moment. The sky's the limit and there surely is better, but this definitely opened up the whole picture for me.

    This is just with normal CD's....I haven't touched the DVD-A yet.

  5. #5

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    The clicking and noises from the different inputs, I don't find what the Ref 50 does is even remotely annoying...perhaps this is what it should sound like and others experienced an extreme case. There is an internal click, then a very light audible noise from the speakers and is very soft, definitely not a "pop".
    The clicks are just the relay's switching, no biggie. Sometimes a relay doesn't work properly, which will result in a pop sound. If the pop bothers someone, they could have the relay replaced.

    Congrats on the new pre amp.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  6. #6

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    What is your DVD player? What sounds better, the digital coax or analog out?
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  7. #7

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    Congratulations on the preamp gmcman. I've never owned a B&K preamp, but have heard from a number of folks over the years who have them and this model you have is very well respected.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    The clicks are just the relay's switching, no biggie. Sometimes a relay doesn't work properly, which will result in a pop sound. If the pop bothers someone, they could have the relay replaced.

    Congrats on the new pre amp.
    This is not exactly accurate but correct in some ways.
    B&K does not use any soft muting circuits. They feel if you use them it hurts sound quality. Never ever did they ever decide to add them despite all the complaints we had with them including all of us who Installed , sold and also owned B&K products. There is nothing wrong with it, it's exactly what it's supposed to do.
    You will also experience louder pops from Digital inputs as if you get a bust out of lets say a DSS receiver, it can be very annoying when switching inputs. I strongly suggest you turn the volume down when changing inputs.
    I still own my B&K AVR507s2 and it also does exactly the same thing. My older B&K AVR307 I had also did it. They all do even the very last Ref70 and VR707 receiver which I didn't get the chance to own as I was mad at it.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  9. #9

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    The click between inputs never bother me at all. I mean who changes inputs constantly anyway ? If you do, then you have other issues going on. I would not hesitate to own any piece of B&K gear, any piece.

  10. #10

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    Thanks, hard for me to compare it to much but based on what others have said, I agree...it's definitely very nice sounding, complete night and day difference even from the Denon 5700.

    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    What is your DVD player? What sounds better, the digital coax or analog out?
    DVD player is a Denon 2910, haven't dampened the chassis yet but seems to take well to some internal Dynomat. Tough call on the analog or digital coax, both sound very good though the B&K. The digital gives a slight edge to detail and slightly more spaciousness, likely from the higher freq detail and sometimes it seemed ever so slightly bright...but the analog is very clean and I honestly can't decide at the moment. There is a hint of warmth to the analog and gave the vocals some slight midrange energy and sounded real good.

    The clicking is definitely no biggie, only slightly louder than my AVR and if it yields better SQ then I'm all in.

  11. #11

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    I would use the digital coax, and maybe play around with different cables too. Digital coax cables can also differ some in SQ. Once you open that rabbit hole of upgrading, it never shuts until your wallet does first.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Once you open that rabbit hole of upgrading, it never shuts until your wallet does first.
    Oh that's the truth. Good thing is I can change out smaller items and more easily note the differences now.

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