I've finally got ahold of the B&K stuff I've been "patiently" waiting for and now that I've had time to play with it figured I'd let you know my thoughts on these two pieces of equipment.
B&K ST125.2 - This is the new model year amplifier in 2 channel. I bought this unit on sale and the price about knocked my wife over but she took it pretty well.
The absolute first thing I noticed about this amp was how sensitive it was. I had the interconnects running too close to the back of the TV and boy did I get static, bad! Since our CD player is also our DVD player I knew the wife would hate this amp but a quick move of the cables and all was well with the world, again. I've never had an amplifier that was this sensitive to different frequencies and all my amps have sat in the same place! Running it with my old preamp I noticed subtle details not noticed before in the music. Mainly the flaws in the recording(s) but also how much warmer the sound was. Smooooooooth is the only way to describe what I was hearing. The detail in the highs was a tad more noticeable and the bass was, well, truer. What I mean is that the amp would put slam into the music but only if the music called for it. IMO this was more representative of the music as it was recorded and meant to be heard. Needless to say I am in my own little slice of heaven with this amp.
B&K PT-3 Series II - After thinking on the benefits of Balanced outputs I went with a used PT-3 instead of buying a new PT-5 since the specs were exactly the same except for a few features I'd never use and the balanced outputs. My wife was pleased!
The first thing I noticed on the preamp, running with the ST125.2, was the lack of bass and depth. I know this sounds bad but keep reading. I like to have the tone controls at zero when I can but this would not do this time. Then....., I hit the loudness button, woooaaaa, what happened to the music?!? The low end was definitely there, and in a big, big way. Almost too much low end, borderline anyway for me. I tried turning the bass down a tad but ended up with staleness. Then I turned up the treble two notches, to +4 db, and it sounded dang good. DANG good. Turning the treble up must have done the trick because the depth was there, and I mean it was there. As a matter of fact I've been running the 8t's for many years and never before have I heard the sound that they were producing. I went to the kitchen, looked into the living room and could swear that there was a different pair of speakers running. I looked at those "seemingly" little cabinets and could not believe that the music was coming out of those speakers. Evidently I hadn't heard true depth in music before but I was now! While listening to the Nutcracker I swore that the drum hits was something outside making a noise, the family and I were eating supper at the time. It took me a couple of times to realize it was the music. Weird I know but what can I say?
The programming can be a pain, especially if you're used to different nobs and buttons for everything (must be old school). The remote is, well, a remote. One note here, it's easier running, dilly dallying with things through the remote than by the panel.
It's attractive and beefy, just what equipment should be.
I'm still playing with the "loudness" though. On/off, on/off, on/off, still comparing. Best thing I can think is that B&K had loudness in mind when listening, that's what it seems to me anyway. Like the loudness feature is supposed to be incorporated into the music as a, permanent thing. I've had loudness controls before but I've never encountered one like this. It's definitely a stand-alone loudness (maybe Mantis could elaborate here). It does, however, turn itself down and eventually off when the volume creeps towards 0 db, which is kind of a neat feature. Do I like the preamp or not you are probably wondering? Hell yes I do!! It's the nicest preamp I've owned and sounds awesome!!
Made in the USA, B&K!
About the only music I don't listen to is rap but much classical, a little jazz, blues, and rock when I'm in the mood. Now that I'm older I'm not an 80's rock child anymore. I don't tend to relate much to different kinds of music when typing something like this because everyone likes different music, makes the world go 'round!
Thanks for reading through all this, I hope I didn't bore you too much!:p
I've heard from, mainly Audiogon members that B&K is the low end of the high end. While that very well may be true I remember they are thinking into the Krells, Levinsons, Conrad Johnsons and the like. For me this is high end!
Yes...., my wife likes the new components too!!!!