We haven't had many impressions from the Batch 2 owners, so here are some of mine, using a different approach: focusing only on the areas that I was previously concerned about. In all cases, these impressions are in comparison with my Stax SRM-007t Mk1 (kimik modified) and using O2 Mk1 phones:
- Concern: The BHSE's "wire-with-gain" honesty will exacerbate poor/over bright recordings. As someone allergic to over-brightness, this one concern caused me to delay purchase for a whole year.
Actual: Not at all. If anything, the BHSE has removed a level of "glare" that I didn't know I had with the SRM-007t. The BHSE presents its copious detail in a completely un-hyped and natural manner. It tells you exactly what's wrong with a poor recording, but it doesn't rub your nose in it, just making the best of whatever it's got to work with . Note, the rest of my system has already been chosen to be natural and fatigue-free, so YMMV if you have a brighter source, phones or ancillaries.
- Concern: The BHSE gets really hot.
Actual: Those concerned by this have not experienced Class A power amps before. After an hour the BHSE gets slightly warm. By 4 hours it gets very warm, but still very touchable. To make this more objective, I put a stove thermometer on the hottest part (the back RHS of the power supply, where there are some internal heat sinks attached). After 4 hours it registered very roughly around 110 F (43 C). I've positioned the power supply well below the amp, which does help disperse the heat. My energy meter said the power consumption fluctuated slightly second to second, peaking at around 180W and 205VA.
- Concern: The build may be first class, but can the one-man-band aesthetics match those of bigger high end companies?
Actual: No issues here at all. It looks great in all black and even has WAF approval - "looks like a space station" she says, in a good way. Inside and out, it also looks and feels very purposeful - no hint of high end excess, of the type "inch thick panels, hiding a weedy transformer and lots of fresh air". Shame the tubes couldn't glow a touch brighter - the room has to get pretty dark before you can admire the tube magic. I guess tubes that burn twice as bright will burn out twice as fast. A very slight disappointment is that the RK50 doesn't feel like I expected a $1k pot to feel like. It just feels normal.
- Can the BHSE be improved?
Actual: Of course it can - otherwise there would be no point in the existence of a DIY T2, for example. And some people prefer the LL, for example. But as I'm not parting with my BHSE any time soon, I'm trying out 3 tweaks to make it even better: New tubes (not controversial); Power Conditioner (slightly controversial) and fuses (enter the dark side ). The tubes I haven't ordered yet; the PC will be reported on in a while, as mine is out for an upgrade; and the fuse report will be coming shortly - quick, run for the hills whilst your sanity is still intact!