B&K Components Ref 30 A/V Preamplifier

4.53/5 (47 Reviews) MSRP : $2798.00


Product Description

  • Surround Sound Processing: Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Digital, Dolby DTS, THX
  • Audio Inputs (Stereo): 7
  • Digital Inputs (Coax/Optical): 6/5
  • Digital Outputs (Coax/Optical):
       1/1 Zone A
       1/0 Zone B
  • Surround Outputs: 8
  • Composite Video Inputs/Outputs: 7/5
  • S-Video Inputs/Outputs: 7/5
  • Component Video Inputs/Outputs: 2/1


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    Reviews 1 - 5 (47 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    User Reviews

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Richard a Audio Enthusiast

    Date Reviewed: March 3, 2007

    Bottom Line:   
    If you haven't heard this preamp yet for two-channel or home theater then you are missing out. Now that they are available on the secondary market for a much lower price then original retail, you really can afford some astonishing sound. In comparison to the Parasound Preamp I was replacing, this unit is extremely accurate sounding, warm but not muddy, and when appropriate it provided the punch. I was really thinking that it was a combination of issues in my system - mediocre processor and underpowered 140Wpc Parasound HCA1205A with my Paradigm Studio 100s. What I found was by getting rid of my Parasound AVC1800 processor and putting in the inexpensive Ref30 that my system has come to life. The surround modes from the Motorola DSP in this unit are excellent and sound transitioning between channels was seamless. Even my wife commented on how much better it made the system sound. While the remote is a bit quirky, it didn't take long to get this unit running in my existing setup. You will not find anything comparable at the roughly $600 you can buy one of these for on the secondary market now. Note that you need to get to firmware version 2.11 to be compatible with your HDTV DVR digital output. I called B&K about this and spoke with George who is an asset to their organization. I am waiting on the returned unit so I can have my high-def feed running through the processor. Keep this in mind when looking for one of these on the street.

    Expand full review >>

    Used product for:   Less than 1 month

    Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

    Product model year:   2004

    Price Paid:    $550.00

    Purchased At:   On-line, pre-owned



    Overall Rating:2
    Value Rating:2
    Submitted by lwhitefl a AudioPhile

    Date Reviewed: June 9, 2005

    Bottom Line:   
    I use the B&K Ref. 30 for HD/DVR playback and NetFlix rented movies almost every weekend. I've been generally been satisfied with the sound although I've always felt the dialog could be better.

    Recently I began having problems during playback with my HD/DVR. After fast forwarding I would lose the sound. Turning the Ref. 30 off, then back on would restore the sound. Occasionally the sound would also be missing when I started a movie. Same solution.

    I called B&K and described the above problems. They advised my unit needed software updates and provided an RA#. Three weeks later the Ref. 30 was return shipped. The Ref. 30 refused to even power on! I called B&K and requested some sort of accomodation while I waited for another repair trip to complete. B&K C/S theorized they unit must have been damaged in shipment because in their words "it was working when it left B&K service". They told me the best they could offer was to pay UPS freight charges (3 day select) and give the service priority when they received the unit.

    This may well be the beginning of the end for my Ref. 30. I'm not going to continue to use piece of audio equipment that is unreliable, and whose manufacturer is not willing to do everything possible to satisfy a customer when something like this happens.

    I'm very dissatisfied with B&K service at this moment. I told the B&K C/S supervisor B&K had most likely lost a customer.

    Expand full review >>

    Used product for:   More than 1 year

    Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

    Product model year:   2001

    Price Paid:    $2500.00

    Purchased At:   Sound Advice



    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Catznjamma a AudioPhile

    Date Reviewed: September 10, 2003

    Bottom Line:   
    The B&K Ref 50 was very good!!! Talk about simplicity Very Warm.. Great for music and excellent for Home Theater.. Buy one!!! Save money rather than buying a bryson, krell or mark levinson...

    Expand full review >>

    Used product for:   1 to 3 months

    Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

    Product model year:   2003

    Price Paid:    $2049.00

    Purchased At:   www.amsound.com



    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:2
    Submitted by ZoSo a Audio Enthusiast

    Date Reviewed: August 23, 2003

    Bottom Line:   
    I've had this unit for a year and a half.
    I don't have any commplaints with it's performance. It sounds great in two channel as well in 5.1, music and video.
    I thought I found my holy grail.
    Then,,,,,
    I had a problem with the OSD. It stopped working back in July '02 and so back to B&K it went. The tech said when he received it and hooked it up it was working but he'd replace the video board anyway for good measure (hmmm). B&K shipped it back to me in Baltimore by way of Spokane Washington. Somehow B&K addressed it incorrectly. They didn't admit they screwed up but had it overnighted from there back to me in time for a listening party.
    Last evening I had some guests over for another listening party. When I went to power the unit up, nothing. Checked everything and can't find a reason for the failure.
    This unit in my setup sounds wounderful and I'd be hard pressed to find something better for price.
    I do however now question the reliability of it. For 3G's it should be worry free for many many years.
    BTW, the pre/pro I used before the Ref.30, Carver CT29v. Never had any problems what so ever with it, and it cost a third of the price of the B&K.
    So back to B&k for a second time it'll go.
    Hope it's the last time,,,

    Expand full review >>

    Used product for:   More than 1 year

    Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

    Product model year:   2002

    Price Paid:    $3000.00

    Purchased At:   Tweeter



    Overall Rating:2
    Value Rating:2
    Submitted by musicguy a Audio Enthusiast

    Date Reviewed: April 1, 2003

    Bottom Line:   
    I purchased this unit to replace a separate preamp, tuner and surround processor. These units which were getting a little long in the tooth. The processor was a Sony ES unit which, while very usable, did not offer Dolby 5.1. The tuner was an inexpensive Pioneer component and half the pre-sets didn't work. It also was not very sensitive. The premamp was a Hafler DH-110 which I had modified by Musical Concepts. This was a superb piece and was the heart of a system used primarily for a two channel, bi-amped system.

    The B&K, although very flexible with many inputs and control over just about any function you would want to adjust, has a very poor AM tuning section and a mediocre FM section.

    The surround capabilities are excellent.

    If you are interested in the B&K Reference 30 for basic listening to music in its stereo mode however, this is where it just doesn't measure up. There is an audible buzz in the sub-woofer output which I attempted to rectify by switching cables, re-dressing cabling, adding filters and line conditioners and all to no avail. I sent the unit to B&K and was told it passed all their tests and meets all of their specifications. I went so far as to remove the component from the system and connect it on a bench with only the preamp, two power amps, two main (left and right) speaker systems and a subwoofer. No other components or other electrical devices of any type were on the same electrical circut. Buzz will not go away. The buzz is very evident when listening at moderate to high volume levels and there is a very low level spot or a silent segment between tracks. It is extremely annoying and is not what I would expect from a component in this price range.

    Expand full review >>

    Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

    Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

    Price Paid:    $2049.00

    Purchased At:   United Home Products




    Reviews 1 - 5 (47 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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