B&K Components EX-442 Amplifiers

4.67/5 (6 Reviews) MSRP : $1000.00


Product Description

200 wt/ch solid state two-channel amplifier (1985-1994)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

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

Date Reviewed: May 31, 2009

Bottom Line:   
I bought this power amplifier to upgrade from an ST-140 (which was doing a great job driving my rebuilt Maggie 3As) and with hopes the extra power might make a difference. While not a head-and-shoulders or quantum leap in performance, the EX442 seems better equipped to handle the low impedance load without any strain whatsoever. Don't get me wrong, I still am happy with the ST-140, and I think both are bargains on the used market.

I tested the EX442 against an Anthem PVA-2, NAD 216THX, Yamaha M60, Onkyo M504 and other power amps using a B&K Sonata MC101 preamp and identical cabling when possible. The B&K clearly outperformed the others with the Maggies, providing a much more balanced and pleasant listening experience. The Anthem and the Onkyo did provide some resolution improvement, but it made guitars sound unnatural and overall the high-end was rather harsh. The B&K is warm and soft (or tubelike as they say). Unlike me, that may not be the sound you want to hear.

Bottom line with all this gear is you really don't know until you get a configuration that works well together as a system. On my Audio Monitors, Vandersteens and Alons the B&K ST-140 amp sounds a bit subdued. That's what makes swapping components both interesting and frustrating.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by wideglide a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 8, 2009

Bottom Line:   
Summary:

The B&K EX-442 is an outstanding audio value for the money, rivialed only, perhaps, by the Vandersteen 2 series of speakers.

I have had this amp for almost 20 years, and it still sounds terrific. It has a nuetral and liquid sound that is warm (for a SS), and almost tube-like, while providing much greater dynamics (it has capacitors the size of soup cans) than a tube amp can. It is pretty effortless on all but the most demanding source material. It's bass is very good, maybe not as tight as a Krell or Levinson, but then it doesn't cost $10,000, either! Wide, deep soundstage and good imaging. B&K's customer service is great; I had a Pro-5 preamp (bought as a two year old demo) that developed an -ever- so slight hum after a couple years (and way out of warranty). B&K told me to send it in, and they would check it out. They said the transformer was "within spec", but they could hear what I heard, so they would replace the transformer - FREE. They also said they had made some revisions to the main board since mine (ser. # 179) was made, so they would also install a new board.... also FREE! They even paid the return shipping! You don't find many companies that stand behind their products like this.

System:

B&K EX-442 amp, B&K Pro-10 Preamp, Vandersteen 2Ci speakers bi-wired with pairs of Kimber 4TC, VPI HW-19 JR w/ SME309 tonearm and Shure V-15 type IV cart., Magnum Dynalab FT-101 tuner, PARASOUND C/DP-1000 CD player

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



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

Date Reviewed: September 28, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Priced at originally $995, B&K's dual monuaral, 200 wpc EX-442 was an astounding value. Sweet mids, liquid highs and USA build quality that rivaled "The big boys."

I sold plenty of these amps and not one came back due to production defects or lack of customer satisfaction. This amp was a gem.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   MYER-EMCO DC



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bradley Hilliker a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 25, 2001

Bottom Line:   
My wife and i started out with an nad preamp and adcom 5400 power amplifier parasound cdp and 2ci vandersteens. as audiophile newbies we thought the system sounded great. well as time wore on we realized it was so bright as to be brittle. to improve we tried a parasound power/pre setup. oh boy did that ever get worse. brightness that would make the dog leave the room at even the lowest volumes. next we decided to take the advice from a friend who suggested audible illusions as a preamp to tame the brightness. sight unseen we bought a used 2d. what a difference! bigger soundstage, better imaging and improved tonal qualities. but...still too bright. after about a 1/2 of a cd we would begin to fatigue. we finally realized that the adcom had to go. we looked for months to determine what amp would suit our needs. we wanted tubes, but couldn't justify the cost for our power desire; 125w/channel. we came close to buying the anthem amp 1, but it was too weak at 40w/channel. then we came across b&k. we liked their earlier gear better and were seriously trying to get two st 140's when we came across the ex442. it's dual mono setup essentially made it two st140's in a single chassis with even some extra power to spare. it fit the bill. we got a good deal on it. so we bought it. we figured if it didn't match well in our system we'd sell it and not get hurt too badly. well, you can forget about our selling it. b/w the b&k and the audible illusions we have no brightness. our system is warm without losing detail. it's all there, it's just not in your face. it doesn't have a "digital" sound. it's just very neutral and natural. we have since upgraded to the homegrown audio super silver i.c., tributaries silver speaker wire and a mapleshade ultra thin digital interconnect for the dac that we've added. we've compared our system to a krell/martin logan setup with cardas wiring costing 10-12k and honestly liked ours better. i understand that b&k is now geared more towards the av market. apparently the designers that developed the st140 and ex442 are gone. too bad. they made some good gear.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   used



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Peter a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: March 12, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I think I said it all above but also remember the B&K EX442 was designed and built in the USA by a US owned company. Only a handful true high end companies can make that claim. McIntosh bought out by car audio company, Madrigal by Harmon Kardon International (same people that own loads of cheap toy electronics). Make a call to Leonard at Audio Research in Minnetonka, MN and sense the value of a company that is passionate about their products and customers. Audio Research is my number one company (of any category, e.g., automobile or otherwise) for service and pride of ownership. Thanks for letting me air my opinions for whatever they are worth.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1995




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