Blue Circle Audio BC21 Preamplifiers

4.88/5 (8 Reviews) MSRP : $1500.00


Product Description

Preamplifier with 3 Line level imputs, 1 Tape input, 1 Preamp output, 1 Tape output Maximum output: 20 Vrms Tube complement: 2-6SN7


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Reviews 1 - 5 (8 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by D Barrabee a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: March 15, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Very solid product(s). I have the complete setup from BlueCircle. The BC21, BC22, and the BC23. I have no (i mean no) complaints. Hook this up to a respectable turntable and your set for life. One thing I might add is the BC21 sounds great with other manufacture's amps, but it has excellent synergy with the BC22. I'm sure there is better equipment out there but not at this price(s). Buy used on Audiogom.com and get great deals on Blue Circle products. No regrets on BC. Also, technical support is excellent..

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   audiogon



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

Date Reviewed: March 10, 2002

Bottom Line:   
When I first heard the BC 21 in an auditioning room I was very skeptical as it sounded unbelievably nice. I figured that the sound could be attributed to high-end upstream components and very detail-orientated speakers. To determine whether this was in fact the case, I got my hands on a demo BC 21 and brought it home to audition on my own system (which cost substantially less than the that of the audio store's!). Although I hate to be wrong, as I had several discussions with the audio salesman about how everything else was responsible for the detail etc., I have to admit I was.

On my own system, the BC 21 added all the attributes I heard in the auditioning room. In fact, I didn't realise my system could sound this good. There were tremedous gains in detail and clarity and the soundstage was drastically improved. I did my best to find music that my current preamp did better than the BC 21; be it rock/pop, blues, jazz or classical, the BC 21 came out far superior to my Bryston BP-25. The only thing the Bryston did better was produce deep bass. However, it lacked tightness and definition that the BC 21 possessed.

I also had the good fortune to demo the BC 3 preamplifier. This unit retails for twice the cost of BC 21 and possesses independent left and right channels (i.e. two volume controls!). This unit is better than the BC 21. However, I found the differnces less profound than the BP-25 to BC 21 comparison. The BC 3 has a little more detail, punch and a bigger soundstage than the BC 21. Unfortuntely I didn't have enough money to go for this. With that said, I still felt very good about buying the BC 21 - I think that says a lot.

Lastly, Blue Circle Audio is a very approachable company. The owner Gilber Yeung makes himself available via electronic correspondance or by phone at any time of the day. He will bend over backwards to ensure his customers are happy and has answered any queries I've had.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Paul Chung a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: April 4, 2001

Bottom Line:   
A beautiful pre-amp with only one pair of 6SN7 tubes and large solid wooden knobs; a very liquid mid-range ; would mate very well with any tube power amps; great value for the money.

Associated equipments:-
Power amp - VAC PA45C1
Pre amp - VAC CPA1 MKII
CD player - Classe CDP .3
Speakers - Rogers LS3/5a
Stands - Foundation Designer II
Cables - Audio Note

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   direct from Blue Circle



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bob Neill a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 13, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This is actually a review of the 21 and 22 as a pair, but since I reviewed the 22 on its own a while back, I thought I'd enter it here.

I'm going to make this an extended "note" because I don't want to submit myself to the rigors of a formal review. I have the good fortune of being on the way between
Stereophile (where this pair have just been - review due out any day now) and Innerkip, Ontario, and so I have them in my house for a week or so. I asked Gilbert Yeung to let me borrow them to satisfy my curiosity and he is an indulgent man. (If you want some insight into him, check the photo of him on Soundstage in their CES Review section - the one with his "new" hat.)

As I say, I have heard and reviewed the BC 22 before. In my fairly expensive system it held its own and did so again this time around, displaying the characteristic Blue Circle virtues: natural clarity, spaciousness, a pleasing immediacy. I remember it as being not as good at these things as my $9800 BC 2.1's and being mightily relieved at that. It still isn't as good. It is warmer and less magic overall. But it is recognizably BC gear. I generally have trouble going backwards, downstairs: I do not tend to appreciate B students. But I find the BC 22 less of a challenge in that respect. I could easily see that coming to it from lesser gear - the $1000-2500 integrated crowd, say - it would be a revelation.(Going up and down between components that have real quality differences is a weird experience. Unlike wine, I find going up is more noticeable than coming down - if the compromises made have been made ingeniously!)

Okay, I heard and am hearing the BC 22 with "better" gear than it is designed to accompany. And I hate reviewers who audition this way - or who compare gear with much more expensive stuff and then pat it on the head gently. Happens a lot, doesn't it! So, out comes the BC 3, off come the $2K Electraglide power cords. I'm leaving in the SPM interconnects because they're my reference and I don't want any more variables. And I'm leaving in the Aurios - I don't listen to ANYTHING without them anymore. (I put 'em under my speakers this a.m. and the music literally leapt into my lap, but that's another story.)

So we have a $1500 tube preamp (2 tubes), a $2150 all-solid state, 125 watt power amp, Blue Circle BC 63 power cords, my Naim CDX/XPS, and my B&W Matrix 805's. First impressions - which I take seriously: not that different, a little
shocking. (Wait for the trip back upstairs later.) Clear, full, natural, immediate, honest. Not quite as warm as the BC 3/BC 22 combination, and I'm finding I like this. It's
giving away a little on full orchestral resolution but not something you'd notice unless you were accustomed to the lots more that costs lots more. Maybe a little coarser than
the BC 3-BC 22 combo. But again, I'm not sure this is wrong. The longer it plays, the more convincing it is. If it's "wrong," it is convincing in its own right. Ah, Gilbert, you do know how to make a compromise go down easy. In a full review, I'd throw a lot more at it - this has been Vengerov doing Brahms - But I'm already late to work.

Back to the BC 3 for a quick honesty check. Okay, beauty up a notch, smoother too, and more air around the violin. Delicious. Well, that's good news - for me. I do like it better. But I didn't exactly miss it with the 21/22. Like I said, weird experience.

I am pleased that this $3650 combination isn't a let down, confirming my belief that Gilbert Yeung can compromise his vision without losing the engaging and musical qualities of the top of his line. The competition (that I know of) would seem to be the Bryston 3B ST and preamp, maybe the Plinius 8200, and the new Bel Canto EVo 2002/Pre 1, which will pass through here in a few weeks. My guess is that the differences among these components will boil down to a matter of taste. You can't get it all in this price range...which is why I have, for better or worse, taken the High End elevator to a higher floor -- and the quick return to the BC 3 reminded me why. I want it better and better and will likely follow Gilbert Yeung as far as I can afford. But you certainly need not - not with gear like this around.




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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   Simply Music



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

Date Reviewed: November 13, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I just bought this pre-amp, but so far so good. It has a very clear smooth sound, just a little light on the bass, but nothing serious. I think it is a fine unit, particularly for the price. It also looks cool. The phono amp has helped my Benz-Micro Gold sound much better. This has to be a contender for the best valued tube pre-amp on the market.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $1300.00




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