B&K Components Pro-5 Preamplifiers

B&K Components Pro-5 Preamplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

Active/Passive Preamplifier

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 11  
[Nov 26, 2005]
KitR
AudioPhile

Strength:

Warm balanced sound on all types of music. Dynamics: very much there but by no means spectacular. I'm actually enjoying my CD's which had languished when compared with LP or SACD: definite bonus for me. I'm using it with a B&K ST120 - the ST-140's baby brother; synergistic combo.

Weakness:

Having difficulty listening to Headphones - see summary. Care needs to be taken with the rear RCA's. This unit seems to experience some sibilance which is a bit annoying. VERY sensitive to interconnect location - will hum at the slightest provocation. Keep it well away from everything else! Not for the inexperienced I'd venture, but worth care being lavished.

About 2 years ago bought a Bellari VP129 tube phono preamp and was absolutely delighted - especially after swapping the original Sovtek Tube for an Electro-Harmonix. Began to think that tubes were the answer to my perrenial search for a satisfactory sound - as close to live as possible. So when this B&K Pro5 fitted with a tubed output stage came up, I jumped at it. I was not disappointed! Even so the comments about the superiority of the passive mode still hold true. Although that superiority is subtle - except for CD play. With LP and SACD it is not very marked;it has to be listened for. But in Passive Mode that irritating CD glare is GONE!Result: CD's actually become listenable over periods longer than an hour: why I returned to Analog in the first place!I'm particularly pleased since I expected to have to get a Musical Fidelity X-10D tubed unit for the CD. To in effect have it integrated is a real bonus. However, I've found that in order to listen to headphones I have to put a metal cassette in my tape machine, hit record/pause and control volume via the record-level knob. Works, but...

Similar Products Used:

Another B&K Pro5 which imploded - see other criticisms! Adcom GFP-555 Musical Fidelity "The Preamp" Meridian 204 pre-amp Naim 42.5(MM) pre-amplifier Quantum 2??preamp

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[May 26, 2003]
Loren Reale
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

It is a very nice sounding preamp after you fight through the problems.

Weakness:

Those rca connectors start a cascade failure that is tough to overcome unless you're really into solving problems and are good with a soldering iron.

I had a previous Pro-5 until the rca connectors fell apart, one after another. I enjoyed the sound, but the rca failures were a terrible nuisance. Echo Hi Fi (www.echohifi.com) had one used with upgraded, stronger, gold rca connects. I thought, what's the worst that can happen and if it does it's not much money. Strangely enough I simply swapped one problem for another. While the RCA connects eliminated one problem, the improved gold conductivity was like putting rocket fuel in a Chevette. Only after downgrading the cables to old Monster cables did it all smooth out. After a lot of work, it's working well. Thugh there's an occasional crackle out of one channel. I'm just going to put my dollars aside, get a Magnum Dynalab 208 and call it a day. Lastly, Echo Hi Fi is a great shop. They would have taken the preamp back if I'd asked.

Similar Products Used:

Used with Rega Planet 2000, B&K ST 202+ amp and some homebuilt speakers.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[Feb 24, 2002]
Philip Canard
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Nothing better I know of at the price point, but it is op-amp based and does not equal discrete designs.

Weakness:

The PRO-10MC clearly better in performance for only $100-$150 more on the used market.

My brother owned this preamp back around 92/93. It drove his Vandersteen 2Ci speakers through his Coubterpoint SA-100 amplifier. It is very good for the price, but does not equal the PRO-10MC in sound or parts quality. Buy this one if you are under severe budget constraints, otherwise the PRO-10MC at around $100-$150 more is a much better deal as it is truly a high end preamp with cleaner and more involving sound. The PRO-5 is for people with associated mid-fi gear that need a little smoothing out of the sound. Great as a first serious preamp and it has a full set of controls to allow versatility in listening.

Similar Products Used:

B&K PRO-10MC and my own homebuilt tubed preamp.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 04, 2000]
Aaron
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Passive Mode

Weakness:

RCA connectors in the back don't seem too sturdy

I also bought this used for well under $200. I bought a used Adcom 535 (60Watts) at the same time and was using them with Boston Acoustics bookshelves. Based on the comments here, I tried it out in passive mode at first, but got frustrated with the lack of "Punch" and didn't like having to crank the volume up to about 7.5. I wasn't too pleased with the sound after a while so I switched back to passive and just cranked it up. The clarity and transparency of the sound in passive mode is really amazing. The difference between passive and active makes it sound like two unrelated pieces of equipment. I realize now that I should have invested in a better/bigger amp and am thinking of buying a used Bryston 3B or 4B.
My only real complaint is that the connectors in the back really don't seem all that sturdy and I get nervous when I have to push hard because of a tight cable. Oh well.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 12, 2000]
Peter
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

passive mode

Weakness:

Connectors on back side

Like the other reviewers the passive mode is the way to go with this unit.turn it way up.I am usung it with the B&K st-140 and it is really nice in this mode.in active mode the combination is a little to bright.Great bottom end.I also tied it through an Assemblage ST300B.again really nice in passive mode and to bright in active mode.This is a good unit and can help any amp out there.For 200.00 or less buy it.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 27, 2000]
Charlie
Casual Listener

Strength:

Great neutral sound. Well conceived controls. The ablility to bypass tone controls.

Weakness:

The incredibly cheesy, cheap, gawdawful, crappy connectors on the back that don't always yield a good connection. Believe it or not, I have to jiggle them around to make the sound come through. Lately they are dying.

Don't buy anything from B&K....Cheeep construction negates any thrill from the sound.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
[Aug 14, 2001]
Donn Dalessandro
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Good sounding unit at the time I bought it(1988). Was
considered very good value for the money at that time, not
state of the art but definately more that mid-fi. Had a nice
warm sound.

Weakness:

As other reviewers have mentioned, the jacks on the back of
the unit started giving problems maybe six or seven years
ago.

I had not used the unit in quite some time because the
sound kept getting static in it. B&K kept telling me to
clean the terminals and twist all the dials to lubricate
them - nothing worked. In the meantime, I bought a
Rotel 995 pre-amp that I am happy with. I finally got
around to sending back to the factory for repair and was
informed that the whole back piece containing the RCA
jacks has to be replaced - the outlets are all shot. The
new replacment would be Tiffany RCA's and should last
forever. But the cost was $150 with labor - more than I
think it is worth. I told them to junk it. He said that
this model did use cheaper jacks and have given problems.
Surprisingly, I still have the B&K ST140 amp I bought
at the same time and it works just fine. Go figure! But
the technician at B&K did say that that unit uses much
better RCA's. I would not rule out a B&K product in the
future, but I certainly insure that the RCA's are of top
quality before buying again. So much for made in America
being top quality.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Sep 04, 1999]
Steve
an Audio Enthusiast

Recently bought a used example of this preamp for $125. Having never owned B&K before, it was my impression that it was considered a somewhat "tubey" sounding preamp, with perhaps a hint of fine graininess to the upper registers. I auditioned the unit at a dealer using rather high-end equipment, including a Rotel HDCD CD Player, an Aragon 8008 amp, and Martin Logan SL3 speakers. In many ways, this system was like a big brother to my own system (Denon DMC-370 HDCD CD player, Acurus A-150 amp, Magneplanar MMG speakers). I first tried the unit in active mode, as I have never owned a passive unit. In this mode, the sound was generally clear, with a small degree of hashiness to female vocals. I then switched to passive mode, cranked the volume knob way up to compensate, and settled in to hear a revelation of sound. Gone was the upper register graininess, and in its place was a smooth yet highly detailed presentation. The sound had an indelible delicacy to it. The only thing I felt was missing was a sense of greater dynamics which was present in the active mode. All in all, though, passive was definitely the way to go.
The unit comes complete with balance and tone controls, a couple of tape loops, phono stage, and many line inputs. In addition to passive mode, there is a tone control defeat switch as well, which is how I use it in my system. For $125, it is hard to imagine the improvement I have gained with this piece of equipment. I had been using an Adcom GSA-700 (see my review of this piece and all others listed here elsewhere on www.audioreview.com), which initially I rated very highly. However, further listening yielded a very etched presentation that grew to be unbearable for music listening. Even on movies, it is a distraction, yet is still workable. A new, rolled off center channel speaker may be in order.

Bargain price, huge bang for the buck.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Nov 16, 1999]
Mike
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Cheap

Weakness:

Balance Control is off

Agree with Steve. This is a great unit. Extremely clean. I got mine for $125.00 as well.

Only problem is with the balance. I've read a similar complaint elsewhere. You'll have to tweek it a bit to the left, to get it centered.

There than that...open it up. Extremely simple.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Nov 18, 1999]
John
Audiophile

Strength:

Killer bass, flexible

Weakness:

very harsh top-end/treble

I got this used cheap, and hated it. First, the low-end extension just blew me away - awesome low-end! But the highs were just way too harsh. I tried different interconnects to tame the top-end (Monster M550i did the job, but also killed some of the low-end extension) and was unsatisfied. So, I sold it, got a used Adcom GFP565, and I'm happy as a clam - what a wonderful preamp (the Adcom).
I'd ONLY recommend the Pro 5 if you have speakers that are very dull in the high-end.

Similar Products Used:

NAD Monitor preamp, Adcom GFP565

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
Showing 1-10 of 11  

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