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REVIEW: B&K Components PRO-10MC Preamplifier (SS)

Model: PRO-10MC
Category: Preamplifier (SS)
Suggested Retail Price: $698
Description: Discrete solid state stereo preamp, MM and MC capability
Manufacturer URL: B&K Components

Review by mr.bear on June 01, 2017 at 00:14:15
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The B&K Components Pro-10mc "Sonata" 2-channel preamplifier possesses dynamic realism and depth, delivered with total finesse. Octave-to-octave balance is superb and the soundstage is deep, wide and stable. A fine phono stage is complemented by a switchable on-board head amp suitable for most ordinary MC cartridges (.09Mv Sensitivity); it absolutely sings with high-quality MM carts. I've hosted a number of vintage, two-channel amplifiers in my system and this ranks among the finest sound from the MM phono inputs.

Classic features are meant for a vinyl-based system such as a "Mono" switch and cartridge loading terminals. Extremely high resistance to overload and a 14V peak output level preserve phono dynamics. A "Bypass" mode that allows the preamp to function as passive (not for phono), no tone controls. Bonus - double preamp stereo output and a headphone jack! Pure DC design.

If you are interested in a used unit from the "Golden Age" this is great choice since it is built like a tank using TOTL "mil-spec" type components, , silky solid pots and switches, a high grade multi-layer circuit board and fine machined-gold-plated jacks, and a separate outboard power supply. No cheezy wire-wrapped terminations, totally clean layout inside! Basing your choice on real-world cost/performance it's a steal for 2-channel music. Be aware that B&K has left the business but there is a former authorized service center in the NY area that bought all the stock parts inventory for their equipment, should the need ever arise.

The B&K warmed up (no signal) on my bench for a few days to let the capacitors form, before replacing my previous amplifier (Threshold Forte2). The B&K sound smooth and maintains its composure during the most dynamic passages with large orchestral works, big-bands and jazz and rock tracks. It shows the same smoothness playing at low levels- no harshness- never any bad noises. The B&K is almost a totally "colorless" amplifier, having almost no sound of its own. It plays what's there- no zip, no zing, maybe a tiny trace of softener/sweetener, so it's perfect if your system is a little bright. The tight bass and the amazing ease with which it renders dynamic shading are quite wonderful. The B&K has whatever magic it is that makes for a very solid, realistic image (specs for close tolerance, channel-to-channel matching across the frequency spectrum are outstanding based on contemporary reviews.)

It was a good deal at around $700 when I bought it in 1992, if you can find a clean well-cared for one.

Product Weakness: Manufacturer left business.
Product Strengths: Great soundstage, excellent dynamics, fine phono performance

Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: Adcom 5503
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): B&K
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Sony PS X-55
Speakers: Thiel CS3
Cables/Interconnects: Various
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Jazz, rock, classical
Room Size (LxWxH): 20 x 30 x 10
Room Comments/Treatments: N/A
Time Period/Length of Audition: 20+ yr
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Monster HT1500
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: B&K Components PRO-10MC Preamplifier (SS) - mr.bear 00:14:14 06/01/17 (1)


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