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B&K Owner's Thread

post #1 of 125
Thread Starter 
I did some searching and couldn't find any dedicated B&K owner's threads...so here it is.

B&K doesn't get mentioned much around here, but I think they are fabulous in creating very musical sound.

I hope there are enough followers to keep this thread alive.

Best,

Ethenolas
post #2 of 125
Thread Starter 
AVS seems to have very small amount of B&K enthusiasm...I'll try once more to spark something...then into the bowels of AVS.

I'm waiting on a Reference 4430 to add to my AVR 307.

I'm excited to see how it will add to my fronts!
post #3 of 125
I just moved a B&K AVR-307 into my room. I'm hooking it up now to see how it sounds. I would think that B&K would have a little more support than it did. I think the 5800 series of denons just way outsold them and that's why their following is so small.
post #4 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethenolas View Post

AVS seems to have very small amount of B&K enthusiasm...I'll try once more to spark something...then into the bowels of AVS.

I'm waiting on a Reference 4430 to add to my AVR 307.

I'm excited to see how it will add to my fronts!

You will have alot more "headroom" w/ the 4430 running your front speakers. There should be a noticable audible difference going from the AVR to the 4430.

I currently have a ex4420 and tx4430 for my home theater setup, they still sound superb after more than 10yrs of use!
post #5 of 125
Quick question for b&k users, I have noticed that when changing inputs I have to switch surround modes to get it to pick up a signal. Is there any way around this? I am really liking this receiver even though it is a few years old, but I can see that after a while this may get a little annoying.
post #6 of 125
Ethenolas, is the way for it to "auto detect" the signal to setup all the extra audio modes in the setup? Ie. pick a favorite 2 channel format, favorite surround, favorite THX, etc?
post #7 of 125
B&K owner here. I have a Ref 31 and a 7270 multi channel amp. They are mated to a pair of NHT 2.9's, one AC2, four 1.5's, and a subone i. IMO, B&K and NHT are an excellent match.

As much as I love B&K, I am down on them for 2 reasons: they take forever to respond, or simply don't respond, to inquiries via e-mail, and they showed poor foresight with their older processors by not including a 7.1 input.

Having said that, I will eventually get a Ref 70. Their stuff just sounds so good for what you pay.

Regards,
Brian
post #8 of 125
B&K makes great gear, no doubt. But they don't get much attention around here because so many of us got burned by them, left the brand, and they don't care. Really. They just don't. The main issue is that claim that they don't leave people behind. Tell that to an AVR307 owner. We paid thousands for our receivers, partially based on B&K's claim that they would provide a platform for moving up. Then they released the 507. They told us that the upgrade would be made available to us for over A YEAR AND A HALF. before any upgrade was make available. And the cost was HUGE. It was cheaper to sell the 307 and buy a 507. No exaggeration. So that's what some of us did. Others left the brand behind. They kept telling us that the upgrade was a month away. Two months away. Ready to be released. Next month. It was going to be a nominal charge of $100. No, make that $200. A YEAR AND HALF LATER we were offered the upgrade for $900. So they lost some of us. Then we bought the AVR507. Great kit but it popped, clicked, and whined. A lot of them. They spun it every which way but eventually they introduced the AVR507 series 2. No pops, no whines, no clicks. Great. But guess what? We were told that the upgrade from the 307 to the 507 and then upgrade to the series 2 was a months away. Two months away. They kept spinning us telling us that the upgrade was just about done. And guess what? THEY OFFERED NO UPGRADE. NONE. They said "sorry, I know we promised you a platform of never being left behind but we are leaving you behind. No upgrade to the series 2 was offered. Why? Licensing issues with THX. It seems there was a THX label on the orginal receivers and the new series 2 didn't offer THX. THX wanted them to pay for the right to remove the label during the upgrade and B&K said no. So guess what? a LOT more of us got left behind. Then they came out with the AVR707. It was supposed to have codecs for all new HD audio and EQ. Guess what. It doesn't. Sorry, those will be provided in a month or two. Now, A YEAR LATER guess what? You got it. Nothing. Not even promises this time. No upgrade for the 507 owners. An incomplete receiver, at best. And no news as to when it will be finished. The upgrade was supposed to be free but now there's talk of a charge. It just goes on and on and on and on. So what happens is every time they leave somebody behind, or charge them for something that was promised for free, or take a year or more to release something that was promised in a month or two, they lose customers. They lose a LOT of customers and that's why not a lot are left. You only have to read the current B&K Ref70 thread running right now to see the issue. A popping, clicking preprocessor/receiver that cost twice as much as many others with half the features and promises about upgrades that will never come.

But if you buy their gear as is. If you don't care or want any upgrades and just take it at face value. Especially if you buy used. It's great gear that sounds good. My guess is that this thread will run out of gas pretty quickly.

post #9 of 125
I always buy B&K used, great value...used. I have Ref30 upstairs and REf50 in the theater mated to B&K 5 channel & 7 channel 200watt amps. I agree 100% with the above post.
post #10 of 125
I have owned B&K in the past and love their sound but as lhasa-lover mentions their customer service is crap. I am looking to upgrade from a receiver to hopefully a pre/pro and I have B&K on my radar along with the Denon 4810, Emotiva UMC-1, Integra DHC-80.1 and the Reference 70 but I will not purchase the Reference 70 until B&K comes out with the upgrade that has been promised for well over a year now with the new codecs included.

The reason and only reason B&K is still in business in my opinion is the custom installers they have as dealers. They sell to people and install the gear and that is about it.

I just don't understand their business practices which stinks because they have nice sounding gear.
post #11 of 125
I am a REF50S2 owner for the past 5+ years. Its 5.1 Analog passthrough is excellent and has been doing really well with my SACD collections. However, it is dated and I am ready to move on. I have ruled out REF70 as an upgrade, for the reasons mentioned above, and more importantly, for the missing analog passthrough.

Any suggestion for a current HT Pre/Pro with analog passthrough?
post #12 of 125
I am looking for mono blocks for my aerial 7B's, I gave up trying to buy the emotiva xp 1's, they keep changing the dates that they will be available, I came across a pair of b&k 4420m mono blocks at a atractive price, looking for some opinions on them, there are no reveiws on them, thanks
post #13 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lhasa-lover View Post

B&K makes great gear, no doubt. But they don't get much attention around here because so many of us got burned by them, left the brand, and they don't care. Really. They just don't. The main issue is that claim that they don't leave people behind. Tell that to an AVR307 owner. We paid thousands for our receivers, partially based on B&K's claim that they would provide a platform for moving up. Then they released the 507. They told us that the upgrade would be made available to us for over A YEAR AND A HALF. before any upgrade was make available. And the cost was HUGE. It was cheaper to sell the 307 and buy a 507. No exaggeration. So that's what some of us did. Others left the brand behind. They kept telling us that the upgrade was a month away. Two months away. Ready to be released. Next month. It was going to be a nominal charge of $100. No, make that $200. A YEAR AND HALF LATER we were offered the upgrade for $900. So they lost some of us. Then we bought the AVR507. Great kit but it popped, clicked, and whined. A lot of them. They spun it every which way but eventually they introduced the AVR507 series 2. No pops, no whines, no clicks. Great. But guess what? We were told that the upgrade from the 307 to the 507 and then upgrade to the series 2 was a months away. Two months away. They kept spinning us telling us that the upgrade was just about done. And guess what? THEY OFFERED NO UPGRADE. NONE. They said "sorry, I know we promised you a platform of never being left behind but we are leaving you behind. No upgrade to the series 2 was offered. Why? Licensing issues with THX. It seems there was a THX label on the orginal receivers and the new series 2 didn't offer THX. THX wanted them to pay for the right to remove the label during the upgrade and B&K said no. So guess what? a LOT more of us got left behind. Then they came out with the AVR707. It was supposed to have codecs for all new HD audio and EQ. Guess what. It doesn't. Sorry, those will be provided in a month or two. Now, A YEAR LATER guess what? You got it. Nothing. Not even promises this time. No upgrade for the 507 owners. An incomplete receiver, at best. And no news as to when it will be finished. The upgrade was supposed to be free but now there's talk of a charge. It just goes on and on and on and on. So what happens is every time they leave somebody behind, or charge them for something that was promised for free, or take a year or more to release something that was promised in a month or two, they lose customers. They lose a LOT of customers and that's why not a lot are left. You only have to read the current B&K Ref70 thread running right now to see the issue. A popping, clicking preprocessor/receiver that cost twice as much as many others with half the features and promises about upgrades that will never come.

But if you buy their gear as is. If you don't care or want any upgrades and just take it at face value. Especially if you buy used. It's great gear that sounds good. My guess is that this thread will run out of gas pretty quickly.


Okay, I've been aware of the crappy customer service for some time now and much, if not all, of what is said above is true. That said, my understanding of the situation differs with the comments above (see bold).

1. While I can't speak for the 507 customers, I can speak for the Ref. 50 (S1) owners. I was offered an upgrade to the Ref. 50 S2 for $700. Part of the cost was a new faceplate.

2. I don't recall B&K ever stating, in print, that the latest units would have HD audio and EQ. Yes, their dealers indicated they would be supplying an HD audio board in the future and I wouldn't be surprised if they made verbal promises re: that board. As far as EQ is concerned, I'm not sure what Lhasa is referring to. Are we talking automated EQ? If so, I've never heard anyone promise that. Not even their dealers. I also have not heard any official word about being charged for the board so I'm not going to get all wound up about that until I hear something more concrete.

3. Lastly, while my Ref.50 made mild clicking/popping noises when changing inputs, it was never bad. That said, a sizable number of owners indicated that the problem was bad and I believe them. However, my Ref. 70 has NEVER clicked or popped. I'm not suggesting that it doesn't exist in other units - just not mine.

ck
post #14 of 125
I'm sorry I have to agree with some of the posts above, as I have posted this on the B&K ref 70 link. B&K sold me in '99 with a Reference 20. I have been happy for years and I paired it with an AVS 5000 5 channel amp. But..... when the sub out went I called for a fix and was greeted with an "upgrade". They informed me that I could get yesterdays technology (Ref 31) for a measely $998 plus shipping and tax or why not go for the Ref 70 for $2,700 (after the $1,000 upgrade credit for my Ref 20). After being out of the game since '99, I did a lot of research and found that neither were "good deals". Hell I could get a Ref 50 on Audiogon for $500 or less. My point being that they do not cultivate loyalty in ownership with those choices for upgrades especially when I was looking, back in December, and they told me that the Ref 70 wouldn't even be ready until the end of January. I then decided to audition a Pioneer Elite SC-25 from a local Best Buy who then had it for $999 (down from $1,699). So I figured "what the heck" and jumped on it, figuring I could always return it within the 30 days. To make a long story short I still have the Pioneer and trying to figure out why I would even consider returning it. This was hard for me as I was a firm believer in the "boutique" type of products such as B&K, especially since last auditioning the Pioneer, Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha "Receiver types" in '99 and they all pailed in comparison to the B&K, Krell, Lexicon "Seperates types"!! At that time I was coming from a decent 2 channel set-up by Adcom. Well truth be told those "receiver types" have cought up to the "seperates" and then some. I originally thought that I would use my B&K amp to power the front 3 and use the Pioneer amp to do the rest, but I have found that the Ice (class D amp) on the Pioneer is great and there is no Audible or measurable difference between that and my old B&K amp. This will save a lot of space on the rack and force me to sell my B&K (any Takers...). I guess with the rate of technological change it is going to be hard for a B&K type company to keep up with those larger companies without charging Krell type of prices. It truly is a shame because I did love seeing "Built in the USA" on my gear but I also have to pay the mortgage and save for the kids to go to college now. That is my 2 cents worth anyhow.
post #15 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Kane View Post

Okay, I've been aware of the crappy customer service for some time now and much, if not all, of what is said above is true. That said, my understanding of the situation differs with the comments above (see bold).

1. While I can't speak for the 507 customers, I can speak for the Ref. 50 (S1) owners. I was offered an upgrade to the Ref. 50 S2 for $700. Part of the cost was a new faceplate.

2. I don't recall B&K ever stating, in print, that the latest units would have HD audio and EQ. Yes, their dealers indicated they would be supplying an HD audio board in the future and I wouldn't be surprised if they made verbal promises re: that board. As far as EQ is concerned, I'm not sure what Lhasa is referring to. Are we talking automated EQ? If so, I've never heard anyone promise that. Not even their dealers. I also have not heard any official word about being charged for the board so I'm not going to get all wound up about that until I hear something more concrete.

3. Lastly, while my Ref.50 made mild clicking/popping noises when changing inputs, it was never bad. That said, a sizable number of owners indicated that the problem was bad and I believe them. However, my Ref. 70 has NEVER clicked or popped. I'm not suggesting that it doesn't exist in other units - just not mine.

ck

As you said, what I said is true. Regarding the upgrades: I had a 307 and paid to upgrade it to the 507 but none of us who paid were offered an upgrade to series 2. And that is fact. We were told it had to do with THX licensing issues. I sold my upgraded 307 and bought a 507 based on their statement about the upgrade being offered for a "nominal" price to the series 2, shortly. And you are right. They did eventually offer it but I guess $700 is not really a nominal price for some, certainly not me. So I said the hell with it, sold my receiver and bought a Ref50. Clicked and popped. Sent it in for service. Got it back. It whined. They never solved the problem. Then they left us behind when the Ref70 came out. It gets old. The Ref 70 was supposed to include MultiEQ XT. That's what every contact at B&K said. (you notice that they never say anything pubically) I was ready to pounce but this time I actually waited to see. Sure enough, it was released with no EQ and more promises. So I moved to NAD. I knew that the T-175 had not advanced decoding but it did have MultiEQ XT which is what I really wanted as my player can decode just fine. But then they shortly came out with plug in boards that supports Video and all the newer codecs. NAD released their plug in upgrades while B&K still hints about it. Great sound, no doubt. But as has been stated they care little about us retail customers. Their money is made via the installer and multi-room installs. Just a fact. If you love B&K sound, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between them and NAD except NAD actually delivered their plug in upgrade boards, has MultiEQ XT with a custom Paul Barton designed curve that sounds great, and answers questions.
post #16 of 125
Same story for me. Bought a 307 about ten years ago. Loved the sound. Still do. Had some issues with customer service. My next will be something else. Wish it could be made in USA.
post #17 of 125
c'mon B&K people, tell us what u think!!!!!!
post #18 of 125
One thing I forgot to mention, I purchased all my B&K used. I got a great deal on the amp, and I had my heart set on a B&K pre/pro. While looking for a pre/pro, the Ref 50 was available used for around $1000 and up. The Ref 30 was going for around $600-$800. I e-mailed B&K and they told me, IIRC, it was another $700 to upgrade to a Ref 31 (same guts as a Ref 50; no balanced outs). This was when B&K responded to e-mail inquiries. Why would anyone do the upgrade? You could sell the Ref 30, buy a Ref 50, and make money! I eventually found a nice used Ref 31 for about $850 and purchased it.
I've been very happy with the sound and performance of the B&K products, but after reading the above posts and thinking more about it, B&K has become a company filled with empty promises and poor upgrade choices for their user base. I'm no longer certain the Ref 70 is in my future. I'm going to seriously look at Arcam, Nad, and Rotel. Prices are similar, if not less, and, at least with Arcam, the sound will be as good. Maybe better?

Regards,
Brian
post #19 of 125
Apologies if my posts seemed like rants against B&K. I was just trying to offer a reason why B&K, perhaps, doesn't get much ink around here. The lack of customer support aside, if you buy their products based on what you are getting then and not in the future, you will most likely be happy. Well built gear that sounds great.
post #20 of 125
I agree. Enjoy what you buy, but do not expect anything else from the company.
post #21 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by fhidayat View Post

I am a REF50S2 owner for the past 5+ years. Its 5.1 Analog passthrough is excellent and has been doing really well with my SACD collections. However, it is dated and I am ready to move on. I have ruled out REF70 as an upgrade, for the reasons mentioned above, and more importantly, for the missing analog passthrough.

Any suggestion for a current HT Pre/Pro with analog passthrough?

What's your price range?
A list of modern pre/pros is at http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=940065

The Marantz AV8003 has gotten good reviews and has a 7.1 multichannel analog input. Those inputs aren't XLR, though. It lists for significantly less than the Ref70.
post #22 of 125
Funny you mentioned AV-8003, Selden, since I am right now reading (really, more of studying) the user guide for 8003. Thanks for the suggestion, it appears to be meeting my needs (audio first, amongst all). Looks like I might pull the trigger on this unit (unless Parasound surprised me with the release of Halo C3 in the next couple of weeks). Btw, I can live with no MCH XLR input, but must have XLR output to the Power Amp.
post #23 of 125
I'm now an official B&K owner having jumped on the B&K bandwagon.
I have always wanted to go for separate components but never could quite swing or justify the costs until now.
I just picked up a B&K 7.1 reference amp that is in absolutely new perfect condition and will be using it to power my existing 7.1 HT system.
I'm using M&K S-5000 reference speakers (4ohms) so the B&K should be quite an improvement in power (375w) over my existing Denon AVR.
Have heard good things about B&K sound, and the deal on this amp was to good to pass up.
post #24 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJHXBR View Post

I'm now an official B&K owner having jumped on the B&K bandwagon.
I have always wanted to go for separate components but never could quite swing or justify the costs until now.
I just picked up a B&K 7.1 reference amp that is in absolutely new perfect condition and will be using it to power my existing 7.1 HT system.
I'm using M&K S-5000 reference speakers (4ohms) so the B&K should be quite an improvement in power (375w) over my existing Denon AVR.
Have heard good things about B&K sound, and the deal on this amp was to good to pass up.

Welcome to the B&K crew. You will love the amp. It has tons of power and sounds great. Try not to move it around too much; damn thing weighs as much as a small child! What are you using for a pre/pro?

Regards,
Brian
post #25 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antibayi View Post

Welcome to the B&K crew. You will love the amp. It has tons of power and sounds great. Try not to move it around too much; damn thing weighs as much as a small child! What are you using for a pre/pro?

Regards,
Brian

Hi Brian,

Have all ready moved it once and it's a back breaker!
It's now on it's own separate amp stand.
At the moment I am using a Denon AVR 5803.
This was a great AVR when I bought it new, but it's now becoming obsolete.
I'm now looking at new AVR's and pre/pro's.
My goal is to use HDMI and the latest sound processing, ( including DSX. )
I am considering going to a FULL 11.1 DSX setup.
I'm mainly into blu-ray, multi-channel music (SACD & DVD-A) and of course HD broadcasts.
post #26 of 125
The Onkyo DHC-80.1 should have everything for which you're looking.
post #27 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antibayi View Post

The Onkyo DHC-80.1 should have everything for which you're looking.

The 80.1 is the Integra version of the Onkyo 5507. Just wanted to let people know in case they do a search.
post #28 of 125
I purchased a Ref 50 when they first came out and then two years ago sold it on ebay for a denon receiver. I was not impressed and returned the Denon and bought a Ref 50 series 2 on ebay for what I sold my original Ref 50 for.

I've been happy with the B&K and now pair it with the Oppo SE using the analog passthrough. I use a HDMI switcher for my video. I'm also using zone 2 to run my surround back speakers from the Oppos analog surround back outputs run into my TV input with pretty good results.
post #29 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bachelor View Post

I purchased a Ref 50 when they first came out and then two years ago sold it on ebay for a denon receiver. I was not impressed and returned the Denon and bought a Ref 50 series 2 on ebay for what I sold my original Ref 50 for.

I've been happy with the B&K and now pair it with the Oppo SE using the analog passthrough. I use a HDMI switcher for my video. I'm also using zone 2 to run my surround back speakers from the Oppos analog surround back outputs run into my TV input with pretty good results.

This sounds interesting! I've been looking to upgrade my Ref 31 do to the lack of a 7.1 input. Can you please elaborate your setup further? I think I follow you you but I just want to make sure.

Thanks,
Brian
post #30 of 125
I run from the Oppo, front, center, side rears and sub to the 5.1 analog in (DVD-A input) to the B&K. I set up the V2 input with DVD-A as yes. I also set up a preset to have the sub at +10db. Then I ran the surround backs outs from the Oppo to the TV input.

On the B&K I have the normal front, center, side rears, and sub going to my amps, but for the surround backs i have use the zone 2 rca outs to my amp. For the zone 2, i have it on variable volume and found that -16 matches the -18db for zone 1. You'll have to find where the surround rears match the levels of the zone 1. In the oppo has trim levels and distance settings. For the surround back, I'm sure the B&K is not passing a direct path like i am with the other channels. I set it to dvd-A 5 for direct pass through. On the OPPO it sends out duplicate info for the surround backs and sides for DTS but not for PCM or True HD 5.1. For 7.1 it works really well with discrete 7.1 and not having the b&k processing the 5.1 input to be at 7.1. Bass management is handled in the OPPO for all speakers. 3:10 to Yuma sounds great in 7.1 PCM. I only turn on zone 2 when i play back a DTS 5.1 or a 7.1 soundtrack. I could probably use the OPPO trim settings to level match the surround backs for zone 2 to match the same db level for zone 1 but I haven't taken that time. I just put on a channel level balance on the AIX bluray and then adjusted the zone 2 volume level to match the other channels. I usually play my system back at -18db and that matched my rear backs or zone 2 at 16db. If i need to play louder or softer i'll just adjust zone 2 by the 2db difference. I put the zone 2 settings at volume variable, and not to sync power or input to zone A. For zone 2 i select the TV input which is really the surround backs from the Oppo.

It has been a great method for me. I wanted to do a 2nd zone for a long time now but this makes more sense to me for my system.
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