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Behold APU768 Preamplifier and BPA768 Amplifier Review

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The BPA power amplifier is slaved viaRG-58 cable to the APU and cannot be used with other preamps, though the APU preamplifier can be used with other amplifiers. The CDP transport is connected via a 16-pole cable. The BPA comes, as does all Behold gear, in a metal flight case, and weighs a hundred pounds. Its round ring of LEDs that backlight a large round disc on the face of the amp is a matter of taste. I like it, others might not; there are a couple of fascia options. The LEDs can be dimmed or turned off. The rear of the amp houses those pesky Euro plastic clad little binding posts-buggers! Not a fan. All that remain are a 15-amp power cord socket, a small “on/off” led and connector from the preamp and a fuse socket.

I cannot even pretend to understand all the technology and capacity the behold APU possesses. The APU is capable of incredibly powerful room correction technology via RoomTunes software from Ascendo Audio of Germany, via a laptop on which to install it. Once set up and a correction has been performed, you may make adjustment to either the resultant curve storing each adjustment under user-determinable names, or you may access the Parametric EQ feature that allows for very effective individual frequency curve files to be set up, as well as on the fly adjustments to the signal. For my use, a 2 dB downward adjustment at 3.5k Hz was just the medicine for bright or edgier sounding disks. I could not detect, at any time, the slightest loss of information or tonal deviations whatsoever as these adjustments were made. This is a truly transparent, “outside the signal” design and implementation. What a huge gift it is to be able to enjoy so much of my collection as a result of this powerful tool. While the temptation to massage the sound was often raging at first, I have settled on a curve that just works across the board, and I only visit the laptop on occasion. A digital crossover board is available that from what I have heard is revelatory.

Behold the Music

What does this combo achieve that leaves so many others wanting? Starting with the larger picture, the sound is _ until it sounds like _. What I mean by that is that there is a level of neutrality, in the best sense of the word, which is as source-dependent as I can currently imagine. You may think the bass is soft and reticent while listening to X, then you find track Y has totally transformed the sound to fast tight, textured and forward pounding bass. This dynamic plays out from the bottom to the top.

The treble is as alive with varying tonal shades and dynamics — forget splashy whitening, forget grainy edginess. With the inclusion of the new version of the ionic plasma tweeter on my Lansche 4.1, there is as near perfect transition between the upper mid band and lower treble as I can currently imagine. The treble performance or character again is shaped by what it is being fed. It can sound wrong when called upon; cymbals in particular are revealed to have many differing tones and textures on those good-to-great discs. That variety goes right to the heart of the Behold combination’s great strength.

Small soundstages will remain small, large spaces will positively bloom and light up with delicate lilting reverb be it acoustic or electric. Again, these dimensions are totally source-dependent.

Behold APU768 preamp and BPA768 power amplifier

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