B&K Reference 7260 Six-Channel Amplifier Page 2
The amp's spatial abilities were also particularly good, especially when I used B&K's own Reference 10 pre/pro. There seemed to be a synergy here, which is not that surprising. The musical score for Mouse Hunt sounded open and revealing, and the wormhole-travel sequence in Contact provided dramatic surround effects without audible compression. I never felt a need for more power, even when driving my Snell Type As using a demanding sequence like the destruction of Congress in Mars Attacks!. Ah, if only it wasn't fiction.
After months of listening to powered subwoofers of varying quality, I was eager to hear how this amp would work with my passive Snell sub. I wasn't disappointed. GoldenEye was spectacular, with waves of rolling, low-frequency energy that created a sense of air movement—as opposed to the thrummy resonance you often get when the amp is having a hard time controlling the driver. Real low-frequency energy with good control will provide a sense of space and dimension that has less to do with actual low-frequency impact than it does with creating the appearance of lots of air movement. This effect is especially noticeable in scenes that are not full of big explosions and gunfire, such as the early scenes in The Hunt for Red October. You really get a feel for the immense size of the submarine, which is achieved primarily through the use of low-frequency noise.
Looking through my notes, the word that keeps coming up is smooth. When using the B&K, I always wanted to turn up the volume and revel in its clean, powerful sound. Yet, even when all systems were go and things were cranking, I never feared for the life of my speakers because everything was so clean and confident-sounding.
Certainly, there are amps that can outperform this B&K in some areas. The conrad-johnson MF-5600 is a touch richer harmonically, the Krell KAV combo is a bit more detailed, and the Theta Dreadnaught and Cary CAD-500-T sound even more powerful. But these amps can cost up to three times as much as the B&K, and their benefits tend to be in specific areas of performance. The 7260, on the other hand, is a good all-around performer with no real weaknesses. It's a great amp for playing music and sounds equally impressive when you fire up the home theater.
• Smooth sound, even at high volume levels
• Plenty of power for most home theater systems
HT Labs Measures: B&K Reference 7260 Amp
The above measurement shows that the Reference 7260's left amplifier channel, with two channels driving 8-ohm loads, began clipping at 0.039% distortion and 162.7 watts. The amp reaches 0.1% distortion at 185.7 watts and 1% distortion at 242.9 watts. Into 4 ohms, the amp began clipping at 316.8 watts and reaches 0.1% distortion at 338.7 watts and 1% distortion at 398 watts. With all six channels driven into 8-ohm loads, the left channel began clipping at 160.7 watts and reaches 0.1% distortion at 174.7 watts and 1% distortion at 210.5 watts. The amplifier's frequency response was +/-0.09 decibels from 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz. The response dropped to -0.21 dB at 10 Hz and to -0.53 dB at 50 kHz.—AJ