SST is smoother in Bryston's line but they all pull no punches and you simply won't get smooth warm coloration from a Bryston.
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I've owned the Bryston 4BST and now own the Belles 350A Reference. I believe the Belles is more refined and smoother sounding. It has bass authority like the Bryston as well. I also own Thiel's (2.4's)and feel the Belles is a good match. I read that your budget is 2K, but for a couple of hundred more you should find one. I think it would be worth it. I believe one just sold here on Audiogon for 2K.
Thiels mate nicely with Audio Research tube amps. They tend to not be as rolled off and warm sounding as many other tube amps and might be the midpoint that you're looking for.
FWIW, IMHO Krells would be a poor choice. I owned that combo long ago, and I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy. Cheers,
Thanks. A couple of questions...
How much more open would the field be were I to up the pony to between 2500 to 3000?
Krell -- I have never heard one. Why the love and hate with them? Are there particular models to avoid? For instance there is a local selling a KSA 100s and KRC-3 preamp for 3k. It seems reasonable but what should I know?
How are Krells compared to Brystons? Same neighborhood?
Macs -- How night and day are they from Krell?
I am going to look for Belles in my area to listen to, never heard.
Thanks very much for your opinions and please keep them coming, the list is getting smaller!