Behringer EP4000 vs Bryston 4B ST & 4B PRO

Hello everyone,

I am asking this question with all honesty. I currently use Behringer EP4000 pro amps to run my speakers - of which I have a few: B&W N805, Merlin TSM, Harbeth SHL-5, PSB Imagine B. I like to switch around which speaker I listen to.

I am considering upgrading my amp section to Bryston 4B ST or 4B Pro. My questions are:

1. Since my Behringers are rated to be 650w at 8 Ohm, what improvements could I hope to achieve by switching to Bryston?

2. Between the 4B ST and the 4B Pro, is there a sonic difference? I don't mind pro cosmetics / I know the pro has a gain dial. Anything I would be missing by going pro or is it just a cosmetic choice?

I understand warranty, build quality and resale value are better with Bryston but I'm really interested in the sonic differences.

You should notice a huge difference by going with the Bryston. Not only is it much more powerful than the Behringer, the overall sound quality will be much better, as well. The Bryston is designed to be used in high end audio systems; The Behringer is not.
That is my feeling too but the Behringer is very powerful. It puts out 550w at 8 ohms and 950w at 4 ohms. Is there anything about the Bryston that would make a "better" sound?

Here's the specs on the EP4000:
8Ω per channel 550 W
4Ω per channel 950 W
2Ω per channel 1250 W
20 Hz – 20 kHz @ 0.1% THD, both channels driven
If it fits your budget check Bryston 3b-sst in mono it outputs 450W/8Ω,of course you will need two.Different league then the Behringer.I am using three Pro amps in my outdoors porch system (Hafler Pro 2400) and I am currently switching to Bryston .
When looking at an amp like this, you really can't go by the specs. The reason for this is that there are no standards for measurement. Every company has their own way to measure their amps. Example: Lets say that company A wants to make a 100 watt per channel amp into 8 ohms. One of the factors that goes into the power rating is distortion. In the end, company A settles on 100 watts with an 8 ohm load at 2% distortion.

Now take that exact same amp and give it to company B to measure. B could very well say that their standards are higher than A's. They believe that 2% distortion is way too much; the highest allowable, for their standards is 1%. At 1% distortion, the amp may only put out 50 watts per channel under an 8 ohm load.

Simply put, one company's 100 watts is another company's 50 watts. Also, there are many other factors that go into an amps power rating that are relevant, as well. That's why I say that the Bryston is much more powerful. If you gave the Behringer to Bryston to measure using their standards, my best guess is that they would come up with something around 50 to 75 watts into 8 ohms; maybe even less.

As far as SQ goes, the extra power, along with higher parts quality and better design will completely transform the sound of your whole system in a very positive way.

Those specs are peak power. The Bryston is true power. I just can't see you using $400 amps on your high end speakers. Go for the Bryston or something else higher up the ladder!
These are sine wave measurements of the EP4000's little brother the EP2500 (which may be very similar). These are continuous power, not peak. Again, I understand that Behringer is ugly and not a showpiece. I guess I have to get ahold on a Bryston somehow to hear if I hear a difference.

Behringer EP2500 8 ohm
Behringer EP2500 4 ohm
Behringer EP2500 2 ohm
Oops! Sorry for the broken link:
When I typed up my 2nd response yesterday, the only responses I saw were the 1st 2; mine and yours with the specs. After reading some of the other responses, as well, I would like to add a few things.

The first is that you are witnessing a truly rare event on Audiogon; everybody is agreeing on something. I'm laughing as I type this but its true. Amp specs are the most ridiculously over rated claims, not only in this industry, but just about any other, as well. If you want a really good example, go into a store like Walmart, or something similar, and look at one of those home theater in a box things they sell. They claim 1000, 1500 2000 watts etc. and they cost anywhere from $100 - $200. The only thing I can think of that compete with that kind of power for the $ is a hair dryer.

I did have a look at the measurements posted on the web site you list. At first glance, it looks well done, but if you know what to look for, you will soon find the results are very inaccurate.

Look at this: "Here are the 8 ohm results for the EP2500 amplifier rated at 450 watts/channel 20-20KHz at <0.1%THD both channels driven. If you are wondering how much more power this amplifier will give up before shutting down, it won't! This is the ragged edge for this amp. It will either go into oscillation or shutdown from thermals before giving more power." Its clear that the person testing this amp found its limit. He claims any more strain will shut the amp down.

This is his very next post for the same amp at 4 ohms: "Here are the 4 ohm results for the EP2500 amplifier rated at 650 watts/channel 20-20KHz at <0.1%THD both channels driven." His results are listed in the chart but if you look, he's getting over 600 watts at most frequencies. This is impossible given his last statement. Remember, he says in his 8 ohm post that any more stress will shut the amp down. The 4 ohm test is A LOT more stress on the amp. If he was right about the amp, it would not even be able to complete the test a 4 ohms.

The only reason that I'm going on in such detail is that your situation is very common and probably the biggest reason most people stay away from high end audio. They make comparisons just like you are doing and come up with the conclusion that audiophiles are crazy. You don't have to spend anywhere near that amount to get X performance. I agree with the crazy part, but I don't think you should take my word for any of this. I would highly recommend you find a good dealer that will work with you and bring your amp in to the store and compare it to a few other options. Bryston is great, but there are many other great brands out there, as well. Then you'll know for sure. Whatever you decide to do, I guarantee that it will not be a waste of your time.
Fantastic answer. Thank you for taking the time to explain it. At this point, I'm kinda planning on buying 3-4 amps and just playing around with them to see if I can detect differences.

I'm thinking a Bryston B60, Exposure 2010s, Acram A28/38, Naim something and seeing what I like. I've been SS up to this point so any tube suggestions would be appreciated as well.