Bryston 14 B SST with Martin Logan SL3 speakers?

I'm using a Sim Audio Moon Eclipse CD player, Bryston BP 25 pre-amp, Martin Logan SL3 speakers,Virtual dynamics pc's, HTS 2000 conditioner.
I have been thinking of purchasing a Bryston 14 B SST to tie this system together. The extra power of the 14 B SST would be good to have on hand for more power handling speakers in the future like the B&W N801'S. I was wondering if anyone has had any experience listening to a similar combo and how you would think this would blend together?
Well, I had a Bryston 4B-ST running ML Aerius i's, and - though powerful - the combo didn't work that well. Both the Bryston and ML's tend towards a lean, highly-resolving sound, and together they were uncomfortable to listen to for any length of time (bordering on just-plain-harsh with certain recordings).

I upgraded to a Pass Labs X-250 without changing the speakers or cabling (Analysis Plus Oval 9 spkr cables), which imparted a very smooth, warm character AND gained oodles of detail. Where the Bryston sounded dispassionate all the time and strained when pushed hard, the Pass drives these difficult loads (down to 1 ohm at 20Khz) with far more ease. And remember that I am comparing nearly identically-rated SS amps - 250Wx2 into 8 ohms, 500Wx2 into 4 ohms for both.

Of course, Your Mileage May Vary, because you have a different environment, SL3's instead of Aerius, a 14B instead of a 4B, etc. But the sonic family characters of both the Bryston amps and ML electrostats are probably quite relevant to your question.

If you are prepared to pony-up for the 14B-SST, I would recommend that you audition the Pass Labs and other amps with YOUR gear first. Then let your ears decide.

Hope that helps a bit.
Thanks for your suggestions, your comments are what I'm looking for to force me to have an open mind about this next important upgrade. I live in Nova Scotia, tring out a wide variety of new gear at home is nearly impossible so I have to rely on other means of evaluating equipment (quess work) which means that I will purchase it used and try it into my system. The Pass Labs gear has always looked to me as very fine gear, The X250 certainly is a beautiful looking piece of gear, one that wouldn't be a problem to stare at sitting between my speakers every day.
Keeping in mind of future upgrades in speakers, ones that may handle much more or less power than my SL3's, would you still suggest the Pass Labs X250 or should I look at the X350 for it's higher power capabilities? What is the sound like with these amps, at low listening levels?
I would appreciate your comments on this.
I had Martin logan sequel2 which is the same sl3 but older model (I am not sure).I listened to these speakers with all kinds of amps and I just have to say problem is not the amps.The only amp that could challenge with this monster was my Bryston 7bsst wich is I still have it in my system.They need a lot of power to sing and your amp will run very hot.If you never had electrostatic speakers befor.I would say forget the Martin logan and go with dynamic speakers or if you are a big fun of these kinds of speakers I would prefer Quad over Martin logans.This speakers are not good with all kinds of musics and they do not rock.Some people saying that they good for jazz and classical but in my opinion,If your speakers are not fine with everything they are toys not speakers.Forget about looks,color,size,name and advertisments in stereophile because major of this products has been made to make some money.Go look for a pair speakers that makes you smile when you sit front it.
Good Luck
i used to run a classe ca 200 w/ sl-3's w/ awesome results. the 2 are a match made in heaven as martin-logan themselves will tell you.
In response to the other's comments and your question :

1st off, I too live in a fairly 'dry county' when it comes to hi-end audio, so I have a limited base of equipment to listen to without driving 100 miles to audition. Are there better combinations then what I have - OF COURSE!! But - like Bob, I have to weigh everyones' opinion equally and realize that just because someone says they love or hate a piece doesn't mean it will or won't work in my environment.

-- to those that say 'forget MartinLogan' - that wasn't the opinion that was asked for. I have ML's and mine are certainly 'a pair speakers that makes you smile when you sit front it' to quote broken english. MartinLogan speakers are NOT toys if they are used with the right hardware and set up correctly (which can admittedly be difficult in some rooms). IN MY SYSTEM, IN MY ROOM, IN MY OPINION they work great. 'Nuf said.

-- I agree that Classe' would be a good amp product to investigate for use with SL3's, and -to me- represent a step up from Bryston for sound quality. Good stuff; their upper-end amps have a reputation of being on par with comparable Levinson, Pass, Krell...

-- Back to your question, Bob - I tend to do all of my critical listening at moderately high volumes, and the Aerius are probably more limited in their ability to resolve details at low levels when compared to the larger ML's. But, when I AM using them at lower levels, there seems to be a nicely linear response from the Pass amp. Not knowing what you would be replacing the SL3's with, I can't comment on X-250 vs. X-350, other then to say that the 250 should be very capable of driving any ML very successfully up to the Prodigy series. The 350 would be even more so, but may not fit your budget (or your equipment rack - that's one huge amp!!).

-- Every product line seems to have it's own sonic character, so you should probably spend time listening to some of these amps to see what you like before deciding.

-- Also, ML's tend to be very sensitive to what speaker cables are used, so if you are going to spend big $$$ for a new amp, I would suggest you invest some research time and $$$ on the cables as well. I changed from MIT Terminator's to Analysis Plus Oval 9's when I moved from Rotel amps to Bryston, and am actually changing from the AP's to Shunyata Lyra cables this week. The sonic changes from the MIT's to AP's was DRAMATIC to say the least. I can only hope the Shunyatas make another big improvement.

BTW - I have a GREAT, super-reliable contact for purchasing pristine Pass stuff at awesome prices. Email me privately if you are interested.
First I'll start by saying that most of the advice above is very good,Having own the pass 250 350 600 mono's also various models of ML,Krell and Classe.I firmly believe that the Bryston SST series properly setup and given a good source will get you as good of a sonic performance as any other will made power amp.I presently own the 7B-sst 14B-sst and the Krell 700CX.Main speakers are B&W N802's,
Recently sold my wilson 6 which i also used to a/b these amplifiers and the Bryston's are just Magical with a wide soundstage ,that is smooth and very extended.If your budget allows for the 14B-SST or 7B-SST Monos your speakers will get up and sing.The other brands mentioned are also very good amplifiers,But not to the point where they ask the bryston's to take a rear seat in their sonic performance. Good luck in your search for the right Amplifier.

I agree that Bryston's are great amps. I never would have bought 2 of them had I not believed that. My disappointment came when using the Brystons WITH MARTIN LOGANS. The Pass amps do not have the same character in my system - they just sound better, smoother with more dynamics and detail.

You are associating B&W and Wilson speakers with these amps, which are not reactive loads like Martins or have the same needs & characters. Certain speakers just do not mate as well with certain amps, which may be the reason for my negativity after having owned the Brystons.

Now I hear the SST series is reportedly less harsh then the ST series, which may fix this 'issue'. My experience is with a 4B-ST (NOT an SST). And if Bob were to move away from the Martin speaker line altogether, everything I said here would be pointless. He might-as-well just start over now, toss the SL3's and match a new amp with a new set of speakers all at once.


I have had the same experience listening to the combination of Bryston and MLs- they simply do not mix. Bryston has incredible power, built like a tank but at times a little dry and brittle- a bit more warmth is needed. Every time I heard the Bryston and ML combination, the sound is slightly flat and dull (some listening fatigue settles in after a short period). Yet when Bryston is paired with other speakers such as B&W etc, the dynamics and presentation is there. Classe amps with their warmer sound goes a lot better. Most tube amps go well with MLs. I do not have the Pass Labs power amp but their pre-amp and can say that Pass will be a good choice in providing the power and finesse. I also believe a lot of independent recording studios do use Bryston but it is important to keep in mind that they are using active monitors (eg Mackie) which produce a very flat response and the engineers are not concerned with the "hi-fi" listening aspects that we are.

MLs need a little of that liquid quality from an amp to bring out all the harmonic richness that they are capable of.

Happy Listening.

Jason Liu

President, Martin Logan Club
Thanks for all your sugestions and comments folks on the amplifier recommendations. At the end of the day, I'd really like to have an amp that would do justice to most types of music through most types of high end speakers but I think that may be asking just a little bit too much don't you think?