Bryston 28 sst's vs Spectron Musician 3 SE ?

I was wondering if anyone has compared both the newish Bryston kw monoblock amps; the 28 sst's; which received rave reviews vs the the class D Spectron Musician 3; rated at around 600 watts, for the pair of monoblocks; in the same ball park on price, $16k for the pair of Bryston; and around the same for the Spectron. I am looking to replace my MBL 8011's powering my MBL 111'es; looking for 'warmth' in the highs, and more punch in the base; with detail and openness...I feel my current amps are not quite powerful enough to fully open my low impedence speakers; at 4 ohms...
Or if people might suggest other high power ss amps to consider; I'm open to other recommendations..The new Musical Fidelity Tritans are a bit out of my range; as are the mbl 9008's...

Thanks in advance for suggestions and recommendations.

Spectron rated power output of 600 watts per channel is for their stereo and for monoblocks its about 1800 watts per channel.

Also, there are many, many MBL owners who own Spectron and like it more then MBL amplifiers at least for money.

I did not auditioned Bryston so I cannot comment on direct comparison.

Good Luck
Top quality class D versus solid state, monoblocks, high power output, similar price, would be an awesome comparison! I use the Spectron monos with Marten Coltranes with great results. The Spectrons were a great improvement over Rowland 201s, but I wish I had been able to do at-home comparisons with the Spectrons and some other top non-class D designs.
I have not had the mono blocks, but with my Maggies the Spectron Musician 3se was not a great match. I thought it was bright.

I loved my 7bsst Brystons, with my speakers, and have only heard the 28sst's at CES driving the tiny Magenpan/bass module concept speakers. That was absolutely amazing, shocking in fact.

I have only heard the MBL's at shows as well so I don't know how they would match. I tend to think the Spectrons are more dry and "accurate" sounding, and the Bryston's more warm and mellow.

Well, that's my experience with them.
My feeling is that my MBL speakers tend to be a bit dry and cool; and accurate; from what comments are being offered; maybe the Bryston might fit the provide a bit more warmth..other option is a tubed preamp; but don't want to go there....
before I buy; I think I have an opportunity to audition both amps in my home within the next month or so; but was looking for help before I set up the auditions...
Rest of system is: Meridian 861 processor; Qsonix server; Meridian G-98 player; MIT magnum 2 balanced IC's and biwire speaker cables; dedicated 20amp lines

More comments are welcome...thanks much...
I guess what I'm hoping for is someone who has listened and can offer opinions of the big Bryston amp...I see many people here in the forum have positive comments on the Spectrons and improved class d amps; but I am looking for description on the Bryston; separate from the glowing reviews in Stereophile, a real world set up...what they liked; how it sounded to them; strenghts and weaknesses...
thanks again...
FWIW I had the 7BSST's in my system for a few years and recently heard the 28's and just thought they were more "balls to the walls" but very similar sonic signature. Now I have the Spectron monoblocks with Bybee and oil cap upgrades and would never even consider changing them for anything else (and I have had big tube monoblocks as well). Once you have the Spectrons, you only look to improve your system in other parts of the signal chain.

I did find however, that the Spectrons need a balanced power mains supply to be at their best and they will let you hear the difference between different power cords.
I figured I should post so others can read.

I picked up a pair of 28 Squared mono's recently so my system would not be down in between listening to other amps as some times this can happen from time to time and you have to wait for a bit.

My most recent amps being CAT JL3 Sig. MKII mono's, and recently demoed MBL 9008, the big 9011's.

My speakers are MBL 101E's

I have never heard the Spectrons in my set-up, almost pulled the trigger at one time but it just didn't feel right after receiving certain info. When you add up the costs of the two upgrades above the base price the list price is really up there also and I'm sure a new version will be coming out soon.

So back to the Bryston 28 SQ mono's, I must say I am absolutely shocked with the performance to date and only getting better and these are the only solid state amps that I have ever heard in my set-up which had me wondering if there where actually tubes inside. They are the first amps that I truly have been able to listen to at very low volume and really enjoyed, 1st watt sounds as the same as the last watt over 1k into 8 ohms that is.

The amps are truly Bryston build quality with a fabulous warranty to boot.

They just get better and better every day.

A buddy had dropped by unannounced one day, we were chatting and he could hear the system playing. My buddy is an absolute tube and vinyl fanatic and feels nothing else compares period so when he sees solid state or digital he just disqualifies it period. Well my friend comments to me saying "boy those Cat's are really sounding sweet" and goes on and says "the bass is so realistic possibly the best I've ever heard" he asked could he have a quick listen. Well all I can tell you is he could not stop cursing when he saw what he was actually listening to and just could not believe it and went on and on, the quick listen turned into 2 hours and then some.

I will say I'm shocked with these also, at the beginning they really did not do anything for me but after some hours of burn in well it's a whole different story.

Now I do have each plugged into a separate Torus RM20 unit and these do work and are a must if you truly want to hear what these amps are capable of.

I have a tube pre-amp ARC REF3 mated up and it sounds nice so I would recomend a tube pre.

Regarding the two amps Mribob, if you can get both in for a comparison in your own system I would do it but just make sure both are well broken-in and with the Bryston you use the Torus 20's with them and if possible a tube pre-amp and then let us know what the outcome is. I would like to hear the Spectrons in my set-up to compare but Radicalsteve mentioned the REF3 is not compatible and I'm not about to just go out and buy another pre to listen to these amps, my REF3 has worked with every other amp I have ever had or demoed with no issues what so ever.

My thoughts anyways.

Not quite what you are asking for, but i went from the NuForce 9 SE V2 to the Bryston 28s after a year (or longer) search for new amps. I once lived with the 3BST and the 4BSST and the 28s are a sonic departure for Bryston. I did enjoy the former buy I could not commit to them with my dollar vote. I most closely compared the 28s to the Clayton M300s, which were really "tubie", perhaps to a fault.

I found the Brystons' to be just about everything i could ask the look, the build quality, the warranty and the sound.

As you are able to home demo both your options, obviously, you will make the best call for you, but I do hope you post your findings.

Good luck and enjoy the search, John

god point about my experience with the Ref3 - which I loved with my SF Power 3's, but I guess there must have been an impedance miss match with the Spectrons. Just to be clear, I would have no problem with the 28's as my permanent solution either - although I never had them in my system, my experience with the 7BSST's was great and interestingly, with my current set up, they might have made the cut as the power amps. Problem is, it is all about system synergy, and that is why buying used gear on the web is probably not the final solution versus demoing a complete system in your room with the back up your local dealer.

I know I have to use the web to buy gear because I don't have a local dealer in the city (Ottawa) who is capable of working with me to get the right system in place. When I lived in Toronto, I bought my gear from a retail dealer who knew more than I did!!

Hi Mribob

A few months ago, I was looking amplifier for myself. As you I have selected a few amps to test including Bryston and Spectron. I have had opportunity to audition Bryston in the dealer showroom. Very good amplifier but it did not "touch" me.

I bought slightly used Spectron upon condition that if I will not like it in my system I can return it. As a matter of fact, I fall in love with Spectron and more I listen the more I like it. A few days ago, I got another one to run in monoblock modes and I did not realize before how good, how REALISTIC sound can be. I love it.

I am not pushing you on Spectron - different people have different tastes. However, I urge you to test it. Get it (much better monoblocks if you can afford them) ONLY upon condition that if you will not like them then you can return them.

Just be careful, these amps when new are tend to sound a bit mechanical and a few hundred of hours of break-in is really ESSENTIAL.

Somebody mention that he is scared that Spectron will introduce a new version of this amp. I spoke with Simon Thacher, a few weeks ago. He is not the owner, he works in design for a few companies so he does not have particular interest in Spectron only and I, may be wrongly, trust him and I like him. Well, according to him no Mk3 is on horizon and he does not see it in near future. Take it for what its worth

All The Luck in this wonderful process of searching "paradise".

Forgot to mention, sorry. I have different, very difficult to drive speakers Watt/Puppy 8. Also, before Spectrons I drove them with tube amp - Mackintosh MC2102. Spectrons are CLEARLY better.

thanks everyone for their responses and seems that this indeed makes for an interesting 'shoot out'; and there are people on both camps on this topic; which is dealer is still breaking in his Bryston 28 sst monos; I'm hoping to borrow them for an audition in two weeks; then to hear the Spectrons...I'll post back after I get this done...
at least no one is recommending that I spend even more on the bigger MBL's; or more expensive solid state amps yet..this I think is doable for me in my system...
I'd like to hear thoughts on power cords and cable synergies as well...
Thanks again to everyone who responded...
I disagree with specific auditioning methods, comparing listening at a dealers location and then in your own home, just doesn't add up for me.

It seems that I was addressed regarding Spectron and a new model, firstly I was not "scared" that Spectron will introduce a new bla! bla! You are being very naive if you think this is the last amp and all you have to do is take a look at their past history, need I say more.

If you are going to listen to Bryston 28 SQ mono blocks I would recomend you have them plugged into Torus RM20 conditioners at least, one for each amp if you really want to hear what these can do.

In the end just make sure what ever it is that you are demoing make sure they are well broken-in, compared in your own set-up and enjoy.
just to clarify, i was under the impression that all spectral amps are to be used with MIT cabling ONLY.

anyone doing otherwise? be a darn shame to have to change your speaker cables to accomodate an amp.
Rhyno, they are talking about Bryston and Spectron, not Spectral.
Hello Dev,

I did not say that I auditioned Bryston at LOCAL(!) dealer and on this basis I decided to compare them with Spectron. Its rather arrogant assumption and degrading statement.

Moreover, I was surprised with your bad mouthing Spectron:

"You are being very naive if you think this is the last amp and all you have to do is take a look at their past history, need I say more"

So, I looked. Firstly, a minute ago, I called Simon Thacher - yes, he can be called 7 days a week and I like it in the hi-fi cothe company can be called 7 days per week. According to him:

1 Musician III was introduced in late Summer of 2004
2 Musician III Signature was introduced in December of 2006
3 Musician III Mk2 was introduced in Spring of 2008

Secondly, each subsequent generation of Musician was done not to rectify some gross error but to improve sound and he suggested to see reviews comparing old and new versions.

Thirdly, each owner could continue to enjoy his amplifier or upgrade it to the latest. According to their web site, upgrade from Signature to Mk2 is $600+ For substantial sound improvement - reasonable, on my opinion

Fourthly, as per their web site even owners of old Musician II (10 years old???) can upgrade their $3k amp to about 85% of Musician III Mk2 performance for about $1.3k.

This constant upgradeability - for me at least, shows that Spectron is taken care of my financial investment in their product - it will not be obsolete even 10 years down the road and I LOVE this idea.

Mribob Quotes: "I am looking to replace my MBL 8011's powering my MBL 111'es; looking for 'warmth' in the highs, and more punch in the base; with detail and openness...I feel my current amps are not quite powerful enough to fully open my low impedence speakers; at 4 ohms..."
" least no one is recommending that I spend even more on the bigger MBL's; or more expensive solid state amps yet.."

You spoke too quickly, I was holding back because you mentioned that the 9008's may be out of your budget, mine too but I didn't let that stop me.

There really aren't that many reviews of the Reference Line MBL 9008A's available on the internet. Since I own a pair, I can tell you that the 9008's have the qualities that you're looking for above. They're a huge step-up from MBL's Noble Line 8011's. They have deep, tight bass, with gobs of resolution and detail, very liquid and coherent from top to bottom, with a very sweet and luscious midrange (however not the best that I've ever heard), and sweet highs. The sound-stage is very deep and wide with excellent imaging and focus. They have unlimited power with great micro and macro-dynamics. The harmonics and decay of the musical notes are stellar. They are also dead quiet. The best compliment that I can give them is that they are very musical and Analog-like, without imparting any electronic signature. I also can't imagine getting a better match for your MBL 111 Speakers.

Since, additional power cords, and cables could easily approach the cost difference between your budget and a used pair of 9008's, I think you should take them for a spin if possible, just to see if they're what you're looking for. You may also want to consider the less expensive MBL 9007's. Also be aware that the 9008's are huge and take up a lot of floor space.

You also asked the question; What we thought of Class D Amps in general? I like the Class D Amps so far, they seem like a cross between SS and Tubes, but at the moment, I feel like they are leaning towards the SS side. I also own a pair of Bel Canto REF1000 Monoblocks, and I think they're great. They are like the baby brother to the MBL 9008's; both sonically and diminutively, they provide plenty of pure clean power for their size, and they have many similar attributes; deep tight bass, very coherent and well balanced from top to bottom, with a slightly dryer midrange, and less sweet treble, with less air. The sound-stage is not as deep or wide but still big, and everything is just slightly less, but still very, very, good. Although, the MBL 9008A's wins out in every category, except in price, I feel as though I could happily live with the Bel Canto's and based upon what I'm reading, I would probably enjoy the newer Bel Canto Ref II model better than the original.

Now to the good news, the areas that many people felt were weak in the original $4000 Bel Canto Ref1000's including myself, seem to have "possibly" been improved on, in the newer $6000 Bel Canto Ref1000 MkII Monoblocks, however I've not heard these new Amps yet, nor have I ever heard the Spectron's..., however, I think that you should add them to your list... as you may be pleasantly surprised, and if you are, then you could save yourself a ton of money and a ton of space.

You most certainly did, Mike said "I have had opportunity to audition Bryston in the dealer showroom. Very good amplifier but it did not "touch" me." you need to re-read your own post above.

Now you are suggesting you did not say this please.

Mike said "I was surprised with your bad mouthing Spectron"

I have never done such, I have nothing bad to say about Spectron as per my posts I have not heard so you need to get your facts straight before you make such ridiculous accusations and misleading others.

I don't believe you ever heard Bryston 28 SQ mono's either.
Dev I read the same thing. Looks like u and I need to go back to 1st grade.
Hi Dev, Mike very clearly stated that his audition was not at the local dealer ( he even wrote "LOCAL(!)" to make sure you understand) - therefore he could not take Bryston amplifier home for home audition.

What is not clear to you????

Next, Mike understood your words: "You are being very naive if you think this is the last amp and all you have to do is take a look at their past history, need I say more" as bad mouthing. I think the words speak for themselves and everybody can judge as he or she wishes.

Regarding audition process - A few months ago, Mike started the thread asking about virtues of Spectron - you can find it somewhere here. He auditioned a lot of amplifiers - and choose whatever he choose.

Mribob - asked about our take on Spectron/Bryston and similar amplifiers and if we want we can provide out input. It will be Mribob, finally responsible for whatever he choose (I hope only after home audition - if possible!)

Thus, here is no need in personal attacks.

All The Best
Hi Dob,

your post is confusing to me so can you clarify? you wrote "his audition was not at the local dealer"

I believe the word "not" used by you should not be in there but I'm sure you will correct me.

Secondly you said "What is not clear to you????"

Well Dob he said in his thread which everyone can read above dated 07-25-09

Hi Mribob

A few months ago, I was looking amplifier for myself. As you I have selected a few amps to test including Bryston and Spectron. I have had opportunity to audition Bryston in the dealer showroom. Very good amplifier but it did not "touch" me.

and then said in a following thread,

Hello Dev,

I did not say that I auditioned Bryston at LOCAL(!) dealer

This is why I questioned his auditioning methods which I disagreed with.

In the end it does not matter to me which amp he goes with or likes but such statements are misleading to others and you know this is not the way to make proper comparisons.

I could have been asked to clarify my words when I wrote "You are being very naive if you think this is the last amp and all you have to do is take a look at their past history, need I say more"

As far as I'm concerned this is not bad mouthing but factual, I could get into it but why thatÂ’s not what this thread is about.

Pretty hard to believe the dealer (local) would not allow a demo of 28 SQ $16k monos in his own place either, humm.

I have nothing against Mike or Spectron and suggesting I'm doing personal attacks or bad mouthing is improper, I'm only informing others and in the end they can do what ever.

As I mentioned prior I would still like to hear Spectron but as per info. gathered from Radicalsteve he tried it with his REF3 which I have and said there was a mismatch.
Hello Dev,

I am in Colorado and I have visited New York about three months ago and I checked there a few hi-end stores (in Manhattan only). I believe that I auditioned Bryston 28 sst at Alto and I could hear clearly some euthonic coloration (artificial warmth) in midrange and touch of "steel" in highs. May be they were not broken-in, I don't know. I did not like them. Sorry.

I do own both Bryston 28B SST Squared and Spectrons MIII MKII with both Bybees and V-Caps upgrades. I operate 2 sets of speaker, Analysis Audio Amphitryons and JM Labs Novas.
Both amps are fantastic sounding on these speakers and if one can measure the sound electronicly the results will be very close to each other.
Bryston physical structure is more stiffer than Spectron.
The only great difference I can hear between these two pcs is that the Spectrons generate a more convincing life like presentation over the Brystons.
I can live with both amps but I will longer with my Spectrons.
One thing I can say for a fact about my system is that the higher power SS amps forces me to relax and play music for many more hours.
Thanks for your comments. I spoke with Simon at Spectron; and he's been very helpful. Also spoke with Bryston; and they are being helpful. I should have my auditions of both started next week; and we'll see how I like them; it sounds from everyone's comments that they are both wonderful pieces; more positive comments on the 'Gon from the Spectron camp; but not sure if that many people own the Bryston's yet. It may be like comparing BMW and Mercedes; both great cars; similiar price points; but different people feel passionatley different about them. In the end; its how they create an emotional and visceral response about the music in my system; with its own peculiar issues of system synergy and make up. I'm looking forward to this process and will post my listening impressions....
Terry; you are the only one who responded who has actually done an in-depth compare/contrast on both of these amps; I'm a bit jeolous; your two systems both seem fantastic; and to be able to own two pair of great amps...good for you; and thanks for sharing your thoughts...
Hi Mribob,

What Terry refers to as " Spectrons generate a more convincing life like presentation over the Brystons." is the feeling you have when you use ultra high class tube amplifier. Not warm, euthonic a la old Conrad Jonston "maple syrop" but very high quality single ended triode amp.

It is not "tube-like" sound many solid state amp producers try to re-create by increasing 2nd harmonic distortion - thinking that we all never attended live music concerts.

As per Simon explanation - their job was in removing all sources of amp contamination and letting muisic to flow "as is".

The reason why I am posting now is to warn you that Spectron amps must be well broken (really about 1000 hours) and since they do not have their own signature (as per Simon) then if your preamp will send something wrong - it will be AMPLIFIED and NOT MASKED. Keep it in mind. You place additional demands on yourt front end components - some people love it, some people hate it.

All The Best in Your Search of Paradise!

I have had the Bryston 28sst's in my system now for three days. I am impressed with their build quality; and ease of set up. They sound much better in my system than the smaller MBL's; better sound stage; tighter base; more open and 'musicalality' in the mid range; and definately warmer in presentation; music flow is smoother and easier; no fatigue; and more life like. My MBL's were no slouches; but the extra power of these kw monos are evident; and contribute to an improved sound. The detail and timber are also improved to my ear.

Simon; and Spectron have been very helpful. I have not yet accepted their offer of an in home demo for direct a/b comparison; was not that impressed with 'fit and finish' and build quality of the amps; and needed to make adjustments to have it run in monoblock mode vs stereo config; potential problem of getting phase incorrect between the two monos..also my MIT speaker cables didn't reach far enough apart to enable me to use them in monoblock configuration; the binding speaker posts are on the far sides of the amps; requiring around a 15" span for the cables; Simon did offer a solution which I didn't pursue.

Bottom line is that after 20 hours of listening; I'm pretty pleased with the results of the Brystons...I don't have them on isolation platforms; i have not upgraded their fuses; nor have I incorporated the Bryston Torus 20 power conditioner; which DEV recommends. Still working out details with my dealer for a purchase; but my experience on the MBL 111'es; using Meridian 861 processor; G-98 source running thru the new hd 621 switcher has been fantastic so far...sorry I've not yet made the time/effort to perform the a/b comparison that I initated on this thread; but I think I'm comfortable recommending these amps highly. They have presented me the richness of sound; balance; and ease of listening that I enjoy; making my speakers sound better than I've ever heard them; and I like the suport and quality and warranty from Bryston.
More to follow after tweaks and further break in....
That's understandable, but too bad that we won't have the comparison (for now). Spectron and Simon deserve a lot of credit for pursuing this comparison.

There's bound to be a tradeoff between flexibility and convenience, but in my experience the Spectrons can be used as either stereo amps or monoblocks with a minimimum of fuss. Internal bridging is available from the factory at no charge, which minimizes the chance for potential cable issues. As for build quality, the Spectrons may not have a three-inch thick anodized face-plate or aerodynamic cooling fins, but they don't need them. The build quality and value is all there under the hood.
Harking back to another post,"The MBL's" tend to be a bit dry".

That was never my experience--just natural, light, airy, and fairly colorless in the dozen or so times I've heard them.
Of course this is subjective, so I'll say, "To my ear."
Mribob,wait till you connect those amps to the Torus,
You will be quite surprised,huge upgrade.
Never heard the Spectron's,I do have a pair of 28s and the sound is definately not steely,of course I listen to them everyday,not on 3 month memory.No listening fatigure here,the 28s to MY ears get down to honesty of the MUSIC,nothing added.
music all can say is SUPERB,especialy on we'll recorded cds or lps.Highs trail off somewhere very sweet.For me they're
keepers,same with the Torus.Both not for sale.