Bryston 28B SST

For those of you who have heard the new Bryston 28B SSTs - are they as good as the reviews I have read? From reading these reviews I almost get the impression they can drive any speaker from a highly efficient horn to an inefficient planar speaker and sound great. Are they a major leap from the 14B or 7B or just a bit better?
Hi, I don't see mention "SQUARED" which is their latest design and in my opinion the one you should be looking at, if you read past threads of mine you will be able to get some info. In the end you should get a pair to hear in your own system.

I replace CAT JL3 Sig. MKII $40K mono blocks with the Bryston 28 Squared mono blocks each paired up with a RM20 Torus unit. My personal preference is to have solid state amps paired up with a tube pre-amp.

Audio Research matches up nicely with Bryston using balanced interconects, I replaced my long term ARC REF3 with a VAC Sig. MKIIa pre and with these two paired up my MBL 101E's are very very happy.

A freind has B&W D's speakers and paired them up with the 7's Squared and ARC pre hoping to save some money not having to go to the 28's being told by others that the 28's were just over kill. My friend pleaded and begged me to bring mine over to compare which I did, well all I can say is it was a no contest and he now owns 28's paired up with RM20's as I do. I have read others sugest the 7's sonics are similar to the 28's but just with less power, I have to disagree from what I heard in this specific set-up.

I have had many conversations with others personaly emailing me, most have been shocked with my choice in misbelief and all I could say is try for your self. Well I can say these individules are now proud owners, I know of many who have since replaced many world class amps from 2000 series Boulder, MBL 9008 and 9011 mono blocks and others.

I have never personally heard 28's paired up with high efficient horn speakers as of yet but was reading another persons exspeariences whom has done such with great sucess and from what was replaced I have to say I was shocked my self, I would have never thought this was possible but in the end this person is a reliable source so I don't see any reason for a hidden agenda but in the end to achieve the ultimate. I know what I have heard in my own set-up so anything is possible, in the end all I can say is 2 thumbs up to Bryston. Boy did I ever luck out because it was never planned out this way, the only reason I purchased mine was so that my system would not be down while waiting for others to arive and compare.

My amp search has ended and I now just enjoy listening to music, I don't look at amps anymore. There are just two on my mine I would like to hear but they would just be an addition as they are tube mono blocks and would not be a replacement, Joule Destiny 350's and my real preference because I'm so thrilled with my VAC pre would be the VAC 450 mono's but at $70K list asking price and not being able to hear first in my set-up without any commitment is just to risky, so unless that happens I don't see that purchase ever happening.

My believe is if any manufacture producing this level of product "Joule Destiny 350's or VAC 450's" should have the confidence in such that they would want to get their product of such into hands of indivdules such as my self, in the end the product should sell it's self if it's as good as they sugest and the rest would be history. You would think that they would also realize that others would be listening along with reading so future sales from others would be possible and most likely follow, this is the best sales tool they will ever have in life period.
I brought home the new 28Bsst2 , I was looking for more power , and I got it , but the aging Levenson # 431 200wpc that it would have replaced , was sonicly better in every way . When I took the 28B back the salesman admitted that several other folks that owned levenson gear had also taken the 28b home for a demo and returned it . I have owned several Bryston products and have nothing bad to say about any of them , but it just didnt work out this time . I guess ( try before you buy ) applies as usual .
The first time I ever got what the SET group was raving about was when I inserted the 28B Squared into my system. I am a tube guy through and through but when I placed these in my system nothing had come close in the past. I own Soundlab A-1's which are a bear to drive but these things can make them growl or purr like a kitty. Great amps IMHO! Good luck.
Hello Dev,

Joule-Electra Destiny (VZN-300) cost is much less then $70k - I believe its about $20k but can't be sure.

What is interesting that Joule-Electra is experiencing "Renaissance", now, and have so many orders that you will have to wait a number of months before your product will be shipped to you. MY friend placed order for their "latest and greatest" LA-450ME preamp and was told that at best it will be shipped toward end of December...
Tmsorosk, Levenson #431 200wpc, was sonicly better in every way.

Please tell us more because it's very hard for me to comprehend what you wrote, I have had a few of the Lev amps in my set-up but not the one you mentioned.

Kindly elaborate further, what your set-up consisted of etc.

Hi Dob,
yes I'm aware the Destiny (I have been told there is a 350) is much less than the $70K LIST VAC 450 mono's. If I was going to try Joule product I would want to pair it up with that pre also.
Tmsorosk, how many hours were on the ones you brought home, did you have them paired up with RM20 Torus units

I did not like the 28's right out of the box as someone others have wrote, in actual fact it was many hours prior to this happening, if you go onto the Bryston web site there is a posting there that was copied from another site where I had posted my thoughts at that time.

Did you have a tube pre paired up with them. Just interested because you are the first person that I have heard with such comments and I have received allot of emails from others and compared to allot of amps and know of others who have done the same.
Hi Bryceeboy, what does the rest of your set-up consist of besides those marvelous Soundlab A-1 speakers, you aren't the first one making a comment as you have.

Tmsorosk, I quickly went threw some of your past threads to educate myself and saw you have Salon speakers but don't like to use anything tube related. I owned Salon's and I'm very familiar with their sonics over all so I'm shocked with what you wrote. You should get a well broken-in pair of 28's along with pairing them up with say an Audio Research line stage pre Ref3 and give it another listen, you truely are missing out. You mentioned you owned other Bryston's but these new Squared series are totally sonically different.
I have the 28S mated to a pair of Verity Audio Parsifal Ovations. I selected these amps after looking into several others, the final two contenders were the Clayton M300 and the Brystons. The POs just sounded better with the Bryston, but the Claytons were very good.

Its my understanding that the most significant difference between the 28s and the other SST models (other than power) was the transformer (layout, etc - I am not technically proficient). However, when the range went to the "2" designation the same transformer "system" was then used in all the SST products. At which time the performance gap between the 28s and the 14B/7B -SST closed.

I had reviewed the 4BSST which was outclassed by the 28-SST2, but, again, that was before the "2" revision.

All and all, the 28s are a SOTA solid state neutral amp with tons of overhead. You should give them a listen....

I have a 14B-SST2 (latest transformer and all 'trickle down' improvements of the 28) and a 14B-ST (which is the first of the SST design amps). The 14B-SST2 has a clear, neutral character with noticeably tauter/extended top end and a more organised presentation than the older 14B. The speakers driven are PMC MB2 (passive, with 14B-SST2 on mid/tweet and 14B-ST on bass) and Infinity Prelude MTS (14B-SST2 for column, active woofer); the design philosophy of both speakers is loosely in line with Bryston's own, and both accordingly have good synergy with Bryston. I have tried a few different amps with these speakers, some of which initially sound impressive (big soundstage, big bass etc). However, the effect of reverting to the Bryston is typically the proverbial 'lifting of a veil' and a less exaggerated, more neutral, and clearer 'window' into the recording (slightly leaner as well). I should also emphasise that Bryston's warranty and James Tanner's customer service are remarkable, so owning Bryston gear is a fuss and headache free experience.

I should add that I have also tried a few different pre-amps with these amps. With the PMC MB2s especially, the Bryston BP26 works the best, as it controls the frequency extremes well and the synergy of all-Bryston equipment results in a more musically engaging presentation. (A couple of tube pre's added additional texture, but took away control). I also use the BCD-1 as my CDP. My experience re ARC and Bryston is a bit different to most other users, perhaps given the character of the MB2s - an ARC LS26 in my system was more veiled and a bit 'loose' in the bass compared to the BP26.

In summary, these latest products by Bryston work very well with my speakers, and I have no foreseeable plans of changing them. As noted by someone else above, there is a break-in period if purchased new; out of the box, the equipment sounded a bit rough, and became smooth and clear with use.
I would have to disagree with the observation that Levinson gear beats the 28's in every way. My personal experience is just the reverse - I replaced the Levinson 432 monoblocks with the 28BSST's in my system and the latter pair are just so much better in terms of dynamics, bass definition, midrange palpability and highs that are very refined for such monstrous power ratings. My speakers then were MBL 121's which were very difficult to drive and needed the heft of the 28's to open up. When I changed my speakers to the Vienna Acoustics The Music, which were more sensitive and an easier load, you would think it would be overkill but no, they sang very well together. The MBL's sound whitish and bright when pushed but not The Music - they sound better with higher powered amps and the 28's are just the ticket for harmonious synergy.
The system I'm using now consists of Revel Salon 1's , Ayre KXR preamp , Transparent Ultra speaker cables , Levinson 360S D.A.C. , Madrigal interconnects , Shunyata V-Rays and power cords , P.S. audio soloists for pre conditioning and power amps , second amp Luxman M117 bridged for passive sub , (18 inch in wall ), stand is also built into the wall ,shelfs are 1inch mdf laminated to 1inch of oak a layer of butal and Black Diamond shelfs on top . Two dedicated 20 ampers and some room tunes . No I do not know may hours were on the 28's but they were the salon's in house demo's, and I had herd them there myself on several visit's , so there was lots of time on them . I do not know when they were used last . I also tryed N.B.S. and transparent balenced interconects, that were hanging about .also tryed pluging them directly into the wall , that made them worse . Don't get me wrong I liked the 28's , but the # 431 did it for me , and keep in mind the hifi has been built around and voiced using the # 431 .

After heaving read the favorable review in TAS by HP on the 28s I just had to find out for myself.
Borrowed the local dealers newest pair of 28s back in March of this year. They were burning in at the store for over 3 weeks 24/7 before they would loan them to me.
At the time I was looking for a solid state amp to have in my system along with my Wyetech Topaz SET 211.

The Brystons were going to replace my ML 33s and the ASR Emitter II Exclusive Version Blue.
Had the mono's in my system for over a week and a half.
Did not buy them, not very open nor did I find them dynamic.
The sound stage was flat by comparison to the previous SS amps.
By bringing the 28s into my home I can listen in my own room with my own set up.
The amps were driving my Maxx II's which are quite efficient.
Never had a chance to compare them to their smaller siblings.
Best to audition them yourself for a demo, then you can draw your own conclusion.

Really your best bet.

I also posted this on back in March and April.

Take care and good luck,
There is more to it than just your amps, what's feeding them up the line along with cables.

Never mind your room and set-up.

There are going to be a allot of different opinions, just read above and mine, some threads making you think that a specific amp outperforms another.

This one had me chuckling;

"not very open nor did I find them dynamic."

Good luck to you it's the joys of this ever ending hobby of ours so it's best that you try but when I read such a statement sounds like they were being choked and there was most defiantely something else going on and not the fault of the amps.

F.Y.I. I replaced CAT Sig. JL3 MK2 mono's which list for $40K with Bryston 28 Squared driving my MBL 101e's, also had the MBL 9011 and 9008 mono which are crazy money, Pass X600.5's and prefer the Bryston's. I do like the Bryston's paired up with a tube pre, mine being the VAC Sig. MK2a.

"but when I read such a statement sounds like they were being choked and there was most definitely something else going on and not the fault of the amps."

Interesting as the dealer said the same thing after returning them.

He was going to check with Bryston to see what the potential cause could be. Maybe a miss match between my zeel and the Bryston.

It's all about synergy.

When I had the Bryston 28B SST sq on loan I did the following.
Had them on 24/7 with an Ipod to get them warmed up for 4 days before any doing any critical listening.
Tried both single ended and xlr inputs using Valhalla.
Power chords used were Bryston's and Synergistics as these were the only cables that I had two of back in March.
Speaker cables were both 2.5 and 1 Meter Valhalla's.

Dart pre, feeding both amps, via Nordost Valhalla.
Source is Verdier, Kuzma, Dynavector for vinyl, AR CD-7.5 and the Studer RTR.

My system would not choke the amps.

Being a Canadian there is nothing that I would rather do than to put money back into our economy.
But if the music is not there, then I will see to it to get the best that I can get regardless of origin.

The list of amps that you have tried are all great amps.
The only amp that I have heard is the MBL. Crazy money, yes but so were my ML 33s.

Dev, I am happy that you like your Brystons.

If you are ever in Vancouver BC send me a message, you are welcome to come by for a listen anytime.

Take care,
Hi Rugyboogie, I have read a few of your threads in the past and you have some very nice pces but what you wrote;

"not very open nor did I find them dynamic"

just doesn't add up and that's why I addressed such as you know allot of others will be reading. Your follow up info. you just provided all I can think of is the Dart pre. being a mismatch.

We all have our own opinions and that's fine, that's all they are but you are exsperienced so you should have tried to find out what was going on, in the end if you didn't like them well that's okay to.

Something was choking them!, either your Dart, cables, power source I don't know I wasn't there.

You have MAXX2's and I have MBL 101e's and from my exspearience I would say yours are easier to drive so why am I not having any of those issues you made reference too nor are others I know driving different speakers for example; Bryceeboy set-up with Soundlab A-1's?

09-26-10: Bryceeboy
The first time I ever got what the SET group was raving about was when I inserted the 28B Squared into my system. I am a tube guy through and through but when I placed these in my system nothing had come close in the past. I own Soundlab A-1's which are a bear to drive but these things can make them growl or purr like a kitty. Great amps IMHO! Good luck.

Rugyboogie Thanks for the invite, would enjoy meeting hearing your set-up.

P.S. I also owned ML 33s.
How does the 28B SST stand up to low impedances?? Bryston clearly lists the power output of the 7B SST at 4 ohms. But, it is a glaring omission when it fails to mention the 4 ohm rating for the 28B SST. Bryston mentions that the 28B SST is a bridged design. To me that is a red flag to be wary of its performance at low impedances. I have a set of Infinity Kappa 9's that dip to one ohm, I'd like to see the 28B SST take a stab at them.
Hi Mitch4t, get a pair and try and let us know. I recall seeing your similar question somewhere else sometime ago.
The review in the link below from a review in stereophile magazine addresses the low impedance issue. The review may answer the questions why some users above thought the 28B SST was lacking in dynamics. If you have speakers that go to 4 ohms or below, the 28B SST may not be a good match.
Hi Mitch4t, thanks for the info. but that's a review and means nothing to me, are you telling us that this is what you rely on or do you rely on your own ears?

Secondly what amps are we talking about? my Bryston amps are the newest "SQUARED" design and these are not so we should make sure we are all on the same page.
Dev, are you saying that we should we ignore what a reviewer has to say, but to take what YOU have to say as gospel? In both cases, it's just someone else telling us what they heard with their own ears.

I try to give all available information it's due, but that's just me . . .
Auxetophone, I see your responce to me is "LOUD"

Do you have a axe to grind, bring it on.

Do you have anything informitive to add with first hand exspearience (don't see anything)or just a hidden agenda?

When I respond I try to assist, your post is nothing but a direct attack on another member wanting a pissing match.


First these are not the latest "SQUARED" design so lets compare apples to apples.

Secondly, try in your own system and not babble so much.

Thirdly, if you don't like them that's okay doesn't really matter to me but when I read missinformed info. I will respond my thoughts to such if you don't like it then that's okay just move on.

My research found;

in this review mentioned if you go to the "specifications" you will see the Serial Numbers Of Units Reviewed: 000042, 000043.

Changes were made after that which now identifies the amps as 28B-SST-Squared design, you can contact Bryston directly to find out.
The 'Sqared' design is still two bridged amps. For Bryston to omit the power ratings into 4 ohms and 2 ohms is a glaring omission. Speakers that dip to two ohms and below would choke the life out of this amp as it's configured on the website. Bryston doesn't even bother to mention the availability of a paralell configuration on the website. The paralell configuration would probably manage 4 and 2 ohms quite well, but then, Bryston couldn't make its lofty boast as a 1000 watt amp into 8 ohms.

Very misleading by Bryston to do this. As its flagship amp and at $16,000 per pair, I think full disclosure should be paramount.

Krell posts its power ratings form 8 ohms all the way down to 1 ohm. Parasound posts its ratings from 8 ohms down to 2 ohms.

To Bryston's credit, they do post the 4 ohm ratings for every other amp except the 28B SST.
Dev, not trying to be loud or start a pissing match. I just wanted to challenge what I thought you were trying to imply: that Mitch4t was wrong to point out the review test results regarding 28SST2 behavior into sub-4 ohm impedance. Especially for this kind of info, reviews are useful. I do agree with you of course that in the end, your own ears are the ultimate test. Cheers!
There is a reason that the 2 and 4 ohm readings are not listed. According to Jim Tanner from Bryston it has to do with Canadian UL regulations as this amp can draw more than 20 amps from the wall into low impedence loads. Since this is the max allowed from a common 115v circuit it would not be able to meet UL approval. I have had some time listening to a 28b and there is no bottom lacking in my experience. It's an old audiophile axiom that power has to double as impedence is halved but this is contingent on how tightly regulated the power supply is. Even if the 28b only put out 1000 watts into 4 ohms that's quite a bit and how often is this going to be inadequate in a home setting. Specs don't always tell the whole story.
Auxetophone, okay no problem but as you are aware sometimes these threads can set a specific tone especially when you address an individual as you did with me with caps on.

That being said in the end for me this is a hobby and I fully appreciate we will have our own opinions and that's okay, in relation to Mitch4t's info. or anyones elses info. provided that's okay too but as per Shannere's thread above there are always two sides to the story or more to the story.

Putting all that aside in the end I really don't care about numbers, the ultimate test is hearing for myself.

I personally don't recall the last time I read a review, there are some reveiwers whom I'm sure are good but those reviews are their comments and perspective and that's it, there are just too many variances; acoustical environment being different than mine and yours, electronics, cables, even types of music being played. I have many friends with different set-ups that I get to hear and not one is the same, no one is right or wrong and I personally appreciate each for what it is.

I have never been a fan of Bryston product in the past but these Bryston 28 Squared mono's are the real deal, are they the best? no "there is no best", will everyone like them? no. Will they work in everyones set-up with the same results? no and that's okay.

They are working fine for me and allot of others out there and gaining more and more new admires every day and at their asking price compared to others they are a deal.

I have had allot of product over the years some being good and some being an absolute nitemare, the customer service you receive from Bryston along with their 20 Year Warranty that has been a standard for them as long as I can recall says allot, others in the industry should take note.

Two thumbs up to you Bryston, keep up the good work.

Hi Shannere and Dev

Agree with you that specs don't tell the whole story.
Specs mean squat, for me it's how I get engaged or drawn into the music.
How could a 18 watt Wyetech be preferred to the 1K Brystons. I dunno, but I know what we heard and preferred.

Surely the Bryston 28 SST sq can create magic in many a system, they provide a great value for the dollar (CDN and US nearly at par) have great build quality that comes with a 20 year warranty that no other manufacturer dares to match.
Can you see me waving the Maple Leaf?

Take care and lets get back to enjoying our music,
I believe it was Chris Russell from Bryston explained that
because of regulatory agencies test a amp under home conditions,Bryston chose a power rating into 8ohms so it would not trip an average home's ciruit breaker.

I guess with the circuit breaker bypassed on th 28,
she'd put out 1800w into 4ohms continuous before clipping,
and that the breaker would trip after 15-20 seconds.

Even my tenants are moving out(termites holding hands),
because they can't hold a grip anymore as the 28s have way
to much sound pressure for them.
Hi Rugyboogie, you said "How could a 18 watt Wyetech be preferred to the 1K Brystons" "for me it's how I get engaged or drawn into the music."

That's your opinion and whom ever was with you, others like myself might disagree with you saying "it's nice in what it's doing but this or that is still missing."

Just so you know I do like Wyetech product.

With my VAC pre paired up with the Bryston's it's also very engaging and draws me into the music never mind when dynamics are called for startling me constantly even with music that I'm very familiar with, bass of all types that are absolutely marvelous as mentioned in Drummermitchell thread above.

I am very familiar with the sound of MAXX2's, six of my freinds own all with different components, all offer different sonics and over all presentations,are any of them better than the other?,no. That would be a personal preference and what's important to you, they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

My self I listen and respect each set-up for what it is and then go home to listen and I'm so happy to have which is by far my preference, no comparision as far as I'm concerned.

If there was only a amp that could offer everything it would be so easy, to date I have found there is a give and take, weaknesses and strenghts just like speakers offer and everything else.

Not to get off topic but just to add look at what another member is going through currently with his set-up, it's the joys of this never ending hobby of ours.
Posted a picture of the amps when they were in my system under Wilsons darTZeel.
Picture is listed at the end of my components list.

Proof that I "DID" do the comparison.

We all have opinions, you have yours I have mine.
Your happy with your set up, I am happy with mine.

That's all that matters.

Congrats, subject closed, adieu.
Hi Rugyboogie, I don't believe anyone was sugesting you didn't try them just your comments saying "not very open nor did I find them dynamic. The sound stage was flat by comparison to the previous SS amps"

No wonder you had issues, just look at your other pces all placed on different plaforms and these were just sitting on the carpet. Ha! Ha! just a little humor.

Enjoy as I am.

P.S. My friends set-ups my fav. out of the six set-ups with the MAXX2's is the ARC Ref5/610T mono's combo, these are my old 610T's and close behind that set-up Joule Ma/Destiny mono's combo.
Hi there guys, check this thread out over at audio circle.

Using the 28's with MAXX3's and say's;

"finally today my 28B/Torus RM16AVR arrived. i am using them to drive a pair of Maxx 3's to great result. incredible bass and punch. much more so than my halcro dm78's or audio research 210's"
Auxetophone . I dont think you needed to apologize , and I dont think you sounded loud at all . You had a valid statement , who do we believe ? Certainly not the good folks trying to sell us a product .These posts are great, but you get so many views it becomes hard to navigate . And I cant think of a single person that reads a review and goes out and buys the product without listing to it first . The opposite may have validity , if you dont research a product before listening to it you may miss things that could show up later . The more I can find out about a product before I start the personal listing sessions the better . I've been purchasing audio products this way for 38 years and have not gone far wrong yet . Have a musical day , and have fun .
Tmsorock, interesting thoughts, no one was asking Auxetophone to apologize but when one directs his thoughts towards another member and in UPPER CASE it is being "LOAD" and I adressed such.

Questions for you; looking at your pics it appears you have paneling everywhere and a slightly sloped "A" peaked ceiling, is this a mobile home of some sort?

Why do you have paneling? this material is one of the worst materials one can have within a listening room of such as it vibrates and interacts. With your 38 years of exspearinece you should be well aware of this and that the room is very important.

What's the actual construction behind all that paneling, is the ceiling a white paneling material also? that space behind where your TV is also appears to be a huge question mark and design concern.
Dev . Those walls are wood flooring , ( H.D.F. ) actually , laminated to two layers of dry wall , no nails were used , both side walls are outside walls , 2" by 6" and insulated , ceiling is drywall with textured spray on coating . As far as the front wall goes its not symetrical , but has not caused any anomalys . Yes , mobile home , having a separate place instead of developing the basement , meant no W.A.F. required and no late night noise restrictions . Friends call it the dog house .
Can we look forward to seeing your system link soon ?

Have a great day . Max
Tmsorosk, "woodflooring" that's different. Ya looking closer at one of the pics I can see that now, very interesting! How tall are your side walls, looking at your speakers they appear to be less than 8ft. What made you want to do that type of construction?

Is it hardwood you installed, I know of someone who used soft wood and the room sounds really nice, "well his gear sounds nice within it"

I have two rooms but currently my designated room sits empty (sold everything in that room, actually had Avalon Isis speakers, ARC 610T mono's, VTL 750's and lots of other pces) but you can view my other rm "family" with my MBL 101E's set up with the Bryston 28's, just refer to the thread above I posted on 10-16-10 and click onto audiocircle and scrow down, same user name.
Dev . Great system , great room , your stepped ceiling must help . After seeing your speakers and the size and openness of your room I can see why you required the raw power of the mighty Brystons . I'm looking for a bit newer and bit bigger amp too , but have not found a better match yet , Probable end up with another Levinson , I like the sonic signature I'm getting now . I will use the #431 bridged for my 18" passive sub .
As to your questions about my room , the walls start at 7' 10" and peak at a whisker over 9" , this was done by the manufacturer , I guess anything is better than flat . The speakers are on stands and platforms raising them five and a half inches , making them look big and the room look smaller , picture on my system link is deceiving . I had to put teleposts under the floor and build lead filled platforms for the speakers, originally the bass would bounce along behind the music , it was almost comical . The material on the walls is made up mostly of H.D.F. ( high density fiberboard ) , much similar to M.D.F. No room is perfect and mine is far from it but it sounds pretty good . You have to do the best you can with what you have . Enjoy the music .. Max