I can't speak to the Coda amp, since I have no direct experience with it. The Bryston 3B-SST, however, is a significantly better amp than the original 3B. Tonally, I find the 3B-SST to be very neutral, with perhaps the slightest touch of warmth. It also has excellent transparency and detail, with fine dynamic / transient response for a 150 wpc amp. It also continues the tradition of excellent bass control and response.
The newest "SST" line of amps can be quite "chameleon-like", in the sense that their perceived characteristics are influenced to a large degree by the upstream components and the speakers, adding very little coloration of their own. The "SST" amps certainly won't be confused with tube amps, but neither are they grainy or bright in the way that solid-state amps tended to be until recently.
As a college student, you are probably concerned about value as well as audio qualities, so remember that Bryston has a transferrable, unconditional 20-year warranty, and arguably the best service operation of any high-end audio manufacturer. If I had a son or daughter in college, and was going to buy some good-quality audio equipment for them, Bryston would be at the top of my list. If you watch the Audiogon used equipment ads, you can probably find a used 3B-SST for $1200-1400.
To hedge my answer just a bit, I'd add that you should also consider the amps being made by both Parasound and Rotel. There are several amps from these two manufacturers that offer good sound quality and excellent value.
both are quite remarkable and neutral
One is high end and one is high mid fi, the Coda is an excellent component, the Bryston is just very good. On the other hand you will not go too far wrong with either one, and as was mentioned above the Bryston will hold it's value. The Coda will slip a bit more.
I have been watching Audigon ads for a month and a half and have not seen any Bryston 3BSST's or 4BSST's come up in that time.
There are 2 Coda 11's listed right now.
Take it for what it's worth.
bryston is not mid-fi. it is one of the finest electronics companies on the planet. giving a consumer bang for the buck does not mean a product is mid fi.
The primary difference is that the CODA has zero negative global feedback, so it may have difficulty driving the bass speaker and providing tight bass. I have 3 CODA's that all have this problem. The Bryston has negative global feedback, so its output impedance will be smaller, making it easier to drive complex speaker impedances. The advantage of the CODA is that it will have very sweet highs due to the lack of feedback. Amps with feedback can also have very extended, detailed and sweet highs, but not usually in stock form.
Loon: Everyone is welcome to their personal opinion, but that doesn't mean the opinion is necessarily correct. While I must make the disclaimer that I own Bryston equipment, I will state that I've been an audiophile for more than 40 years, have owned and sold a wide range of high-end audio equipment, and have found through personal experience that Bryston is not only a high-end manufacturer, but also offers fine value for the dollar. I realize that some audiophiles will argue that Bryston gear is not state-of-the-art, but it's interesting that virtually every review done by the audio critics (and I include many European writers in this group) has given Bryston high marks.
I'm curious: have you owned Bryston gear, or had the chance to listen to it over an extended time period? If not, then your comments become merely second-hand or ill-informed opinions. Please feel free to share with the readers the basis for your commentary.
Haven't heard the 3b st, but the 3b didn't give the Bedini 100/100 mk2 much competition so i got the Bedini. A few years later, the Coda 11 was an easy choice over the Bedini. The Coda is a pure class A design. I think the 3b st is an AB. This might make the Coda seem a bit quicker (or have more in reserve). The Coda is probably a more expensive amp to build (doesn't necessarily mean it's the better amp). Not sure why Coda has a fairly weak resale value, they definitely don't spend as much on advertising as Bryston or have the same kind of warranty. I've never had any reliability problems w/ the 11 and i've heard it in a system that sounded more like the real thing than other systems w/much more expensive amps. I'm sure some 3b st owners could honestly say the same thing, (putting together a good component chain is what counts). Sort of curious about which amps Audioenger has. Doug at Coda told me that the system 100 amp was specifically designed for the Apogee Scintilla which i guess is about as difficult a load as there is. I'm using Green Mountain Audio 1.5i speakers and haven't been aware of any bass deficiencies. If you're buying an amp to build a good system and not as an investment, the Coda 11 could end up being a steal.
"....they (Coda) definitely don't spend as much on advertising as Bryston."
I rarely pickup the Mags and I have never seen a Bryston add. Could someone clarify this for me? I was under the impression that Bryston doesnt do many, if any adds. Then again I rarely pickup any Magazines.
As far as the amp selection. The SST will be much better than the old 3B. The Coda is a nice peice as well. I personally dont think you will go wrong either way. Get whichever one suits your sonic taste better.
FWIW, I really like my Bryston gear. It compares very well against products in its price range and higher. Some much higher.
For years the word most used to describe Bryston has been bright. I first heard Bryston gear driving Infinity Reference speakers, they had a baffel with Emit tweeters, and mids, and one with woofers for each channel, big money in their day. I did not think in that system they sounded bright. More recently I heard Bryston driving Maggies at a dealer, I left before blood came gushing out of my ears. I know, this is an old post, but some may still pull it up and look. Has Bryston always been bright, was it the CDP and not the Bryston gear, who knows? This is just food for thought.
The new BRYSTON sst. models are not tipped-up in the upper frequences like some would like you to beleive, read the reveiws for yourself. Now if you want some more coloration add a tube pre-amp and there it is !! Magic. Or spend thousands more for something more exotic with some real snob appeal. 20-year warranty do ya think it's well built ??
"like some would like you to beleive" As I am the only one who mentioned bright, it is not what I want him "to believe", and I really do not care for the implication that it is. I heard what I heard, and I stated clearly that it may have been the CDP, that I could not say in absolute terms that it was the Bryston gear. Be that as it may, you have effectively called me a liar, and I do not much appreciate that. I heard what I heard, my wife and a good friend of mine had that shared experiance. It was very bright, and we really could not stand to listen. I had a like experiance once in my system when I changed IC's. Be that as it may, you would think a dealer would be sure that his gear was better setup, so that IC's would not be an issue. Not only that, but others have told me it is bright gear, and were it only one or two people, one might dismiss the opinion, but it does not seem to be that limited an opinion. Again, in a good neutral system, any number of things can cause the system to seem bright. So, all that being all that, one would be wise to be sure that they do not find Bryston bright in their own system, unless they are ready to act to address the source, be it IC's or the Bryston gear itself.
A used Brytston is fairly low risk financially since many know it and they come and go on AudiogoN all the time. The Coda is less known, but those who want them...well they just want them.
I replaced a 4B NRB with a Legacy Powerbloc2 (built by Coda). The improvement with the Legacy/Coda was staggering. Mostly noticeable in the bottom end extension and overall detail.
It was a far from subtle difference, and now I have Legacy Monoblocs. Lots of bang for the buck in the Coda line. It is nice that they are a small company that more or less hand builds their pieces too. Getting a tech on the phone is perhaps not likely...instead, you might get the get the designer sort of thing.
I own the 4bsst and hav e not found it etched in the high end at all. It is neutral with pleanty of control in the bass and very natural sounding highs. It is not romantic in any sense of the word.
Dont think twice, stay with Bryston.Good luck,Bob
I've had an original Bryston 3B for years and found no brightness whatsoever in its sound. Recently, I replaced it with a Bryston 3Bsst2 with the updated caps. The sound of the 3B was excellent, but the sound of the 3Bsst2 is extraordinary with not a hint of offensive brightness at all. The Byston mates perfectly with my Klyne preamp. My wires are MIT throughout.
As to the Coda, a Bryston amp owning relative recently installed a Coda preamp which ruined the sound of his system, making it painfully bright, harsh, and unlistenable. With his original preamp, the Bryston ST was not in any way bright.
Any amp may be made to sound off if the preamp and the amp are not compatible.
It appears that there are too many self appointed BSers on Audiogon pontificating about products that they have never owned or listened to extensively.