Based on my experience with my Bryston 4B-ST and 5B-ST amps, I think that the "ST" line essentially reproduces accurately whatever is on the recording -- good or bad. I recall a remark by Stevie Wonder about the Bryston amps he uses in his home recording studio: they reproduce sound the way he has heard it in his head, which no amp ever did before for him.
I can't comment about the new "SST" line, but if you want a very neutral, transparent, accurate amp, the 4B-ST sure does the trick.
I'd personally take a pass on the Bryston amps. I've found them to be grainy and a bit harsh. If you like the Bryston sound, I bet you won't like tibed amps at all. For the same money, I'd consider a used Chord or a Linn Klout.
I agree with Sdcampbell but I find Brystons nonetheless a little thin and not very involving. Perhaps a plus for some ears but I like sound with more body. Most of my experience is with the 4BST and 4BSST (I find the difference between the two small) and comparing them to Classe, McIntosh, BAT, CJ.
Stay away from the ST line, which you will probably find fatigueing in the long run, based on what you have said. I find the new SST line far more warm and musical, while maintaing the detail.
Far from it. I used to have a 4bst, and it had a dull lifeless sound, veiled as if I had some cotton stuck in my ears. The bass was thick, dominant, and one-note. Soundstage was flat, also. I think the Rogue 88 amp is vastly superior in every sonic way and would be an excellent match for your Mirage speakers.
There you have it! To some ears "dull lifeless sound, veiled", to others "a little thin and not very involving", or how about "essentially reproduces accurately whatever is on the recording", or how about "grainy and a bit harsh". Take your pick. Subjective audio, as the expression implies, is just that, one man's opinion, which certainly is worth another man's opinion any day. Or is that really true? Probably is, I would opine, especially so when that opinion is supported by nothing more than casual observations in totally uncontrolled listening evaluations. Objectively, Bryston amps do what they should be called upon to do: amplify the signal with the least amount of noise and distortion. I am very pleased with my 7B-STs. I will leave it at that. If at all possible, try to get the amp to audition in your own room within your own system. Then you can say whatever you like and let your subjective being take over so that you can make sure the emotional part of the music comes through, (some conductors and semi-conductors are very prone to emotional deficit) or some kind of religious revelation type-thing so you don't feel left out from the subjective audio crowd. Good God, it's only a record player! Keep Canada green, buy Canadian audio products. Good day.
Bryston amps tend to do a minimalistic job for the audio system. Extreams cannot be handled well by Bryston since they have bi-polar output stages that are very depended on weather, speaker impedance curve and... and... temperature of the amps.
Despite being absolutely linear in the measured ouput characteristics it might clip in different freequency areas depending on the speaker curve.
Please note that clipping might not be audiable but it will definitely cause a fatigue. An audiable clipping is characterized by trembling sound of the speaker driver. In SS case it is very distructive for a speaker. In many cases it will clip on higher freequencies not being able to drive a high impedance loads. That's where the rated output power realy drops down big time and clipping can occur even on arround 12:00 volume positions.
Most-likely 2-way speakers will be the most suitable for Bryston amps since the curve is not so complexed. Efficiency is not the key in this case since Brystons are enough powerful.
Despite having less gain and higher output impedance 100%MOSFET SS amps tend to be much more stable to different loads and so less fatiguing and very close to tubes even in some cases more preferable.
In your example with Logans, Classe I define simply extra-cost Bryston. If you hook-up Bryston with Logans I bet you wouldn't understand what's realy going on:^).
But do not blame Bryston too much. For a budget among Krell, Classe or even Edge the Bryston is a champ since it sounds not worse than Krell, far better than Classe and much less costly than both. Unbeatable 20 years transferable warranty, unbreakable power supply can tell you that it has a hell of a built quality.
I however, believe that these models I described above are "pedestrians" even including mega-buck Krells; but look out, there are plenty of "porches" on the market:^)
Marakanetz, your comments about Bryston are confusing. If I read correctly your are not a big fan of Bryston, however, your system link shows a couple of bryton components. Only asking because I to am looking into the Brystom 7bst monoblocks to power my legacy focus speakers. What I have heard of brytosn amps, sounds clean and full. While I have not heard to monoblocks the 14bst had very pleasant sound quality. While I auditioned the Krell line I was not impressed. I was truly moved by the Audio Research vt100 but am not sure I want the tube problems that go along with the sound quality. As always, questions comments and learning are what this is all about.
Pbb, if you look from the right angle, the United States are also green:^)
you mean Porsches? I am curious as to how bipolar devices don't reproduce extremes very well. The weather, speaker impedance, and temperature affect all devices. However, temperature is by far the most important since output impedance in a good design will be very low anyway. It is true MOSFETs are better at handling temps (read stability) due to their negative temp coefficients but their transconductance is terrible compared to BJTs. The BJT temp problem is easliy remedied with a good design and its excellent transconductance remains. I am not knocking either of them since they each have advantages and drawbacks but linearity is what we all desire the most.
I have had both Bryston 3BST and Classe CA200. Classe although warmer and a bit richer in midbass, it had terrible vocals. Bryston was always very honest and pure. I think the only time I heard it sounding grainy was in the bridged mode. I have heard the ST and SST series head to head and must say that SST is more refined, vocals float ,bass is more defined and overall soundstage is improved. After trying numerous amps one thing I observed was that movie dialogs through Bryston are perfectly understandable. Their amps is very coherent, they don't color anything and paired with neutral speakers will show all the weaknesses in the upstream. I've moved to Spectron Musician since then but I believe Bryston offers very good value, reliability and value.
Depends alot on the kind of music you enjoy and the venue you are trying to recreate. I think the Bryston is one of the best amps at recreating a live club scene for rock, blues, or jazz.
There are much better amps if you want to recreate symphonies or large orchestral works in a music hall.
Also Bryston doesn't do much to beautify the music. Those with tender ears will prefer tubes.
I've owned several ST Brystons although I don't have any currently, and I have nothing but good things to say about them. Bombproof as they come, extremely neutral, and nothing that gets in the way of the music. In my experience, they are vastly better and more musical than any Krell or Levinson anywhere near their price, not to mention more reliable and better resale value. (That ought to ruffle some feathers!) Granted, they're not the last word in detail or refinement, but they come awfully darn close for a fraction of the price and headaches of most other amps. Don't let the above comments dissuade you from trying one on the used market (the 4B-ST is an easy recommendation, stay away from the earlier versions), you can always resell it for close to what you paid for it if you can't stand it. But my bet is that you'll end up keeping it. Good luck!
Dave, shortly saying for the entry- level Brystons are perfect - no comment. Much better than Classe, Krell or even Edge. They worked real great with my Totem Forest speakers. I used Bryston 11b preamp for a while and realized that it sounds too far away from music and I stepped into the different level when I traded 3b-st/11b for VTL MB100/passive preamp instead of Bryston components and entered entirely different world of musical reproduction. Let Stevie Wonder love Bryston but some of the home recording studio owners have Manley electronics and this is believe me alot different.
Aball, bipolar transistors have the highest rate of parameter instability. If you analyze the output curve set for different impedance loads and freequencies you'll realize when and where the bipolar element will "choke". Bipolar elements compared to MOSFET or tubes need an extreamly deep negative feedback in order to work in linear operation wich certainly causes the signal to be compressed.
Find myself once again agreeing with Karls. Audition one of the Brystons and ignore what we're all saying. You may love it, you may hate it. I used to have a bias against their stuff, but that changed dramatically with the intro of the ST series - much more refined amps! Now own two of them and am completely happy. Have auditioned Classe and found it to be very smooth and non-fatiguing, albeit lifeless and uninvolving. Krell comes across as harsh; Levinson is very controlled, almost too much so, and very expensive.
As I've said before, the Bryston products are at the perfect point of my law of diminishing returns. But remember: YOUR ears are the judge... opinions are like ***holes. Everyone has one.
hey! i do really like reading on this forum on posting on it for exactly THIS!!!
YOU GUYS ROCK! thanks very much for all the quick inputs from your personal experiences! :)
You've been all talking about the ST and SST series..
but i can't really afford any 4BST amp right now
( just lost 500$ USD to an internet fraud :( )
I am though working on a deal ( real deal!) for a late 4B amplifier at a reallly cheap price.
But why some of you say to stay away from such models?
Do they sound bad? how compared to the ST series ?
Then, i was told that the 2B LP amps do not sound at all like the 3B and 4B amps, anyone have experience with thoose?
Because at the price they are selling i find it prety interesting amp ( now 60-80W stereo..then get a second one and use them as monoblocks sitting 1 foot away from the speakers :)
What i am mostly troubled with is the money,
how can you guys cope with paying 2000$ and 1500$ and+ for amplifiers...then agian for speakers! haha
i am really always on tiite budget ( starting my real audio life and slowly starting into electronics :p )
This is where i have problems, i would really like to be able to buy good stuff and test it out but everything is soooo expensive! ( that's also a good point about going in electronics so that i'll be able to test my own amps and all..but i guess that this is still really far :p )
I agree that the bryston's i've heard always sounded clear.. and i also think that some people rally like the sound of "warmer" amps only because they do some kind of "fuzz" that imitates real life reverbation in big rooms( compared to most our small living rooms where reverbation is just too quick )
So then said, what should i be considering else than Bryston that would be a good match for my small room and my current speakers ( OM-9 ...room is about 12 by 15 by 9high)I would really like to only invest on products that tries to reproduce the signals as close as possible instead of altering it in any way ( i think that Bryston is in the first categ. right ? )
again, i must thank you all for your time and input :)
(also i would like to stay with Canadian products to participate in canada's economy as much as possible :))
[b]CANADA [/b] rulez :p
The ST series is just better musically than its predecessors, so try to stretch your budget to a 3B-ST at least. It's not as good as the 4, but still does a good job. The 2B is substantially less powerful and probably won't be enough for you to be happy with it.
Marakanetz: Not sure what BJT elements are or what choking is but I do agree that (lateral) MOSFETs are more stable than BJTs. MOSFETs are easier to design with too - no beta droop, no secondary breakdown, automatic current limiting, and are voltage driven. However - and the point I was trying to make earlier - BJTs have a much higher transconductance and thus higher linearity so they are not to be totally dismissed. Negative feedback is not to be dismissed either. It does detract from the signal an imperceptible amound but gives huge circuit benefits in return.
I will get a MOSFET amp one day soon since most of my engineering work deals with them and I understand them well. There are some really good lateral devices that will be hitting the market soon that, so far, look as if they will surpass the best BJTs in linearity. At that point, I will be a 100% proponent of MOSFET amps.
Sorry for the diatribe. Arthur