Bryston BDA-3

  I have a lot of SACDs.  I am therefore intrigued by this Bryston DAC, claims to decode DSD from SACD over HDMI.  I can't find any reviews of the product.  Does any one have any experience with it?
I just got one in about a month ago. I was auditioning various DACs and the BDA-3 interested me because it features the new AKM4490 chip. I did critical listening comparisons with a Sabre DAC, proprietary R2R DAC, and casual comparisons with some other DACs. I decided the BDA-3 to be the best choice among those, and am now using it in our reference 2-channel system and applied to become a Bryston dealer because of my decision on the BDA-3.

I feel the Sabre DAC has a little more distortion, and the R2R DAC is too laid back (not as punchy) with slightly worse transient response. The BDA-3 is clean like the R2R DAC but has the quick transient response of the Sabre DAC. I think there might be further improvements possible if I could select the AKM4490 filter, but that's not possible and I don't know if Bryston will make it possible. In the meantime, I am using Dirac Live RCS to help with that a little.

I have not tried DSD over HDMI myself, however I know people are successfully doing that from the OPPO BD players. I am primarily using the USB, coaxial, and TOSLink connections.
Thanks nekoaudio.   I'm also interested in the BDA-3, but its hard to find much on it.    I've been interested to hear how it sounds vs some of the Chord products and the yggdrasil.  

Your description helps a lot as I also am interested in keeping some of the quick transient response of my current sabre dac.
mahler123 ,
Two links for you:

The first link is in German. So you might want to use Google Translate.
Thanks milpai  The first link is actually referencing the second.  the google translator doesn't seem to work to well for me, but thanks for the link.
You are welcome.
You can reach out to some of the users on, who actually own the BDA-3 and check with them. Seems like a promising product.
If you look into the predecessors it may be somewhat helpful as well. Bryston is a company that continuously successfully builds onto platforms once they have established. They dont wander too far off the beaten path or rediscover the wheel so to speak. They will often upgrade as technology evolves and permits without necessarily making it known unless there are very significant improvements to be made. They never seemed to share the reinvention of the wheel type of mentality that so many companies seem to posses. Or come out with a new model after a few tweaks and improvements. Instead they will make improvements behind the curtain. I found this true with their products. With the progressively larger steps in digital advancements in technology you can pardon the obvious exceptions. An honest brew makes its own friends. Thats a good one.  
I don't know that looking at the BDA-1 or BDA-2 are going to give an accurate picture of the BDA-3 sound. The BDA-2 uses the AKM4399 chip which has a choice of two internal filter settings. The BDA-3 uses the AKM4490 chip which has a choice of five internal filter settings. I happen to know the filter setting on the BDA-3 is not one of the two available on the BDA-2. In my opinion the BDA-3 filter choice has a subtle but audible impact on the sound character.

Are there any Bryston dealers or customers near you? Trying to hear the BDA-3 first hand is most likely the best option. We have multiple DACs, including ones from brands we do not sell, at our location that make direct comparisons possible.
Not accurate but perhaps somewhat helpful in getting to know a little more of what the brand is about. But your right its mostly moot. I think this is what set me going "I think there might be further improvements possible if I could select the AKM4490 filter, but that's not possible and I don't know if Bryston will make it possible. In the meantime, I am using Dirac Live RCS to help with that a little".

They seem to stay on top of what people are after, or they just know what sounds good and stay on top of upgrades and tweaking of models to improve upon them. 

Your preconceived points are why I added the last bit. I have heard the BDA3 and do like it. But then a lot of people like a lot of things. I have a feeling this isnt helping much... 
Does anyone know if Bryston intends to add MQA support to their DACs?  I would hate to by the DAC 3 only to find it was added the next week...
This thread re:MQA with James Tanner may be of interest to you:


Can you elaborate further on the sound of the Bryston BDA-3...does it give some flesh to the wonderfully detailed but possibly a bit thin sound of dsd decoded by the Oppo 105D, and does it significantly improve on the more audibly dry sound of cd's and DVD audio decoded by the Oppo? 

If you are a dealer, where are you located?


I think it depends on how much body you're looking for. Depending on what you're looking for when you say that, you may want to consider DACs other than the BDA-3. Although I think you will have to give up some cleanliness of sound and detail retrieval in exchange.

That being said, Dirac Live RCS might give you what you're looking for with your existing BDP-105D, or a new DAC like the BDA-3. I find it brings back some of the life-like quality to music that can be otherwise lost, without changing the overall sound signature of the rest of your gear.

Dirac offers a two week free trial period for their computer-based software. It's also available in a standalone box from miniDSP so you can use it with all your sources.

I'm located in San Jose, California. We carry Bryston and are a sales affiliate for Dirac so we can demo both of those. We also have some other DACs here that we do not sell but also highly recommend.
Nekoaudio, thanks again for your response.
I am considering the Luxman DA-06, the Bryston BDA-3, the Auralic, and am less enthusiastic about the Hegel  HD30 and the Wadia di322...of course this ranking could be far from the mark.  Considerations include compatibility with the Oppo 105D which thus far seems to do a phenomenal job with high resolution DSD files.  The OPPO will not output un-decoded SACD, which is not an issue since I possess very few such recordings.  As I mentioned it does wonderfully with hi res DSD files....possibly the audio is a bit thin....and less than optimally with CD's.  As I increasingly appreciate, the quality of the recording itself, CD or DSD, is all-important.  That said, the Oppo is wonderful but nonetheless perhaps the weak link in my otherwise high end system, so that improving on its audio output....CD's foremost, DSD's possibly, DVD audio (including blu-ray) worth some effort and expense.
Further thoughts and recommendations are of course appreciated.
Well, the BDA-3 is probably going to be the most functional of the bunch, considering you want to feed it DSD from your BDP-105D. I recommend you audition the Auralic Vega though, even if it won't be as functional as the BDA-3. Also, I personally find it a little harder to navigate through the Auralic UI instead of just having buttons for everything like on the BDA-3.
Reviewed by The Ear: , also by Soundstage:  Hope these help!
Thanks, Bill K.  Unfortunately neither reviewer comments on the HDMI input
On AudioCircle there are people who are using the BDA-3 with HDMI and DSD. You may want to ask for opinions there.
I had a BDA-1 and BDA-2 and thought they were both excellent.

Well before the BDA-3 was released I upgraded my BDA-2 to a Berkeley Audio Alpha DAC Series 2.   The Berkeley had more resolution but I actually found it a little too clean (or maybe too detailed/analytical) sounding and missed some aspects of the Bryston (a little thicker sounding with more timber).

I then swapped the Berkeley for a Simaudio 380D which I love.   Not counting its ability to play DSD (which I've tried and sounds good)  I found it a nice mix between the BDA-2 and Berkeley.   Its super musical (by far the most musical DAC I've tried) with nice resolution and a little more meat on the music than with the Berkeley.   I have no idea how it compares with the BDA-3, but it is certainly a nice choice if you find a used one.   I've also never heard the  Luxman DA-06  but based on reviews of each, I wonder if they wouldn't have a very similar sound.

Nekoaudio and ddafoe,
You appreciate that the Oppo 105d will not through-put DSD
or SADC files...failure to do so for SACD appears so some sort of copyright issue, and DSD a technical issue.  So a  streaming device is required to input un-decoded DSD files to the this case a Luxman DA-06.  The Luxman cover plate identifies it as a DSD-capable unit.
I therefore await the arrival of a streaming device that will allow me
to employ the Luxman for decoding of this case an Auralic
The result should be enlightening.
Thanks neko that was interesting.  There seems to be an issue with a loud 'pop' at the end of tracks played in DSD.
I believe the pop is addressed via a firmware update.