the bryston is one of the most neutral ss preamps i have ever heard on a variety of systems...a great longterm purchase.
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What are you using now? I went from a Rogue 99 Magnum to the Plinius around the beginning of the year and, at any rate, I'm still using the Plinius. Between the two, the Plinius is a bit more focused with a more precise and detailed sound stage, and definitely has better bottom end control and extension, but I wouldn't say that there were radical difference between the two of them in my system. Also, the Plinius definitely has a more defined, forward and engaging presentation than the Rogue.
Truth be told, I was also looking to tweak the system from a little too laid back towards the more engaging and ended up doing a whole lot of things around the same time period to push it in that direction. Mainly, added a lot of isolation under the preamp and CDP and after-market power cords to everything and then, a little bit after that, ended up swapping in the Plinius (largely for other reasons). Although it all runs together to some degree, I have to admit remembering that the wires and isolation tweaks had a more appreciable impact than the Plinius. Yes, the Plinius was part of the path that took me where I wanted to be (or, at least, where I now am) but the other stuff took me most of the way there. I just mention this as, depending on what you're using, you may find there's an easier (and cheaper) way of moving towards where you're going.
Finally, although you probably know, there's at least three versions of the CD-LAD floating around. The original Mk.1, an upgraded Mk.1, and the Mk.2. Avoid the Mk.1, by all accounts -- the sonic upgrades they did really are meant to be worth it. An upgraded 1 and a 2 (assuming all the upgrades were done) are electronically and sonically meant to be the same. However, physically, the 2 chassis has a home theater bypass loop while the upgraded 1 don't -- if you want it, the 2 is the only way to get it. (I have an upgraded 1, but kinda wish I had the HT bypass loop...).
As for the Bryston, I've used a Bryston amp for years and love it. A big fan of Bryston, in general. Haven't ever heard the preamp, though.
I use the BP25 as well, and agree with Jrd351, it's neutral, and exceptionally quiet, due to the outboard power supply, I guess. Like the fact that it sounds best plugged into the wall, and with the stock power cord. Also like the mono, mute and phase reverse features, all of which I find useful. Great pre,very listenable.
I use a Bryston BP25 and First Sound Deluxe II, which is a new addition. The Bryston is the more flexible of the two for reasons already mentioned above plus remote, balanced inputs/outputs, and a bypassable tape loop (which I found invaluable for adding an equalizer which could be bypassed when I desired a purer signal path). Of course, the warranty can't be beat, and I've had unbelievable service from Bryston when I needed to have an RCA input fixed. I had the pre back on the West coast from Ontario, Canada in five days round trip!
We actually had a showdown here at my house with the CD-LAD vs the BP25.
The amp was the Spectron driving the Newform 645 ribbons. CD-source was the Levinson 390S. Cabling was JPS, and Empiricle Audio Silver (for comparison). Both preamps were run single-ended for fairness sake (this Plinius was only singel-ended).
The BP25 was first noticed as being quieter; the notes came out of a black background. The Bryston also had a more tuneful bass and low-midrange, the Plinius was rather dry.
The Plinius seemed to have more "air" on top, but over time it became apparent that it was a sort of HF "hash" or noise. Also we noted that when pushed hard, as in turning up the volume, the Plinius started sounding "strained" on the upper mid-range.
One listener (the owner...) at first thought that the Plinius had more detail and information on top, again it turned out that there was no more info, only the slight upward tilt and the (slight) hash.
It took a lot of back and forth to determine that the Bryston was actually presenting more real info, but its slightly dark nature vs the lighter sound of the Plinius had our ears fooled.