Bryston BP20 vs. BP25 questions


My beloved Audire preamp has bit the dust. I have been contemplating a move to Bryston for a while now, anyway. This just makes it necessary. Before pulling the trigger on a good used BP20 or BP25, I have two sets of questions and I can’t seem to find any answer for them.
The first set involves the volume control on the BP25. A little background,,,, I have a quadraphonic set-up and due to a large amount of downstream components, the volume settings on my primary preamp (the Audire or the Bryston) are rather delicate. The Audire preamp features 10 very helpful graduation marking lines around the volume control, (sure wish Bryston did the same). Currently, the difference on the Audire volume setting between 3.0, 3.1, and 3.25 (out of 10) can run the gamut from too soft at 3.0, to too loud at 3.25. And every album or CD likes to have its own volume setting.

So, my first questions involve the BP25 volume control:
1a) I understand that it can be controlled by the remote. Can it also be controlled by turning the knob?
1b) Does the knob turn when you use the remote? No matter how you might change the volume setting, does the line on the knob always go back to the same setting when you zero out the volume? (like about the 7 o’clock position?) So, will I be able to count of the fact that the 9 o’clock position by the volume pointer line will always be the same volume? Likewise the 12 o’clock position will always produce the same amount of volume – or do these settings slide around?
1c) Also with the volume control – is the attenuator stepped or smooth? If it is stepped but has 40+ steps it would work for me, but if it has less than 35 steps that would probably be a deal breaker.
1d) Lastly on the volume, can you move it ever-so-slightly using the remote; or is it hard to move a really small amount?

These questions would not be necessary if I was more familiar with the BP 20 line, namely, the power supply. Ultimately, if I go the BP20 route I would want to obtain a BP20 with a MPS-1. I could add a MPS-1 later if the BP20 would accept the change.
Now my BP20 question:
2) Somehow I get the idea that, not all BP20s are capable of accepting the MSP-1 upgrade if the BP20 originally came with a BP-PSR. Is that correct, or will a MPS-1 work with all BP20s?

Thanks in advance.

toolbox149
i believe thebp20 and bp 25 are about the same build and sq. to be sure contact james tanner at jamestanner@bryston.com.

to answer your questions; here goes nothin' lol.

yes you can manually turn the knobs

yes the knob turns while using the remote, however i have the newer bp6

yes it'll go back to the previous loudness, however the volume control is not programmable.

smooth attenuator

it'll move slightly with the remote

that last question im not sure as the bp6 i use has an internal power supply
The 25 is a significant step up in quality over the 20 because it was a redesign when Steven Taylor (the ST in Bryston's line of amps) improved the preamp as well in the late 90s.
The 25 is a significant step up in quality over the 20 because it was a redesign when Steven Taylor (the ST in Bryston's line of amps) improved the preamp as well in the late 90s

oh really, well thanks for the info! i didn't become a bryston owner until 2007, so i suppose that went over my head, haha


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Thank you Dave!  I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to all those little questions.  This is a big help.

This leaves just the one last question, which is a big one for me.  

I definitely will want to have a BP20 or BP25 with the MPS-1 ultimately incorporated.  Somehow I get the idea that, not all BP20s/ BP25s are capable of accepting the MSP-1 upgrade if the Preamp originally came with the BP-PSR power supply.  Is that correct, or will a MPS-1 work with all BP20s and BP25s?

toolbox149

have you considered the BP-26 pre-amp?
No. The price of the BP26 with the MPS-2 is way above what I want to spend.  The two Brystons that I'm looking at would fit nicely.

they're both good pre's and have more features than the bp6...however, the bp6 is the same circuit as the bp26, minus the features, number of inputs, balanced xlr, and the bp6 power supply is internal. it just depends on what you're after. the bp6 does have has 2 rca outputs, a tape loop. and a headphone jack, as well an optional mm phono card. i have the 1 with phono. better resale value, and i like my vinyl...
toolbox149-

what other gear , including cabling, is in your system?
I received an answer to my last question elsewhere.  Here is the answer, from Xman, if anyone else was curious:

"The older BP20's with the switch on the preamp are not upgradable. If you unit has the power switch on the power supply it can be upgraded. This is my understanding"

Unless I hear otherwise, that's good enough for me to work with.



Now - As for my set-up - like me, my system is old and peaked out sometime in the 1980s. Unlike me, my system has been very well maintained, and most all of my components have been fairly extensively upgraded, tweaked, and improved.

My system stared out as a stereo set, but I got into quadraphonic playback in the late 70s. My quad changed to a synthesized quad sound in the early 80s with a change to a Sansui QSD-1 and has stayed that way ever since. Bi-amping was added a short time later to help out my Magnepan speakers.

A couple of years ago I started going though my system and I upgraded almost all of the components. I've also tweaked the system with better tubes, fuses, interconnects, wall outlets, room treatments and power conditioners. I believe in getting the most amount of "bang-for-the-buck" out of my money; so, rather than spend $5,000 on a piece of equipment, I will spend $1,000 on a nice, older piece, add another $600 in upgrades, and figure I probably have almost all of the sonic improvement the $5,000 purchase would have provided. I retired as a musician Almost thirty years ago, but I still don't ever want to get to the point that I become more in love with my components than I am with the music.

I'm almost done with improving my system and when done - I'll just keep it this way. Unfortunately, my main preamp (the Audire) is broken. I suspect the Brystons I'm looking at will continue to provide the crystal clear details that my Audire did, with the added bonus of a somewhat deeper soundstage - which is something I really like.