Bryston Help

I'm looking to change up my system to find a better balance between warmth and detail. I'm currently using a Bryston 4B ST, Manley Shrimp, Bryston BCD-1, Kef 104.2 speakers, and Harmonic Tech Pro-Silway MK III+ interconnects and speaker cables. I'm getting tired of tube maintenance (I've used a lot of tube pre's over the past few years) and would like to switch to something solid-state but with some of the tube-like warm. I like the amount of detail the Bryston equipment provides (I've used the BP 26 as well) but find the sound to be a bit sterile. I'm looking to change my pre or my cd player and would like something with remote volume.

For pre's I've tried Sonic Frontiers SFL-1 Signature, SF Line 2 SE+ (my favorite so far), McCormack ALD, Bryston BP5-25-26, NAD, and Manley. For cd players I've used Classe CDP 10 & 5, Rega Apollo-Planet-Jupiter, and numerous NAD units.

Any recommendations would be appreciated. My combined budget is $3500.

Thanks for the help.


I had the 4B-ST yrs ago & my findings were similar to yours. Don't forget how much the room has to do w/the overall presentation and right behind that the AC. Let's put those things on hold right now though. I also had some Kef Ref 3's, so I don't think speaker positioning is critical w/Kef's, at least in relationship to a warmer sound.

I had much better results using a different amp than the Bryston. In fact I think the Bryston was the driest amp I've ever used. Anyway, I went from the Bryston to an Aleph 5 but I also had an Aleph P with both pieces. There was a world of difference w/a much warmer sound using the two Pass pieces. Other amps that may work for you are BAT & B&K. I've had more amps than any other pieces except for cables & have found the amp to have a huge influence. As long as I don't have metal dome tweeters, I can deal w/just about any speaker.

I'm also not a fan of silver cables, so for a quick test you might want to substitute some zip cord to see how that affects what you're hearing. The silver thing goes for power cords & outlets too.

Lastly, let me just say make sure you only change one thing at a time because if you do several things at once, you'll lose hearing where you should concentrate your efforts.

I would second getting away from the silways with your system.

When I had a Bryston 3B ST Harmonic Tech Truth links were a much better match than the silways even though I gave up a bit of detail. I would re-cable all copper and see where you are.

You have a 'detail' system, having some warmth is probably a good call. Maybe a BAT SS pre amp, seem to be good prices on older versions. Herron?

Many folks think the newer SST and SST^2 amps are more appealing than the older ST amps. So you might keep that in mind.

I used the 7B SST amps for several years and liked both a BP-26 and Pass Labs X1 with them much better than a Prima Luna tubed preamp. The Pass X1 was probably the "warmest" sounding of the three. I preferred the BP-26.

Though I've only heard one of their integrated amps, I'd consider a Jeff Rowland preamp.

Probably not your cup of tea, but if I was buying an analog preamp today I'd put the Benchmark DAC1 HDR at the top of my list.

Finally, Bryston amps usually don't have the highest input impedance, so be aware of the output impedance of the preamp.
The 4BST is too crisp and "s" emphasis and the 4BSST is much better. The preamp problem is more likely the amp, not the preamp. I would try the Quicksilver preamp as it mates well with Bryston. Jallen
I would try a Cary, Prima Luna or Rogue tube preamp and I think you would get what you are looking for with your existing amps. That was my experience when I switched to a tube preamp.

Also, if you don't like the sterile sound I would for sure steer clear of the Benchmark DAC, it's as dry and sterile as they come. If you decide to go with an outboard DAC and you want warm I enthusiatically endorse the MHDT Labs Havana, great DAC. I tried over 10 different DAC's and I eventually ended up with the new Bryston, it's stellar.
I've owned most of what Bryston offers in amps over a 25 year period.I would reinforce other aforementioned comments that the SST series is markedly superior to ST,simply more refined with a lower noise floor.I would reconsider the ss pre amp,in my opinion a Bryston requires a tube pre to maximize performance.
If you're looking for specific recommendations flip me a pm.
I switched from the Bryston BP-25 to a used BAT VK-42SE solid state preamp. The BAT is a fantastic match with both my Bryson 7B-SST and Bryston PowePak 300's. I prefereed it to the BP 25. The BAT is crstal clear and non-fatigueing.