The Bryston vs. Classe argument has been going on for as long as I've been frequenting this site. I have never heard Classe, though based on their reviews, I would have to say they make excellent equipment. Bryston, on the other hand, I have listened to. I own a 4B-ST and for the money, I feel it is the best amp out there. You mentioned that price is a concern, and with the Bryston warranty I can think of no better way to protect your equipment. As for sound, it is rather hard to say--Let us know what speakers and pre-amp you are using.
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Classe` puts as much effort into the 2 channel aspect of their 5 channel home theater products as their exclusively 2 channel gear. I have heard both, but not extensively. My impressions are that the Classe` is more "musical" , the Bryston being very good quality, but dryer and flatter when compared.
So you live in Canada! That means you can leave your system on all the time. I live in Arizona, I have a summer 2 channel amp, (Jeff Rowland Model 2) & a winter amp (Pass Labs Aleph 3). This is not an unimportant factor. Bryston amps are biased to run quite warm. I have a friend with a (9B?) 5 channel Bryston video amp & it sounds excellent in his system. You'll hear some people say Bryston is "bright" or being more diplomatic, "forward sounding".
In my experience it all adds up & you must view your equipment in the system context.
I have another friend who had a Classe integrated amp, he said it sounded more like Jeff Rowland equipment "laid back" He also had a Krell integrated that had more power than the Classe, but no one who heard it liked it for long-term listening. It just wasn't as "musical" as the Classe.
Post your current or wish list system & I'm sure you'll get help on this site from people who've experienced each component firsthand...
I have 7bst's and a B60R now, and I owned a 4B NRB. I'm a big Bryston fan, but I always use a tube preamp with the amps (of course, not with the integrated). I've heard Classe in plenty of stores, and I think their new stuff is the best of theirs that I've heard. Both are great, so you won't go wrong. I think that the previous reader is also right -- Classe is more rolled off and plush. I think of Bryston as more accurate, but drier and flatter are fair words in comparison to the Classe.
I have had both Bryston and Classe in my house and they are both very different. They are both high quailty pieces, but the sound is where they differ most. The Bryston is more neutral and they are textbook perfect for square wave reproduction. The Classe manipulates the square wave a bit to give the sound a sweeter warmer presentation to the music. The extra warmth is great with dry digital sound. However, I find the Bryston more neutral. But, the Bryston can sound too dry with some recordings. Bottom line, pick your poison, they are both great but not perfect given what we have in software these days. If you pick a dry, lean sounding speaker, go with the Classe. A warm speaker, get the Bryston. Jeff
I found Bryston to be a little too flat in the mids and too bright in the treble for my taste, but I'm a tube lover so maybe I'm biased. No pun intended. I owned Classe for a number of years and was very happy with the sound. To me, the Classe amps sounded a little sweeter, more robust, warmer, but not too extreme. Classe is a good match for neutral to dry sounding speakers like my Thiel CS 1.5's.
I have since moved more toward the sweet musical sound of tubes with my Conrad-Johnson and Audio Research gear. I guess this doesn't answer your question but it's really a matter of personal taste and component matching. I lean more toward a slightly sweet, warm, and musically engaging sound. I prefer Classe over Bryston for SS gear and I even prefer Classe over Krell. I didn't like Krell at all. I found Krell to be powerful but dry and almost harsh.
The Brystons are good, tough and reliable but in back to back comparisons in the same system a friend who sells audio and myself both preferred the simaudio 4070SE and the moon W-3 were also much more musically compelling on vocals.....I haven't heard the newer classe but an early 90's amp I heard seemed uninvolving but my audio friend owned an old classe monster that ran full out classe A....a dark sounding musical old monster.....however I should point out if we hadn't heard the sim amps back to back with the brystons we would have been happy with the bryston sound....hope this helps. Remember, you should get to try in your system before deciding....have fun....cheers, bluenose
I have owned both brands. One was an old Bryston 4B ( 250 @ 8 / 400 @ 4 ). I had purchased the unit used via the net and it arrived in poor condition. I ended up sending it back to their US repair facility.
While Bryston's customer service and warranty are second to none, i was not impressed with the unit when i got it back. It did not seem to be nearly as powerful as it was supposed to be and was constantly going into clipping. I was guaranteed by the service tech that the amp was running better than factory spec when it left their shop. I sold it shortly thereafter.
Using the same set of speakers, i tried a Classe' 70 ( 75 wpc @ 8 / 150 wpc @ 4 with 3 db's of dynamic headroom ).
While this amp was last made in 1994, it was WAY newer in terms of parts & design as compared to the Bryston. Not only did it drive tough loads much better than the more powerful ( on paper ) Bryston, it sounded much more musical. While both amps were somewhat lean sounding, i would have picked the Classe' if it came down to either sonics OR "power".
Please keep in mind that each "system" is a sum of all the parts combined. As such, try not to look at things "piece by piece" but as "what will work well together". Good luck and do as much listening in person as you can. Sean
Thank you to all of you for the great answers :)
this kinda stuff really helps me learn about all that :)
ok ..presently..the only speaker i own are Mirage Om-10
( running on an old akai receiver wich is shit for power but reallllly warm in stereo at low volume level and costed me 0$ :)
i really really enjoy my MIRAGE and i really think that all my speakers are gonna be part of Mirage OM since i have yet to hear a speaker that please me more in the same range of price
i'll be getting OM-9 later on to use as front speakers, and i'll shoot the OM-10 to the back for HT..and get OM-C2 center and a BPS150 or 400 (powered sub )
i didn't wanna get the powered OM cause they are double price for the same components except the amplifier
so the OM-9-10 are cheap..same quality and i can useand change the amplifier as i wish :)
are the OM consider warm ? dry ?
i really have some difficulties telling that though..
( with my poor receiver and input.. )
how do you guys get to hear all the difference in sound like that ? i should do a lot more listening i think..
for the preamp ..i am in the same dilema as for the amp
at first i was looking to get a powered receiver..
was looking into Nakamichi AV-10 ...cause i really enjoy Naka sound.. but then i thought that this wouldn't be upgradable and it's not as musical as i wish to have..
so i was looking at either Classe SSP-30 i think..
and the bryston SP1 wich both seem nice..and analog bypass :)
wich preamp brand is good ?
should i be matching AMP brand with pream brand?
( hey .. MIRAGE,CLasse audio,bryston ..that's Canada power system :) haha )
If you have a chance, check out Belles "Hot Rod" version of their amps, they have the 150A and 350A. Both have serious power/current capability and an amazing musicality that is really hard to resist. Others may disagree, but these two amps will give Bryston and Classe a serious run for YOUR money.
The 350A can be purchased with either 2, 3, 4, 5, or even 6 channels.
The 150A is rated at:
Power20 to 20,000 Hz
125 Watts per channel 8 ohms
225 watts per channel 4 ohms
The 350A is rated at:
Power 20 to 20,000 Hz
250 Watts per channel 8 ohms
400 watts per channel 4 ohms
Here's some reviews of the 150A to give you an idea of how highly rated they are:
Soundstage 150A review
Audiophile Audition 150A review
As a former Bryston 7B ST owner, and current Classe owner, I'll throw my vote in for Classe. I don't think this is an apples to apples comparison. The Bryston line is less expensive, yet capable of very respectable sound quality. Its when you compare the two that you realize that Classe is more refined across the board, more in control, and provides more texture and dimension to objects within the soundstage. This is especially true if comparing some of Classe's higher end models.
Tom_Munro, very well said... Classe is "higher-end" and a more expensive product line than Bryston but they are both outstanding values compared to the mega-buck names. Bryston has a longer warranty - but when I'm shopping for audio gear, I'm not "listening" to the warranty! Hyudai cars have a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty but would *I* buy one? ;-)
I love Classe but I have never heard Bryston. Classe has the best customer service I have ever seen. I lost a remote while moving which they replaced for free and fixed a dac for me that I bought used. Not only did they fix it for free even though it wasnt under warrenty but they also paid for shipping both ways. The whole process only took about two weeks and was even returned to me in the original manufactures box. This was a nice suprise being that it didnt come with the original box when I bought it used. Great company!
heeh that's nice to hear..as i plan to purchase my amp used ( i really don't have the budget to buy thoose stuff brand new :p )
though Classe manuf site is only few minutes from my place :) ...i don't think i would have to pay any shipping :P
So from what everybody said:
they are both excellent amps, but Classe is more musical and a little more high end ( and more $$ too)
than bryston ..
i think i will have to listen to both in the same environement to really see the difference for myself..
i'll start a new thread and ask you all..how to listen :)