Comments on Bryston SP-1 Pre/Pro

I don't need video switching and this is supposed to have the same makeup as a stand-alone BP25 pre, that would do me just fine I believe. Anyone have one?? How is it for movies and music??

Have a look at Audio Review (I know, I know). But occasionally someone with a brain makes a sensible post there. Check out Robert's review - most laudatory in its tone (Shane's also). Awaiting delivery on mine and will post my impressions here after I get the little devil up and running. Am an unapologetic fan of Bryston. Have auditioned it and think it superb. But you will always find someone who will criticize anything, including Rowland, Apogee, EAD, Levinson, what have you. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Doubtless, there may be someone who reads this and will presume to correct the great unwashed (me).

Thanks for the response, I talked with Bryston today on the phone. I downloaded the manual from their site but couldn't find anything about bass management, they assured me the cutoffs are changeable from 40Hz up to 100. They have a memo attached to the manuals when they ship and will have it posted on the website shortly. I love my 4B-ST amp and if this pre is anything like it, it will be a winner for sure. Would be very interested in your report/review when you receive yours. How long have you been waiting?? They also told me they are down to about a 2 week turnaround when they receive an order.
Hi Mike,

Are you working with a local dealer? If you are not, you may want to send me a private e-mail (I think you can get if from this site) and I can give you some real interesting info that may save you time and money. Actually my wait has been slightly more than one week; I should have it within the next couple of days. If you do get one, you are going to love it. Forget the naysayers. Some people just have a problem with Bryston because they don't go in for the "bells and whistles" approach to design and performance. And you are going to find it a wonderful match with the 4B ST, a real synergy occurs, although it will "sing" with any Bryston amp of later vintage.

Fairness compels me to point out my bias in finally settling on this unit: being an inveterate audiophile, I still do a lot of serious stereo listening. While there are some wonderful pre/pros out there, none I'm aware of except Bryston uses a pure analog bypass. There probably is one or two, I just couldn't find them in my neck of the woods. No matter how carefully executed, running a signal through a DAC does not necessarily help things sonically. I auditioned a number of units and the only one that does a real nice job on stereo (other than the Bryston, of course) is the Theta Casblanca(?). Not sure of the model, just remember that at 10K it is WAY beyond my point of diminishing returns. And the other point is more philosophical: I simply like Bryston's design philosophy by which they'd rather avoid the RF problems associated with video switching. My monitor has sufficient inputs, so that makes the switching problem irrelevant to me. Someone with a monitor whose inputs are limited to one or two would obviously have to look elsewhere.

Will post my findings when the beast is up and running and properly dialed in.

Just received my Bryston SP1 and set up was very easy. The subwoofer crossover is selectable from 40 to 100 Hz in the menu structure. I didn't even read the enclosed manual or memo as the processor is easy to work with.

As to the sound, well needless to say, it is reflective of Bryston's commitment to excellent audio. I have a Bryston 8B amplifier for the front L/R (Martin Logan Ascents) in a biamped configuration. This is the "stereo" section of my system. In the true analog bypass mode the sound is really incredible.

For the rest of the system, I have a Bryston 5B driving a Martin Logan Cinema center with B&W inwall rear surrounds. The various digital "algorithms" in the SP1 are fun to play with. In general this processor is excellent for home theater as well. I use a Rotel 995 DVD player into a Toshiba 56 inch HDTV. I don't need to use any video switching as most of my listening is audio only. Just use the HT for DVD's.

Anyway, the SP1 is great and I will post more info as I use it more.
Mike D,

As promised (threatened?), here are my impressions after using the SP 1 for a few days now. Vintage Bryston sound -
analog bypass mode is simply superb: clean, neutral, analytical, soundstaging realistic. Music modes are gimmicky, but who knows? You might like that kind of thing.

Setup is easy, with selectable bass crossover frequencies. As usual, they don't go overboard on aesthetics; the unit takes a minimalist approach. Ditto the remote.

Spent a fair amount of time over the weekend auditioning DVDs, LDs, VHS. The soundtrack of Gladiator in DTS is probably the best I've ever heard: detail, air, dimensionality in spades. The Sixth Day on VHS was astonishingly good, and I expect the DVD will be even better. (Wasn't available at the local video stop.) Am looking to round up some more DTS titles to give it a more extensive shakedown. AC-3 on DVDs is very close to DTS, which is to say splendid.

This pre/pro combines the virtues of the BP 25 along with top tier HT decoding. In fact, I deliberated darn near a year about buying this because it would require giving up my beloved BP 25. But the HT capability and terrific stereo quality finally won me over. So the 25 is now up for sale, although reluctantly. Really love that pre amp, just can't afford the care and feeding of both.

The only criticism of any consequence to my mind is that the unit lacks balanced inputs. I would like to have that capability. But all single-ended connections are very quiet, no RF or other such sonic gremlins, so it may be more an academic complaint than a practical one. In any case, the lack of wasn't enough to stop me from moving over to one. So far I just love it and expect that won't change unless it misbehaves (most unlikely).

Rest of system: 5B ST for ML Cinema (center) and Rock Solids for surrounds
4B ST for ML Aerius i (front)
REL Storm III sub
Various video sources (DVD, LD, Satellite, VHS, broadcast TV)
Adcom GCD 750 CD spinner
Tice PB III plc