My current options: Anthem MCA30 or Bryston 3bSST2

Hi all,

Without going into detail, my current options for setting up my 3.1 system is going with a 3 channel amp by Anthem (i.e., MCA30) or getting 2 Bryston 3bSST2. The quick reason is that I am confined by space limitations (my shelf is only 13" deep). I spent hours spec'ing out a lot of amplifiers (not including Class D; I know there are plenty) so I narrowed it down to the Bryston 3bSST2 or an Anthem MCA30.

Let's face it, money is also a deciding factor so I'm leaning toward the Anthem. Question is, how much am I missing out on the Brystons given the price point? I feel like the Anthem should be good.

OR do I just keep my underpowered Rotel RSX1055 to drive my Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor M and Liuto Smart center channel until I can splurge on the Bryston 3bSST2?
Personally, i would wait to splurge on the Bryston. Will be worth the wait.
I've never heard Anthem amps, but Bryston is a good, solid choice. However, if you prefer a warm and fuzzy sound, then look into something else. Bryston is mostly about transparency and detail.
I'm a big fan of Bryston amps (I owned a pair of 7B SST for several years), but I feel that they (and many others) are way over priced today. You are effectively paying for the 20 year warranty.

I'd consider the ATI AT1202 instead (I've owned the AT602).

Or the smaller Parasound Halo A23 amp.
If you can save your pennies until you can swing the Bryston,
look into one of their 3-channel amps. I had a Bryston 5B-ST
(3-channel) in my HT setup for about l0 years, and it was a
fine amp. I currently own a Bryston 4B-SST2, and it is -- by a
substantial margin -- the best amp I'e ever owned (and I've
been in this hobby for 45+ years). Yes, you pay for the
quality, but you also get the best warranty and service in the
audio industry.
I own the previous Bryston 4BSST model, and it has worked flawlessly for the past 7 years since I bought it new. So, reliability is a Bryston hallmark as well.
@Bob - I was also thinking the Parasound A23. Would you do that over the Anthem?
Spizzi, I've not heard the A23 nor any Anthem. I've heard the Parasound JC1 at a friend's home many times. Anthem was suggested to me over Bryston by someone I respect many years ago. I suggested ATI and Parasound based on my experience with the brands. I think both measure well, sound good, provide a decent warranty and have a proven record. My guess is that Anthem would be a solid choice as well.
I would NOT get the Parasound A23. I have owned it, as well as the A21, and I currently own a Bryston 4B SST2.

The A23 cannot compete with either of the larger amps. It is constrained sounding by comparison. I prefer the Bryston to the larger Parasound amp, but they are close. The A23 is a distant 3rd.
I would think that the best option from Parasound would be the 3 channel amp, the Halo A31 at 250 wpc. Full retail on it is 3300, much less than Bryston amps.

The OP mentioned getting a couple of Bryston amps because they would fit in his shelving of 13 inches. Those two amps would run over $8000! Most amps are deeper than that, so I'd suggest buying a new shelving unit for up to $1000, buying the Halo A31 for under 3300, and being way ahead of the game financially. The Parasound Halos are very well regarded, I've got the A21, and it's superior to anything I've owned previously. Would it be the equal of Bryston? The warranty wouldn't, but don't kid yourself, the cost of the warranty is built into the high price of their amps. The Bryston might sound a little better or not. It depends on how one's speakers interact with the amp, and the rest of the system, and of course one's hearing preferences.

I know I prefer Parasound to the anthem gear I had.
I wouldn't say Bryston is high priced in terms of high end pricing. I find their products to be a good value compared to much higher priced units. Parasound is cheaper because it's made in Taiwan...I'd rather go for something built in Canada or the US and pay a little bit more.
Bryston amps cost thousands more than Parasound Halo amps, so I'd submit the characterization "pay a little bit more" is a little off. But that's fine, buy what you want and pay what you want. The fact of the matter is that most people want to pay a little less if they can. Nothing wrong with that either.
Thousands? Not really. The JC1s are $9000. Compare that to the Bryston equivalent, the 7BSST2 at $10000. And again, the lower price of Parasound is because Parasound is made in Taiwan. Bryston is much better quality, imo, and you do get what you pay for. Not saying that Parasound is junk mind you, but the truth of the matter is the build and parts quality is not really equal to that of Bryston. Although the JC1s do use Nichicon filter caps, that certainly is a plus.
I also own both the Parasound A23 (for desktop system, KEF LS50's) and Bryston 4B-SST's on main rig, Thiel SCS4. The Bryston is much better than the A23 which cannot drive my Thiels well.
Yes really. You've cherry picked the one cost-no-object(by comparison) amp by Parasound. All the other amps they make are thousands less. To my above suggestion to buy what you want and pay what you want, I'll add believe whatever you want. I'm not going to get into a debate over build and parts quality, I think John Curl designs speak for themselves.
Yes, the A23, at $950, is hardly the equal of a multi thousand dollar amp.
And all the other Parasound amps don't perform as well, don't have the build and parts quality, and once again are made in Taiwan! Bryston wins out, whether you like it or not.

And why is the JC1 and 7BSST2 not a fair comparison? It is a more than fair comparison, to prove that not all Parasound is thousands less than the Bryston.

I'm beginning to think you're nothing but a shill for Parasound!

I call 'em as I see 'em, and I have auditioned both brands extensively.
What I'm suggesting is that the OP could save some coin and get a well regarded brand. I'm not suggesting that Parasound is better than Bryston, but cheaper. Again, the OP wants to save money. Read post one.
Ok, fair enough...