Upgrades available affordably, or stick with it? Bryston 1B

I’ve assembled a Living Room system for family watching cable, watch Blue Rays, and for my wife to stream background music via her iPhone. I have an old school Lexicon MC-8B, which is wired via XLR to a Bryston 8BST. This runs LCR for improved dialogue on a large flatscreen. LCR are B&W Matrix 805 and matching HTM, mostly an 805 laid on its side, marginal compromise on cabinet vs the 805H (horizontal version of the 805 with tweeter slightly off center, less visually symmetrical for a center channel, but technically a better match for L&R.) I also have a B&W PCS-8 sub powered by the 4th channel of the Bryston 8B. The point in using the Lexicon was to take advantage of its excellent management of digital inputs... so the 2 current video sources are feeding optical inputs...and I just use the TV when needed to switch HDMI. Music from iPhone is by an excellent AudioEngineB1, also optical out to the Lexicon. Its a shame to waste the good pre-amp functions of the Lexicon.

But I want to dust off my old B&O RX2 and spin some vinyl. The Lexicon lacks a phono stage. So.... I can put into play an old (80’s?) Bryston 1B, and (I assume?) still use its ultra low filter if needed, and just use the Tape Out to send an analog line level signal to my Lexicon. To be honest, this is not going to be for critical listening, just for fun to dust off some old 70’s 80’s albums, pop music mostly.
But this begs the question. I think I could probably sell the Bryston 1B for 200 to 250 easily. It is in excellent shape, and even visited Bryston some time ago for overhaul, and they put in upgraded phono input connectors, gold plated.

So for about $500 or so, is there likely to be a small phono pre-amp (used is fine) that is markedly better than putting my old Bryston 1B into service to just use its phono section and tape outs to feed the Lexicon? I see that Bryston makes standalone small sized phono MM preamps that have an external supply. With the limits of my speakers and processor and amplifier... am I likely to realize any benefits other than appearances? (The 1B is really old, clunky, takes up a lot space etc...WAF is not really a huge issue, but I like things to look nice too.)

I will try and post photos, (I can’t see an easy way to do that), but I’m not sure they will add a whole lot to the question. I believe I have an MMC-2 on the arm, the MMC5 was the best, so this is perhaps not optimal, but I’m not likely to upgrade unless I hate the sound. Any general advice appreciate, I think I’ve included all pertinent information. I’m way, way out of the loop in terms of phono pre-amp technology over the past 30 years. The 1B was highly acclaimed in its day, and is certain to have excellent power supply and reliability.... but 30 years is 30 years.

By the way, and for the record, all of these components sound "Wonderful" in case I ever try and sell them when I upgrade in the future.

Showing 1 response by glennewdick

I can easily recommend the ifi iphono2 in that price range it's very good and will cover all your gain loading needs for any mm mc cart. It's really good for the money I'd think you'd have to jump up to the $1000-$1500 price point to better it. Lots of reviews out there. And of course there's ma y other choices in that price range.