Lexicon LX-7 vs Bryston 9B/4B SST

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Rod#S, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. Rod#S

    Rod#S Extra

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    Rod
    I was hoping I could get some opinions on two amplifier alternatives.

    My choices are the Lexicon LX-7 or a Bryston 9B SST/4B SST combination. The processor I'll be using will be the Lexicon MC-12B.

    I had been looking at getting the new Anthem Statement D1 processor coupled with the Bryston 6B SST/4B SST x 2 (for 7 channels) for about the past year but I just got tired of waiting for the D1 to come out and Bryston has raised their prices a fair bit as of mid November so a different decision has to be made.

    When I abandoned the thought of the D1 I decided on the Lexicon MC-12B with either a cheaper version of the Bryston combination (9B SST/4B SST) or the LX-7. The Brystons are still more expensive, by about $3000 so I'm dealing with a tough decision here.

    Do I take the costly road and get the Brystons with their 20 year warranty and their consistent exceptional reviews or do I go with the Lexicon and ultimately not miss out on a lot if anything. I will not have the opportunity to listen to the LX-7 and for the Brystons, I have only heard the 4B SST of which I thought was a great amp.

    In case anyone is wondering I'm using Paradigm Reference Studio Series speakers, all version 2 and they include:
    Studio 100s
    Studio CC
    Studio ADPs
    Studio 60s
    Servo 15

    Thanks,

    Rod
     
  2. MikeTz

    MikeTz Stunt Coordinator

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    Your Paradigm speakers have a nominal impedance of 8 ohms and a sensitivity of around 91dB SPL (@1 watt/1 meter). Unless you have a big room the Bryston should provide plenty of power. I have a Bryston 9B-SST and 3B-SST in a 20 x 20 room with a 10ft ceiling and speakers that are less efficient than yours, and my system can get loud without clipping.

    The Bryston amp will sound better than the Lexicon (which I believe is a Crown design in disguise). Bryston amps are built like tanks, have excellent bass control, sound great, and carry a 20 year warranty. Their customer service is also excellent (e-mails are frequently answered by their CEO).

    There are other amps in this price class that have more power and sound very nice. The Cary Cinema 5 and Cinema 2 come to mind. Also the Krell Showcase has 7 channels at 125W/ch and doubles power into 4 ohms. The Parasound Halo A51 and A21 would give you 7 channels at 250w/ch and would also sound very good.

    Cheaper models like Rotel can provide 7 channels at 200w/ch for half the price ($3000). Outlaw, Adcom, Primare, and others also provide good value.

    Or you could sink your money into battleships like the Krell Amplifier Standard, Theta Dreadnaught, Plinius Odeon, BAT VK-6200, or a host of others.

    I bought the Brystons because they sound great, are backed by excellent customer service, and have that 20 year warranty. I've heard the new Lexicon LX-7 and didn't think it sounded as good as their older models. Makes sense, since the older models were made by Bryston for Lexicon.

    Now you have many more possibilities to make your shopping life interesting. Happy hunting.

    MT
     
  3. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Lexicon abandoned Bryston as the OEM (earlier amps were Brystons with a Lex badge) for its amps and went with Crown. I wonder why? Was it price/performance/sound?[​IMG]
     
  4. BobRoulier

    BobRoulier Second Unit

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    I visited a lex dealer recently and was talking with one of the sales guys (who coincidentally owns a Bryston amp) he said that lex ended up with crown because byrston refused to sacrifice quality and expand their amps or products to 7 channels[​IMG] but who knows there could have been other factors involved like $$$$ or development costs.


    Bob
     
  5. MikeTz

    MikeTz Stunt Coordinator

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    Yogi:

    Bryston says that Lexicon made the switch to Crown because they wanted an amp that was 7 channels and more powerful. The 9B-SST that is so successful at Bryston is conservatively rated at 125w/ch into 8 ohms with 5 channels driven. The new Lexicon is rated at 200w/ch into 8 ohms and, who knows, into 4 ohms with 7 channels driven. Bryston wasn't willing to develop a more powerful 7 channel amp on its own nickel and Lexicon wouldn't pay, so Lexicon is using an adaptation of an existing Crown amp.

    The old Lexicon sounds better to me than the new one for roughly the same price. If you like the new one, or the sound of Crown amps in general, buy one and be happy. We all have unique subjective tastes when it comes to sonic judgement and what's good for Jim may not be good for Bob.

    MT
     
  6. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    I have never listened to the older Lex amps. Bryston amps I have listned to and they are very refined albiet forward for my tastes. I however listened to the new Lex (Crown) amp and didn't like the sound a bit. It was hooked to M&K THX speakers (also forward for my tastes) and the dealer played vertical limit (avalanche scene) at reference level and I felt like running out the room with my ears covered. Thats when the dealer told me about Lex going with Crown and he and I thought it must have been a $$$ based decision.

    If you can get the Bryston I would prefer that over the new Lex.
     
  7. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    This is interesting in that I have been thinking about the following:

    1) 4b-st plus ATI AT2005 or Sherbourn 5/5210 (or Rotel or B&K)
    2) 3b-sst plus the 9b-sst

    I just got a 4b-st Fri.

    My problem with the 4b-sst plus the 9b-sst is "balance". I know all about size of the room, speaker efficiency, and listerning levels, but 300W/ch for the mains and 120 W (150W really) everywhere else just doesn't seem "balanced". (Psychologically for power levels, not final volume.) I also have this thing about wanting 200W/ch. No reason. [​IMG]

    But Mike, I would be more interested in your experience with the 3b-sst and 9b-sst...
     
  8. MikeTz

    MikeTz Stunt Coordinator

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    Kevin:

    I use the 9B-SST and 3B-SST combination in a 20x20 room with a 10ft ceiling. I can get very loud volume with no clipping and I use Vandersteen speakers (about 89dB SPL/w/m - moderate efficiency) all around. If you are using this amp combination in a similar room with moderate or high efficiency speakers you should have no issues with power. One other caution, my front speakers are used with an integrated Vandersteen powered subwoofer so the power requirements to the front in my system are less than normal.

    Both my 9B and 3B rated over 150w/ch at 8 ohms and over 250w/ch at 4 ohms. It is typical of Bryston to conservatively rate their amps.

    The amps are connected to a Krell HTS 7.1 and they sound great! The 20 year warranty aint bad either.

    For your system the 9B and 3B combination might be better "balanced" than a 4B and an ATI. The gain of the two Bryston amps is identical and I'm not sure this is true of the Bryston/ATI pair. When the gain is not identical sometimes the theater effects (especially panning from side to side) sound strange even after proper calibration.

    MT
     
  9. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Mike- Thanks. Yeah, I'm thinking about "balanced" in terms of W/ch. I have Mirages all around which are a little bit more efficient than the Vandersteen's (I thought the Vandersteen's were more like 86 dB?).

    I asked Bryston about the input sensitivity differences, and they *said* that it shouldn't be an issue. (Bryston around 1.1V, ATI around 1.4V, but then again, the Sherbourn is about 1.1V too.) I don't understand this parameter 100%, but the issue is that after cal, the levels might not be matched at volume settings much lower or higher than the cal setting, right?

    They also say that 150W/ch is a more realistic number for the 9b-sst too! [​IMG]
     
  10. MikeTz

    MikeTz Stunt Coordinator

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    Kevin:

    Sounds like you have the story straight (even the part about the efficiency of my Vandersteens - with my reading glasses I can probably tell the difference between nines and sixes on the keyboard [​IMG] ).

    MT
     
  11. Jai

    Jai Agent

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  12. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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  13. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Remember that since you're wanting to buy the Lexicon balanced pre-amp, you want to make sure the amplifier(s) you are getting are truly balanced designs.

    The Sherbourn amps, while containing XLR inputs, are not fully balanced.

    I'd try the Brystons, new ATI balanced amps, and the Parasound Halo balanced amps to reiterate what others have said.

    There are many other brands, but that ought to do for now.

    The new Theta Dreadnaught II looks and sounds sweet as well!

    Dan
     
  14. Rich Wenzel

    Rich Wenzel Supporting Actor

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    crown is owned by Harman, as well as the others mentioned, and proceed (discontinued), madrigal (discontinued), jbl, revel, infinity, and others....

    if you are buying a multi channel amp, you should look at the cary cinema 5, i havent heard it but it was compared to the $10k BAT, and thats saying a lot...Cary is also a fantastic company...

    Not knocking the brystons, just giving an alternative...

    Did you buy the Lexicon yet? Doesn't the Director come out soon? I imagine that thing will rock..and you have to like the amp that goes with it, its the size of yugo.

    Rich
     
  15. Shion_ca

    Shion_ca Stunt Coordinator

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    If your looking at the bryston price range. Really consider the Simaudio home theater amp offering. The Titan. At least give it a listen before making your decision, it's good enough to warrant a mandatory listen if your in that price range.
     
  16. Rod#S

    Rod#S Extra

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    I would like to thank everyone for responding.

    I have indeed looked into the Sim Titan and it is a beast indeed but out of my price range at present. That thing is huge, I had to laugh when I looked at the specs, 150lbs, man, thats an amp [​IMG]

    I ended up going with a slightly different amp combination. Due to the expense of the MC-12B, Denon DVD 5900, speaker stands, audio stand and cabling I have gone with the Bryston 4B SST for my mains and an Anthem MCA 50 for the center and 4 surrounds. The combination was quite impressive and when I get everythig paid off I'll probably revisit adding more Brystons as cash becomes available.

    Thanks,

    Rod
     
  17. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Rod- Interesting. [​IMG]

    I have a 4b-st, and I just picked a Sherbourn over Anthem, ATI, Outlaw. I actually would have gotten the Anthem, just that I got a deal I couldn't refuse on the Sherbourn. [​IMG] Enjoy your system!
     
  18. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Kevin,

    Hope the 4b-st is shining in your system! Mix match amps?! I'm sure a 9b-st will eventually find its way into your house [​IMG]
     
  19. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Ricky- The 4b-st is awesome. I have the Sherbourn coming because I got such a great deal on it, but I actually went and looked at an MCA-50 today for kicks. Also a very nice amp. One review of either a MCA-5 or 50, said that it had a sonic signature very close to Bryston. And, don't know if you know this or not, but the Sherbourn uses 5 monoblocks which *may* be the same design as the Outlaw M-200. Operates using the same principle of class AB then G. Both made in Taiwan. So maybe I'm not at the end of the story yet. [​IMG]
     

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