Need opinions on Bryston amplifiers...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeremy Hegna, Nov 6, 2001.

  1. Jeremy Hegna

    Jeremy Hegna Supporting Actor

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    Hello all...
    I am looking at adding some amplification to my front soundstage...all 3 channels. I've heard mention on this board several times of Bryston's amplifiers. Their website is pretty informative, although it lacks pricing.
    The three amps that look intriguing to me are the 4B-ST, 6B-ST, and the 14B-ST. Does anyone have experience with these amps in particular....or for that matter, any Bryston products and/or pricing knowledge would be helpful.
    I will be using the Denon 5800 as a pre/pro and powering two B&W Nautilus 802s (Left and Right) and an LCR6 (center). The LCR may change soon...to the HTM-2. The power handling of the 802s is pretty significant...up to 500 watts, so I would like to open these speakers up to their potential.
    Thanks for your time,
    Jeremy
     
  2. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    Jeremy:
    I have the 4B-ST & 9B-ST and cannot say enough positive things about Bryston. I have them powering up MartinLogan all around and I'm very pleased with them. Build quality is second to none (ie. like tanks) and their customer service is also excellent. I have contacted them several times asking various questions and have always received a same day response. Their 20 year warranty is also worth noting. I have heard several stories of people contacted them 16 - 17 yrs + later with problems only to have them replace the whole amp if repair wasn't possible or feasible.
    It should also be mentioned their ratings are pretty conservative. If you buy a new product it'll come with a spec sheet of the specific amp showing test results. The 4B is rated at 250 and mine tested upwards of 307 before clipping (at 8ohms).
    As for pricing, I have no idea of the US prices except what I see on eBay & Audiogon etc. Fortunately, they are much cheaper here in this neck of the woods.
    These are amongst the few components you can have and literally grow older with!!
    Regards,
    Herb.
    [Edited last by Herb Kane on November 06, 2001 at 03:45 PM]
     
  3. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    20 year warrenty...nuff said [​IMG]
    Amazing amps and are known to be very honest.
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    http://www.mts.net/~glendap/
     
  4. Danny Bonnell

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    I also used Bryston amps...they are killer for the money. Lexicon actually uses a rebadged version of the Brystons for their line of matching amplifiers.
    I wonder why you would dump that kind of money into amplifiers to run with a Denon 5800, though. I'm not knocking the Denon, but I don't feel you'd be getting your money out of the Bryston line...they are ultra revealing, at least in my experience.
    It seems like a bit of a waste unless you plan on moving into seperates in the future- because that is a great point about the Bryston line- they have the 20 year warranty and service to back it up, not to mention they are built like a tank. Moving into separates down the line would be a good reason to invest in that quality of amplfication.
     
  5. Jeremy Hegna

    Jeremy Hegna Supporting Actor

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    "I wonder why you would dump that kind of money into amplifiers to run with a Denon 5800, though. I'm not knocking the Denon, but I don't feel you'd be getting your money out of the Bryston line...they are ultra revealing, at least in my experience."
    Yes...I will graduate to seperates down the road. However, at this time, the Denon affords me everything I need (and want) in a pre/pro. Several 5800 owners have commented on how well seperate amps in the front opens up their power hungry mains. The pre-out section of the 5800 sounds great to these owners, so I will follow suit. The 802s are pretty sensitive (90db), but they can digest a lot more power. The reason to do all 3 in front would be to keep the timbre match.
    I'm curious as to what your thoughts are about my train of thinking. Will the 5800 not be capable enough of a pre/pro with the Brystons? Obviously, the 5800 doesn't have balanced outputs...so I couldn't take advantage of lossless connection between the 5800 and the amps. Other than that, I'm thinking that it will be O.K. for the time being and will help out my front end at the same time. It will also free up my Denon's amps to the surround speakers.
    I do enjoy a lot of 2 channel music listening, probably 40% compared to 60% HT. But my 2 channel fascination becomes stronger all the time....hence, the 802s. Some day down the road, I will get a seperate pre/pro to mate with the Bryston...but for now, the 5800 suffices.
    Other opinions on this mating (5800/Bryston) are appreciated, Thanks.
    Jeremy
     
  6. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    A lot of people love Bryston amplifiers, but I am not one of them. This is not to say that Bryston makes bad gear, as their amps are powerful, well-made, have excellent bass, and sound better than the mid-fi (Rotel, NAD, B&K, Adcom, Marantz, etc.) stuff out there. Compared with amps in its price class (Classe', Krell, Proceed, Levinson, Pass, Theta, Plinius, McIntosh, etc.) however, Bryston always come up short. Bryston amps sound bright, forward, unrefined, and unmusical to my ears. With these characteristics, mating Bryston with the B&W N802s, an already rather bright speaker, would be a mistake, I think. Although I'm personally not a fan of the Nautilae, the best demonstrations I've heard from them have been with Levinson, Classe', Proceed, and McIntosh gear, so you might want to look into these. Also the matching center to the N802 is the HTM-1, not the HTM-2.
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    "Home is where the theater is!"
    [Edited last by Justin Doring on November 06, 2001 at 10:50 PM]
     
  7. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

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    I only wish I could afford a Bryston amp! I'm saving for one.
    IMO I think there is a lot of audio snobbery when it comes to brands and the reasonable price of the Brystons compared to the krells and Classe etc often clouds peoples opinions.
    Of course I cant afford the brands that you mentioned but even if I could I would still go with the Bryston and their 20 year warranty with honest reliable performance.
     
  8. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    Try to find an amp which MATCHES well with your speakers...if you can audition some different amps with your bw's, then definitely do so...and try to find the amp/preamp combo which gives you the type of sound you are looking for.
    Good luck!
     
  9. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    B&K and Rotel: mid-fi! That's a good one!
    I guess as with anything, everything is relative.
    Me, I have 2 Acurus A200x3's, and I am very happy with them. But gosh darn it, if I could afford even *lowly* Bryston, I would... (The new 6B-ST is a 3 channel, 250W/per channel amp.)
    [​IMG]
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  10. Jeremy Hegna

    Jeremy Hegna Supporting Actor

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    I have no access to Proceed or Classe amps in Anchorage.
    I do have access to Krell, Macintosh, and Bryston (because I'll be going to Seattle soon...quick run up to Vancouver is my plan). In Seattle, I will be doing some other auditioning....however, the chance to mate the speakers and the amp will be slimmer when I'm out of town.
    Bryston seems like a killer deal if you buy with American dollars in Canada...kind of like Paradigm. That's why my interest is so high.
    Jeremy
     
  11. KeithR

    KeithR Second Unit

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    I agree with Justin on Bryston/B&W combo being way to forward. I also am not a big fan of the sound of the amps, and I doubt I ever will have an amp for 20 years, so the warranty is a non-issue for me. B&Ws work well with Classe, Mac, Proceed, etc...that tend to be on the warmer side. I would look for a used Proceed HPA 2.
    Another idea is that you could get a pair of Odyssey Stratos monoblocks for 2k, that would serve the B&Ws up nice....www.odysseyaudio.com
    Check out he reviews on audioreview.com and the absolute sound.
    KeithR
     
  12. Will

    Will Guest

    Curious if you found pricing info on Bryston amps.
     
  13. Henry W

    Henry W Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm currently running an AVR-5800 with a Bryston 6B ST for the front three channels and a pair of 4B ST amps for the surround channels. There is a very decided improvement to the sound with the addition of the outboard amps.
    I started by adding amps to the front three channels and noticed an immediate improvement in sound quality. The surround channels came alive when the Denon no longer had to power the front 3 speakers. Originally, I took the two 4B ST amps using one for the main speakers and bridging one for the center channel (800+ watts of power.)
    As good as this was, it got even better with the 6B ST. This is a far superior amp to the 4B ST and I strongly recommend this for your front three channels. It runs cooler and delivers a significantly better sound. My 6B ST is rated at 310 watts per channel and cost $2749 new. The two 4B ST are both rated at 290+ watts and cost $1498 each (dealer demos.)
    Best regards-Henry
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  14. Jeremy Hegna

    Jeremy Hegna Supporting Actor

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    "My 6B ST is rated at 310 watts per channel and cost $2749 new. The two 4B ST are both rated at 290+ watts and cost $1498 each "
    I didn't have any idea of price until now. Those are all dealer demos?
    I am interested in the 6B-ST, primarily.
    I am going to look a bit more into the Proceeds and Macs. I can do an in home audition with a Mac, but the prices are out of this world. As far as Proceed, again, I can't listen til my trip to Seattle in December. It's tough to buy anything of this value without a listen.
    Thanks,
    Jeremy
     
  15. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

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    Now I'm really green with envy.
    The 6b-st is the object of my desire. Although I'd settle for a 3b-st at this stage. Wonder if my wife would notice the maxed out credit card:)
     
  16. Henry W

    Henry W Stunt Coordinator

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    The 6B ST was new. The 4B ST amps were dealer demos.
    Best regards-Henry
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  17. rajiv

    rajiv Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeremy,
    Welcome to the world of separates and as you know by now it isn't for everyone. Also, congrats on your new B&W N802s, they are wonderful! A top of the line hi-fi speaker that is inexpensive - relatively speaking of course.
    Bryston amps are well built, but as everyone has pointed out, they tend to be bright. Hence the nickname Brightston! The one thing they have going for them is their pricing. It beats almost all other amps in the $1000 per channel category, including all receivers. [​IMG] I'm just waiting for a particular person to come and tell me I need to do level matched double-blind testing. [​IMG]
    The N802s are well matched to Krell amps. In all the configurations of the N802s I've seen, they were all with Krell and sounded very good. Particularly the Krell KAV-250 series 2 & 3 channel configurations. However, I didn't care for any of the Krell amps because they tend to get VERY hot and are a potential fire hazard.
    Classe' is very good and I would consider them, but they have had a history of low build quality on some products in their line. They are hard to find because not many dealers in the US carry them. You would be better off contacting someone in Canada where Classe' is from.
    Finally Proceed. That's what I own. I am very happy with their HPA and BPA series. They are very smooth with a lot of detail and bass. The Proceed amps are the only amps in the price range you're considering that will double down very easily, that means they will increase in power with lower impedance. They are only one notch below Mark Levinson amps. All Proceed amps are built as mono amps inside the chassis and they are all well ventilated with huge heat sinks in an elegant package. In my opinion, a real class act. I think you would be best off with a Proceed HPA-3 that will easily do 250 Watts per channel at 8 Ohms and 500 Watts at 4 Ohms on each of its three channels. It sells for $4750 list price. The most any dealer will give you is a 5%-10% discount, if you are lucky. Most Madrigal dealers give NO discount. Even at this price the HPA amps are a bargain for what they can do. I suggest you listen to them when you can. By the way, the Revel Ultima line of speakers were voiced with Proceed HPA amps.
    Rajiv...
     
  18. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Every listen I've had with Nautilus 802's have been with a Krell amp. They seem to migrate to one another for some reason [​IMG]
     
  19. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    Since you have a local McIntosh dealer, I think an in-home audition of one of their amplifiers would be a logical first step. (I forgot about them in my original post, and have since modified it accordingly.) McIntosh is another great amp that mates excellently with B&W, and the build quality is second to none. Their gear is expensive yet competitively priced, and you can certainly see and hear where the money went. The resale value is also very high. In fact, I think McIntosh makes the best under $2000 amp on the market (the MC162, I think). These could be used in mono mode and sound wonderful.
    Because you are in Canada, try to audition a Classe' amp. I've had a CA-200 for over three years and it has performed flawlessly. The build quality on the Classe' is superior to the Krell KAV gear and the Brystons (notice how Bryston does not "double down"), and comparable to the more expensive Krell FPB, McIntosh, Pass, and Levinson. The Proceed would also be a good choice, since it borrows heavily from Levinson (the best amps I've ever heard), but the Classe' is a bit warmer and cheaper since you are in Canada.
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    "Home is where the theater is!"
     
  20. Matty B

    Matty B Stunt Coordinator

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    Can I ask you all a question? I see you talking about buying 7 and 8 thousand dollar AMPs let alone the cost of your speakers and I HAVE to know, are you all millionaires? And by that I mean are you clearing a million dollars a year? Or if not, how do you afford this? I mean...you have families? Are you all making 6 figures? We have family friends that clear a million dollars a year and they would SCOFF at buying an $8,000 amplifier. SO I want to know if you are all incredibly rich, or if you are eating ramen with $100,000 home theaters? [​IMG]
     

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