The Bryston....yes Bryston, phono stage...how good did you say??

DaveyF

Active Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,735
17
38
La Jolla, Calif USA
#1
For some reason, the Canadian company, Bryston, seems to have a lot of catching up to do with the darlings of the Audiophile world. Most people, and I was to some extent one of them, seem to think that Bryston gear is nothing special, and can easily be bettered...after all their price points certainly are low enough to allow for far more expenditure. Having listened in the past to the Bryston amps, I could easily see why most of their stuff is overlooked.

Since I am in the mode of trying to identify a new cartridge, and since many of the candidates are ultra low to low output MC’s, a friend offered me the opportunity of listening to what he described as “ a super phono stage “ at a more than fair price.
The model that I am currently listening to is the new Bryston BP-2 MM/MC 20 along with the PS-3 DC power supply. Essentially,a SUT with enough gain for my moderate output Benz Ruby 2. The price of this combo is $2700- about the same as a lot of power cables or other tweaks.
Don’t let the price fool you, this combo, at least in my system, easily competes with other phono stages in the $10-$20K range!
In the past, I have auditioned the Allnic 3000, the BAT Rex phono, the ARC Ref 2 and the Sutherland phono stages...all of them are IMHO no better than the little Bryston....but at a much higher price point.
Last night, I pulled out the little known Opus 3 recording of Therese Juel..’Levande’to listen to the well known demo track...Tiden Bara Gar. To those of you who don’t know this track, it features some very impressive dynamics and some precise depth and imaging of the instruments. The little Bryston sailed through it with great ease...showing not only the immense depth that this track allows, but also the big swing dynamics and the heft and punch in the mid range. Then I listened to the new Reissue of The Royal Ballet Gala...on Chad Chassems label. ( great LP, BTW).Extremely impressive staging and as much resolution as my much more expensive tube phono stage. The opening bars of ‘Sugar Plumb fairy’ were as realistic as I have ever heard them. Next to some jazz...this time on the Blue Note Music Matters LP.. Horace Parlan’s ‘Us Three’, which features some excellent stand up bass playing in various spots. The Bryston nailed the up right bass...and had no problem with making sure that the imaging and placement on the stage was spot on.
Sometimes, we get to hear a giant killer,imho this Bryston combo fits the bill. Couple of small caveats, the unit does NOT allow for impedance loading for MC cartridges, which Bryston states in their manual is unnecessary! That is not what I believe, but maybe they know something I don’t. Also, the unit comes in a model that can accommodate ultra low output MC’s. This model is called the BP-2MM/MC 30 and can supply enough gain to amplify flea output cartridges...if it sounds as great as the 20 model, and I have no reason to believe that it wouldn’t ...it’s more than a thinker for anyone with a ultra low output MC and not wanting to spend the big $$.
Anyone else hear any of the latest Bryston gear and come away as impressed as I am?
 

DaveyF

Active Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,735
17
38
La Jolla, Calif USA
#3
Bryston, that is solid Canadian audio engineering.
If I was an audio dealer it would be part of my arsenal.
Bob, IMO, you are very right to be proud of this Canadian company. Bryston seems to be very much about the audio engineering. This phono stage is not that much to look at, although it certainly isn’t badly put together. In fact, just the opposite, I think the build quality is excellent , just that it doesn’t have any bling....no pretty casing like the D’Agostino gear:rolleyes:..and yet i wouldn’t be surprised if the guys at Bryston know as much, or even more, than Dan-about the things that really matter in the circuit.
 

Hi-FiGuy

Member Sponsor
Feb 24, 2015
1,163
1
36
#4
Honestly I would rather not pay for bling, it does nothing for the sound. I like Bryston and it pairs well with Maggies and is one of my contenders for the next round. Great build quality yes, bling a very distant requirement.
 
Jan 29, 2012
868
10
18
#5
I've been a fan of their amps for sometime. They exhibit a smoothness and finess unheard of at their price point.
 

DaveyF

Active Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,735
17
38
La Jolla, Calif USA
#6
I've been a fan of their amps for sometime. They exhibit a smoothness and finess unheard of at their price point.
Actually, of the Bryston amps that I have heard, none of them impressed me that much. A dry, sterile character seemed to pervade their presentation and that was off-putting to me. OTOH, this little phono stage has none of that, which is why I am not only impressed, but also quite surprised.
 
Feb 8, 2011
18,925
18
38
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#7
Cool Davey...the Bryston phono stage.

They also have nice and affordable preamps, integrated amps.
Their power amps might not have the panache and finesse and power of say Classé and Pass Labs and Lamm and VAC and darTZeel and Boulder amps but they are affordable on the second-hand audio market, and we all know about their warranty.

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-stereo-systems-home-theatre/hamilton/bryston-4b/1381199934
[That's $600 USD]
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
1,467
30
48
UK
#8
Actually, of the Bryston amps that I have heard, none of them impressed me that much. A dry, sterile character seemed to pervade their presentation and that was off-putting to me. OTOH, this little phono stage has none of that, which is why I am not only impressed, but also quite surprised.
Yes I am with you on the Bryston amp character. I found them very dry and harmonically bereft.
 

Mosin

[Industry Expert]
Mar 11, 2012
894
0
0
#9
Honestly I would rather not pay for bling, it does nothing for the sound. I like Bryston and it pairs well with Maggies and is one of my contenders for the next round. Great build quality yes, bling a very distant requirement.
I agree. They are also extremely reliable.

A thought I had is that the possibility exists to modify them, so their presentation is a bit less sterile. Maybe a few well placed oil and paper caps here and there along with some other component swaps would help bring the sound to a less clinical place. I'm not the one to figure that out, but who knows? They seem to be a good point of departure for some enterprising guy with the right technical ability to tweak the sound.
 

DaveyF

Active Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,735
17
38
La Jolla, Calif USA
#10
I agree. They are also extremely reliable.

A thought I had is that the possibility exists to modify them, so their presentation is a bit less sterile. Maybe a few well placed oil and paper caps here and there along with some other component swaps would help bring the sound to a less clinical place. I'm not the one to figure that out, but who knows? They seem to be a good point of departure for some enterprising guy with the right technical ability to tweak the sound.

Win, that’s an interesting thought. Although I’m sure any mod like that would invalidate the warranty with Bryston. Luckily, only the amps that I have heard exhibit this issue, their other gear seems quite open and resolving without the ss dryness and sterility, particularly this little phono stage, which is why I am so impressed.
 
May 27, 2013
404
1
18
Chicago suburbs
#11
Regarding those that have found Bryston amps to be too dry, sterile, or lacking harmonics, have you tried their latest Cubed series amps? From what I've read many that had similar views of their earlier designs found that the Cubed series have quite successfully addressed those issues. The most significant change in their Cubed series is in the driver stage circuitry for which they received a patent. They have also adopted the use of that patented circuitry in their subsequent preamps with similar benefits. Of course everything's relative...
 
Last edited:

About us

  • Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing