Originally Posted by bigguyca
Bryston makes really nice equipment. I use several 4BSST2's to drive Salon2's, a Voice2 plus some other speakers. Based on how I listen to music and watch TV I would estimate, based on volume settings, that 135 watts would easily drive the Salon2's, which aren't all that easy to drive. The 4BSST2's output of 300 watts at 8 ohms is only about 4 dB more that 135 watts.
That said; I happen to like the 4BSST2 the best of Bryston's amps. To me it is the sweet spot; bigger and more of everything. It lists for $5k, the B135 with remote lists for $5k. If you don't mind a little clutter you could go for say an Emotiva XSP-1 preamp for $1k and you would have something really nice for $6k. I've only read about the Emotiva unit, and looked at the circuit boards and parts used, but it looks like a really nice unit at a low cost with a five year warranty. Clearly there a lots of other preamps choices, new and used, but typically for more money. Using a preamp gives you the flexibility that's provided by separates - yes, you can separate the pre and amp of the B135, but why?
Funny you should mention an Emotiva preamp, as I happen to own an earlier model that I use in a small system at a vacation home. It's nice, but the system there isn't really high resolution enough for me to get much of a feeling for how good a unit it is. It's been trouble-free, however, and I have no complaints about it. If I were going to use separates, I'd consider its successor for the pre.
In my home system, however, I simply do not have room in my existing cabinet for anything other than an integrated and there's no chance my wife is going to allow me to change that cabinet, as its appearance was an item of long-term negotiation. Besides, I really like integrateds -- smaller signal path, the economies of a single chassis, one less expensive power cord and expensive set of interconnects to buy and manage -- so I mostly would like to find an integrated that has the virtues missing from the A5 and that doesn't substitute other failings for the A5's.
Thank you for the suggestion. I appreciate the thought about the 4BSSST2, which, by all accounts, seems to be a serious contender for the attention of those who can use separates.