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post #1 of 38 Old 12-23-2011, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
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After waiting for a couple of years to replace my Bryston SP 1.7 I finally took delivery on Tuesday December 20th of a Bryston SP3. Thanks to Absolute Audio in Calgary and Jim Spence and James Tanner at Bryston I am able to have some time over the holidays to put it through its paces. I had to leave on vacation so all I have had time to do is spend some time with 2 channel SACD and Vinyl.
A little background:
I have an acoustically treated media room that is 15 X 18 X 9 and with the help of an RTA it measures fairly flat response at the primary seating position except for a 3 db bump at 80 htz. Although this is a 7.1 channel home theater my passion is 2 channel and thus the room is optimized for that.
Power Conditioner: PS Audio Power Plant Premium
Power: Bryston 4B SST and 9B SST
Speakers: Usher Mini Dancer 2 DMD with the DMD Center.
Digital Source: Marantz UD 9004 and Logitech Squeezebox Touch to my iMac music server.
Analogue Source: VPI Scoutmaster with Ortofon Kontrapunkt B and EAR 834P phono.
After letting it "warm" up over night I loaded my favorite SACD, Jen Chapin reVisions. I sat down and the first thing I noticed was how much bigger my room became. I waited for the second song and thought how much better my center channel speaker sounded. In fact it sounded like a different speaker. I then realized I must have set the SP3 to 7.1 channel bypass. I listened to another song before I went to the SP3 to set it a 2 channel. I was shocked to see that it WAS set at 2 channel. I finally achieved that window of sound in my media room. I was very happy with the SP1.7 and compared it to many "reference quality" analogue preamps costing much more money. The SP3 is in a different league. It not only made my room bigger but I noticed I could hear things around instruments and voices that just were not apparent before.
I switched to the VPI for an hour and played one of my go to Allison Krauss albums and then the new Pat Matheny. The sound was equally as impresive. In fact on vinyly the width and depth of my soundstage seamed to open up even more. Overall I have only spent a couple of hours with the SP3 and only in analogue 2 channel. When I am back from holidays I will get into my favorite blu rays and I am sure will be even more impressed.
My first impression is that purely as a 2 channel analogue pre amp the SP3 is well worth the price. I can't wait to hear the DAC and the 7.1 processing.
I am looking forward to next week.
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post #2 of 38 Old 12-24-2011, 08:34 AM
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Hey Outstanding,

Glad to see Bryston finally got this one to market and it's nice to have another choice in the market. Sure would love to hear more about your unit when you are all settled. Does this unit have room correction? I will have to look it up.

I have the Classe SSP-800 that in my opinion has an outstanding analog section and it's been a pleasure for a combined stereo/HT set-up. Better than many in the same category (of the units I have heard and IMO)

Sounds like the Bryston will be a worthy competitor in this area.

Congrads-Keep us posted on progress and further opinions.

Rick

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post #3 of 38 Old 12-24-2011, 11:07 AM
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I'm envious. I have a 4BSST2 and it's the most reliable unit in my setup. So if I ever have 10k laying around with nothing to spend it on, I'm definitely buying one. I doubt that'll ever happen though. Bummer.
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post #4 of 38 Old 01-23-2012, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Bryston SP3 Update January 20, 2012-01-16
I have now had the opportunity to put the SP3 through its paces and right off the top I will say that it has exceeded my expectations.
A little background might be in order to help put into perspective what I was looking for when I decided to replace my SP1.7. The key criteria for me in selecting a replacement were:
1. A reference quality analogue preamp that supported 2 channel and 7.1 channel analogue inputs with the ability to bypass any digital processing.
2. HDMI inputs to accept bit stream data from multiple HDMI based sources and a DSP that can handle the new DTS HD7.1 and Dolby True HD signals.
3. A pre/pro that acts as an HDMI switcher without doing anything to the video signal.
4. A USB input to connect to my iMac based music server.
5. An Ethernet connection to facilitate easy firmware updates as they become available.
What I did NOT want were:
1. Auto room correction with a system like Audyssey. I have a Pioneer Elite based system in another room that has all the latest digital processing and auto room correction and I do appreciate the benefits of it given the right circumstances. My dedicated media room has been optimized with the help of Echo Busters etc. in such a way that I do not feel it would benefit from the additional processing. It does measure relatively flat at multiple seating positions.
2. I do not want video scaling or processing in my pre pro. In my set up I have 1 primary source for video which is my Marantz UD9004. I send a 1080P/24 signal to my JVC DLA RS25 projector so I don't need anything else to process the video signal. My other 2 video sources are a PS3 (for Netflix) and my satellite receiver. They both send a 1080P or I signal to the projector.
With those criteria in mind my choices were somewhat limited because most pre/pros do not have pure analogue pass through and have auto room correction. Although I did not have these in my specific room I did listen to the Anthem, Classee SSP800, and the Parasound P7 which is a pure analogue 7.1 channel pre amp, with no digital input. I waited for the SP3 to be released before I made my decision.
One thing I liked about the SP3 is the menu system. It is very similar to the SP1.7 and very simple and intuitive. You have two choices once you get into the menu. First you set global parameters for the SP3 like speaker configuration, which digital inputs are assigned to which source buttons etc. Make sure you activate Autosave. When Autosave is on, and you make any change in any menu, as soon as you go back out of that menu option it Autosaves what you just did. The second overall menu option is to set parameters for each source input. For example you set what you would like that source button to default to when you activate it. The one thing I liked is that you can set speaker levels for each source input. So for my DVD (Blu Ray) and 7.1 inputs I have the levels balanced at the exact same level using the Radio Shack SPL meter I have. For my Cable/Satellite input I have the Center and Surrounds about 2 DB higher because I like that when watching sporting events.
One area I felt that could be improved is the user manual. There are menu options on the SP3 that are not even mentioned in the user manual. Even though they are somewhat obvious it is always nice to be able to make reference to the manual to validate your assumptions.
When I did my evaluations I used the Marantz UD9004 for CD, SACD (stereo and mc) and Blu Ray. I used the VPI Scoutmaster through an EAR 834P for vinyl listening.
My evaluation consisted of:
1. Compare the picture quality of an HDMI video signal through the SP3 and direct to the projector.
2. Compare the analogue portion of the preamp to the previous SP1.7 I had and its predecessor a Proceed AVP. Compare the analogue section to other analogue pre amps I have heard.
3. Compare the performance of the DAC (s) in the SP3 to the DAC (s) in the SP1.7 and the DAC (s) in the Marantz.
4. Compare the DSP performance in the SP3 with the DSP in the Marantz.
Before I go into the results that I heard and saw I thought I would provide a little background on the Marantz UD9004 to put into perspective what I was expecting. The UD9004 is a multi format disc player that is considered by many people as a reference quality Blu Ray/DVD player for its image quality. It is also a reference quality CD player as well as SACD and DVD Audio. This is a $6000.00 multi disc player that compares to multi thousand dollar stand alone CD and SACD players.
My expectations in comparing the DAC in the UD9004 and the SP3 were that they would be very close. This is also the case in comparing the DSP in the 9004 with the SP3. In my room I have not heard a better sounding CD or SACD player or seen a better picture out of my projector.
The Marantz UD9004 has:
6 AK4399 32/192 DAC's
DSP is a SHARC 32 bit Analogue Devices
The SP3 has
Crystal Devices 4398 DAC's
DSP is a TI DA710

The SP3 is a multi channel Pre Pro. The preamp section is based on the award winning $3000.00 BP26. The DAC is based on the award winning $3,000.00 DBA-1. Those facts alone should imply that the SP3 will outperform the SP1.7 for analogue and DAC quality.

My results:
1. HDMI video quality. This was quite simple. I used 4 Blu Rays that have very good video quality. Water For Elephants (chapter 5 and 10), Super 8 (chapter 2 and 5), BBC Life chapter 1 and Casino Royale (Chapter 2 and 4).
I watched each scene with the HDMI connected directly to the RS25 and through the SP3. I could not see any difference in picture quality. I know this is not possible but in my notes I wrote that the picture through the SP3 seemed a little better. This could be my subconscious justifying my acquisition.
2. Compare the quality of the analogue portion for both multi channel and stereo. This was where I spent a lot of time because I have never heard my room sound better. I went through multiple CD's SACD's and albums and could not believe how much better the SP3 sounded compared to anything else I have heard. I have heard people comment that the BP26 is comparable to pre amps costing well over $10,000. Based on what I heard I would concur. The sound was more open, more dynamic, better imaging. My Usher speakers disappeared and the width of my soundstage extended beyond the width of my room. I'll give one example. I was playing the SACD Chesky, Symphony Orchestra of Northland Opera in stereo. On track #2 I asked my wife to come and listen. The image was so wide she thought the sound of the bells was coming from the surround speakers. The instruments, other than the piano which was well centered, seemed to occupy a space well outside the boundaries of my room. As an analogue pre amp the SP3 exceeded my expectations and encouraged me to pull out albums and CD's that I have not heard in years.
I have a little demo I like to do when we have visitors and they say you still have a record player? I have the Jennifer Warrens album Famous Blue Raincoat in vinyl, CD and I have also ripped Rock me Gently as a 64K, 128K and 256K MP3 version. Going from the various compressed versions and comparing to CD demonstrates to everyone what happens when you compress a digital file. Comparing the CD to the album is where most people are amazed. Everybody would agree that the album sounds better than the CD. The difference is not subtle but you do have to listen. What I found is that with the SP3 versus the SP1.7 that difference is far more obvious. I don't know why but I would say that the SP3 is even more true to the source than the SP1.7
3. Compare the DAC performance of the SP3 with the UD9004. The UD9004 has over 1000 hours on it so it is well burned in. The SP3 has less than 100 hours so I would assume will only get better over time. I went back and forth between the digital input and 2 channel bypass on the SP3. I listed to CD's that I am familiar with. Everything from Jennifer Warren's famous Blue Raincoat, to Keith Jarrett/Charlie Hayden Jasmine.
When I did this with the SP1.7 the Marantz DAC's sounded better IMHO than the DAC's in the 1.7. Prior to getting the Marantz I had a number of CD players and DVD/Blu Ray players. This included the Pioneer Elite DV59i. In every comparison I did, I felt the SP1.7 sounded better than the CD players DAC's. When listening to CD's using the 1.7, I always used the digital input. The Marantz was the first CD, SACD player that sounded more open and dynamic than the SP1.7. Not by a large margin but definitely more appealing to my ears. Listening to Patricia Barber, Ode to Billy Joe, Stacey Kent, Chris Issak etc. switching back and forth I could not say one was better than the other. The SP3 is definitely better than the 1.7 and I think as it gets a few more hours on it could sound better than the Marantz.

4. Switching to movies was where I spent most of my time. I wanted to hear the sound of the DSP in the SP3 and compare it to the sound of the DSP in the Marantz. There are some incredible examples of what can be achieved with the new DTS HDMA 7.1 and Dolby True HD. I spent time with huge dynamic movies and intimate music concerts and was very happy with the performance of the SP3. On a couple of nights I realized it was after 2:00 AM as I fed more and more discs into the Marantz. The only annoying aspect of the SP3 has nothing to do with the SP3 but with HDMI and the handshaking that has to happen. Many times when I switched from 7.1 channel to HDMI the data would hiccup. This required me to stop everything, power off the SP3 and the Marantz and start over again. I got used to the fact that going from HDMI to 7.1 bypass was never an issue. It was going back to HDMI that caused the hiccup. This is not unique to the SP3. As I mentioned I have another system that is all Pioneer Elite and it has the same problem. HDMI is a nice concept but was not intended for the audiophile IMHO.
One lesson learned the first night is to double check and then triple check all settings in the SP3 and the Marantz to make sure that when I switch back and forth I am truly comparing the DSP in the SP3 with the DSP in the Marantz. The later has a very confusing menu structure which if you are not familiar with is counter intuitive. Case in point the first night I felt something was wrong with the SP3 because through HDMI it did not sound good. Through the 7.1 analogue inputs I was truly amazed at how incredible the sound was in my media room. It was only the next day I realized that the Marantz was set to send an LPCM with BM signal to the SP3 instead of Bitstream. This meant the Maratnz was processing the signal including BM and sending it to the SP3 to do its own BM, resulting in a very congested and boomy sound. Once that issue was resolved I went back and played:

Casino Royale - Chapter 7 and 9
Super 8 - Scene 3, 12 1nd 15
Water for Elephants - Chapter 2,8 and 19
Avatar - Chapter 8, and 4
Peter Gabriel New Blood - Red Rain, Salisbury Hill
Return to Forever Montreux 2008 #10 Stanley's Solo and #8 Chick's Solo

Based on all the listening I did over a total of about 20 hours for movies and concerts alone, this is the best pre amp I have heard and the best processor I have heard in my room. I have a lot of notes for all my listening but a couple of key observations. First, my home theater is bigger than it has ever been. The ability for me to get surrounded by delicate or dynamic sound is more than I was expecting. I have a lot of concerts on Blu Ray. If you have not heard the Peter Gabriel New Blood concert you owe it to yourself to hear how good your room and your system are. That concert and the Return to Forever concert are IMO the best examples of what this new medium is all about.
I did switch back and forth between having the SP3 process the data and the Marantz process the data and do give the nod to the SP3. I found, especially when the sound was more intimate, like a lot of the dialogue in Water for Elephants, the SP3 just sounded more natural.
I could go into more specifics and do have the notes if anyone is interested.
To summarize: I waited 2 years to replace my SP1.7 and was very close to moving to something else. If I had done that I would be very disappointed knowing now what the SP3 can deliver. Everything I wanted in new pre pro and more. This time patience did pay off.
Well done Bryston.
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post #5 of 38 Old 01-23-2012, 08:50 PM
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Hi All,
I was also waiting for the SP3. I love Bryston electronics. I have an all MBL speaker system, powered by different Bryston amps. I use a Lumagen for scaling and video switching, so I really just wanted the audio processing.
I'm pretty disappointed that Bryston chose not to include room correction software. In fact, it is a deal-killer for me. My room is waiting for optimization by a local guru. However, it's not a purpose-built room, it's a basement that's been appropriated for home-theater use. In my case, both processors that I've had, a Denon with Audessey and an Anthem with ARC, have benefited, to varying degrees, from the correction software. In this case, I think that Bryston blew it by not stepping up to the plate here.

David

DES
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post #6 of 38 Old 03-26-2012, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I have not posted for about 1 month but thought I would comment on some recent developments with the SP3.
One of the areas I commented on befroe was the HDMI handshaking issues I was having when swithing from HDMI sources or from HDMI to 7.1 bypass. The SP3 would hang and I would have to power it off and then on again.
I am happy to report that I just updated the latest firwmware (2012.05) which came out on March 6th. This was the 4th update they have come out with since the introduction of the SP3.
The upgrade process could not have been any easier. I plugged the SP3 into my router, opened up a browser window and typed in my serial number and a new window opened up that allowed me to update the firware directly from the Bryston secured FTP site. The process from start to finish took less than 5 minutes and my new firmware was installed. Most important to me is that is preserved all my settings.
This firmware improved a number of set up menus issues but for me the most important improvement was the HDMI handshaking. I switched back and forth from 3 HDMI sources and then from HDMI to 7.1 channel bypass. It worked perfectly all the time.
I am very impressed with the fact that even with a new product like the SP3 they continue to tweak the firmware to improve the ease of use and set up of the product.
As far as overall impressions with the SP3 they reamin very positive. Now that every component is well burned in I find that other than pure analogue for SACD, vinyl and CD, I do all my listening through the HDMI on the SP3 it is the single biggest improvement I have made to my media room in years.
The SP3's decoding of DTS MA and Dolby HD is now better than the Marantz in its ability to reproduce a huge open dynamic soundstage.
The one area of set up that still confuses me is setting Xover for my mains.
I have the speaker size for main set to "large" and the rest to "small". When I go into the next screen to set Xover the mains show "40Hz" as the lowest available option. To me that implies that any audio signal going to my mains that is less than 40Hz is being routed to my subwoofer. I would think that when you set the mains to "Large" the Xover option should be "off" ar at least "na". My main speakers are full range and I want to make sure they are getting a full range signal.
Can anybody comment on that?
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post #7 of 38 Old 03-26-2012, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRC View Post

The one area of set up that still confuses me is setting Xover for my mains.
I have the speaker size for main set to "large" and the rest to "small". When I go into the next screen to set Xover the mains show "40Hz" as the lowest available option. To me that implies that any audio signal going to my mains that is less than 40Hz is being routed to my subwoofer. I would think that when you set the mains to "Large" the Xover option should be "off" ar at least "na". My main speakers are full range and I want to make sure they are getting a full range signal.
Can anybody comment on that?

?? Why? For regular bass management, the crossover setting is irrelevant and ignored. OTOH, there is also the option of "XTRABASS" where the LARGE speakers remain full-range but their bass below the selected crossover is duplicated in the subwoofer. Why waste a setting on "off" or "na" when they are not necessary?

Kal Rubinson

"Music in the Round"
Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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post #8 of 38 Old 03-26-2012, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

?? Why? For regular bass management, the crossover setting is irrelevant and ignored. OTOH, there is also the option of "XTRABASS" where the LARGE speakers remain full-range but their bass below the selected crossover is duplicated in the subwoofer. Why waste a setting on "off" or "na" when they are not necessary?

Thanks Kal
Looking forward to your review in Stereophile.
What do you mean by "crossover setting is irrelevent" ? If I have my main speakers crossing over at 40Hz does that not mean any signal going to the main speakers less than 40Hz is being crossed over to the sub?
I have tried XTRABASS and it sounds to bloated for me.
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post #9 of 38 Old 03-26-2012, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
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What do you mean by "crossover setting is irrelevent" ? If I have my main speakers crossing over at 40Hz does that not mean any signal going to the main speakers less than 40Hz is being crossed over to the sub?

Not if the speaker is set to LARGE.
Quote:


I have tried XTRABASS and it sounds to bloated for me.

Always does but some like it.

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Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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post #10 of 38 Old 04-19-2012, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Not if the speaker is set to LARGE.
Always does but some like it.

Kal,

I read your review on the SP3 yesterday and you seem very impressed. How does this compare with the Classe SSP 800? I want to order either the SP3 or the Classe SSP800 and unfortunately cannot wait for the next music in the round issue when you would be listening in your Connecticut system as I sold my pre-pro and would have to bit the bullet within a week.
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post #11 of 38 Old 04-20-2012, 02:14 AM
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I'm not Kal, but as I have listened to the Classe SSP-800 and the Bryston SP3 before buying the SP3, maybe it's a good idea to share my impressions.

For me it is important that a processor/pre sounds good in stereo as I can't (and I don't like to, for the reason read on) install two separate systems (stereo / surround).
Mostly I listen to classic music and opera's, in stereo and in surround.

The speakers are B&W 800Di's for the front and other B&W's for the other 3 speakers. I don't use a subwoofer.

I heard both pre's in different rooms, with different equipment, so wat I say is based on restricted information.

I was impressed by the sound-quality of the SSP-800, especially in surround. Further I like the idea of the way the SSP-800 gets upgraded and the manual is a pleasure to read.

But, I was overwhelmed by the reproduction of music by the SP3, in stereo and in surround: an open, very well positioned sound.
So I bought the SP3.
Do I miss a roomcorrection system? No, although my room isn't acoustically optimal.
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post #12 of 38 Old 05-08-2012, 12:50 PM
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Jurgen Thanks for your reply. I mainly listen to two channel and sometimes watch movies. What was the single attribute you liked better over the classe. The SSP800 is touted more for its 2 Channel performance whereas the Anthem D2V is touted for its multichannel performance. I have had the D2v and the Cary Audio Cinema 12. I was not impressed by the Anthem's sound in 2 Channel. However the Cary's sound was phenomenal but the unit had too many issues and after waiting for months for a firmware release I gave up on it. The beauty of the Cary is it can do a 32 bit conversion of SACD to Analog without a PCM conversion like how Oppo BDP 95 does it unlike the SSP 800 or the Bryston SP3 which converts it to PCM before doing the analog conversion. When I read Kal Rubinson's article on Stereophile he seemed to hear more detail with the Bryston's DAC than with the Oppo and the Oppo by itself is very resolving in particular.
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post #13 of 38 Old 05-11-2012, 02:27 PM
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I would be hard press to pay 10k for a processor like the SP-3 with a twenty year warranty. As you know a processor is like a computer with a very short life span. It would be nice if Bryston would reduce the warranty to 5 years and the price, too, as I don't know too many folks who would keep a processor for 20 years.
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post #14 of 38 Old 05-16-2012, 11:18 AM
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Power amps are 20yrs. Brystons 'digital' warranty is 5yrs.
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post #15 of 38 Old 05-22-2012, 03:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a2k2000 View Post

Jurgen Thanks for your reply. I mainly listen to two channel and sometimes watch movies. What was the single attribute you liked better over the classe. ... When I read Kal Rubinson's article on Stereophile he seemed to hear more detail with the Bryston's DAC than with the Oppo and the Oppo by itself is very resolving in particular.

I was a few days away so my answer had to wait.

Well, I wrote 'But, I was overwhelmed by the reproduction of music by the SP3, in stereo and in surround: an open, very well positioned sound'. As I see it it is in the same line as what Kal said.
And I can't add much to this. It's a very neutral and open (honest) sound. If you like that, then the SP3 could be a processor for you.
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post #16 of 38 Old 05-22-2012, 06:55 AM
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This past weekend while in Philadelphia, I drove to Jenkinstown, Pennsylvania and visited the Hi Fi House. It was a very nice high end audio and video store and featured some of the best audio and video equipment on the maket today. The store and showroom are impressive indeed, and the Bryston, SP3 was setup in its best showroom. I was there for about 1/2 hour, but during that brief time, I had a chance to listen to the SP3. My impression was the soundstage was hugh. So much so that the room seem bigger than its actual square footage. The salesman was trying to demo its best material, but I opted to listen to what I was playing in the car at the time since I was familiar with the sound. In any event, I played a Greg Karakas CD which features piano playing, and I head sound in the CD that I never heard from it although I have owned it for years. I could not believe what I was hearing, and throughout the short listening session, all I could do was grin from ear to ear. The sound was hugh, powerful and deep. I am seriously contemplating buying the SP3. I would encourage anyone in the Philadelphia area to visit the Hi Fi House, as it is probably one of the finest audio stores in the country with all the "BEST" audio and video equipment that is covered in the major magazines. The interior of the store is nothing less than eye candy, and I will make it one of my places to visit while in the Philadelphia area.
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post #17 of 38 Old 05-22-2012, 06:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APS View Post

Power amps are 20yrs. Brystons 'digital' warranty is 5yrs.

Thanks, I still wish they would lower the price.
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post #18 of 38 Old 05-22-2012, 10:42 AM
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gbaby,

How in the world can you attribute the sound to the pre/pro as opposed to the speakers/room?

Did you try a different pre/pro as well?

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post #19 of 38 Old 05-22-2012, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noah katz View Post

gbaby,

How in the world can you attribute the sound to the pre/pro as opposed to the speakers/room?

Did you try a different pre/pro as well?

Actually, I visited The Hi Fi House as a consumer rather than a critic. But I can say that the SP3 was connected in the store's main home theater which featured Sonus Faber speakers (electra I think) together with Byston 14B and 7B amps. The source player was the top of the line Ayre through HDMI. All I can say is that I read Kal Rubinson's review, and heard what he heard as far as the sound enlarging the room and the music sounding weighty with much punch and musicality. I did not notice any acoustic treatment in the room. Naturally, I did not try another pre/pro as I was there for a half hour max. But, I was impressed with the overall sound and can say I've never heard anything like that sound.
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post #20 of 38 Old 05-22-2012, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by a2k2000 View Post

Jurgen Thanks for your reply. I mainly listen to two channel and sometimes watch movies. What was the single attribute you liked better over the classe. The SSP800 is touted more for its 2 Channel performance whereas the Anthem D2V is touted for its multichannel performance. I have had the D2v and the Cary Audio Cinema 12. I was not impressed by the Anthem's sound in 2 Channel. However the Cary's sound was phenomenal but the unit had too many issues and after waiting for months for a firmware release I gave up on it. The beauty of the Cary is it can do a 32 bit conversion of SACD to Analog without a PCM conversion like how Oppo BDP 95 does it unlike the SSP 800 or the Bryston SP3 which converts it to PCM before doing the analog conversion. When I read Kal Rubinson's article on Stereophile he seemed to hear more detail with the Bryston's DAC than with the Oppo and the Oppo by itself is very resolving in particular.


I am wondering how the Bryston SP3 compares to the Cary Cinema 12?

The Cary is half the price of course. .

Anyone compared these two units?
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post #21 of 38 Old 06-15-2012, 10:46 PM
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Hey, glad I found this thread. I'm seriously thinking about one of these.

How does it sound with your "computer" music files? Do you use the USB input? I'm a little late to that party
and still trying to figure it out.

I currently have the same Marantz UD9004 that you do, the Parasound Halo P7, and Parasound Halo A51 amp. Also have a Dish Network DVR. Unfortunately, I have to listen to the DVR in stereo because as you know, the P7 is analogue only. So the Sp-3 would kill two birds for me, provide surround sound for my TV viewing, and give me a good dac I can hook digital music files into (if I ever get that figured out--I have an iPad and want to use it as a controller.

Did Kal ever answer your question about the comparison between the sound of the SP-3 and the Classe? I'd love to hear your opinion, Kal, if you see this.

Thanks in advance.

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post #22 of 38 Old 07-08-2012, 10:17 AM
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C'mon all you Bryston SP3 owners or lurkers, chime in here about your experiences. Only 21 posts is pathetic for such a supposedly wonderful processor. The Classe SSP-800 thread has over 4000 posts!!! If you 've heard the SP3, how did it sound? Compared to what? If you own it, is it easy to set up, and is it easy to operate? Can you do basic functions like trim on the fly? As far as sound quality in 2ch, does it lean towards the detailed, analytical side, or to the fuller, warmer side? Does it make all recordings sound good, or can it be a bit ruthless with lesser recordings?
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post #23 of 38 Old 07-08-2012, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffkad View Post

C'mon all you Bryston SP3 owners or lurkers, chime in here about your experiences. Only 21 posts is pathetic for such a supposedly wonderful processor. The Classe SSP-800 thread has over 4000 posts!!! If you 've heard the SP3, how did it sound? Compared to what? If you own it, is it easy to set up, and is it easy to operate? Can you do basic functions like trim on the fly? As far as sound quality in 2ch, does it lean towards the detailed, analytical side, or to the fuller, warmer side? Does it make all recordings sound good, or can it be a bit ruthless with lesser recordings?


+1!!!! Curious minds want to know!!!!!
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post #24 of 38 Old 07-09-2012, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I must admit I am also surprised by the lack of responses to this post that I started back in December. As I mentioned in my original observations I would compare this to any 2 channel "audiophile" pre amp out there. I have not had the opportunity to compare this in the same room to other pre amps but I have heard the Ayre, Classe, and prefer the sound of the SP3. It is very open, detailed, dynamic. I would not say it is analytical but it is true to the source. When I play vinyl my phone stage is tube based and the sound becomes more "warm" but still very detailed.
Very easy to set up but you cannot trim on the fly. By that I am assuming you are talking about trimming speaker levels, Xovers point etc. while music is playing.
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post #25 of 38 Old 07-09-2012, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by DRC View Post

I must admit I am also surprised by the lack of responses to this post that I started back in December. As I mentioned in my original observations I would compare this to any 2 channel "audiophile" pre amp out there. I have not had the opportunity to compare this in the same room to other pre amps but I have heard the Ayre, Classe, and prefer the sound of the SP3. It is very open, detailed, dynamic. I would not say it is analytical but it is true to the source. When I play vinyl my phone stage is tube based and the sound becomes more "warm" but still very detailed.
Very easy to set up but you cannot trim on the fly. By that I am assuming you are talking about trimming speaker levels, Xovers point etc. while music is playing.

Thanks DRC,

I ask about the SQ because in the past Bryston equipment has been accused of being somewhat bright or analytical. This is not the impression I got about the SP3 from Kal Rubinson's review in Stereophile, but, as always, it's system dependent, so I'd love to hear more opinions to develop a consensus on it's two channel sound, both as pure preamp and using it's internal DACs. I just moved to a Mcintosh MC452 amp for my Revel Salon 2's (via Sunfire TGP5 prepro), and it just sounds wonderful and has made many previously difficult-to-listen-to CDs very listenable again. I dont want to go backwards again with the Bryston, where I get unbelievable sound from good recordings, but crappy sound from poor-to-middling recordings. This is one of the reasons I hesitate on the SP3, historical analytical/bright sound, and no tone controls or EQ of any kind to tame the poorer recordings if the Bryston pushes them to the unlistenable side again.

Yes, by trims, I mean speaker level. I can do that now from my remote, although I do have to hit menu button and quickly punch through several levels to get to the individual speaker trims (all done visually from my prepro's little display screen). About 3 quick button pushes. I find this function indispensable as I cant tell you how many times I have to adjust center or surround levels movie-to-movie to get the right mix, as there seems to be not much consistency on volume levels. So you are saying there is no way to do this with the Bryston while its playing a movie or mch music?
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post #26 of 38 Old 07-09-2012, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkad View Post


I ask about the SQ because in the past Bryston equipment has been accused of being somewhat bright or analytical. This is not the impression I got about the SP3 from Kal Rubinson's review in Stereophile, but, as always, it's system dependent, ..................................

The SP2 was definitely brighter and sharper .............in my system.  The SP3 was well balanced.


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post #27 of 38 Old 07-09-2012, 01:56 PM
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Thanks DRC,
I ask about the SQ because in the past Bryston equipment has been accused of being somewhat bright or analytical. This is not the impression I got about the SP3 from Kal Rubinson's review in Stereophile, but, as always, it's system dependent, so I'd love to hear more opinions to develop a consensus on it's two channel sound, both as pure preamp and using it's internal DACs. I just moved to a Mcintosh MC452 amp for my Revel Salon 2's (via Sunfire TGP5 prepro), and it just sounds wonderful and has made many previously difficult-to-listen-to CDs very listenable again. I dont want to go backwards again with the Bryston, where I get unbelievable sound from good recordings, but crappy sound from poor-to-middling recordings. This is one of the reasons I hesitate on the SP3, historical analytical/bright sound, and no tone controls or EQ of any kind to tame the poorer recordings if the Bryston pushes them to the unlistenable side again.
Yes, by trims, I mean speaker level. I can do that now from my remote, although I do have to hit menu button and quickly punch through several levels to get to the individual speaker trims (all done visually from my prepro's little display screen). About 3 quick button pushes. I find this function indispensable as I cant tell you how many times I have to adjust center or surround levels movie-to-movie to get the right mix, as there seems to be not much consistency on volume levels. So you are saying there is no way to do this with the Bryston while its playing a movie or mch music?

Sound & Vision reviewed the SP3, and someone from Bryston wrote a comment saying that with the latest firmware revision it is now possible to adjust channel trims from the remote.
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post #28 of 38 Old 07-10-2012, 12:20 PM
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As I recall didn't S&V state it was a bit over priced for the feature set?

Kal, curious has ADA (sorry to get off topic) ever contacted you or you them to do a review? it seems they are the hot rock now...

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post #29 of 38 Old 07-10-2012, 03:05 PM
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As I recall didn't S&V state it was a bit over priced for the feature set?
Kal, curious has ADA (sorry to get off topic) ever contacted you or you them to do a review? it seems they are the hot rock now...
. I don't think too many potential buyers will be put off from the lack of osd, but no room correction has some concerned from what I have read. I don't think S & V said it was overpriced for the feature set - they just pointed out what it didn't have and a few ergonomic quirks.

Kal in his review seemed to like the ergonomics. He went so far as to call it the first great pre/pro. I just wish I could compare the Bryston & Integra in my system to decide for myself if the Bryston was that much better and if I would be happy with it's ergonomics. I'm concerned about using my harmony one with the Bryston .
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post #30 of 38 Old 07-10-2012, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmiles View Post

Kal, curious has ADA (sorry to get off topic) ever contacted you or you them to do a review? it seems they are the hot rock now...

I have been in touch with ADA as recently as 2 weeks ago.  The sticking point is that they are back-ordered and I cannot expect a review sample until they can satisfy their paying clients.  This is not a mass producer who makes batches of 1000.


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