Originally Posted by gbaby
You seem to state that the Mac is smoother sounding than your modified or updated Bryston. But, I could not tell if you noticed a difference between the unmodded vs. the modded Brystson. The last time I heard a Mac was around 1976, and as I remember it was a smooth almost tube like sound. The speakers used were Klipsh Horns. Perhaps the Bryston are not a good match for the Maggies you own, I don't know. But, I do know that some amps mate better with certain speakers. I am considering buying a Bryston 2BSST to replace my 2 channel Aleph J amp. I am satistifed with the performace of my Aleph J, but I have a Krell KAV-500 for center and rear channel duties and the only way I could get the Aleph J to keep up with the Krelll is to switch to Krell to -6db as well as reduce the volume of the center, and rear channels. And, while everything sounds balanced, I was thinking that the extra power may make the sound even better, I don't know. I wish I could borrow a Bryston, but where I live, that is impossible as the closest Bryston dealer to me is Raleigh, NC and he keeps no Bryston products in stock. At any rate, I have to agree with David (dminches) that $270.00 with shipping is not a great deal of money for the level of upgrade you received. Remember, the engineers have to get paid and there is a great deal of overhead associated with being an audio manufacturer. I'd be curious to know why you even wanted the upgrade. Did Bryston's newer amp have these "caps" and were they suppose to make its amps more tube like? What sonic improvements were you expecting?
My amp was gone for over a month and i got used to the hothouse i was using. I just don't have a memory that i could honestly state a difference after the capacitor upgrade although i still enjoy the Bryston amp. I just really liked the tube like sound of the Mac. I read that Magnepan demoed the 1.7s with a 4B SST2 at the CES so there must be something Magnepan likes about it. I believe i have got good performance per dollar in my speaker and preamp/dac and the squeezebox touch. I was really amazed with the Mac. See if you can demo the Bryston before you buy it. I can't complain too much about Bryston though. I had my 4B SST for 3.5 years and i was able to sell it for $155 more then i paid for it. If you are technically inclined to upgrade your equipment yourself you might want to get something that you can work on without voiding your warranty. I got a great deal on my new Magnepans 1.7s, although without a warranty, so i didn't mind maxing out their performance. I would have never touched them otherwise. I bought a Magnepan MMG and used a Mye stand to stand it on its side for my center speaker. My friend tried to talk me into a old class A Krell so we could upgrade it but they put out too much heat and used too much power for me. I find it hard to believe the Bryson 2B SST would sound as good as the Class A amp you have. If you have enough power for your front speakers i would just run the Krell at -6db and keep your Aleph. Then you can upgrade that in the future when you feel it is worth it and you don't have to worry about voiding a warranty. Those Class A "small amps" can put out some big sound with the right speakers. My friend has 25 watts per channel Levinson Class A monoblocks powering Quad speakers and it plays plenty loud enough.
I have a Onkyo TX-NR5008 avr that i run the preamp out into the single ended input of the Bryston. It adjust all the levels. You might want to try a good avr. I use the balanced/single ended input switch to switch between 2 channel and surround systems. I just use the 135 watts of the Onkyo for the center and my Paradigm surrounds. The amp has been powering the Magnepan center with no problem. I just use the audigy setup to automatically adjust the levels and timing. I'm not too picky about the amps for the center and rears.
I'm open to have anyone on the forum hear my Bryston on my Magnepan 1.7s. I live around Buffalo, NY. They can even bring over a amp for comparison. My neighbor with the Mac has all sorts of vintage high end amps that he got cheap on Ebay. My Hafler is a great example of what component upgrades can do. You would be shocked if you heard my Smart Theater version Hafler DH-220 after the upgrades. They include rewiring with silver plated wire, metal film resistors, Hexfred bridge rectifier, excellent but cost effective capacitors, and a few other improvements. If you look at super high end amps you will see many of the same components you can use to upgrade. Amp manufacturers just charge a fortune when they use parts like these but the parts alone are not really that expensive. It really is shocking how they multiply the price of a amp when using highly rated parts. Also, a lot of the cost of the amp is just the mega dollar case. Someone i know who was part owner and a sales person at the audiophile store i hung out at in Buffalo, NY in the 80's admitted audio is all smoke and mirrors. Here is a great website to read and look at the inside pictures of how audio components are built. http://www.hifishock.org/
Check out the vintage equipment and send them any pictures of stock equipment if you can.
I guess i am not a typical Bryston owner as far as my income goes but i get more enjoyment from listening to music at home then anything else so i spend as much as i can afford to get the most enjoyable sound. If my Bryston was not under warranty i would have upgraded the caps myself for a couple dollars. If i heard the Mac sound, i probably would have just replaced my 4B SST with a Mac. I just think that if someone owns a manufacturers $5000 amp that i don't think there should be any smoke and mirrors over replacing a couple capacitors that according to the tech take a hour to replace. If the two caps that i saw were truly the only two caps replaced they would have taken minutes for me to replace. I could not honestly say there is a improvement in the sound without a direct AB comparison. Of course there are many audiophiles that will drop $270 on their equipment like it is pennies. The money i spend probably shocks my friends. I'm sure most people reading this knows that money does not always give you better sound, just different sound. I got the upgrade because i read people's positive reviews about the capacitor upgrade and what Bryston said. The Bryston squared model amps like the 4B SST2 came with the new capacitors after a certain serial number quite a few years ago. The tech said he hadn't upgraded one in a long time. I realize when you are the typical audiophile you open yourself to Cadillac level fees but i just expected more work then one hour for $200 long after the upgrade has been implemented in production. I don't know what exotic sports cars dealers charge but i have been told the Mac hourly labor rate is no where near this. I guess i am living a checkers life while playing chess with the big guys. If you want a tube sounding solid state amp i would make sure you listen to Macs. This is what Bryston said about the upgrade and what i expected.
INPUT CAPACITOR CHANGE and FEEDBACK CAPACITOR CHANGE:
We have implemented the use of some very specialized capacitors in a number of key areas in the circuitry. There is a consistent improvement at high frequencies near and above 20K, and up to over 60KHz. These specialized capacitors are installed at both the input stage and the feedback loop of the amplifier circuitry. These capacitor changes affect all new SST² amplifiers.
The upgrade is only available for ‘SST²’ amplifiers ‘NOT SST’ or previous models.
At Bryston we are continually trying to improve the performance of our products. Please be aware that these changes are 'evolutionary' not 'revolutionary' in nature. They will provide subtle to noticeable improvements depending on your specific system and setup.
Gentle it is sir! Yes it is in the works. The problem is the size of the new capacitors are larger than the previous version so we have to do some modifications on the circuit boards to allow for the new caps.