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The Official Bryston SP3 Thread.

post #1 of 1162
Thread Starter 
I just purchased a Bryston SP3 to replace my Arcam AV9 processor. The comments on the Bryston SP3 on this forum are fragmented so I decided to start a thread where everyone can post their comments on this processor. While I have not connected my SP3, I will report on my assessment of this pre/pro as soon as I do.
post #2 of 1162
Interested in following.
post #3 of 1162
Thread Starter 
I finally partially connected the Bryston SP3 to some of my components namely, the SACD player (Sony SCD-XA5400ES), my television as well as my Blu Ray player (Sony BDP-S5000ES). Except for the television, every thing is connected using HDMI inputs. While connecting the unit was simple due to the use of HDMI (I don't miss those RCA cables), it was very challenging to configure, not logical, and the instruction manual may as well not been included; its a joke and quite inadequate. I am not using the balanced inputs of the amps, but rather, I am using Blue Truth RCA silver cables from Bettercables.com. My amps are a 2 channel First Watt Aleph J amp and a 5 channel Krell KAV-500 amp. For some strange reason, I cannot play 5.1 SACD, but rather I am only getting either stereo or 7.1 sound with PCM @88.1 not 192/24. Moreover, in surround, the SACD sound seems to be in EX rather than 5.1 SACD so for now, I'm only listening to 2.0 SACD stereo. My speakers are Infinity Composition Preludes PF-R along with their matching surrounds with my sub being a Velodyne HGS-18.

While I cannot play SACD 5.1 yet due to a configuration problem (again this unit is not logical with my Arcam AV9 being a point of reference), my initial impression is that the 2 channel SACD sound is much better using HDMI through the SP3, than 2 channel sound with SACD through the D/A converter of the Sony SCD-XA5400ES. What I hear is more detail, a fuller and wider soundstage, and I hear instruments and sound that were never apparent before in familiar material. I will continue to work on the configuration, and I must add that I discovered the remote has a rattle like a part is loose within it. While the remote seems to work, it is irritating to hear the ratlle every time I pick it up, so I will be sending the remote back. The packaging and features on this unit are spartan at best, but it seems to have a state of the art sound that I cannot get the maximum benefit of due to configuration issues. I have a first batch unit as my serial number is 33. I'll report back when I can figure out what I am doing.
Edited by gbaby - 7/22/12 at 8:00am
post #4 of 1162
Thread Starter 
Most problems one has with a new unit is mostly user error and the same applies to the SP3. I am now getting surround from SACD, but its 7.1 EX. It sounds much better than I initially reported because I made a mistake and had the sub and center inputs swappped. Since I corrected this error, the SACD sound in 7.1 EX is phenominal. I am finally getting the SACD surround sound that I was looking for and found so lacking with the analog outs of the Oppo BDP-95. In fact, the Oppo SACD 5.1 sound from its analog outs is simply not in the same sonic league as the sound from HDMI of the Bryston SP3. Fortunately, my speakers are good enough to pick up the extra sonic improvements the SP3 offers. To use a trite saying, the sound from the SP3 is simply a revelation on my system.biggrin.gif And, there are more improvements to be had from SP3. Am I glad a purchased it; you betcha.wink.gif
Edited by gbaby - 7/22/12 at 8:02am
post #5 of 1162
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

Most problems one has with a new unit is mostly user error and the same applies to the SP3. I am now getting surround from SACD, but its 7.1 EX. It sounds much better than I initially reported because I made a mistake and had the sub and center inputs swappped. Since I connected this error, the SACD sound in 7.1 EX sound phenominal.

Could you elaborate gbaby ; it sounds like your applying a movie dsp mode with dd ex [ if the gui says that ? ] rather than a music dsp mode ? Hope you sort out 5.1 dsd ; it seems the more you spend on a component the worse the manual sometimes ..

How do you find its lack of room eq? or maybe your room is well treated to compensate ? The separation of pcb and psu in the chassis for isolation is very impressive for sure . So many upmarket pre pros competing now like the bryston the datasat and ada mach 4 its good to see smile.gif
post #6 of 1162
Thread Starter 
I stayed up until 5:00 a.m. listening to different SACDs, and the sound from the SP3 had me smiling throughout the listening session. I'm still getting 7.1 EX from the HDMI inputs, but it sounds so damn good, I stopped trying to get the unit to play standard 5.1 SACD surround. I cannot say that my room is acoustically flat; it has carpeting, plenty of furniture and extensive crown molding. But, I can say that while I don't have room treatment, I never heard any sound like I am experiencing, and for now, I have no interest in using the analog connections nor do I have an interest in equalization for reasons already articulated by most speaker manufacturers. I'll get to it, but right now, I'm too busy rediscovering the sounds from my 200 plus SACDs that heretofore, I have been listening to in only 2 channel. I finally understand Kal Rubinson's preoccupation with SACD mult-channel. Its the only way to listen to music.biggrin.gif
post #7 of 1162
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

I finally partially connected the Bryston SP3 to some of my components namely, the SACD player (Sony SCD-XA5400ES), my television as well as my Blu Ray player (Sony BDP-S5000ES). Except for the television, every thing is connected using HDMI inputs. While connecting the unit was simple due to the use of HDMI (I don't miss those RCA cables), it was very challenging to configure, not logical, and the instruction manual may as well not been included; its a joke and quite inadequate. I am not using the balanced inputs of the amps, but rather, I am using Blue Truth RCA silver cables from Bettercables.com. My amps are a 2 channel First Watt Aleph J amp and a 5 channel Krell KAV-500 amp. For some strange reason, I cannot play 5.1 SACD, but rather I am only getting either stereo or 7.1 sound with PCM @88.1 not 192/24. Moreover, in surround, the SACD sound seems to be in EX rather than 5.1 SACD so for now, I'm only listening to 2.0 SACD stereo. My speakers are Infinity Composition Preludes PF-R along with their matching surrounds with my sub being a Velodyne HGS-18.
While I cannot play SACD 5.1 yet due to a configuration problem (again this unit is not logical with my Arcam AV9 being a point of reference), my initial impression is that the 2 channel SACD sound is much better using HDMI through the SP3, than 2 channel sound with SACD through the D/A converter of the Sony SCD-XA5400ES. What I hear is more detail, a fuller and wider soundstage, and I hear instruments and sound that were never apparent before in familiar material. I will continue to work on the configuration, and I must add that I discovered the remote has a rattle like a part is loose within it. While the remote seems to work, it is irritating to hear the ratlle every time I pick it up, so I will be sending the remote back. The packaging and features on this unit are spartan at best, but it seems to have a state of the art sound that I cannot get the maximum benefit of due to configuration issues. I have a first batch unit as my serial number is 33. I'll report back when I can figure out what I am doing.

The rattle you hear from the remote is probably the sensor that makes it light up when you move it.
post #8 of 1162
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TL5 View Post

The rattle you hear from the remote is probably the sensor that makes it light up when you move it.

That may be the reason the light does not work.frown.gif Nevertheless, the sound is fabulous.biggrin.gif
post #9 of 1162
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

I stayed up until 5:00 a.m. listening to different SACDs, and the sound from the SP3 had me smiling throughout the listening session. I'm still getting 7.1 EX from the HDMI inputs, but it sounds so damn good, I stopped trying to get the unit to play standard 5.1 SACD surround. I cannot say that my room is acoustically flat; it has carpeting, plenty of furniture and extensive crown molding. But, I can say that while I don't have room treatment, I never heard any sound like I am experiencing, and for now, I have no interest in using the analog connections nor do I have an interest in equalization for reasons already articulated by most speaker manufacturers. I'll get to it, but right now, I'm too busy rediscovering the sounds from my 200 plus SACDs that heretofore, I have been listening to in only 2 channel. I finally understand Kal Rubinson's preoccupation with SACD mult-channel. Its the only way to listen to music.biggrin.gif

At least its not a hardwood floor smile.gif ; it may be the right shape for a HAA consultant to tweak a little. I hope pl2x turns up so you can use a music mode

Multichannel music for sure ; once read a live band doesnt reproduce sound from 2 point sources theres early and late reflections to consider cool.gif
post #10 of 1162
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwt View Post

At least its not a hardwood floor smile.gif ; it may be the right shape for a HAA consultant to tweak a little. I hope pl2x turns up so you can use a music mode
Multichannel music for sure ; once read a live band doesnt reproduce sound from 2 point sources theres early and late reflections to consider cool.gif

I'm almost ashame to admit that I have been so enamored with the sound of multi-channel SACD, that haven't even listened to 2 channel critically. I'm also only using HDMI. I have about nine Blu-Truth RCA silver cables that I am having converted to balanced cables so I'm sure the best is yet to come.cool.gifbiggrin.gif
post #11 of 1162
For $10k you better be enjoying it. In this day and age I find a processor which doesn't do DAC on audio over 96kHz hard to justify, plus other things like room correction. Meridian (also limits to 96kHz, evening downsampling 196kHz) at least has RC and the 'apodising filter' to boast. If I go this route I'd give the Audiolab a try myself.

I consider 88.2kHz insufficient for SACD if it is derived from 24/96 PCM or above.
post #12 of 1162
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilian.ca View Post

For $10k you better be enjoying it. In this day and age I find a processor which doesn't do DAC on audio over 96kHz hard to justify, plus other things like room correction. Meridian (also limits to 96kHz, evening downsampling 196kHz) at least has RC and the 'apodising filter' to boast. If I go this route I'd give the Audiolab a try myself.
I consider 88.2kHz insufficient for SACD if it is derived from 24/96 PCM or above.

I think that 88.2/24 is the native sampling rate of SACD. Regardless, sampling rate is just one aspect of having good sound. The construction of the analog stage, power supplies, the quality of transitors, and many other variables that I am unqualified to comment on. I can tell you that while it cost me 9.5k (its actual retail price), I know that I am listening to something special. I decided to purchase this unit for my 58th birthday so that I can enjoy it while my hearing is still good.redface.gif Last night I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. listening to the Earth Wind and Fire and Chicago blu-ray that I have heard many times, but this time, it was special. I could not believe the quality of the sound I was hearing. If I was a wordsmith, I could be more descriptive. All I can say for the moment is that the Bryston SP3 is the real deal, and I have not maxed out on its capabilities. Its sound is so good that it begs you to keep turning it up. I am unaccustomed to this kind of sonic experience, and now I know I am in the big league.biggrin.gif
post #13 of 1162
gbaby - Just sent you a PM
post #14 of 1162
Thread Starter 
After spending more time tinkering with my SP3, I have concluded that configuring this unit is not as challenging as I originally posted; as a matter of fact its simple. Whatever issues I may have had initially is due to my failure to adequately read the manual.
post #15 of 1162
Has anyone had any issues with the Bryston SP3 as far as HDMI goes such as delays in playing music missing the first few seconds or any pops the usual HDMI issues some manufacturers are unable to circumvent?
post #16 of 1162
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by a2k2000 View Post

Has anyone had any issues with the Bryston SP3 as far as HDMI goes such as delays in playing music missing the first few seconds or any pops the usual HDMI issues some manufacturers are unable to circumvent?

This has not been a significant problem with my SP3. When I first power up a movie, there is a very slight delay on the sound, but when you first power up a blu-ray you are seeing movie logo. If you play another blu-ray afterwards, there is no delay. For music, I have not experienced a delay.
Edited by gbaby - 8/2/12 at 2:21pm
post #17 of 1162
Thread Starter 
Last night, I changed the subwoofer cable from RCA to XLR. It is here where I could hear a significant improvement in the bass response. I mean I am hearing rock concert, in your guts bass that eludes the RCA inputs. It is very very deep and clean, and the last time I heard this kind of bass was at a Prince concert. I have since returned all of my RCA silver cables to bettercables.com to convert the entire 7 channels to XLR. I will report my sonic findings after I have received them and listened to the sound. For now, I can unequivically state that the Bryston BP3 has been hands down the best improvement to my audio system, and it may be my last. My Infinity Composition Preludes P-FR speakers are known to be accurate, but with a limited sweet spot for imaging. This is no longer the case. The sweet spot has been significantly expanded, and the sound is sweeter and more involving than ever.cool.gif
post #18 of 1162
Thread Starter 
All my XLR silver cables have arrived from bettercables.com, and they have been connected. I cannot describe the sound of my system since installing these cables without plagarizing. The sound is absolutely pristine. Its balanced, open, pure, and again, absolutely pristine. I have over 200 SACDs, and have never listened to any of them completely; only selective compositions. Two of them are vocals, Marvin Gaye, "Lets Get It On," and Donald McDonald, "Motown." Marvin Gaye's voice was so engaging that I listened to the entire SACD and discovered for myself why he is a singing legend. Every nuance from his voice could be heard with stunning clarity, and the mix had music coming from the rears that enhanced the music as I've never heard in my room. Heretofore, my Infinity Composition Preludes could only be thoroughly enjoyed in the sweet spot. This is no longer the case as these speakers shine from any sitting position in the room, and they also sound good while you are in another room. The bass and all other frequencies sound PERFECT. At present, I am listening to Michael McDonald, and he too, has a fantastic voice with great range. Keep in mind that I like instrumentals better than vocals. This has change as the Bryston SP3 has made me appreciate well recorded and mixed multi-channel music regardless of it being vocal or instrumental. The Bryston SP3 may be in fact the ultimate processor. I don't know because I only have the Arcam AV9 as point of reference. But, I can tell you that I am so satisfied that I am no longer interested in improving my system, but I am only interested in revisting my music library.
post #19 of 1162
Thread Starter 
I am embarrassed to say that every problem I thought I had with the SP3 was user error. I could not get the back light to turn on, user error, I could not get the balanced analog connection working, user error, and last, I could not download the update for the unit, user error.redface.gif Everything works as it should, and as much as I enjoy listening to multi-channel music through the SP3, I find the sound from the balanced outputs of my Sony SCD-XA5400ES to be the best I've heard in my system. It is a more focused and accurate sound as opposed to multichannel. The only problem with the SP3 is that it has exposed the rest of my system as being the weakest link.
post #20 of 1162
I appreciate you sharing your evolution on this processor. I've had about all I can stand from Lexicon on the MC-12HD replacement or should I more accurately say, lack of a replacement or update. They deserve to be punished for their marketing ineptitude. I'm thinking this is a great candidate to replace it which is why I've been following this discussion.

On the "user error" issues if you don't mind. Has it been just oversights from not reading the manual/instructions, or is it complexity related?

Thanks again.
post #21 of 1162
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigHat View Post

I appreciate you sharing your evolution on this processor. I've had about all I can stand from Lexicon on the MC-12HD replacement or should I more accurately say, lack of a replacement or update. They deserve to be punished for their marketing ineptitude. I'm thinking this is a great candidate to replace it which is why I've been following this discussion.
On the "user error" issues if you don't mind. Has it been just oversights from not reading the manual/instructions, or is it complexity related?
Thanks again.

I really liked your choice of words when you described my comments as "evolution on this processor."cool.gifsmile.gif In any event, ALL of my problems with the unit resulted from my complete failure to read the manual. The reason I failed to read the manual is pure laziness on my part as well as my having worked selling audio in the early '70s, and knowing most pre-amps and recevers work fundamentally the same. I can tell you that when I was having problems upgrading the unit, the designer of the SP3 gave me his personal cell number in order to walk me through the upgrade process. However, I was able to figure it out on my own by using a "bridge" to my router rather than connecting the ethernet cable directed to the router and the SP3. The unit has worked flawlessly. About the only thing I have noticed is I find myself alwayes turning up the volume because the sound is so delicious. It seems the more I turn it up the better it sounds, and I am having a lot of sleepless nights from staying up too late listening to different movies and concerts. I recently purchased a blu-ray by Lee Rittenour entitled, "Stolen Moment," listened to it twice, and before I knew it, it was 4:00 a.m.redface.gif
post #22 of 1162
You are really tempting me to buy one of these now. Thanks.
post #23 of 1162
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigHat View Post

You are really tempting me to buy one of these now. Thanks.

If you decide to purchase the unit, you will not have any regrets. And, as far as the unit not having an on screen menu, this has never been a problem or an inconvenience. At least give it an audition. One of its biggest attributes is a total lack of sonic signature. It leaves that to the recording engineer and just gives your a pure clean signal making every recording sound different.
post #24 of 1162
Nice thread, Gbaby. I've had my eye on this puppy for awhile. I just called my dealer to get the ball rolling on ordering one. I'll post if it happens. Unless the price has gone up drastically from what he quoted me in June, I'm in. (He said 10% off because another store offered me that. This guy is much closer to home, and I've done business with them before.)

Hopefully you can help me out if I have installation problems. (But I'll be sure to RTFM first...biggrin.gif)
post #25 of 1162
I have finally installed this unit but am having a little trouble with it. For some reason the sound is off when I play a CD through the Bluray or anything else for that matter. The two front speakers have all the highs and treble and mid base very recessed and there is something major missing. When I first set up the unit I just plugged a portible player into the single ended dvd output with a red and white cable to try the speakers out and that sounded normal. Now that I have connected the hdmi cables something seems to have changed and even doing the single input route again does not sound the same. Any suggestions? A setting is off maybe?
post #26 of 1162
Thread Starter 
First, congradulations Brian! Once you get this unit configured properly, you'll find out everything else you own is the weakest link.wink.gif Second, are your main (left and right )speakers large full range or small limited range speakers? Are you using HDMI input, optical or coaxial digital inputs? Are you playing stereo or 2.1; 5.1 or 7.1? Let me know your speaker setup. Is your playback source player set to HDMI or regular digital (optical and coaxial)?
post #27 of 1162
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Kinney View Post

I have finally installed this unit but am having a little trouble with it. For some reason the sound is off when I play a CD through the Bluray or anything else for that matter. The two front speakers have all the highs and treble and mid base very recessed and there is something major missing. When I first set up the unit I just plugged a portible player into the single ended dvd output with a red and white cable to try the speakers out and that sounded normal. Now that I have connected the hdmi cables something seems to have changed and even doing the single input route again does not sound the same. Any suggestions? A setting is off maybe?

Front speakers out of phase?

post #28 of 1162
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

First, congradulations Brian! Once you get this unit configured properly, you'll find out everything else you own is the weakest link.wink.gif Second, are your main (left and right )speakers large full range or small limited range speakers?

As spectacular as the SP3 is, I'm thinking the rest may not be weak links: Kef Blades and JC1s. My guess is full range smile.gif
Edited by jima4a - 12/4/12 at 5:15am
post #29 of 1162
Interesting , thanks for all the responses guys. Ok I'll check into the phase and full range if I can figure out what those are exactly on this unit. I am a little naive for this unit. It is probably something quite simple.
post #30 of 1162
And Gbaby I was just trying a PS3 actually just to test it , still waiting on Blu ray player and hard drive based player for two channel. I tried stereo and some of the 5.1 surround modes and when they were on the Blades on the front made the two rear speakers sound much better , which should not be happening.
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