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Theta or Bryston Amps with Aerial Speakers???

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Hi Guys,

Been a while since I posted but I am going to be buying The Aerial 9's and CC5 and Theta Casablanca for my new HT (I already have the money and I will be purchasing in the VERY near future ). My question is should I power my Aerials with the Bryston amps or Theta amps? It is going to be for HT mostly and I really want to get the best Depth and Imaging and Detail I can get from these speakers. Will there be a big difference in sound between the two brands of amplifiers? I am willing to spend the money necessary to get the best possible sound. Multi channel and or monoblocks... Please do not use price as a factor in your opinions.

Thanks!
post #2 of 50
I would recommend the Theata amps for the Aerials (my real recommendation is McIntosh but you didn't list that :-). I would also do separates for the front three and then a multi-channel for the surround and rears.

In my experience, Bryston tends to be a little harsh on the highs with all Aerial models.

Whatever your decision, remember that the Model 9's thrive on big clean power. I would recommend nothing less that 400 wpc.

Good luck, you won't be disappointed with the 9's!

Ken
post #3 of 50
JRUNR;
I have the CBIII, 9's and CC5.
Given the 2 choices you present I would go Theta. I know that there are many fans of using the Bryston amps with Aerials and I personally use 4 different Aragon 8008 series amps (3 in operation now for the fronts and surrounds with the fronts being bi-amped, rear LR5's to be purchased and bi-amped).
I found a significant difference in the sound when I bi-amped, moving from 400 watts per speaker at 4 ohms to 800 watts per speaker; they just came alive.
The most important factor is to get plenty of power in an amp that can handle a demanding load and maintain the sound quality you desire. Both Bryston and Theta can do that. However, the Theta just sounded better to my ears than the Bryston and I expect to move in that direction when I replace my amps.
Good luck!
BP


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrunr View Post

Hi Guys,

Been a while since I posted but I am going to be buying The Aerial 9's and CC5 and Theta Casablanca for my new HT (I already have the money and I will be purchasing in the VERY near future ). My question is should I power my Aerials with the Bryston amps or Theta amps? It is going to be for HT mostly and I really want to get the best Depth and Imaging and Detail I can get from these speakers. Will there be a big difference in sound between the two brands of amplifiers? I am willing to spend the money necessary to get the best possible sound. Multi channel and or monoblocks... Please do not use price as a factor in your opinions.

Thanks!
post #4 of 50
I agree that Theta is the way to go. I heard Aerial 20t with Citadel and that combo brought tears to my eyes.

I don't agree that the 9's need 400w.. what most speakers need, just my opinion, is clean stable power. I think the Dread 2 with the 225wpc cards will be a perfect 5ch amp to pair off with the 9's and the CC5.

I have the CB3 and Dread2.. right now I am "torn" between the 802d's and the Wilson sophia 2's.. with matching center / surrounds..

Wish I could fing an Aerial dealer in Canada.. lol

Think the Brystons will be too fwd ... Good luck
post #5 of 50
I have Three Citadels, 1 Dreadnaught, CB3, 3 LR5's for front LCR - Sorrounds are Triad Gold In Walls (Due to Aesthetics).
I Leant something new lately - advised by experts - it will be better if you use same speakers for LCR - so all 9's instead of 2 9's and one CC5.
Good Luck.
PS: I have listed SR3's for sale in the FS Section of the forum.
post #6 of 50
Jrunr, as an Aerial Acoustics and Bryston dealer myself. I specifically added Bryston to be mated with the Aerials and I love the combination. Bryston amps are some of the most neutral sounding on the market, their warranty and support of their products is fantastic as well! We have the Bryston 6B-SST mated with the Aerial LR5 and CC5 in our theater room. This is an amazing combination and I can't really recommend a better multi-channel amp that would better it for the money without paying significantly more $$$.

Another amp I would consider would be the Parasound Halo JC1 monoblocks. We have the JC1's with the Model 9's.......This system sounds absolutely amazing.
post #7 of 50
Thread Starter 
I was consdiering the Theta Enterprises, or possibly even the Citadel for the front three. How would that differ from the Bryston 7B SST amp? I know the Bryston is rated at a higher wattage, but The Theta is much more expensive...

Please let me know what the best way to power them would be. Thanks again!
post #8 of 50
I use the 7BST's for my 10T's and CC3 with a Meridian 568.2mm and 598. Absolutely amazing sound and completely transparent to my ears. No harshness or flatness. Full dynamics with large, deep soundstage. Heck even my old rock CD's like Rush "2112" sounds 3D like. I feel like I'm in the studio during the recording with space/air between performers. Classical recordings are just as good as live...if not better since I'm in the sweet spot. I couldn't be happier.

There are plenty of great amps out there but how can you beat a 20 warranty and outstanding customer service from Bryston? They are the best IMO.

Ron
post #9 of 50
I luv Theta. But I've still got my Bryston 7B mono amps all around 10 years now.

Theyre modded though and I've been told by many don't change them, and that they don't sound like Brystons they've heard before. Modded with better binding posts for more solid connection, Bybee devices internat AC. And on top of Symposium Rollerblocks on top of Symposium Ultra platforms. Using Granite Audio power cords direct to each amps own 20 amp 10 guage wire circuit. HA!

They're so good I just haven't felt like spending bucks for even "better" amps.
post #10 of 50
Thread Starter 
Does anyone else have any information about the diferrence between the two amps?
post #11 of 50
I'd opt for the Bryston also. It is a much more neutral and transparent amp, not to mention far less hyped up price wise. For the cost of a pair of Citadels, you could have three of the new insane 28BSST monoblocks (just get on the waiting list, they can't build them fast enough). I've had the big Thetas, including Citadels and replaced them with Bryston. Also, if I had to lay a bet on which amp would be working in 20 years...no question which one it would be (Bryston).
post #12 of 50
Just thought Id put a little input in as well since I have the Aerial 9s paired with a Bryston 14B SST, and the CC5 paired up with a 7B SST.
I personnally like the Bryston paired w/ the aerials. The Aerials are a very nuetral speaker, and the Bryston doesnt "add" anything into the mix. There was a post earilier in this thread about the Brystons making the Aerials sound "bright?".......................not even close, and I wouldnt put too much thought into that because well, it just aint so.
I heard the 9s paired with some Theta enterprise mono blocks, and they did sound good, no question, but it did seem to me like the Thetas were adding "something" to the presentation other than just letting the speakers speak for themselves. Now, they werent bad, and was a decent combo, but when compared to the Brystons, I felt like the Brystons didnt stand in the way of the Aerials, and actually made them (if this is possible) an even better sounding speaker, the Brystons added another layer of sound that the Thetas just couldnt replicate. Now I didnt test the Thetas to the limit while demoing, so I cant say what they do at higher volumes, but I can tell you that the Bryston doesnt skip a beat AT ANY LEVEL! If I were in your shoes, and you want all seperates, 7Bs across the front would be what I would do. But if space is limited, you could do something similar to what I did, and utillize the 14B SST for L/R, 7B SST for C, and a 6B SST for the surrounds and rear. I tell ya, Ive had numerous systems over the years, and heard many more, just like most people here, but I really think Ive found a solution for "upgradeitis". You just cant go wrong with an Aerial, Bryston combo.
post #13 of 50
oh, it was "harsh" that was in one of the previous posts. And once again, ........................nope.
When you get a chance to listen I think you'll agree. I could (and do on occasion) sit and listen for an entire afternoon, at any volume, with any style of music from classical to metal and never feel fatigued, or the want even to turn down, usually it just continually gets louder, until the wife has had enough!
post #14 of 50
Thread Starter 
I will admit that I have never had the chance tolisten to these speakers with Bryston Amps. I did, however, listed to them off of a Theta CB III and Dread II. It was great! I know that I want more power than the Dreadnaught puts out, so this is why I am looking at the Citadel or Bryston amps.

I am also wondering what the diferrence would be between say, bi-amping two Dreadnaughts (which would be 450w times two at 4ohms each) and a Theta Citadel (650w at 4ohms mono)

Would there be a sonic difference? Should i start another thread specifically asking this question?

Thanks again. I just want the best sound I can get for my Aerial music/HT set-up. This will also probably be the only time I will ever be able to afford such a thing...lol
post #15 of 50
Quote:
I am also wondering what the diferrence would be between say, bi-amping two Dreadnaughts (which would be 450w times two at 4ohms each) and a Theta Citadel (650w at 4ohms mono)

There is no need to waste your money bi-amping when you can simply buy a great performing amp like the ones you've chosen. If you want more power go with a monoblock and don't look back. You are putting way too much effort into this. The Aerials are wonderful speakes and sound great with as little as 100W. Do they sound better the more power you give them? Yes! But, let's be realistic.
post #16 of 50
Thread Starter 
I am just going off of recommendations from retailers and other members here on AVS. Like I said, it is going to be the one time I will be able to really afford to do something this drastic... The Aerials are great, but expensive. The Theta gear us great, but expensive...

Again, I have not heard the Aerials through Bryston amps, but I am hard pressed to believe that they can sound any better than they did with the Theta Amp...
post #17 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrunr View Post

I am just going off of recommendations from retailers and other members here on AVS. Like I said, it is going to be the one time I will be able to really afford to do something this drastic... The Aerials are great, but expensive. The Theta gear us great, but expensive...

Again, I have not heard the Aerials through Bryston amps, but I am hard pressed to believe that they can sound any better than they did with the Theta Amp...

Buy some used Brystons on Audiogon and try them out? Warranty is still valid to anyone and at 20 years...How can you go wrong?

If you like the Theta then just go for it. Both will sound awesome. I just think you will save some cash if you go with the Brystons.
post #18 of 50
Thread Starter 
But what is the actual sound diferrence? Can it be described, or is it something that has to be heard to understand? I am so confused...lol
post #19 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrunr View Post

But what is the actual sound diferrence? Can it be described, or is it something that has to be heard to understand? I am so confused...lol

Everyone hears differently. Unless someone here as had both amplifiers in there own setup and lived with them for a while it would be difficult to describe both amplifiers. Even still you might hear something the other guy didn't. I always use my own ears to make my decisions.

Cheers!
post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrunr View Post

I am just going off of recommendations from retailers and other members here on AVS. Like I said, it is going to be the one time I will be able to really afford to do something this drastic... The Aerials are great, but expensive. The Theta gear us great, but expensive...

Again, I have not heard the Aerials through Bryston amps, but I am hard pressed to believe that they can sound any better than they did with the Theta Amp...

Why don't you be realistic? The Brystons will sound great and you can afford them a lot sooner, especially if you watch used on Audiogon.

You can always get better. For how much money? How much tweaing? (HA!)
What really counts is your enjoyment, and the pricepoint of the Brystons you can enjoy.

I have considered upgrading to the Theta Citadels in my system, knowing how I can get a good deal. I suspect they would sound even better than the Brystons that I have. But I have other financial priorities and its not worth the money to me, especially as I am SO HAPPY with my Bryston-Aerial sonics (since 1997).
post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrunr View Post

But what is the actual sound diferrence? Can it be described, or is it something that has to be heard to understand? I am so confused...lol

They do sound differently. I think the Theta stuff is a bit more layered when it comes to the sound stage. Bryston has more low end punch in the couple of comparisions between the two that I have done. This has been a long time so I am going from memory of demos I did at two different dealers. Both companies make great amps. There are, as has been said, more Bryston stuff for sale on Audiogon. The Bryston 7Bsst monoblocks are really an idiot proof decision. Easy to re-sale and great performance. I luv my Mcintosh amps though. The MC501 monoblocks are just so damn cool. When the Jazz is swinging and the big blue meters are bouncing, it is heaven. There is the same reaction every single time. Both men and women walk into the room and the first comment are always about the amps. The MC501 is a Jaw dropper.
post #22 of 50
I take it you're using a sub for your HT.
post #23 of 50
Ok. It's coming back to me. I think the difference in the sound between Theta's monoblocks and Bryston has to do with the use of negative feedback. At least that is what I seem to remember. I think the chief designer for Theta is a former Classe designer. Theta uses either little or no global negative feedback. If you listen to amps with such designs like Theta and also the BAT amps, you find that they are very pure sounding with great sound stages. However, negative feedback does have the advantage of increasing the bass response and that is what gives the Bryston the edge there. With amps of this caliber, either amp is going to give you stellar performance. I have had good experienc with both companies.
post #24 of 50
Thread Starter 
Bulldogger,

Thank you for that description. That is EXACTLY what I was looking for!

I plan on running a minimum of 2 great subs with this system so I want to focuse on the imaging and soundstage. It sounds as if the Theta amps are the way to go in this regard. I also understand that the Thetas are going to cost me A LOT more than the Bryston 7B-SST amps will. ( 3 Citadels and a Dreadnaught 2 as opposed to 3 7B-SST and 2 4B-SST amps for 7.2) However, I am not sure which actual amp configuration I will go with...

This is going to be a fun adventure, that's for sure...
post #25 of 50
Here's a thought that might give you what you're looking for at a major cost savings. Run Enterprises on the LF & RF and use a 3 channel Dread for the center and rears. The Enterprise gives you more power than the Dread and most of what the Citadel will do at much less cost. The Enterprise has gotten a bad rap since Michael Fremer's review of a cold pair right out of the box. They needed at least 100 hrs. before they sound anything like they should.
We run this on Vandersteen 5 A's and a VCC 5 with excellent results.
post #26 of 50
You might want to go for the extended warranty then. That 90 day standard is pretty weak.
post #27 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

You might want to go for the extended warranty then. That 90 day standard is pretty weak.


What???
post #28 of 50
Well, like you said, it's going to be a fun adventure
post #29 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyree91 View Post

Here's a thought that might give you what you're looking for at a major cost savings. Run Enterprises on the LF & RF and use a 3 channel Dread for the center and rears. The Enterprise gives you more power than the Dread and most of what the Citadel will do at much less cost. The Enterprise has gotten a bad rap since Michael Fremer's review of a cold pair right out of the box. They needed at least 100 hrs. before they sound anything like they should.
We run this on Vandersteen 5 A's and a VCC 5 with excellent results.

Will the Enterprise bridge the gap between the Dreadnaught II and the Citadel? Looking at the specs, the power diferrence is pretty small... How is the performance?
post #30 of 50
Pardon me:
I want to know what amplifiers is BEST for my Diva Utopia speakers. My purpose is HT for my kids and Music for me.
These are the amplifiers in mind or consideration:

* YBA1 (2 channels)
*Sim Audio Moon Titan Multiple channels (HT)
*Chapter Audio 2+ (2 channels)

What pre/processors are recommended when choosing any of the above amplifiers for my speakers and my goal?
Thanks
oswald
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