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Bryston 9B-THX vs TagMcLaren 100x5R

2567 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  migliore
These two amps look quite similar (on paper) in terms of performance and price (at least here in Germany). Anybody on AVS listened to both of them, how do they compare? I am looking for a new amp to drive 5 B&W N805 (subs take over the bass); which one would you prefer in this case?

Thanks in advance,

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I haven't listened to both, but I'd go with the Bryston. 20 year transferrable warranty, superb customer support, great sound, radical build quality and great features make for an awesome 5 channel amp. The Bryston 120w amps (PowerPack 120, 3B ST, 5B ST AND 9B ST) are the "minimum" I'd use with B&W Nautilus 805s. I'm saving for the 6B ST (300w x 3, to be released in app. 6 weeks) and the Nautilus HTM1 to go with my Nautilus 804s.

[This message has been edited by lolittle (edited 10-08-2000).]

Thanks a lot for your comments. I should soon know which one sound better in my room. I just phoned my dealer and he agreed to lend me both the 9B-THX and the 100x5R to test them at home during one w-e.

After the Ferrari win maybe there will be specials on TM? : )
Alright Cineramax, no low blows from the moon will be tolerated http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif But if TM is going to have a "sale" I would be interested......Buzz????
Originally posted by simonsez:
Alright Cineramax, no low blows from the moon will be tolerated http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif But if TM is going to have a "sale" I would be interested......Buzz????

Actually I'm interested in the outcome of his listening to the Bryston and 100x5R. I like the Bryston designs enough I OEM'd them to create the Lexicon amps. OTOH, the 100x5R is incredible, and it even better built (hard though that may be to believe, it comes down to the engineering and manufacturing resources of TAG McLaren.

One of our integrated amps, the 60IrV, won an EISA award for it's sonics and the 100x5R sounds significantly better.

Check out what some of the professional reviewers have found (review info is on our web site).


Buzz Goddard
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Hi Buzz,

If you are interested, I'll post my comments here (with a description of my test setup). I'll have them both for 2-3 days end of next week (w-e 21,22 oct).

I must say that I am very currious as well, I think I read most of the reviews available on both of them (there are really a lot on the Bryston).

These two amps together with the Chord SPM1900 are on my very short list for my next upgrade (unfortunately, it will be difficult to organize a test of to the Chord at home). One of them will definitely join my system in the near future.

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Interestin post,

I myself are in a bit of a dilemma on choice of Pre-amp Av Processor. I have narrowed my choice down to the Tag AV32R and The Musical Fidelity HT. As much as I want the Tag, due to its well defined upgrade path, the Musical Fidelity just seemed to sound better. I am now in a quandry, do I go for an amp that doesn't sound as good but has a good upgrade potential or do I settle for the better amp without the possibility to upgrade.

Also has anyone partnered the AV32R with any other power amps apart from Tag's. I seem to think that the Tag power amp was the weak link in the Tag set-up I demoed. I read in one magazine that The Tag partners well with the Parasound? Any comments?
I just spent 2 and a half days with the Bryston 9B-THX and the Tag McLaren 100x5R and as promised here are my comments.

Test equipment:

preamp: Pioneer VSA-E07 (it is usually my amp but in this case I used it as a preamp),

louspeakers: Left/right B&W N805 (on B&W stand), Center B&W NHTM2, Rears: B&W N805,

subwoofers: 2xB&W ASW4000,

speaker cables: T+A speaker coax,

room treatment: ASC Tube traps.

I did some test with the subs taking over the bass below 80 Hz and without the subs (in this case setting the 805 to large on the preamp). Testing: 2-channels (70%), HT (30%).

1) Build quality: both of the amps are very well built. They both weight between 27 and 28 kg (I had the 9b-thx with 17" face plate and without handles). Difficult to give any advantage to one of them here.

2) Special features: the Bryston has XLR inputs, they are only useful to those with preamp equipped with XLR outputs (there are not many, but if you have one, it is nice to have). The TAG has a communication bus to connect it to other Tag equipment (AVR32R for example), it allows remote control on channels switching (when the preamp is set to stereo, the center and rear channels can be automatically switched off).

3) Warm up: when connected to power, I noticed that the TAG is more noisy than the Bryston (I guess this noise comes from the transformers). This noise can be a bit annoying (I could hear it from my listening position - 3m away from the amp) but as soon as the music play it is completely masked. I did a first listening as soon as the amps were connected (no warm up, I know, I shouldn't but I could not resist). I immediately noticed a big difference with the bass, the Bryston sounded much better, the bass were really shy on the TAG. HOWEVER, after a warm up period (2 hours), the situation changed and the TAG then recovered its bass. The warm up seems to be more critical for the TAG, that's why I don't thing I would use the amp switching feature with the Tag bus, I would leave the 5 channels switched on permanently. After the warm up period, both amps run reasonably hot.

4) Listening test: in fact both the Bryston and the Tag sound very good (not to say excellent) but they sound quite different. I was surprised that the difference was not with the bass anymore. Both of them seemed to have more than enough resources to drive my N805 very loud. Note that the N805 are bookselve speakers limited to +- 50hz and I cannot say anything else than "down to 50hz these two amps did not sound very different on my N805". The big difference was in fact in the mid and high freq. Difficult to say if one is definitely better than the other but at least I clearly have my favorite (it is perhaps a question of personal taste and also loudspeakers matching): my favorite is the Bryston. The 9B sounded smoother whereas the Tag sounded more aggressive to my ears, it was also a bit forward as compared to the Bryston.

Conclusion, the Tag is not for me, I still have to listen to a Chord amp before reaching final decision.


PS: note that the Tag AVR32 remains on my short list for pre/pro upgrade next year.

[This message has been edited by mfombellida (edited 10-22-2000).]
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I'm interested in how these amps compare to the ~$3k EAD PM1000 MarkII?


Migliore Theater
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