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    Audiophile Style Podcast: Episode 10 | Bryston Interview

    Episode 10 is up and being delivered to all the podcast platforms right now. In this episode I talk with Bryston CEO James Tanner. We discuss the past, present and future of the company, including its new change in ownership, its push into digital music servers a decade ago, its recent loudspeaker initiative, and its modular DAC/Preamp the BR20. The show finishes with two album recommendations and a round of bonus questions where there are no wrong answers. 

     

     

    Purchase the album recommendations here:

     

    Eric Dolphy's Music Prophet, The Expanded 1963 New York Sessions, Remastered by 2xHD -https://audiophile.style/edmp

     

    Lake Street Dive's Obviously - https://audiophile.style/lsdo

     

    More information about Bryston - https://bryston.com

     

    Listen via the embedded player below or subscribe on any platform.

     


    Current Podcast Setup.jpgAs much as I'd love to deliver this show to everyone in lossless high resolution audio, the podcast platforms only accept MP3. So, I record everything as lossless WAV files using a Neumann TLM 103 transformerless cardioid condenser microphone, then convert to 320 Kbps MP3 to give everyone the best quality currently possible. Given that I'm using a Merging Technologies Anubis analog to digital converter to record, I technically could do everything at DXD (384 kHz) or DSD256, but that's a bit over the top, even for me.

     

    A big thanks to David Chesky for allowing me to use the track East Harlem, from the album The Body Acoustic. The album can be purchased and downloaded at 24/96 from the Chesky Records site here

     

    All AS Podcast episodes can be found here, or you can find / subscribe on every podcast platform known to man. If I missed a platform some people use, just let me know. Here are links to the most popular platforms.

     

     

     

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    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Wow... Another great podcast.

     

    First thing first...


    I think @The Computer Audiophile needs to try a Bryston 4B3 amplifier as I suspect you may replace your Constellation amp with the Bryston as it is really that good. Phenomenal transparency, fantastic microdynamics and macrodynamics and extremely musical for something with so much power.

     

    I also appreciate your comment that the biggest challenge to audio manufacturing is private equity trying to lower quality of products and squeezing out as much profit from well-known brands. And of course, James Tanner has also seen the other problem where some manufacturers would try to drive costs down by outsourcing to China for manufacturing and lowering the quality and quality control of products. Obviously, fundamentally, there is no issue with Chinese manufacturing as you can have high quality products like iPhones being manufactured in China with great quality control. As a Chinese Canadian, I'm aware of lots of Asian audiophiles, Chinese audiophiles who live in China and Chinese Canadian/American customers who want high quality manufacturing and high quality products regardless of where it is manufactured (which is currently mostly in the USA and in Europe for high-end audiophile products and less so in China).

     

    On the other hand, while I do think Bryston DAC/CD players are really great for their price and the preamps are very transparent, I have in the past been underwhelmed by some of their other products. BDP is not the most user-friendly product. The Bryston speakers have great dynamic range without distortion but were not particularly musical to me. And Bryston's older amps pre-cubed series are actually all slightly bright and I don't know the engineering reason behind it but I suspect it is poor high frequency performance due to excessive open loop distortion or insufficient high frequency feedback or maybe it's insufficient RF filtering but really not sure. I understand James Tanner is going to try to sell products his company makes and think that all products are great.

     

    That said, I also think Bryston's new cubed amplifier series is the most underpriced treasures out there. It no longer has the brightness of the older amplifiers. And it is phenomenal in sound. I was surprised when I saw @The Computer Audiophile review the BDA-3.14 without reviewing the 4B3 amp.

     

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    Not heard the podcast yet, still on the older ones, but I would like to ask ecwl if he was able to listen to the 4B or 4B2 to compare his 4B3.  Specifically I have found the previous versos of the 4 series to be "dry" in sound flavour, thanks in advance. 

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    56 minutes ago, ecwl said:

    Wow... Another great podcast.

     

    First thing first...


    I think @The Computer Audiophile needs to try a Bryston 4B3 amplifier as I suspect you may replace your Constellation amp with the Bryston as it is really that good. Phenomenal transparency, fantastic microdynamics and macrodynamics and extremely musical for something with so much power.

     

    I also appreciate your comment that the biggest challenge to audio manufacturing is private equity trying to lower quality of products and squeezing out as much profit from well-known brands. And of course, James Tanner has also seen the other problem where some manufacturers would try to drive costs down by outsourcing to China for manufacturing and lowering the quality and quality control of products. Obviously, fundamentally, there is no issue with Chinese manufacturing as you can have high quality products like iPhones being manufactured in China with great quality control. As a Chinese Canadian, I'm aware of lots of Asian audiophiles, Chinese audiophiles who live in China and Chinese Canadian/American customers who want high quality manufacturing and high quality products regardless of where it is manufactured (which is currently mostly in the USA and in Europe for high-end audiophile products and less so in China).

     

    On the other hand, while I do think Bryston DAC/CD players are really great for their price and the preamps are very transparent, I have in the past been underwhelmed by some of their other products. BDP is not the most user-friendly product. The Bryston speakers have great dynamic range without distortion but were not particularly musical to me. And Bryston's older amps pre-cubed series are actually all slightly bright and I don't know the engineering reason behind it but I suspect it is poor high frequency performance due to excessive open loop distortion or insufficient high frequency feedback or maybe it's insufficient RF filtering but really not sure. I understand James Tanner is going to try to sell products his company makes and think that all products are great.

     

    That said, I also think Bryston's new cubed amplifier series is the most underpriced treasures out there. It no longer has the brightness of the older amplifiers. And it is phenomenal in sound. I was surprised when I saw @The Computer Audiophile review the BDA-3.14 without reviewing the 4B3 amp.

     

     

    Thanks for the kind words and for bringing up the subject of sourcing in a very logical way. Comments surrounding sourcing can cause people to jump to conclusions because there's often a lack of nuance in public speech. As you say, the Chinese can manufacturer some things on a level that's incredibly high. In the US, we'd be very hard pressed to match their quality building iPhones without several years of practice, trying to get up to speed. There are also very good HiFI components made in China by very good engineers and very nice people. I went to sushi with a Chinese rep a few years ago and it was an experience I'll never forget. I learned so much about Chinese culture with respect to foods eaten and enjoyed every second of it. In fact, I share the stories with my 9 year old daughter once in a while.

     

    That said, I also love manufacturers who keep everything in their local economy and who keep ownership of the company to people with pride in the product. Selling to private equity or holding companies can be a very bad thing. When the goal of the owners is to grow the company, increase margins, then sell it, things can get ugly. There's certainly a place for this type of business and I don't blame anyone for participating, but I've seen behind the scenes of what happens when these companies collect HiFi brands. It isn't my thing. 

     

    I applaud Bryston for everything the company has done. It was really great talking to James to hear all about this stuff. And yes, I really should get some Bryston amps in here :~)

     

    P.S. I can't wait for its OS2 digital platform. 

     

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    1 hour ago, steve21 said:

    Not heard the podcast yet, still on the older ones, but I would like to ask ecwl if he was able to listen to the 4B or 4B2 to compare his 4B3.  Specifically I have found the previous versos of the 4 series to be "dry" in sound flavour, thanks in advance. 

    Yes. I really don't like the sound of 4B or 4B2. Bright or dry is a common way to describe the old Bryston amps and I do think it's 100% true. When the 4B3 came out, I walked into a dealer shop and heard some music and was surprised by the sound as the dealer also had Simaudio (Moon) which usually is a little more mellow and warm with less detail and I heard this incredibly detailed, transparent sound that is neutral but not dry or bright. And then I noticed it was the Bryston 4B3. I wasn't sure if it was a fluke (because of the speakers or other electronics). But since the Bryston 4B3 came out, I have heard it on a number of occasions and have been extremely impressed by it. For people who like a high-end neutral amp with lots of power that is not harsh, Bryston 4B3 is the way to go. I even recommended it to a good friend who purchased one and he has been extremely pleased with it. He considers it one of the best audio purchases he's ever made (and he owns Chord Qutest and Wilson Sophia 3).

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    Good podcast. Made me respect this company more than I had. Thoughtful business approach and clearly great products. I really liked that they do their own manufacturing. 

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    If anyone wants to see Lake street Dive perform some of the tracks off the recommended album from this podcast episode, here's a just-released video.

     

     

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