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Article: Bryston BDA-3 DAC Review


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Interesting, I heard this DAC fed by the Bryston BDP-2 with USB stick and it sounded fatiguing. Do you think the microRendu hepled it much? Thanks!

Everything matters. I wasn't fatigued at anytime during the review process and I listened day after day for hours on end.

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Everything matters. I wasn't fatigued at anytime during the review process and I listened day after day for hours on end.

 

For those of us who dont have microrendus it would be great to hear how it sounds directly connected to your MBP.

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For those of us who dont have microrendus it would be great to hear how it sounds directly connected to your MBP.

Zero fatigue heard with any of my sources. My overall impression of the BDA-3 is the same, no matter what source I used.

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About the tracks mentioned in your review: the link you gave to "Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet" is to the 192/24 version in HDtracks, but the version actually labeled as a Van Gelder remaster is the 44.1/24 one (which I have). Confusing (as usual with these old reissues, remasters, digital conversions). Which one did you listen to? Thanks!

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Okay, I figure you won't answer this, but you also reviewed another Canadian DAC, the Simaudio 380D dsd.

If you had to choose, would you buy that one or the Bryston?

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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On the subject of galvanic isolation, both the website linked page and the manual don't offer any explanation or boast that it exists for the BDA-3, only the glossy brochure :) This is very nice, but a value in Volts would help to make an evaluation a little easier.

 

For the life of me I wouldn't know what to do with one HDMI input, let alone four, but great for the HT. There are far more coax outputs on gear these days, and now more than ever easier to reclock and achieve quite a listenable output, so the two coax inputs are welcome, but more is preferred.

 

For the moment, the BDA-3 has stiff competition, the T+A DAC8 DSD hot on its heels with DSD512, and a digital monitor out, perfect to accept a re-clocker, or alternatively the AOIP Dante/Focusrite solutions offer another dimension in isolation and an affordable price level.

 

A holographic image from digital with so many links/interfaces in the chain, there's bound to be some loss. As you say, to achieve the same holographic image, the $'s really need to accelerate to reliably produce a sound in space, either in the DAC itself or outboard treatments, or both.

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On the subject of galvanic isolation, both the website linked page and the manual don't offer any explanation or boast that it exists for the BDA-3, only the glossy brochure :) This is very nice, but a value in Volts would help to make an evaluation a little easier.

 

For the life of me I wouldn't know what to do with one HDMI input, let alone four, but great for the HT. There are far more coax outputs on gear these days, and now more than ever easier to reclock and achieve quite a listenable output, so the two coax inputs are welcome, but more is preferred.

 

For the moment, the BDA-3 has stiff competition, the T+A DAC8 DSD hot on its heels with DSD512, and a digital monitor out, perfect to accept a re-clocker, or alternatively the AOIP Dante/Focusrite solutions offer another dimension in isolation and an affordable price level.

 

A holographic image from digital with so many links/interfaces in the chain, there's bound to be some loss. As you say, to achieve the same holographic image, the $'s really need to accelerate to reliably produce a sound in space, either in the DAC itself or outboard treatments, or both.

 

Galvanic isolation: Are you noticing a problem with your USB or other electrically digitally connected gear? Can you find any objective reason that such a thing is a problem in your gear? Or is this a concern someone somewhere thought was a problem and being applied broadly?

 

HDMI: Nothing wrong with this. It's a feature and I agree not everyone wants or needs this but for the price point, it's good to see Bryston expanding into much more sophisticated interfaces like this for those who might benefit. it does cost money to license HDMI technology and that's an expense Bryston has undertaken and adds value to this device.

 

"A holographic image from digital with so many links/interfaces in the chain, there's bound to be some loss." - how can you say this? Nothing's a guarantee, least of all some kind of direct correlation between the number of interfaces and "$'s" that might be attached to the asking price.

 

I guess I just don't understand the philosophy here when there's no evidence to suggest that many of these statements are based on reality.

Archimago's Musings... A "more objective" audiophile blog.

Free The Music - No MQA!  :nomqa:

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Just 2 remarks.

1. I'm slightly suprised the upsampling rates are quite low for a 3,5k DAC.

2. The Metallica.com 24bit downloads sound great, Chris!

What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well.
It helps men to rise above themselves.
 
  ―  Albert Camus, The Plague.

 

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It sounds like a great idea, but I'm struggling to come up w/ an application for dual USB inputs... maybe connecting a Crosley Executive USB turntable? I wouldn't mind seeing a stripped down version without the extra USB and HDMI inputs (2-4) for non-HT systems.

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I got my BDA-3 at the end of February. Spectacular DAC, spectacular company and service. I also use their BIT-15 power unit.

 

I had an issue with mine, talked with them about it, and RMA'd it. Of course it was perfect once at the factory. They then worked with me to find the XLR cable that had a short, causing the DAC to shut down. I tossed that cable, and they sent my DAC back. I had missed it significantly.

 

If you have a man cave including video like I do, this is the media center for you. Run the cable box, streaming box and DVD player though the HDMI switcher on the BDA-3, and your good to go. With this stellar DAC decrypting the digital audio, you will be very happy. DVDa works great, I need to test SACD again.

 

If I did not DIY Pass Labs based amps, and a planned Pre, I would be saving for their pre-amp BP26+PSU.

[Home Digital] Bricasti M12 > DIY M2x Monoblocks > Daedalus Audio Muse Studio Speakers

[Home Analog] Technics SL-1200G > Boulder 508 (Zu DL-103/Hana ML/Denon DL-301 II)

[Office] Laptop > Kitsune R2R lvl3 > Violectric V281 > Focal Utopia Headphones (balanced)

[beach/Travel] Laptop > DragonFly Red > Ether Headphones

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Galvanic isolation: Are you noticing a problem with your USB or other electrically digitally connected gear? Can you find any objective reason that such a thing is a problem in your gear? Or is this a concern someone somewhere thought was a problem and being applied broadly?

 

HDMI: Nothing wrong with this. It's a feature and I agree not everyone wants or needs this but for the price point, it's good to see Bryston expanding into much more sophisticated interfaces like this for those who might benefit. it does cost money to license HDMI technology and that's an expense Bryston has undertaken and adds value to this device.

 

"A holographic image from digital with so many links/interfaces in the chain, there's bound to be some loss." - how can you say this? Nothing's a guarantee, least of all some kind of direct correlation between the number of interfaces and "$'s" that might be attached to the asking price.

 

I guess I just don't understand the philosophy here when there's no evidence to suggest that many of these statements are based on reality.

 

Do I have to answer? You don't have my ears, go away.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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Chris, I'm late to the party but you should definitely check out the latest Megadeth record,
, as well as a few of the glorious retro-thrash records that have come out in recent years such as this.

Thanks Alex! Good metal recommendations are few and far between in this hobby!

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Thanks Alex! Good metal recommendations are few and far between in this hobby!

 

I'm just so happy that a piece of metal made it into an audiophile review. Btw, Metallica's latest is due out shortly as a double CD in high-res (check their official site for details).

 

I'll be covering it.... *gulp*

Co-Founder/Chief Editor

http://www.metal-fi.com

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Interesting, I heard this DAC fed by the Bryston BDP-2 with USB stick and it sounded fatiguing. Do you think the microRendu hepled it much? Thanks!

 

I had this DAC in the house for three days. I found it really fatiguing after only 20 minutes of listening. My gear: Roon > MacBook Pro > BDA-3 > McIntosh C2300 with Pvane tubes > Classe CA2200 > ML Summits. I also tried it with a Marantz AVP and Opera speakers. Same. My new Auralic Vega is fatigue free and amazing. I would have preferred the Bryston made in Canada.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Take a look under the hood of this skinny-boxed enclosure (the single pic above gives a hint) and you will find very little in the way of electronics taking up real estate inside. Does that matter? All depends. Some minimalists will defend the approach on the basis of minimal signal paths. Others will decry the lack of beefy transformers and robust power supplies. I tend toward the latter camp. Particularly knowing the minimalist parts list is due to intensive use of IC's and PCB circuit boards. The proof is in the listening. IC's and PCB's measure just fine and tend to sound dry and uninvolving particularly in the context of DAC's-all this just being one man's humble opinion.

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Take a look under the hood of this skinny-boxed enclosure (the single pic above gives a hint) and you will find very little in the way of electronics taking up real estate inside. Does that matter? All depends. Some minimalists will defend the approach on the basis of minimal signal paths. Others will decry the lack of beefy transformers and robust power supplies. I tend toward the latter camp. Particularly knowing the minimalist parts list is due to intensive use of IC's and PCB circuit boards. The proof is in the listening. IC's and PCB's measure just fine and tend to sound dry and uninvolving particularly in the context of DAC's-all this just being one man's humble opinion.

Hi @Fsonicsmith - I definitely hear what you're saying, but one must not fall into the armchair engineer camp that can determine a product's worth based on a build of materials.

 

Thanks for the honest opinion.

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Some minimalists will defend the approach on the basis of minimal signal paths. Others will decry the lack of beefy transformers and robust power supplies.

 

I wouldn't have thought that the two were mutually exclusive, in fact I find both desirable.

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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