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Article: Review | Bryston BDA-3.14 DAC / Streamer / Digital Preamp


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Good review. Seems like if you are a Roon user it's a great component.

I actually don't understand why most audio HW companies insist on writing their own UI. Few succeed. And if they do, it's often limited to use only with their own components.

 

Since it's running a Pi, there are multiple modern, mature, open source, superior OSes available. Or very good commercial ones like Volumio that can be relatively cheaply added. These could be setup by Bryston so the 3.14 could be a Roon Bridge, Squeezebox streamer, HQP NAA, UPnP render, MPLA renderer, Audirvana player, Airplay endpoint, etc., etc. The end user could then simply pick which interface he wants to use and connect seamlessly. This solution would be vastly superiior to the user experience you described.

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)>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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4 minutes ago, firedog said:

Seems like if you are a Roon user it's a great component.

 

For the most part yes. Although, there's a strange sample rate and no DSD limitation when using Roon, but I'm guessing it's a very minor issue for most people. The Pi can handle much more than just up through 24/192. 

 

 

 

4 minutes ago, firedog said:

Since it's running a Pi, there are multiple modern, mature, open source, superior OSes available. Or very good commercial ones like Volumio that can be relatively cheaply added. These could be setup by Bryston so the 3.14 could be a Roon Bridge, Squeezebox streamer, HQP NAA, UPnP render, MPLA renderer, Audirvana player, Airplay endpoint, etc., etc. The end user could then simply pick which interface he wants to use and connect seamlessly. This solution would be vastly superiior to the user experience you described.

 

Good points.

 

It would be really cool if users could flash a microSD card and run whatever they want on the built-in Pi. The sound quality is really great. Such flexibility would make this an unreal component. Bryston wouldn't have to give up the simplicity of its own solution for those who want it and wouldn't have to support all the other options. 

 

I'm looking forward to the new updated UI that Bryston is working on and I really hope the company will allow me to review it. I love Bryston as a company and the people who work there. First class all the way. 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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52 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

 

For the most part yes. Although, there's a strange sample rate and no DSD limitation when using Roon, but I'm guessing it's a very minor issue for most people. The Pi can handle much more than just up through 24/192. 

 

 

 

 

Good points.

 

It would be really cool if users could flash a microSD card and run whatever they want on the built-in Pi. The sound quality is really great. Such flexibility would make this an unreal component. Bryston wouldn't have to give up the simplicity of its own solution for those who want it and wouldn't have to support all the other options. 

 

I'm looking forward to the new updated UI that Bryston is working on and I really hope the company will allow me to review it. I love Bryston as a company and the people who work there. First class all the way. 

If you look at pictures of the Bryston with the top off you can see an upside down Raspberry Pi 3 with a micro SD card in its slot. It should be possible to try another SD card with MoOde or other Pi OS in there.
 

I would have thought you would need to do that if there was a major update to the Manic Moose software which needed to change the underlying Pi OS as opposed to tweaking the user application layer. As far as I know most (if any at all) Rasperry Pis don’t have a dual partition scheme where they flip between the two partitions when there is a firmware update. That allows the whole OS to be changed on the currently unused partition without needing to reflash the whole SD card.

 

System (i): (Stack Audio Link/MoOde > 2Qute+MCRU psu; Gyrodec/SME V/Ortofon 2M Black/EAT E-Glo Petit/Magnum Dynalab FT101A) > Glow Amp One > Klipsch RP-600M

System (ii): iUSB3.0 Nano/Allo USB Signature/MoOde > Bel Canto uLink+AQVOX psu > Chord Hugo > (Tandy LX5; JBL LSR305 ; Audeze LCD-3)

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I had a BDP-1 for many years and it was a solid performer within the context of the very limited interface.  As you mention, customer support is excellent and when the BDP-1 bricked support would tunnel in and fix it.

 

It is interesting that the same points you raise about MM were the ones that really annoyed me.  I came to hate the interface and it seems reasonable that many others dislike it too.  Therefore, it is really surprising that Manic Moose was used for this new product.  MM had been severely limited by the memory, etc. of the BDP-1.  To their credit, Bryston released MM updates that could fit on the BDP-1.  I truly appreciated that as an owner.  

 

Would be good to read another review once the UI is updated.  

Mola Mola Tambaqui / Kubala-Sosna XLR / Mola Mola Kaluga / KS biwire / B&W 803 D3

Ethernet:  iMac/Roon > ... in-wall 5e ... > Sonore opticalModule [Sonore 5V LPS] > UpTone EtherREGEN + Cybershaft OP13 [UpTone JS-2 LPS] > Tambaqui ( = DAC/Roon Endpoint/preamp)

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I was one of the first to buy the BDP-1.   The first platform was Loony Loon... the predecessor of Manic Moose.   To be honest I wasn't thrilled with the interface(s) either.   I was transitioning from a Mac mini and Hag USB converter which wasn't the best.   I got over the interface pretty fast when I heard the sound quality.   The Loony Loon and Manic Moose interface were quite similar.   Over the years I migrated to Manic Moose only because of the Tidal streaming functionality they added to it.   So what is the trade off?   I have an "ancient" media server that is still supported.   And here's the big one.... my wife uses it because the interface isn't continually changing.    However, I am waiting for Nutty Narwhal platform to come to life.  I know this means the BDP-1 won't be supported anymore...sigh.    Time to review options!    Please note I am a Bryston fan!

Mac Mini 2007: 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo, 3 Gig RAM, 500 Gig 5400 RPM HD[br]OSX 10.6.6, TimeMachine Off, Airport Off, Dedicated to Music[br]HAGUSB USB-->S/PDIF[br]Players: Audirvana, ITunes[br]Music Library: RedBook 16/44 WAV[br]Bryston BP26DA Preamp/DAC[br]Bryston 3BSST Amp[br]B&W 804s Loudspeakers[br]

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I had a BDA-3 early on. I really wanted the HDMI ports to work better. Mixing 4K in caused issues for me, back then. That’s probably fixed by now, I think there was an upgrade. Bryston offers great service, and does upgrade their stuff from time to time.
 

The sound is great! It was not a streamer back then.

 

However, I could not reliably read the small labels next to the bright LEDs. I know most of you have no issues with that, but I did.

 

Had a good year, and moved up to the Bricasti M12. Big, readable display, and big labels on the buttons. Replaced pre-amp, DAC, and microRendu (etc.).

 

I moved HDMI switching to the TV, and send all sound from that from TV to M12 with an optical cable.
 

 

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

[Home Analog] Technics SL-1200G > K&K Audio Phono Amp (Zu DL-103/Benz Glider-SL/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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I was interested in BDA-3.14, but passed on it for the outdated  interface. It felt like it belongs to 20 years ago, and just looking at it made me feel old. I hope Bryston launches a new dual AK4499 DAC just as Roon endpoint with DSD 512, but without too many other features. 

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