When (when?) I can finally sell my current home and find a new one, I plan on spoiling myself and purchasing some Magnepan speakers. The speakers I have in mind (1.7's) can soak up a lot of power, so I am considering buying a used preamp/amp to drive them since the Magnepans will consume a large part of my budget.
I've been considering older Bryston, Acurus, Aragon etc. but I wonder how well 20 year old equipment is going to sound. Any thoughts, considering I at least purchase something like mentioned above that should have good build quality and hopefully quality components? _________________ (bholman on the AVS forum)
Joined: 06 Feb 2009 Posts: 3754 Location: Eastern Shore Maryland
TV/Projector: Runco DLP VX-3000i Marquee 9500 parts doner
Link Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:33 pm Post subject:
I am very partial to Bryston. You simply can not kill them. The SST amps where very neutral. The 4 Bsst is 500w @4 ohm and I think 600 at 2ohm. I am not sure about 1 ohm loads, the Brystons can run at that load but I think it has to be reworked ...by Bryston, and it will still be under their 20 year warranty. I just sold a 4 Bsst that was 8 years old for $2026. It still had 11 years of warranty on it!
The older St amps were pretty good too. The original 4B was more industrial minded but sounded OK... from what I remember from 20 years ago. They can be had for about 600 bucks, I think, no warranty though
So SST will have a warranty, an ST might have a few years left warranty wise and the ST's can be had for under a grand.
I now have the Bryston 4Bsst2 and a 9 bsst2. In all honesty the 9 Bsst was a mistake for me. Since it only does surround duty I should have kept my 6B sst and just added an other amp to cover the back two speakers. It would have cost less to do and I couldn't tell you there is a difference in the surround use at all.
But the 4 Bsst2 for 2 channel is really good [IMO] ; however, there are some that preferred the SST neutrality. It too sounds very, very, good.
I've had 6 different iterations of Bryston amps through my systems. Never had a problem with any of them. Ever.
What sold my on the Brystons was I had a system that I built in the early 90's that was tri-amped and I was using many different amps to get them to stand up to my use...abuse. I had Rotel, Sony, Techniecs, Pioneer. They all fried from over heating, even though I had fans blowing in the rack at all times. I put the Brystons in and guess what? They over heated too, but the thermal circuits tripped and they came back on, time and time again. They had turned from black to purple from the heat but kept on working, while being abused for 6 years until I retired them, I gave them to a guy I had working for me at the time ...I don't know what happen to them after that.
They were the little 2bLp 60 watts @ 8 ohms. They cemented my loyalty to Bryston from then on. Of course all I really needed was more power from the beginning and a better organized rack... or more money
That's my biased, very biased, view. _________________ Firefly rules. Can't stop the signal.
Joined: 08 Mar 2006 Posts: 18074 Location: Langley, BC
Link Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 5:38 pm Post subject:
I'll take a different approach. WHile classes of amps will differ, generally speaking, to me anyways, an amp is an amp is an amp.
There's nothing special about Bryston, but you pay through the nose for the warranty. Take the 20 year warranty away from the amp, and you could take 1/3 the price away from the amp. I've repaired a lot of 4Bs in my life, only because the client didn't want to spend the month waiting for the round trip to and from Bryston in Toronto.
Now, the flipside is, BRyston does really take care of the customer. An old salesman of mine got 4 18 year old 3Bs on trade once, and I kept two and he kept two. He sent his to Bryston to get overhauled, and total cost was $160 incl shipping. He opted to get the main filter caps changed, even though the originals were fine. They charged for that since the originals weren't bad yet, but the $160 also got him original boxes, a spec sheet, new faceplates (the amps came out of a club and were nicotine stained, etc.) Best $160 he ever spent. Oh, and they did all the performance mods to his version of amp that had been done to the 3Bs since his were built at no charge as well.
As for how amps sound, I put his Bryston against an equally powered Inter M amp, a $200 dealer cost made in Korea power amp that I've sold tons of. I build an A/B switch to toggle between the two amps. We did double blind tests using vintage JBL4311 studio monitors, and used different types of music. MY sales rep picked the Inter M amps 2 out of 3 times as to which amp sounded better. He was some choked!
From a reliability point of view, I'd get a vintage pro type amp like a Bryston over some audiofool amp any day, simply due to reliability, but I've thrown out 20ish year old QSC amps that were driven like snot in a bar a number of times, as the PC board traces were flaking off the board after years of abuse. I'd say that the R&D put into a pro amp is a lot more than a tiny company building esoteric cool looking audiophile amps as well.
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