Bryston 4BSST2, a hunk of power amp, rated 2 x 300W @ 8ohms load and 2 x 500W @ 4ohms load.

I was sipping tea with hifikaki, he asked a hyperbolic question. What if the day came when we could no longer buy another Pass Labs gear, for what ever the reason?

I had no answer then, but it turns out that James of AV Designs was thinking along similar lines. He certainly knows our boundless love and passion for Pass Labs!

Another hifi friend made a comment recently that he did not quite agree with my review of Esoteric X-03 SACD/CD player. He is of the view that my euphonious and sympathetic sounding Alephs were beautifying the final result of the Esoteric, sort of giving it a musical hand so to speak.

James than proposed that I try to live with a full Bryston system for an infinite period of time. I agreed, and suggested we slot in the Bryston gear piece by piece starting with gorgeously new 4BSST2(squared, not 2) power amp which just arrived his showroom. I will experience what a new Bryston owner would do so first hand.

We will be slotting in a Bryston BP26 pre amp sometime later, to be followed by the multi award winning Bryston BCD1 CD player. This way, I can, tell our readers my experience on each component's sound on their own merits. All these will finally accumulate in a final, full Bryston system review, and my experience of living with an alternative to the Pass Labs.

In the meantime starting today, all reviews of other hifi auxiliary components will be done with the Bryston 4BSST2 power amp in my system, and all results will reflect the capabilities and sonic signature of the said amp.

A full review of the Bryston 4BSST2 will be coming up soon. Stay tuned.

Bryston is sold by AV Designs, contact James Tan, tel: 016-3280237


Anonymous said...

Hey, I just realised Center Circle Audio did not stock Pass product anymore! I called them to ask for XA 30.5, even Pass Labs website did not list any more M'sian dealer.

futurekaki said...

Can you confirm? If that is the case, I will tell my neighbor friend who is Pass Labs fever to look for stock audition only lol.

Anonymous said...

its true but there is another dealer thinking about bringing it in. His concern is the euphonic sound of the pass which may be an acquired taste & therefore may not be fast moving.

As for the bryston dealer....sure aint paying hard bucks to a dealer who thinks we are all trying to waste their time by asking for home demo.

want to charge $$$ for demo...howzatt for arrogance.

Felix said...

Panzer, I can't wait for the 4BSST2 review! I am salivating alr!!!

Anony 8.22pm,
When I was a uni student abroad, it was required for us to leave a form of deposit everytime we want to take something home for audition. Usually, we'd have to leave almost full amount or a portion of the cost.

Later on I'd realize why dealers started to do that. Malaysian (yes, malaysian students in particular) students had been "abusing" the 30day money back guarantee policy by taking products home for "demo" and only to return after that. Normally, these incidents coincide with festive seasons or special ocassions.

Maybe we're not too much different at home too.

Panzer said...

Anonymous 2.01pm,

Yes, there are rumours going round implicating that CCA lost Pass Labs. I have personally asked Nelson Chia, owner of CCA and he denied such has taken place. In the mean time I see Pass Labs product popping up at other shops, which Nelson claims are parallel imports! So I cannot be sure what the official standing is. I can only hope the status can be clarified sooner rather than later.

Anonymous 8.22pm,

You seemed pissed by AV Designs.

I can name you quite a few shops charging for an audition, and one particular dealer even asking us to pay for sample review fees!!! Now how can you top that?

There are also other dealers that run a no review policy!

So if you ever wondered why some products don't ever appear on this blog pages, except for those bought and paid for with our hard earned cash, i.e. the review sample belongs to us! You know why!

But I won't name those hifi dealers, I believe it's standard practice for hifi retailers here. Honestly, before I started contributing to this blog, many dealers don't even wanna serve me like a customer! Let alone asking for a home trial! I didn't even think such things happened, until recently.

So if you think about it logically, from a dealer's point of view. They open shop for business. For them time, as in every other profit driven business, time is $$$. Also, home trials, they either allow you to take the equipment home for a couple of days, or they bring the equipment to you to try under supervision.

First option is very risky for them, unless they know you on a personal level, they won't allow it. I've heard dealers complain before about customers bringing home trial samples and then dissapeared with their goods un paid! What happens then?

Second option, if they allow you to home trial under supervision, that means they have to send some one along with the product, spend a few hours at your home, assist you in setting up your system. All is cost for them, worker time and petrol cost, plus the small risk of lugging very expensive equipment around, which may result in damage. All is fine if they make the sale, everyone is happy. What happens if you don't like it? All their time, costing and effort wasted.

I suggest a better way is to call up the dealer of the product you're interested, make a courtesy showroom visit appointment. From that meeting a dealer would be able to size your purchase readiness. And if they have reason to feel you're ready to buy, I think they'd be ready to make that sale too, even if it means asking for a home trial at that stage.

So you now believe that we are also not spared from the same grouses as you are?

Sting - not the english man in New York! said...

An infinite period of time = consider yours.

How great it is to be a hifi reviewer....woo hoo!

Panzer, another session perhaps in the future?

Ken said...


Look forward to your review. I always found Bryston amps to be bright sounding, more yin than yang actually.

I really wondered if they have changed now that they have the SST2 series. BTW, how much does the 4BSST cost?

Panzer said...


The Bryston 4BSST2 is not mine, it's on loan to me for an unspecified time frame. After which will be returned to it's rightfull proprietor, AV Designs.


The Bryston 4BSST2 is list at RM$18K.

km ng said...


Wow! On loan for an unspecified time frame.

Rod Steward's song, "Some Guys Have All The Luck" must have meant for you.

Can I park my ears for a while at your audio cave for some kind of wonderful with the big B?

km ng said...


What happen if after listening to the fully loaded "B", this happens:-

1) "M" player TERMINATED.

2) "P" pre TERMINATED.

3) "P" power TERMINATED.

Your SALVATION then is to make the loan into a buy - which may cause some damage to your pocket.

But can provide the much needed stimulus to the economy.

P.S. Sorry for the capital letters - blame it on the hangover effects of a movie I saw last night.

Eddie khor said...

Mr Felix.firstly i want to express my respect for you.I found most other comments either too much ahout personal tastesor too technicaliy oriented. very difficult to understand.your comments are very neutral.very good.If you can come out to write reviews that will be excellent. I think i can avoid going down a lot of wrong ways.I think your HIFI must sound very good.con you tell up a little about your HIFI system? I have alot of questions about Hifi that I like to consult you in private, hope ok. If it is not convenient for you. it is ok, i con wait,i believe you are the most powerful in the forum.

Felix said...


Wow...Paiseh, paiseh....

Thank you for your kind words. My system is extremely simple and hardly high end. I find that this simplicity allows me to appreciate the smallest changes in sound. But most of all, I am also here to share, learn and to broaden my horizon.

Always welcome a good chat session with friends anytime. Lets all get together sometime.

Panzer, pls do the honour. Thx.

rory said...

"What if the day came when we could no longer buy another Pass Labs gear,"

easy;you get;

1.Karan Acoustics

2.Lavardin monoblocs


Any of those easily bettered the Pass Labs sound;and some.Here's coming from a hardcore Pass labs user

Jk said...

kARAN aCOUSTICS....definitely better than pass labs to this ears;have a listen and you would certainly fall in love.

Caveat;the whole range is so damn heavy,that you could win weight lifting competitions just by carrying them around.

You should tipany dealers that are nice to you abt this product Panzer

mischa said...

here are amps that sound like pass ,only better;


2.gruensch-perhaps amongst the best amps availabe

3.soulution-there are everywhere now.


5.yba passion-not the cheaper ones..

everyone of them makes you wonder why you hang on to the pass labs for so long.

karl said...

Gruensch,Soulution ,Lavardin,Behold are in completely different universe from Pass Labs;No disrespect meant.

I personally prefer Gruensch which could sound sweet and powerful at the same time;hard to find outside Europe though

Panzer said...

rory, Jk, mischa, karl,

Thanks for the suggestions. Here are the reason why we don't hear the amps you've suggested here!

Except for Trigon, all other barnds have no re-presentation in Malaysia. Let's hope some good minded business people here will go get them in.

I've heard the Larvadin IS integrated, and found it to be liquid and smooth in a friend's set up. Other never have the chance to hear for my self just yet.


I do not know Eddie Khor personally. He seems to know some one I know though(but whom exactly, I am still trying to find out!). So if I shall meet Eddie one day, I can do the honours.


GCK said...

Panzer, just to let you know that Soulution amp,preamp and Cdp is carried by Audio Image. The first batch coming in by end of this month already have buyers. You ought to spend more time in his place to get the juicy stuffs.
I also like Nagra amplification, don't you?

eth said...

used to own the Aleph amp but i think there are many other options available today that can easily outclass it. I havent had the chance to listen to the Firstwatt stuff which are supposedly real synergistic with high eff. drivers. Didnt care for the x-series stuff as it has disappointed over and over again. If anyone wants to try the Aleph sound the schematics are on diyaudio.. but as said, there are many much cheaper and simpler amps that sound better.

Felix said...

Panzer, thank you. :-)

I believe Pass Aleph's aren't about technological marvel but more about the class A "sound" or the Aleph magical "sound".

Most people I know like it because of that.

In terms of technological superiority, I think an Aleph ranks quite lowly.

Still, give me a classic MG to drive anytime!

Anonymous said...

Sound wise, how far away is an Audiolab 8000a amp from all these hi-end/hi-price amps that has been mentioned?

If i am driving a pair of book shelfs speakers in the region of RM4-5k, would an Audiolab be good enough?


Anonymous said...

Anon 11:27, it depends on where/who you ask. Since this is a commercial high-end chasing forum where brands and retail pricing are respected and taken as yardsticks, you would have pretty much be able to guess the answer.

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

anon 5:09pm,

let me correct you - this is not a commercial high-end chasing forum. every word is wrong. it is not commercial; we are not beholden to any dealer. it is not high-end chasing; more accurately, it is high-end aspiring and it is definitely not a forum, eventho' we allow comments and interactions.


Felix said...

Anony 11.27am

To a large extent, it all depends on system synergy rather than price bracket.

While the 8000A drives most speakers well enough to loud levels, it suffers from dated technology. The newer SS components are not only more efficient, they are mostly also more transparent in sound. In our current digital days, this makes a difference.

The quality and level of amplification you should go for depends largely on how revealing your RM4-5k speakers are to equipment upgrades. Some speakers compliments amplification upgrades way past their own price brackets many times over.

One more thing to note about any audio equipment is longevity and reliability. Unfortunately, these will be factored into the final price.

Like they say, there's no free lunch....and human beings are made to strive.... we never stop.