The full Bryston set up. Factory matched synergy can be found here!

This is the last instalment of the "Living with Bryston" series of articles. With the insertion of the Bryston BCD-1 CD player in to the system, now, consisting of the BP-26 pre amp and 4BSST2 power amp pumping my Audio Physic Spark speakers. The Torus Power RM8A does whole system power supply services here as usual, and cables consist of my usual JPS Inwall, AOR Ref 3 and PS Audio Power Plus power cord. Inter connects are my usual Audioquest Sky and Cardas Golden Presence XLRs and the speaker cable this time round is a pair of latest Siltech G7 330L Classic series(review to come).

With the Bryston BCD-1 CD player in the system, replacing my trusty Marantz CD7. The synergy of the full Bryston system is finally materialised. To start with, noise floor is exceedingly low, no hiss or what so ever is heard coming out of the tweeters at idle on normal listening volume. I find the Bryston BCD-1's tonal balance to be very business like neutral, compared to the much warmer balanced Marantz CD7. There's no euphonic mid range bloom, bass is amongst the tightest and goes extends much lower comparatively. The highs may seem a bit forward at first, but on closer analysis, it's rather extended, and non smearing or splashy. Like the Bryston BP-26 pre amp, I also noticed a similar slight high lighting of the high mids, whilst this may seemingly make the vocal's mouth seemed more "in focus" and smaller, I did find it somethimes bordering on sharpness, especially when playing with Chinese audiophile CDs with lots of recorded vocal sibilance(usually female voices). I must stress however, that this is the Bryston's signature truthfulness at work here! Since the full Bryston experience, and amongst the high end gears featured here lately, there seems to be different versions of neutrality, even if they can all be "technically" considered neutral!
From the top. The Bryston BCD-1 and BP-26 pre amp plus the cosmetically matching MPS-2 power supply unit.

The full Bryston set up majors on macro, micro dynamics and bass slam. The pace is always on cue, never hurried nor slowed down. Piano tracks showcases attack, sustain and decay elements clearly. While sound stage is more than full width of my listening room, and some what deep, there's also a typical solid state like dryness, i.e. lack of audiophile "air" within the sound stage, thus never quite fully convincing, or 3D enough in presentation.

However, all the above sonic signature were improved, with the addition of the Elite Acoustic MSI levitating isolation devices(see my last review of them, last week). The mid range now have a little bloom to help further flesh out the vocalist body and density. The slightly dry sound stage, now has "air" separating each instrument within the sound stage, making the layering and stage depth perception more convincing. The musical flows more freely than before. The tweak bring's the full Bryston system closer in audio performance to the 3 times more expensive Bladelius system recently auditioned.

Brothers in arms! The Bryston 4BSST2 with the Torus Power RM8A in the back.

If there's a particular Bryston piece of the three that I, particularly felt carried more performance weight would be the 4BSST2 power amp. I think that if one should build a high end system around it, even with upgrades to the rest of the system, be it source, pre amp or speakers, the 4BSST2 would still remain very much relevant, without calling too much attention to it's limits. In short the 4BSST2 punches way above it's product price range.

The CD tray on the BCD-1 really needs to be improved upon. Note, product warranty is only 5 years for the CDP.

And if there's one thing I think can be improved upon within the full Bryston system, it would be the BCD-1's CD tray! For a player costing RM$11.9k, the said CD tray slides in and out with so much mechanical free play and noise, that I would feel , it's out of place compared to the ownership pride that comes with the rest of the Bryston gear.

The useful BCD-1 remote.

And lastly the BCD-1's all aluminium remote deserves a special mention, the feel is good in the hands, and when listening in the dark, a first press on any button triggers the "cool" green back lighting, whilst the buttons are just of the right size for my big fat fingers! The remote also controls the BP-26 pre amp's basic volume and mute functions, which is handy in an all Bryston system context.

Presto! The night back lighting on the remote. Cool!

I must stress that sonic performance wise, the full Bryston experience is indeed very much greater than the sum of it's very decent parts. Now, that's synergy matched from the factory!

I'll miss returning this full Bryston set to AV Designs for the KLIAV demo. However, I think you should drop by AV Designs booth to check out the full Bryston system on demo, with the 7BSST mono blocks, driving the latest PMC PB1i speakers. Whilst you're there, do check out their outrageously high quality AV installs too.

The PMC PB1i speakers on demo at KLIAV 2009.

And lastly, I wish to thank James, for enriching my audio journey.

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