Experiences with Bryston BHA-1 headamp?
Aug 21, 2020 at 11:20 AM Post #106 of 140

gimmeheadroom

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I see you have a mytek Brooklyn. You don't hear about them much on here, just like bryston. I've always liked their gear.

It is a beautiful piece of gear. The faceplate is some kind of fishscale or engine-turned design. The top is drilled out as the letter M for Mytek.

It has an OLED screen with a great UI, simple pushbuttons on the front panel which are intuitive. I like that it displays not only sample rate but also bit depth. It has hardware MQA support which works perfectly. It has analog in and a phono preamp. It's heavy enough that it doesn't move around on my desk when I push the buttons, unlike my RME. Just a really impressive piece of gear that feels like it's worth what I spent on it. Of course it sounds great or there would be nothing to talk about.
 
Aug 26, 2020 at 11:10 AM Post #107 of 140

SptsNaz

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Has anyone used the BHA-1 as a preamp with any kind of success? I'm moving from the condo to a house next week and am already assembling a speaker system. Since I intend to keep listening to headphones in the wee hours, I'm thinking of doubling the duties of the Bryston until I can afford a better standalone preamp. It will be feeding a McCormack DNA-125 amp. Not sure which speakers yet...
 
Aug 26, 2020 at 11:37 AM Post #108 of 140

yyzSB

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Last month I had the mod done by Bryston Canada (I am in USA) to lower the gain by 12 DB for XLR outputs to the external amps. This is an XLR output issue and is described in detail on AudioCircle.com Bryston forum. When I tested it last month with a mid-fi amp (now sold) it sounded good and the speaker volume had good granularity. Today I get delivery of a Benchmark AHB2 amp. I owned this amp before and it is a killer amp. Just this morning I was thinking that what I should do with the BHA-1 is to move it into my office for external preamp duty and buy the XIAudio Broadway for headphone duty in the bedroom where the BHA-1 currently resides. I will have 2 speakers in the office and 2 preamps would be useful. I was planning on selling the BHA-1 but today likely not.

One reason for my change of heart to not sell the BHA-1 was last night I heard Santana's Caravanserai on SACD while laying in bed. What an incredible sound via the BHA-1. Just an expansive powerful sound. I was thinking I should listen to hard rock or metal with the BHA-1. It should be fun on external speakers. There is a hardness to the sound that I do not enjoy so much with headphones but I am thinking a warm sounding DAC, which is in the plans for the future, and maybe different cables can tame the headphone hardness that I dislike. Maybe even a different headphone would solve it. That Santana disk saved this piece for me. I am going to make it work.

I will post my feelings on the sound with the AHB2 later today or tomorrow once it is settled. I will normally use the AHB2 with the Benchmark HPA4 and DAC3B. The BHA-1 will jump in to the mix today. My cables are all StarQuad XLR's from Benchmark. I also have Audience AU24SE for my non Benchmark gear but those are are being re-terminated at Audience this week so I won't be testing any other sources than the DAC3B.
 
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Aug 26, 2020 at 12:34 PM Post #109 of 140

340519

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Has anyone used the BHA-1 as a preamp with any kind of success? I'm moving from the condo to a house next week and am already assembling a speaker system. Since I intend to keep listening to headphones in the wee hours, I'm thinking of doubling the duties of the Bryston until I can afford a better standalone preamp. It will be feeding a McCormack DNA-125 amp. Not sure which speakers yet...
I have. It's incredible. I use it with my 4bsst2.
 
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Sep 17, 2020 at 12:54 PM Post #112 of 140

frudogg

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I use this amp with Utopias and HD800S with dual 3 pin XLR plugs. Volume control is great. With both headphones I use low gain and volume set at about 10 o'clock. My PS Audio DAC is set at about 90% output volume. Both headphones sound fantastic with this amp. I also have HD600, which have never sounded better. This amp has plenty of power and gives great bass control. The HD800S have a wonderful soundstage.
 
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Dec 17, 2020 at 2:52 PM Post #113 of 140

eskil

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I see a lot people say that hd800s sound much better on tubes like DNA or EC, and this amp does not come close. Do people here agree with that? I have come to understand that the same people say that this amp is the best SS amp. I think tubes are a little too much fuzz.
 
Dec 17, 2020 at 2:55 PM Post #114 of 140

silversurfer616

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Had the Bryson twice but realised it was too neutral for my taste( and headphones like HD800S etc).
Apart from various tube amps the HDV820 is meant for the HD800S and it is a stunningly good sounding synergy.
 
Dec 17, 2020 at 3:00 PM Post #115 of 140

eskil

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Had the Bryson twice but realised it was too neutral for my taste( and headphones like HD800S etc).
Apart from various tube amps the HDV820 is meant for the HD800S and it is a stunningly good sounding synergy.
I read a lot of people literally hate the HDV, so I have been quite skeptical. I actually really liked the Chord Mojo which is also quite neutral? I mostly listen at vinyl, so I guess that brings some warmness.
 
Dec 17, 2020 at 3:11 PM Post #116 of 140

silversurfer616

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The problem with the HDV820 is the inbuilt dac. I use it mainly as a second system with a PSAudio and Qutest and suddenly the amp part of the HDV820 had an equal partner.
 
Dec 17, 2020 at 3:12 PM Post #117 of 140

gimmeheadroom

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I think all the 300 ohm Sennheisers are happier with a good OTL amp. There are certainly at least a handful of top solid state choices also.
 
Dec 17, 2020 at 3:27 PM Post #119 of 140

gimmeheadroom

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That are better than the Bryson?
At this level better it is a matter of taste probably. I am not sure any of them are objectively better than others. It depends on your taste in sound, form factor, build, connectivity, controls, support etc. There are a lot of variables.

Some of the other contenders are Violectric, Benchmark, Headroom GSX-Mini. @project86 did a test on high end solid state amps including Nimbus on the next tier up from Bryston and the others I mentioned.
 
Dec 18, 2020 at 6:05 AM Post #120 of 140

eskil

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At this level better it is a matter of taste probably. I am not sure any of them are objectively better than others. It depends on your taste in sound, form factor, build, connectivity, controls, support etc. There are a lot of variables.

Some of the other contenders are Violectric, Benchmark, Headroom GSX-Mini. @project86 did a test on high end solid state amps including Nimbus on the next tier up from Bryston and the others I mentioned.
Can you link me that test, or tell me what is the tier up from Bryston? Thanks!

My biggest focus is sound, looks and the fact that I can use it with my turntable. Bryston seems to have a good phono preamp that I could use with my Cadenza black and it could match the look of the BHA-1.
 
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