New headphone amplifier from Bryston
Apr 18, 2020 at 11:08 AM Post #2,177 of 2,372

SptsNaz

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Figure I'd bump this old thread now that I've had some time with this pretty looking amp

I've concluded that it's spectacular, but with the caveat that it is incredibly revealing of downstream components. It won't mask any flaws in your equipment, and if anything only exasperates the negative qualities. So if either your headphones or source are bright and/or edgy in any way you will find your ears ringing quite quickly. This is what a good solid state amp should do, but I bet there are many people who've owned the BHA-1 and sold it off momentarily because it didn't do the rest of their equipment any favors (through no fault of it's own really)

Right now I have an old Cambridge Audio CD4SE CD player feeding my Parasound DAC2000 and using a balanced set of vintage Grado RS1 headphones and I honestly can't see it getting much better than this. I do miss the tube warmth, but this amp's ability to deliver the truth and nothing but the truth makes up for it. It's control of the lower registers is out of this world... I felt like my headphones were going to vibrate off of my head listening to Billie Eilish's "Bad Boy".

Value wise, it's not as great of a deal as it once was but if you're going to utilize the preamp function it's still a lot of bang for your buck. Additionally, despite the price of it new steadily increasing over the years used prices have more or less stayed the same (about half of what it goes for new). Despite the Auaralic Taurus being nearly as enjoyable in different ways, I would pay the $100-200 extra for a used BHA-1 for the piece of the mind of the 20 year warranty. The only thing I've owned that came with a warranty that long is my Technivorm Moccamaster coffee machine and that thing has been an absolute rock for a decade now. With companies that confident in their product you know you're getting something that can probably be passed down a generation or two if so desired.
 
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Apr 18, 2020 at 11:27 AM Post #2,178 of 2,372

340519

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Yes I agree completely. Loving this amp but it does reveal everything, which I like. I am a huge fan of bryston for their great sounding gear and that their equipment is so well made. Like my 4bsst2, I will never part with the bha1.
 
Apr 18, 2020 at 11:42 AM Post #2,180 of 2,372

SilverEars

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I love this pairing. The 800S sounds fantastic with the bryston.
Yes, it's better than any solid-state out there for the HD800S. I heard a bunch of others from HDV820 to HPA4, and they all do not compare with BHA-1's more dynamic response with not shrilly sounding highs, and natural decay response for a solid-state. Other solid-state brought out the worst of HD800S. Very versatile amp that drives planars well as the dynamic drivers. Sennheisers in particular are enhanced by this amp. Grado 325 sounds very good out of this amp as well.
 
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Apr 18, 2020 at 11:43 AM Post #2,181 of 2,372

SptsNaz

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One of these days I will add the 800S to my collection to see what all the hoopla is about... by all accounts this seems to be an end game set up for a good amount of genres of music.

I am slightly worried that it's going to be too detailed. I already find that I'm listening to my equipment over the music a little too much, which I believe is one of the biggest pitfalls of this hobby.
 
Apr 18, 2020 at 11:46 AM Post #2,182 of 2,372

SptsNaz

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Yes, it's better than any solid-state out there for the HD800S. I heard a bunch of others from HDV820 to HPA4, and they all do not compare with BHA-1's more dynamic response with not shrilly sounding highs, and natural decay response for a solid-state. Other solid-state brought out the worst of HD800S. Very versatile amp that drives planars well as the dynamic drivers. Sennheisers in particular are enhanced by this amp.

That's some serious company there...

I've been dying to hear my Grado's out of a HPA4 but just can't come to terms with spending that much money on one piece of equipment at this point in my life. Almost got my hands on one months ago but backed out after ruminating on all of the other ways I'd rather spend ~3K
 
Apr 18, 2020 at 11:49 AM Post #2,183 of 2,372

SilverEars

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That's some serious company there...

I've been dying to hear my Grado's out of a HPA4 but just can't come to terms with spending that much money on one piece of equipment at this point in my life. Almost got my hands on one months ago but backed out after ruminating on all of the other ways I'd rather spend ~3K
Actually I found Grados sound their best out of BHA-1, more transparent (not meaning peaky emphasis). I discovered Grado 325 with it, due to how well they sound out of the BHA-1.

BHA-1 is really easy to demo if you have an audioshop nearby that gets Bryston equipment.
 
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Apr 18, 2020 at 11:50 AM Post #2,184 of 2,372

340519

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True. I've gotten to the place where I'm happy with all of my equipment and so I'm 'trying' to just focus on the music. The illusive holy grail of equipment to me is folly and I'm trying to let go.
 
Apr 18, 2020 at 11:52 AM Post #2,185 of 2,372

340519

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That's some serious company there...

I've been dying to hear my Grado's out of a HPA4 but just can't come to terms with spending that much money on one piece of equipment at this point in my life. Almost got my hands on one months ago but backed out after ruminating on all of the other ways I'd rather spend ~3K
Rory at benchmark has repeatedly tried to get me to buy an hpa4 since I've been buying their dacs for the last decade, but to me bryston is where it's at for amplification.
 
Apr 18, 2020 at 11:53 AM Post #2,186 of 2,372

SptsNaz

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Actually I found Grados sound their best out of BHA-1, more transparent (not meaning peaky emphasis). I discovered Grado 325 with it, due to how well they sound out of the BHA-1.

You don't know how much pleasure it brings me hearing that...

I'd still like to own one at some point in my life... that thing is a work of art and actually an investment at this point
 
Apr 18, 2020 at 11:54 AM Post #2,187 of 2,372

judomaniak57

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one of these days i would love to hear the senn 800s on the bryston , but right now enjoying my elears with dekoni perf leather pads and my klisch hp3 too much to look at other headphones. so much tight low end with the klipsch and such a wonderful midrange with the elears i dont need much more, but we all say that and are looking for the next best headphone:beyersmile:.one thing i am not looking for is a new amp, i will have my bryston for a long time
 
Apr 18, 2020 at 11:55 AM Post #2,188 of 2,372

SilverEars

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You don't know how much pleasure it brings me hearing that...

I'd still like to own one at some point in my life... that thing is a work of art and actually an investment at this point
How I found this out was at the audioshop near me. They have an extensive collection of Grados (and a BHA-1), and I wanted to find out which Grado was the best performing. I was so surprised when I plugged in the 325. I tried other sources, and Bryston was distinct from others, as the 325 was super transparent out of it.
 
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