August 2, 2009

A 300W Brute....Not! - The Bryston 4BSST2 Poweramp

This is an old post of ours in the blog we previously contributed to.

Though the Bryston 4BSST2 poweramp put out 300w per channel, it was no brute. In fact I would describe it as civilized.

Lest my descriptions above conjured up an image of softness, slowness, or lacklustreness, I must assure you that these descriptions did not apply the Bryston at all. In fact, the Bryston was dead neutral, true to the tradition also exhibited by its sibling, the BP26 preamp which I wrote about earlier. The 4BSST2's power allowed it to be totally unfazed by anything and always demonstrated a good grip and control on the proceedings. It was not indifferent nor was it playing things over-excitedly, it just did the stuff it was asked to do.

The 4BSST2 exerted total control on my Egglestonworks The Nine loudspeakers at all listening levels. In my admittedly smallish listening room, I could not get the 4BSST2 to misbehave one bit. The loudspeakers could take the wattage punishment from the 4BSST2, but my ears gave up way earlier, and at this point, my room was literally shaking already.

I think at my highest tolerable listening level, the 4BSST2 was not even breaking a sweat, there was no strain, not one hint of distortion, the sound continued to be clean and controlled. I felt the amp was just cruising along, gleefully waiting for me to up the volume control some more.

In stereo, the 4BSST2 put out 300w per side. Bridged, it put out a mind-boggling 900w

On the other side of the spectrum, playing quieter music, the 'it was no brute' part held true too. I could throw a string quartet (Beethoven String Quartets Op18 No.6 and Op59 No.1 "Razumovsky" Cleveland Quartet; Telarc CD-80229) at it or simple music of a voice and a guitar (Sara K. "Don't I know you from somwehre?" Stockfisch SFR35760555.2), there wasn't any harshness or aggressiveness. Its quality of control, focus, detail, accuracy continued to shine through. The Bryston was equally good at handling the macro and micro things.

I have no complaint about the BP26 preamp and poweramp combo's frequency extension, which was fully extended on the both ends. The slight highlight at the upper mid I experienced on the BP26 preamp before was there. I believe the 4BSST2 also had a bit of its own as this characteristic was also heard when it was partnered with my Pass Labs X2.5. With my Egglestonsworks' silk dome tweeter, this highlight gave a heightened awareness of details. But the flip side of the coin was that, I believe, if one has an unruly tweeter, the Bryston would expose it for what it was too. See, the Brystons were honest, they'd not cover things up for you.
Read Panzer's write up on the Bryston combo for a more in depth analysis, my experience pretty much pull at the same direction.

This combo really took the neutrality, detail, control, accuracy creed to the max!

No comments: