October 28, 2011

10 Qs For Brian Russell Of Bryston Ltd.

Brian Russell hokding the award winning Bryston BDP-1 Digital Media Player. That's hard work Brian, one more wood fire pizza for you. Ha! Ha!

It's been more than 2 years since I met Brian Russell, marketing head honcho at Bryston Ltd. The Canadian company has had a successful run with their amplifier products and has since branched out in to the digital arena, first with the BCD-1 CD player, then a BDA-1 DAC and lastly, the TAS 2011 Product Of The Year Winner, BDP-1 Digital Media Player, which incidentally is also my resident reference digital source.

AV Designs invited a few local hifi scribes to ask Brian 10 Qs, which are not all entirely mine, however, I cherry pick the 10 best bits for your reading pleasure!

Big E: Welcome back Brian, what brings you to these shores again?

BR: I am en-route to Bangkok after attending the Australian Hifi Show, held in Melbourne last week. However, since Bangkok is now flooded, I'll stay here instead.

Big E: Congrats for the success of the BDP-1 Digital Media Player, which I heard just won TAS 2011 Product Of The Year!

BR: Yeah! The BDP-1 is quite the game changer in the digital music market, because it allows music lovers to interact with their whole music libraries with a different experience. It's like when people just went from LP to CD, now that was a fundamental shift in music experience. Now the same is happening all over again when people move from CDs to music files.

Big E: Do you use a BDP-1 at home?

BR: Not yet, due to the fact that it's so successful in the market place, our production output is still catching up with market demand. I am now taking my sweet time to ripp all my CD collection on to the computer for storage. Once my collection is ready, I'll take the BDP-1 back home with me. I am currently using a BCD-1 as digital source. By the way, we are now shipping the last of the BCD-1 CD players out of the factory, because Philips has officially stop ed manufacturing the VAM series transports. We've been thinking about building a final Bryston CD player that you can buy, and we're thinking to make it the best CD player we can. What do you think?

Big E: Actually, there are two ways of looking at it. I believe there are people like me who already have a BDP-1 and would like a integrate it with a state of the art CD player that allows DAC input capable of the next generation of 32/384 hi rez file precessing. The other way is just a simple but well engineered transport to be added on to the existing BDA-1 DAC, which in my opinion, is a very high performance unit.

BR: There are few things we're considering at the moment but our market feedback shows a preference for top loading CD players in the premium market. Do you agree?

Big E: Actually, I have neither preference for top loaders or tray drawer based CD players, as long as the drive is well designed with equally high attention to build quality. Of more importance is the elimination of jitter error. Other then a next generation CD player, what other products can we expect from Bryston in the near future?

BR: We've just successfully launched the SP-3 Surround Processor and we have a back log of orders to clear at the moment. However, the next product on the launch pad is called the BHA-1, a head phone amp. It's already in the final stages of design, and will be ready for production very soon.

Big E: A head phone amp? Wow! Is it a portable unit or a regular hifi sized box?

BR: It's actually a full size unit, just like a BP-26 pre-amp box, without most of the knobs. We've designed the BHA-1 to have multiple inputs, and a front panel volume control. The circuitry is designed to drive any, and I mean ANY head phone design you can find in the market, including the very demanding high end electrostatic models. We feel this is an area that we can draw a new generation of hifi consumers who are now just using an iPod for their music and are used to head phone listening habits. We hope that once they experience the effects of a great head phone musical performance, they'd feel more comfortable about stepping in to the high end audio.

Big E: What is the expected price of BHA-1 when it hits the market?

BR: We have not finalized the product pricing of the BHA-1 just yet, however in Bryston tradition, we'd like to price it afford ably, so more people can have access to our quality products.

Big E: How is the Bryston affected by the current turbulent world economies, especially in the US and Europe?

BR: I'd be lying if I say we're not affected in any way. However, I dare say that in the scheme of things, we are less affected than many other high end audio companies. You must believe me when I tell you that times are really bad.... out there right now.

Big E: Since you're rather less affected than others, do you see this as a good opportunity to pick up some other high end brands out there for portfolio extension?

BR: Well, I wouldn't say it to you even if I have any such plans! Not here any way, but seriously, NO, we are not looking grow via the acquisition or merger route.

Jo sharing some insight on the BDP-1 and future Bryston CD player with Brian.

Big E: What did you do prior to joining Bryston?

BR: I was actually a chef, would ya believe me? Then one day, I woke up and asked my boss "If I wanted this, and that, in my life, would I be able to achieve my goals here?" He said no! And told me to look elsewhere in pursue my dreams. Joining Bryston was easy, because my father was one of the founders of the company! That's how I achieved my dreams, because everyday, it just doesn't feel like I am going to work! See, I am now here having fun just chatting with you guys. Hey! I am very hungry now, where's wood fire pizza we're talking about? Ha! Ha!

At this point, all the cakes and coffee became meaningless, and so we adjourned to have some wood fire pizza, and Brian shared his killer recipe of it too! Yummy, yum, yum. He's right, this doesn't feel like work after all.

We'd like to offer our thanks to James and Tony at AV Designs for making this fun session possible.

1 comment:

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...


If you are reading this, I can't wait for the headphone amp!