I HAVE HAD THE 14B SST NOW FOR ABOUT 2 MONTHS. I HAVE A PAIR OF B&W N 802's. THE BRYSTON AMP HAS PLENTY OF POWER TO DRIVE THE SPEAKERS TO LOUD LEVELS. I LISTEN TO CLASSIC ROCK, SUCH AS THE BEATLES, LED ZEPPELIN, ROLLING STONES, PINK FLOYD,RUSH, ETC. THE BRYSTON AMP SOUNDS OUTSTANDING. NO CLIPPING AT LEVELS IN EXCESS OF 100 dBa. CLEAR, CRISP, AND POWERFUL.
I HAD THE CHANCE TO LISTEN TO THE 802's WITH A LEVINSON AMP,AND THE SPEAKERS DID SOUND BETTER TO ME. HOWEVER, I COULD NOT AFFORD THE LEVINSON. SURE,IF I HAD THE MONEY, I WOULD BUY SOME EXPENSIVE MONOBLOCKS, FROM TENOR, AUDIO RESEARCH, EDGE, HALCRO, ETC.
HOWEVER, STEREOPHILE DOES RATE THE BRYSTON 14B SST AS A "CLASS A" AMP. AND IN AN ABSOLUTE SOUND ISSUE, ONE WRITER SAID THAT HE COULD NOT FIGURE WHY ANYONE WOULD PAY MORE FOR AN AMP, AFTER LISTENING TO THE 14B SST.
IN CONCLUSION, GIVEN MY INCOME, THE 14B SST IS A SUPERB POWER AMPLIFIER AND SERVES MY PURPOSE VERY WELL.
Well, after months of pining for this new amp, it is finally here and life is great. I am using it with a pair of B&W 803's, with a 9Bst powering the 804 surrounds and center. This amp is everything the previous reviewers have stated. The amp has punch and finesse. I am finally hearing what my speakers can do since the upgrade from a weak Yamaha receiver. There is plenty of power to spare, and the led's never even flinch when I crank it up. A dedicated 30 amp breaker and 10 gauge wire is going to be wired into the house, since the lights flicker when the amp is in full swing. I feel that the amp is not getting the max juice it deserves from the wall.
Since the upgrade, I found that I don't need the sub on music. This amp is great, and I recommend it to anyone. The build quality is fantastc and the warranty is the best in the business. I feel so strongly about this amp that it has caused me to write my first and probably only review here. Check it out for yourself, and you'll be compelled to praise it also.
This amp replaced a roughly $3000, 10-year-old MOSFET amp from another high-end manufacturer. The Bryston is better in every way: clarity throughout the band, high-frequency reproduction, and stronger and better controlled bass. I had selected the old amp in a comparison among numerous high-end amps, some considerably more expensive. (At that time I lived in a big city.) However, the one I chose was the only one that could reproduce the high frequencies without what seemed to me a horribly etched presentation. The Bryston has bettered it by far, giving the most lovely, natural, and musical presentation of violins that I've heard from a stereo system. With my NHT 3.3 speakers, which are not shy or recessed in the highs, CDs that I had previously thought unlistenable have become deeply enjoyable. If you love string quartets or violin sonatas, you've got to hear this amp!
It also sounds GREAT playing Bob Marley or Jimi Hendrix.
My wife, who is neither an audiophile nor a critical listener, noticed the difference with the very first note. We were up for hours dancing to the music.
I am more of a music lover than a gearhead, and this amp is great one for someone like that. No fiddling around with tubes, a 20 year transferrable warranty from Bryston, and very musical sound. I don't listen at high volumes, but I suspect the huge power reserves of this amp contribute to its beautiful clarity and ease of presentation.
I have rarely heard better sound that I am getting in my system from the Bryston 14B ST. I recommend that anyone looking for a power amp in or above its price range listen to it -- even those who think they would prefer something more exotic or something with tubes. You could be surprised.
Having worked in the audio industry at a high end store, I have had the chance to try far more equipment than the average person. I have tried the Audio Research Corp. amps,the Mark Levinsons, etc,and I have always felt that there was a real point of diminishing return......Pay 100% more to get a 5% improvement in sound. That is why,for my own use I have always bought "value for the dollar" amps like the Parasound,the Haffler or the Acoustat.After hearing the Bryston 14 B ST with my B&W Nautilus 802,s I can honestly say that until this amp, I hadn't really heard my speakers.What I was hearing was very good electronics making very good sound. With the big Bryston I am now hearing the "Music". This is hands down,price no object,the best sounding amp I have ever had the privilege to listen to.....period.In a word it is "Perfect" If power and musical prowess were analogous to water then this is the "Amazon" in a box.This is quite possibly the best value in audio.If you want to pay more for the aesthetics of the likes of Simm Audio and others that is certainly your privilege.For my money, when I buy stereo equipment,it is not to look at, but to listen to.You can certainly pay more money and buy prettier equipment but you won't get better "Music" for your dollar. This amp sounds truly amazing at high volume levels,as it should.Any quality amp capable of 500 watts/side should sound good at higher levels.....but what amazed me was the micro dynamics this amp is capable of. I have never heard my speakers sound so good at lower levels.The bass is deep and defined the high end is extended, with no harshness or grain and the sound stage extends well beyond the speakers with amazing detail. Some people say this amp sounds tube like...I don't agree. I don't think it sounds anything but Musical..and isn't that what it's all about!
This is truly an outstanding amplifier. I have lived happily with my Bryston 3B-ST for years. It is certainly one of the best values in high end stereo. However, after upgrading to my Mark Levinson preamp, I was looking for that extra something. Thanks to local dealers, I was able to audition a number of amplifiers in my system. As my TV/VCR/DVD all run through my stereo system, tubes were not a practical option.
The Moon W5 was, perhaps, not a fair test. I am aware of the great reviews that this product has received. However, in my system it did not sound good at all. The only explanation I can offer is that the unit was not broken in (SimAudio cites a very long break-in period of 300-500 hours).
The BAT VK-200 has a lush, almost seductive midrange. However, it was notably weak in the bass. A trade off for the lushness of the midrange is a degree of resolution that, while still good, falls well short of that available from other amplifiers.
The Pass Labs X150 also has a great midrange, not as lush as the BAT, but with greater detail and lots of "air" around teh intstruments. Bass is much better than the BAT but cannot compare to the Bryston (including the 3B ST). Treble lacked that last bit of extension, sounding perhaps a little rolled off.
The GamuT d-200 does some things awesomely well. Soundstage width and depth are incredible. The amplifier is a sonic miscroscope in terms of resolution of detail. Bass resolution is extraordinary. In my system, however, the level of detail, especially in the midrange,was too much of a good thing. The musicality suffered as a result. It was almost stark. With the appropriate tube preamp, it could be an excellent choice.
The 14B ST does everyting well. Bass is outstanding as is treble extension. The midrange is richer in sound than the 3B ST. There is not the slightest trace of grain in the highs. The amplifier literally sounds effortless. Resolution of detail is excellent, without calling attention to itself. Unlike some high end amplifiers which tend to highlight the shortcomings of some older recordings, the 14B ST makes everyting sound better. Rhythm and dynamics are as good as it gets. But, it's greatest strength is that it is musical, musical, and musical! Given its excellent qualities, it has to be considered a great value too (MSSP in Canada is $Cdn 7000).
Proceed CDD Transport Classe DAC-1 Mark Levinson 380 preamplifier Castle Winchester speakers JPS Labs SuperConductor 2 interconnects Harmonic Technology Pro 9 plus biwire speaker cables JPS, Classe, MIT, and Synergistic Research power cords