Upgrading from a Denon AV 3200. Using the 5B to run the 3 front channels in surround mode with the Denon as DSP.
In stereo mode, I'm driving it with a Bryston .5B preamp. This pre/amp combination is awesome. The sound stage is huge. Imaging is precise. On a good recording I just close my eyes and can point to each instrument or vocalist. Bass is tight. I hear things I never heard before with my mid-fi systems. I auditioned many amps costing thousands more at an audio show and feel that spending alot more would have got me only a slight improvement in sound quality. The Bryston combination shows the weaknesess in the Denon and other midfi amps big time. Now I need to spend big bucks for a DD,DTS pre/pro for movies.
This unit is built to last for its 20 year warantee and then some. If you are upgrading to high end separates, start with a Bryston. The power rating is conservative. Cranking this puppy up to near clipping would blow out your eardrums.
Speakers: Paradigm Studio 60's, Studio CC and ADP.
Just got my 5B ST a few days ago to peform center and surround channel duties with my 7B ST monoblocks. The 5B ST blends perfectly with the 7Bs, and offers very clear lifelike voices and surround effects. Power and dynamics are not lacking either. Byrston amps inspire confidence of ownwership for their performance, build quality, and warranty. Highly recommended.
I would like to share with everyone my recent experience with Bryston 5B and, Bryston as a company. I recently purchased a pair of Bryston 5Bs, 3 channel power Amplifiers, they are rated at 125 watts per channel into 8 Ohms, and 200 into 4 Ohms. After reading quite a few reports from independent laboratories, I realized that these numbers are very conservative, in-fact these amps can do close to 150/ 220 watts into 8,4 Ohm speakers respectively. Bryston actually uses three Mono amps inside each of these boxes, the only thing they really share is the power cord. I actually took the top off of one of them, sure enough there are three transformers and power supplies one for each channel and they look just as good on the inside as they do on the outside. They are built like a Sherman tank, not to mention they have a 20-year warranty, further more considering the quality and the clean power with extremely low amount of distortion, they are Very light, 42 pounds each. I use these amps in my home theater, where I am Bi-amping them into a pair of KEF Reference three speakers and a KEF C200 center channel. The 5Bs come in two flavors the ST and THX version, the main difference between the two is the input sensitivity and a remote On/Off trigger (THX version) which allows you to control one amp or multiple amps via your pre-amp, assuming your pre-amp has that feature. This is very useful if the amps are in a hard to reach location. You can also get them with a 19" rack mountable faceplate with two very hefty handles at no extra charge. Even if you do not rack mount them, I think the 19" face plate looks bolder and nicer. As far the way they sound, they sound absolutely fantastic; they will make your speakers get off the floor and dance. They have a lot of reserve power ( if you think you need more power than this get you ears checked out) and produce an extremely tight bass, and a very accurate mids. and highs. I had never heard my KEFs sound so good before. I have listened to Aragon amps, I have listened to Proceed's amp 3s, I have listened to Mark Levinson 333. I have to tell you there are a lot of good amplifiers out there, but any amp I listened to that offered subtle advantages (my opinion) over Bryston, was at least twice as expensive and three times heavier. The other really impressive aspect of these amps is their ability to reproduce the movie dialogues very accurately, voices are very crisp and clear and easy to understand. Not to mention no body, and I mean no body offers a 20 year warranty, I have talked to people that have used Bryston for many years, if you ever send your amp back for any kind of repair ( which is not very likely, unless you did something very wrong) not only the fix the problem, they will put in, all of the latest upgrades that they have for that amp for free. Also when you buy one of their amps, in the box you will receive the complete bench test results of that specific amp. (Bryston has a burn-in period of 100 hours for each amp, and this is not just plugging them in and letting them idle, they put them through a multiple of very thorough and tough tests, how many manufacturers do you know of , that give you the test results of the very amp you just bought?) The first time I called Bryston, a gentleman picked up the phone and introduced himself as Brian Russell, (I am thinking this can not be right since I knew who Brian Russell was, I hope I have spelled his name right ) he is the President of the company, he spent thirty minutes on the phone with me, answered all the questions I had, and not one time did he give me the impression that he was trying to get rid of me. You tell me , how many Hi-Fi manufacturing companies do you know of, that you can call and get their President on the phone?, unless it is a two man operation. At Bryston ranks do not mean anything, everybody does what ever they can to help you. When I got my amps I realized that one of them did not have the 19" face plate, I did not want to go back to the dealer, since they had been really good to me I did not want to bother them. So I E-mailed Bryston, the next day I had a response from Chris Russell who is the Vice President of Engineering, he was very apologetic ( and it was not even Bryston's fault) and was asking for my address. I had said in my E-mail that I could replace the faceplate myself if they sent it to me and I will pay for it. A week later UPS shows up at my door, I got a brand new 19" faceplate with the THX logo, plus the two hefty handles, and all the right tools to take the amp a part. Not only they did not charge me a dime, they even insisted I should keep the tools for my trouble. Is this service beyond imagination, or is it that we are used to getting bad service so often, when some one does what he is actually suppose to do, we praise him? What ever it is, obviously Bryston has never lost sight of it. It is very likely if it was any other company they would have said take it back to the dealer and wait a month. Any way ever since I got to know these guys any time I sent an E-mail I got a response and a fast one, any one at Bryston that I have talked to, whether it was at the factory, or the service center in the U.S., was nothing short of nice and helpful. What is really interesting is that if you have a problem they actually discuss it with each other and get back to you with the best answer possible. I have been so happy with these guys; I went and bought a Bryston 3B for my surround speakers (another wonderful product). All I am trying to say is that if you weigh all the things I mentioned here against other companies Bryston is untouchable, I really believe that 5 stars here do not do them justice, but I would not want to throw the rating sytem off. If you are looking for a great amp that lasts you a lifetime you owe it to yourself to at least audition a Bryston amp. Best regards,