Bryston BP-20 Preamplifiers

Bryston BP-20 Preamplifiers 

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 16  
[Aug 05, 2013]
It's all about the sound
AudioPhile

The Bryston BP 20 is excellent , !!! I've been blessed w/the opportunity , over a period of years, to own two of these. I must say , of the many preamps I have owned or used , through it all , the BP20 has and will always be my go to reference . When used with other high end gear ,such as, Bryston mono locks, Velodyne,LegacyAudio,vintage JBL , vintage Klipsch,SAE, etc. the beauty and build ,not to mention outstanding audiophile quality sound reproduction truly come into view the rugged build , it's. Simple yet functional layout , and out of body power supply help add to its sound and value ! Though the BP20 was fairly expensive ,they do seem to hold their value through the years . In addition, the 20yr. Warranty set an industry standard back in the day, should repair ever be needed ! To sum up , I've only scratched the surface of sharing the many attributes Bryston designed into this high quality audio component .put it all together and you have bang for the buck ! This common phrase may be over used , but it's the only one I need !!! Highly recommended.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 14, 2004]
JCsix
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

neutral, transparent, detailed, good dynamics, incredibly quiet

Weakness:

not as warm as Tubes of course - if warmth is what you seek.

Hi, I was just reading reviews on here and thought I would post one - and somewhat in response to a poor review of this pre-amp that I read earlier. I currently use a Rega Cursa pre-amp in my system driving a Bryston 4b st and a pair of Acoustic Energy AE2 reference. Overall I was happy enough with my setup but started having problems with the Rega pre-amp in terms of reliability and I had also been told that there were much better preamps out there. therefore I decided to audition a Bryston BP-20 - a dealer demo (somewhat broken in) which I had for a few weeks. I noticed a signficant change in my system while I had it - much more transparent, detailed and punchier and very silent!! felt like I was in a vacuum listening to the music. I would say the Rega may have sounded a bit warmer but lacked much of the characteristic and accuracy that the Bryston preamp gave me. Undoubtedly when I have money I will upgrade and probably get the BP-20 or 25 although I may try other pre-amps out in case. In terms of giving this a bad review... I am glad to hear those reviews were honest vs bashing. But I suspect surrounding equipment may have been part of the deception. Bryston gear is very detailed and revealing - I know their amps are almost to a fault when surrounded with a piece of gear that may not be up to par or not well matched to it. And the pre-amp gave me the same impression - very reveiling - so if you didn`t like it - you may want to try something else around it to see what it does... of course we all like a type of sound and perhaps this isn`t for some. In my view it is a great value for the price... and my local dealer who sells an incredibly wide variety of high end equipment considers this the best value pre amp he has available. but he also warns about surrounding equipment... hope this helps!!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 21, 2002]
langejo
AudioPhile

Strength:

Extremely relaxed and musical preamp - very unsolid state like. Transparent and neutral with good extension at the frequency extremes. Incedible inner detail and resolution that pulls you into the music. Very good mid range performance. Betters both the Audible L-1 and 3A in my opinion. Don't be fooled by the new wave of untubed sounding tubed preamps. This puppy beats them at thier own game.

Weakness:

Would add a smidge more gain only if it didn't change the character of the presentaion.

I've owned my Bryston BP-20 for almost two years at this point. It was purchased more out of frustration than anything else. Up until that time, I was using an Audible Illusions L-1 for a little over a year, when it began to fail. The sound of the L-1 was not bad, in fact it was very neutral. It sounded more like a solid state preamp than a tubed preamp. Planning on adding LP playback to my system, I swapped the L-1 for the Audible Illusions 3A - read some incredible reviews about this preamp and auditioned it before ultimately deciding to give it a go. As the line stage of the L-1 was said to be used in the 3A, the character of the music was essentially identical. Very neutral, transparent and clinical across the spectrum - definitely not harking back to tubed designs of days gone by. The L-1 and 3A were not meaty and fleshy in the way the Audible 2-D or Conrad Johnson PV-2 or PV-5 were. If you ever get a chance to hear one of these babies (Audible 2-d) jump on it! Very ballsy preamp indeed. Romantic,without a doubt but, it is very musical and seductive and the weight of the music rendered through this preamp is outstanding. Not too long after installing the 3A into my system, did it also begin to fail (blown resistor - had to go back to the factory for 8 weeks). I had had enough of Art and Audible Illusions at that point. I took the 3A back to my dealer and told him I needed a preamp that was "plug and play". I have been a tubed preamp guy for most of my audio journey, so when he suggested I check out the Bryston solid state preamp, my nautral reaction was "oooh nooo". Much to my surprise however, the character of this preamp was extremely relaxed, but in a way that kept me very involved with the music. Unbelievable midrange, with tremendous inner detail. Check out track 7 on Lyle Lovett's Joshua Judges Ruth and listen to Lyle breathing queues to the back-up singers before the Chorus of "hallelujh". Very subtle detail that I had never heard before inserting the BP-20 was into the chain. Startling detail in some cases and delivered through Vandy 2ces - not the last word in transparency and resolution. Like others have already commented, this is one of the quietest, if not the quietest preamp I've ever had in my system. There is a weight and punch to the music that I don't remember getting with the L-1 or 3A. Never etched, bright or fatiguing, unless however, the recording is etched, bright or fatiguing. A wonderful preamp that gets the music right and solidly built to boot. These guys don't leave out any details - separate power supply, balanced ins/outs, polarity switch, you name it. I guess the best indication of how good a product is is whether or not you would buy it again. And to that I answer, most assuredly so. Highly recommended!

Similar Products Used:

Audible L-1, Audible 3A, Audible 2-d, Melos SHA-1 (truly lightweight sounding line stage)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 22, 1997]
Larry Phillips
an Audio Enthusiast

$1600 Cdn, balanced and unbalanced inputs/outputs, separately housed power transformer, 20 yr transferable warranty, no remote and no phono stage(both are found on the Bryston BP-25 which is in all other respects identical to the BP-20).Bryston is probably best known for their professional components but I think the time has come that anyone shopping for relatively inexpensive audiophile grade equipment should give the Bryston line a good close look. The construction is both immaculate and robust. For example, inside this preamp. all components connect directly to a main circuit board thereby eliminating all point to point wiring.
The sound is wonderfully transparent with minimal, if any, colorations regardless of the type of music you're playing. I have had these results using this preamp with several amps (Bryston 3B-ST, Celeste Moon and YBA). Strongly recommend this piece of equipment to anyone who craves great sound, reliablility and ease of use. This preamp. deserves your time for a listen. You'll find it's money well spent.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Nov 18, 1999]
Huy Nguyen
Audiophile

I have had this preamp for more than 4 years now and I am quite happy with it. The sound of this preamp is very close to neutral with exellent pitch definition in the bass region. It is not the last word in transparency though but at this price point and complete with balanced inputs and outputs it really is a high end bargain. It sounds tighter and more controlled in balanced mode. The soudstage is faifully rendered in width, depth, and height. In single ended mode, the frequency balanced is just ever so slightly more refined but image specification and separation between individual images are not as good as in balanced mode.

In order to get better sound than this you would have to spend much more, i.e.: Mark Levinson 380s ($6500 US), Classe ref preamp ($10,000 US) ect....

My associated equipments are as follow:

- Classe CDP 1.5 CD player, Bryston BP-20 preamp, Classe CA 301 Amplifier (beautiful amp visually and sonically), Mirage M1si Bipolar Loudspeakers, Cardas golden cross and quadlink interconnects, Space and Time Quatum II speaker cables in bi-wiring mode.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 26, 2001]
Raymond Wong
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Sturdy build, balanced in and out, low noise, 20 year warranty and most of all, great sound.

Weakness:

Nil

Love this pre-amp. Great improvement when replaced my Caztech SPA-1 tube preamp with the BP-20. Perfect match with my Bryston 4BST power amp. Great resolution, low noise, good sound stage and very musical with my ARCAM 7SE CD player. My next upgrade would be a DAC. I think the Bryston will stay in my system for a long while.

At one point, I was debating whether I should get the Musical Fidelity A3cr pre-amp. Love that pair of big toroidal transformers and the chokes. But finally decided on the BP-20. Never regretted it. It fits my principle of "Biggest bang for the buck".



Similar Products Used:

Caztech SPA-1; NAD 114

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 17, 2001]
John Lysaker
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Deathly quiet, detail, image depth, balanced and RCA inputs/output, Bryston warranty.

Weakness:

None.

Extremely neutral and quiet hence as detailed as the recording. Better image depth than the SFL-1. Open high end. Warm mid-range. (I noticed no loss of warmth in leaving the tube hybrid format of the SFL-1 behind.) Bass is excellent. At first, I thought it might be a bit bright, but this varies with recordings, thus the shoe belongs on the other foot. Also, in switching my CD player from the Arcam Alpha 7se to the Alpha 9, I realized the brightness was also due to the 7se and not the BP-20. Complements the full range of my musical interests: classical, jazz, classic rock, indie rock, alt, country, etc. And it does equally well with smaller groups/ensembles and larger, more driving performances. In short, I'm extremely pleased. And with Bryston's transferable warranty, one has some security when buying a used unit.

Similar Products Used:

Sonic Frontiers SFl-1

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 29, 1998]
Gary OShields
an Audiophile

The Bryston BP-20 and BP-25 both have a very musical,linear,and very good dynamic range,also VERY quiet! Need to be matched with the right interconnects to get the right top to bottom match,as I said very LINEAR. Overall one of the best I've heard in the price range,or any price range for that matter.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Jan 22, 1999]
Martin
an Audio Enthusiast

Simplicity in design and use with superb performance. The noise floor is inaudible. Low distortion with clean transparent sound. You must have read about some high end speakers that can reveal problems with poor quality upstream components this little pre-amp is more than up to the task.
Dynamics are well presented superb control in the bass region plenty of drive in the bass region. Mids and Highs are presented with clarity and precision. This unit represents superb value for money and will not shame itself in the company of units costing much much more.

The separate power supply must contribute to the inaudible noise floor. It is also an exercise is simple elegant design,

Just go buy one and be happy.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Jan 31, 1999]
Joe
an Audiophile

I have owned the Bryston BP20 line level preamp for about two months now and here are my observations. If you are in the market for a high quality, superb sounding preamp, this is the ticket. I auditioned a Bryston BP4 first, and I was not too impressed, don't get me wrong the BP4 sounds decent, but it is no comparison to the BP20. I also auditioned an Audio Research LS3B, and that moved the listening experience up another couple of notches, but still no match for the BP20. The BP20 is much more dynamic, the highs are silky smooth, the midrange is incredable, and the low end is simply superb. The resolution on the BP20 is astounding, and there seems to be no noise floor under this preamp. The music just emerges from a jet black backround. The build quality looks absolutely splendid. I would say that if Bryston ever smartens up and decides to charge more for this preamp, it would still be a bargain. I have not heard any other preamp for under $4000 that sounds better. Pair this BP20 up with a Bryston 3B-ST or a 4B-ST amp, and forget what the lunatic fringe audiophiles say about having to spend on audio gear. Just sit back and enjoy the experience and you be the judge.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 16  

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