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Discussion Starter #1
I am an old 2 channel guy but wanted to change over to a 5.1 HT system. My 2 channel system consists of YBA 2 Preamp and Amp feeding Genesis Technologies V speakers.

I am considering replacing my 2 channel YBA Preamp with a Pre/Pro such as the Bryston SP3. The Bryston SP3 has been around a while, but is still currently offered by the manufacturer and can be found on the used market for about $4500. I have not looked at new equipment for some time and wanted to know if the Bryston SP3 is still considered good value compared to current offerings.
 

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I had a Bryston for about 3 weeks 6 years ago or so. Nice choice for a first surround processor.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for getting back to me ericzim.
My understanding is the Bryston SP3 used to be considered one of the better Pre/Pro unit for HT, but was also considered to be one of the best HT Pre/Pro units that does very good 2 channel music which is important to me.

My concern is :

1) Being an older but upgraded unit, does the Bryston SP3 still offer great HT and 2 channel music when compared to comparable units being offered today?
2) Is the Bryston SP3 a dead end road that will shortly be obsolete because the manufacturer discontinues upgrade/updates due to the new SP4?
3) Am I better off looking at alternate newer Pre/Pro units that offer similar or better performance with a future upgrade path?

As already mentioned its been a long time since I looked at equipment. I did recently purchase a Innuos Zenith Mk III music server which has to be incorporated into my system.
Your comments and/or recommendations are appreciated.
 

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Bryston definitely nice gear. I’ve had many Bryston components over the years including a BP-25 2 channel preamp I had for nearly 20 years. I finally sold the BP-25 after I bought a Marantz AV7704 HT pre/pro. In A/B testing the BP-25 did sound slightly better for very critical listening but for 95% of 2 channel listening the Marantz 7704 was close enough to the BP-25 that I just went with the 7704 for all preamp function. Point being; you can get a Marantz AV 7704 or 7705 for well under $2k and they have great sound quality. Also you get MANY more features with Marantz over the SP3. Some feature are very cool and useful once you learn what they are and how they work. I’m not against Bryston, I just believe it’s REALLY hard to beat the build quality, sound quality and features you’ll get with the Marantz 7704 or 7705’s. You can spend a lot more $ but will you be getting much, if any more? I’m running 9.1 channels and Atmos movies AWESOME.
 

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Is this new system for mixed audio/ht usage? I have the Emotiva XMC-1 which has Dirac room correction S/W. I am not a big fan of surround sound; you can tune it to sound great with a certain movie/whatever & it sounds really bad with other stuff. Some 2 channel audio sounds awesome unconverted to surround; depends on on modern the music mix is & what decoder you are using.

Dirac yields fantastic results; my woofer response went from the 50hz range down into the 20's.
 

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People, comparing a Ferrari or a Porsche to a Hundai or a Mazda is basically saying they all have 4 wheels and internal combustion engines and get you to the same place, and you really can't drive more than 55 MPH, so what's the difference ! NOT! Nope ! TO put a BRYSTON SP-3 into a discussion with a Marantz for monetary reasons, is understandable, but for quality of build, reliability known, sound quality, and the best warrantee in the industry, is like comparing the Goodyear, Michelin, or Pirelli tire you use, to the Chinese knock off at Wallmart. They all have rubber compounds in them. I don't about you, but I personally don't want to sail down the interstate at 65 MPH on a 90 degree day, after an hour, then start turning down some switchbacks at speed on the Chinese stuff. The Bryston SP-3 might be one of the finest surround processors on the market for authentic, audiophile level sound control, PRE-DSP, and or after DSP. I have compared it to (and I own it) to many, including top Denon models ( of which is essentially a Marantz with a different face), in the exact same scenario of gear and wires, and I will say it was like going from some frozen pizza you thought was great to a hand made DOP pizza in the finest pizzeria in Naples. The sound stage increased exponentially, the depth of field was astonishing, and the tone, timbre, and overall [NATURAL] musicality was stunning! I AM NOT talking about surround, but regular 2 channel playback. In basic DTS or Dolby HD, the same type of experience was had with DVD A disks. ( I never judge on movie files, as too much DSP is engineered into the remixed file). If price was main consideration, and yyou need to be under $3,000, I guess many of the Japanese Army knives will do, but if you have the money the SP-3 is fantastic. If you insist on, and have the ability to utilize the upgrade from 5.1 or 7.2 ( SP-3) and demand Atmos or DTS:X and can swing the $14-$15K, the new Bryston SP-4 is a beast with 16 fully assignable, discrete channels. With every possible, professional, external audio control device built in. I was astonished at the depth of control of each speaker. (But if you don't know what you're doing, find a professional!) The Chinese brand mentioned before; I'll be kind...do your homework! Enjoy the music!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I trusted my ears and came to the same conclusion. I already purchased the SP3 and am awaiting delivery. Two Channel is very important to me so while the other brands may be good with movies I thought the SP3 was the best of both worlds for me. OH, I also got a great price so the difference between the others and the SP3 was reasonable.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I also went to Chicago for AXPONA 2019 and heard the Innous Zenith MK3 Music Streamer. The simplicity of the all-in-one package was too appealing so I ended up purchasing one so its been an expensive few weeks. Hopefully the system will be worth it when I am done upgrading.

What DAC are you using - SP3 or External?
 

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Was using the internal SP-3 D/AC, which was similar to the first gen., Bryston BDA1. Doing an A/B though with the latest BDA-3 was eye opening, no pun intended. The sound stage got much deeper and wider, and the lower three octaves came into much better focus. I really wasn't expecting that much of an improvement. One of the people hearing the BDA-3 was an admitted, non-audiophile and he was giddy at the gain in resolution. We were using the Bryston BDP-2 as a music source.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Since I am coming from a Krell 20i CD player to digital the DAC within the SP3, it should be a major step up. I am thinking of using the Krell 20i transport as a transport for now since it has an op out and if I don't like it I can start looking at new transports. However, I am going high definition in the future so its nice to save $ where I can save it. The Innous has a player for ripping CDs so I can convert my entire CD collection to a hard drive. Have not looked at equipment since the 1990 and this is my first venture into digital world. Hope I am doing it right since mistakes can be costly.
 

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Just remember to choose a ripping format that you prefer. Some people swear by FLAC as [ in their ] minds, it is bit for bit, and semi-compressed for saving space. I am a non-convert, who stays with FULL WAV File format. I always thought the extra space used was inconsequential to overall project. I think I have close to 4 TB ripped in WAV. Apple has their own intrinsic issues, and I don't see ANY need for Compression like MP-3, unless for hand held device to
go to the gym.
 
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