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dandan
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Bryston 7B SST v Emotiva XPR-1

 

I'm deliberating between the Bryston 7B SST and the Emotiva XPR-1 (US Amp made in China) to drive my B&W 802 (both second hand and both are very powerful Amps). Since the Bryston are more expensive (almost double), I wonder if the Bryston worth the extra $$. Do anyone has experience with both Amps??

Thanks

commsysman
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AMPLIFIER

My experience has been that the Bryston amplifier is a MUCH better-sounding amplifier. Not even close.

Bryston makes some of the very best-sounding amplifiers that you can buy, while Emotiva's sound quality is not at all in that class. Bryston also has a 20-year warranty!!

With your excellent speakers you would be disappointed with an Emotiva amplifier.

I use the Bryston 3B-SST2 in my system with an Audio Research preamp and Vandersteen Treo speakers and the sound is to die for.

You won't find no stinkin' Emotivas in my system...lol.

By the way; the 3B-SST2 has WAY more power than your speakers need. I suggest that you get one.

It is rated for 250 watts per channel at 4 ohms, and your speakers don't need half of that. The 7B-SST is WAY WAY more power than your speakers can use, and would be a waste of money.

My speakers are rather power-hungry, at a sensitivity of 84 db/watt or so, while yours are relatively sensitive at about 89 db/watt. That means they need much less than half the power of mine, and the 3B-SST2 drives mine to the loudest levels with no strain.

jgossman
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HMMM

I wonder what Jackfish has to say about this?

Bill B
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substitute

If Jackfish is busy today, let me just say for him, "try the Emotiva's, they are killer for the price and you get a 30 day free home trial".  All this is true.

jackfish
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Hi!

commsysman has never heard an Emotiva XPR-1. Stereophile's Michael Fremer didn't have much good to say about the Bryston 7B SST2. I'd get Parasound JC-1s before the Brystons.

Bryston 7B SST2

 

 

Emotiva XPR-1

 

 

If you want to pay for a 20 year warranty for an amp that is cold and sterile with no bass impact then get the Bryston.  As mentioned before you can find out for yourself how the Emotiva sounds and send it back if you don't want it. Also, if used Bryston 7B SSTs are almost double what used Emotiva XPR-1s are then the Brystons must really depreciate or are hard to get rid of in the used market because new the 7B SSTs cost more than three times as much as the XPR-1s.

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/amplifiers/emotiva-xpr1-amplifier

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/power-amplifiers/power-amplifiers-reviews/emotiva-xpr-1-monoblock-power-amplifier.html

dandan, what are you using for a preamp?

commsysman
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Bryston

Hey fish:

Cold and sterile with no bass impact?? What total, unmitigated idiotic horse-crap!

That is the dumbest thing anyone could say about a Bryston amplifier! 

That's about like saying that a Porsche 911 is no fun to drive and does not corner well; not just stupid, but over-the-top STUPID!!!

You need to come over to my house! The sound, including the bass, is to die for, and nothing is cold or sterile about it!!!

If you have ever heard that from a system with a Bryston amplifier the problem was elsewhere, not with the Bryston amplifier.

Here are two quotes from Larry Greenhill's Bryston 4B review in Stereophile;

".... amazing bass response that was solid, deep, fast, powerful, and well-defIned"

"...a bass massiveness and weight not heard with other amplifiers"

Cold and sterile with no bass impact??? The above quotes would seem to indicate that you are so totally full of crap that your credibility is non-existent!!! (or maybe you were listening to an Emotiva amplifier by mistake and got confused...again....).

spacecase
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hmmmm

So commsysman, you have not heard the Emotiva amp?

commsysman
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Emotiva amps

Sure, I have listened to several Emotiva amplifiers.

They are not too bad, especially if you are on a very tight budget.

But anyone who thinks they sound as good as Krell, Bryston, Musical Fidelity, or Boulder amplifiers is delusional or very inexperienced. That's like comparing a Mazda Miata to a Porsche or Corvette; a whole different level of performance entirely. Not in the same class at all.

You WILL find that the above amplifiers have been listed in Class A in Recommended Components by Stereophile.. Emotiva doesn't even rate a Class C recommendation, for good reason; just not that good.

As a matter of fact, the Vincent amplifiers are much better-sounding than Emotiva's, and not too terribly much more expensive.

Bill B
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V

No opinion on Emotiva v. Bryston - haven't heard the E's, have enjoyed but not really evaluated the B's  -- but I do recommend the Vincent line, based on experience/ownership. 

spacecase
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Well friends,

it looks like another iteration of the eternal debate between the "You Get What You Pay For" camp and the "Law of Diminishing Returns" camp.  I think both sides have a point, and I can't weigh in as I haven't heard any of these amps, but I do know that different people with different ears hear things differently.  Even a system modest by audiophile standards will produce sound beautiful enough to make you grateful to have ears, and would have been inconceivable 100 years ago.  Whatever other problems Modern Man may face, this is a good time to be alive for us music nuts.  Happy listening to all, and to all a good night!

Allen Fant
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dandan -   Bryston is the

dandan -

 

Bryston is the clear winner.  Classe' is another outstanding SS power amp.

If you are thinking about tubed power amps- the Conrad Johnson (CJ) classic 66.

xsipower
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Emotiva Class H

I haven't done any listening tests on both. My response is only from a technical perspective.

The Emotiva is a Class H amplifier. It is basically two class A/B amplifiers running in bridged mode with the power supply rails being switched between medium voltage and high voltage based on the music demand. Class H is mainly used in PA amplifiers as the "audiophile" community has not embraced it due to what many perceive as a harsh sounding amplifier due to the transience of the rail switching ending up on the output of the amplifier. Emotiva claims that they have taken class H to the audiophile level. Class H is usually done to make a more thermally efficient design which lowers the cost of the amplifier by being able to provide smaller heatsinks and lesser quantity of output devices. I really don't know of any High End amplifiers that used Class H in their design. I suspect that Emotiva with their mission to provice affordable products, wishes to be with the big boys by making a 1000W amplifier.

Bryston on the other hand uses classic bridged class A/B amplifiers in their monoblocks. They use a very clever hybrid EF - CFP output stage which has the benefits of high linearity and low impedance. If you need 1000W then Bryston has the 28B SST which interestingly weighs almost the same as the Emotiva XPR. It of course costs a lot more.

As someone mentioned before, the Parasound Halo JC 1 is a great contender. Take a look as Stereophiles review http://www.stereophile.com/solidpoweramps/774/index.html . From both subjective and objective testing it's a great amplifier at that price point. It was designed by John Curl one of the best audiophile designers around. It is a class A/B amplfier but heavely biased into class A so that into 8 ohm load it runs in class A up to 25W. That's a nice feature. It's not at powerful as the Bryston and Emotiva that you asked about.

Good luck.

Allen Fant
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Not in this universe, or any

Not in this universe, or any other, could the Emotiva compete against the Bryston!

audiobuff1
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If you can afford it, GO WITH THE BRYSTON!!!

I'm gonna have to agree with allen and xsipower.  No way the Emotiva even comes close to matching the Bryston.  I've heard both Emotiva XPR1 and Bryston 4B on maggie 1.7s.  The Bryston was waaaaaaaaay better.  Having said that, I picked an amp other than the Bryston 4B to power my maggies.  I'm not even gonna mention the amp's make, because the question is NOT about that.  Emotiva vs Bryston - go with Bryston if you can afford it. 

audiobuff1
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Forget the 7B monoblock, go with the 4B or 3B as mentioned

As mentioned by another reviewer, you don't need the 7B monoblocks.  Drop down to the 3B or 4B and save yourself quite a bit right there (it sounds like you can afford the Bryston gear, forget the Emotiva).  Ultimately you can demo amp after amp and get so confused in the process.  Bryston is a good choice (as are several other audiofile grade amps).  If you are that worried about it, order the Emotiva & find a dealer that will let you take a Bryston home for a couple days.  Demo them yourself, make your choice and live with it.  My guess is you'll pick the Bryston, send the Emotiva back, and live happily ever after not doubting your choice.

commsysman
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Bryston

I use the Bryston 3B-SST2 to power my Vandersteen Treo speakers. The Treos are very low-sensitivity speakers and the 3B has plenty of power for them (250 WPC into 4 ohms).

There might be some speakers that it can't drive, but they would be some very unusual ones.

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Emotiva XPR-1

Emotiva XPR-1 mono blocks are phenomenal amplifiers and worth way more than the price they are asking.  It's not mid fi at all.  It produces a truly high end sound that must be heard to be believed.  I purchased these for 30 day trial just for kicks.  The amp is biased Class A for first 20 watts then goest to class AB then H when it reaches super high output.  I did some initial listening comparisons and then left it on for 2 weeks to do more comparisons.  It does gets warm but not toasty like many class A amps(like Nelson Pass First Watt F3 amps I also have)..  Here is the kicker, I've owned MBL-9008 mono amps for six years which has out performed the likes of Theta's Citadel amps and McIntosh 601s driving a pair of Revel Salon 2s. I had three audiophiles listening to the comparison on Revel Salon 2s which is very inefficient speakers, everyone thought that Emotiva XPR-1 sounded better than MBL-9008s.  Had deeper, quicker and richer bass with weight and mids and highs believe it or not sounded more open, smooth and natural.  You get drawin into whatever music you play.  A trait of a remarkable amplifier.  Don't know how in the hell they can produce a sound like this at this price.  Don't believe me.  Get these on a trial and you won't believe it.  At first when I turned it on from the factory, it sounded good off the bat compared to MBL-9008 but thought MBL-9008s were slightly better in mids and highs. But wow, it really opened up after 2 seeks of straight burn in.  You really need 20 amp dedicated lines for these amps.  I have 8 dedicated 20 amps feeding my audio equipment with Synergistics Research TESLA 20 amp outlets.  Needless to say these are keepers.

drblank
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What do you expect from

a person that can't afford a Bryston that seems to be filled with jealousy?

I read a bunch of customers on Emotiva's forum where they had amps that would emit smoke when connected for the first time or other products that simply stopped working within a short period of time after the purchased it.

I don't know a single professional mastering or recording studio that uses Emotiva, but I know of PLENTY that have been using Bryston for many decades.

I've never owned Bryston, but I won't knock them.  They've proven to be an excellent brand.

commsysman
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AMPLIFIER

I recently had the chance to hear a Musical Fidelity M6PRX power amplifier.

It was incredibly good-sounding, so I ordered one from Audio Advisor to try it out.

The improvement over my Bryston 3B-SST was significant, so now it is driving my Vandersteen speakers. It is only $3500, and I think you would have a hard time finding anything that equals it for twice the price!

If I was going to rank amplifiers I am familiar with on a scale of 1 to 10, this is what I would say:

Audio Research REFERENCE 150- 10

Musical Fidelity M6PRX-                    9

Bryston 3B-SST2-                             8

Mark Levinson 532H (and others)     8, 9

Bryston 3B- SST-                              7

Musical Fidelity M3i-                          6

Arcam Integrated amplifiers               6

Cambridge AVRs                               5

Emotiva amplifiers-                         4, 5

Marantz Integrated amplifiers              4

Yamaha, Pioneer, Anthem, etc.          1

(AVRs sold for under $1000 or so)

 

There also many other Audio Research, Krell, Mark Levinson and Musical Fidelity amplfiers that are over $10,000 and sound great, but they are so far out of my price range that I don't think about them.

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Emotiva VS. Bryston

To say that the Emotiva is in the same league with the Bryston isn't smart at all.Right at this moment I have a Emotva XPA-2 Front L/R and an Earthquake Cinenova 5 Channels @300watts 8 ohms. The Emotiva has 250watts@ 8 ohms.I'd have to say it's a pretty good match but,in terms of richness or fullness its the Earthquake all the way. Emotiva has a good product for financially challenged hobbiest.It's just no way possibile to compare those Apples and Oranges.  Bryston is in there with the Professional audio community. Mastering Mixing,Playback the whole 9 yards.PMC speakers and like that. Don't be Disillusioned you do get what you pay for 

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Emotiva VS. Bryston

Interesting thread, I wanted to through the below into the mix. I'll start off by saying that i haven't had a chance to really hear Emotiva equipment but have wanted to for some time and if my integrated amp from Simaudio every gets low on power i would probably audition them given the cost of high wattage amps/mono blocks.

I wanted to point out that one post above mentioned that driving 802 with a Emotiva would be not fully using the speakers. Interestingly enough there is a mastering studio in Portland that actually runs B&W 800s off of emotiva amps. Looking at their setup, I doubt cost really factored into their amp decision.

http://getinmedia.com/articles/music-careers/hear-no-evil-nick-moon
http://www.toneproper.com/gear/

Again I cant comment on how they sound and other amps could truly be better, but I tend to look towards the professional audio world as much as i can when I have questions since at the end of the day if they can master with it, spend 10 hours a day with it and trust their livelihood with it, its probably worth taking a look for installation in my setup. (of course not everything translates over, but if i had to set up my system again i would have done it differently taking more cues from the pro audio world)

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Direct Comparison

From direct experience, I can give you my opinion on this topic.

I've owned a pair of Emotiva XPA-1 monoblocks for two years now. I recently upgraded to a Bryston 14B-SST2.

Granted, I have a pretty nice system. Thiel CS3.7, Bryston BP26 preamp, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC (MKII), and quality cables.

Emotiva amps are priced EXACTLY where they should be. If they sounded close to, or "99% as good as" a Bryston 7B or 14B, Emotiva would raise the price. You get what you pay for.

I feel so naive. For a while, I thought that Emotiva's amps were essentially just as good as the others. They look impressive. They are heavy. They're well made. They have TONS of power.

The Bryston advantage is its grace and nuance. It has clarity beyond Emotiva's wildest dreams, but expresses feeling. It does more than hit a bass note. It convinces you that someone's thumb just plucked a string, and makes you lean back in your chair as you feel the sound. You don't hear a snare drum. You visualize the technique that the drummer is using. I looked around for someone to brag to when Norah Jones was IN my living room--singing to me about lost love.

Life is about emotion, and Bryston managed to press a good amount of it into a tidy 100 lb. block.

I wish so badly that Emotiva amps were good enough. The last thing I wanted to do was spend this much money on an amplifier. But to say that the two amplifiers are close in performance is to say that they are both, indeed, amplifiers.

Tahoebum
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Emotiva

I'll throw in my 2 cents in. I am a long time audio enthusiast but not an audio snob by any stretch. If you are the type that believes $500 a foot speaker cables make an appreciable sonic difference over $50 a foot speaker cables, read no further, you and I are not likely to agree on much.

My entry into HiFi started in the late 1980's when I purchased a Krell amp, Conrad Johnson preamp, and Vandersteen 2ci's. Believe it or not I bought the Krell and Conrad Johnson at cost from my employer at the time, Best Buy. Yes, Best Buy used to sell high end audio before they went to the warehouse concept(if only I had held onto all that BBY stock at 7 cents a share!) My personal opinion on the the Bryston vs. XPA-1(I own 2 XPA-1's for a home theater set up and my brother own's a couple Bryston amps) is the Bryston has a touch more detail and clarity but it is a small difference. If you can afford the Bryston, go for it, if not the XPA's are great sounding amps with more power for the buck if you need it for lower efficiency speakers.

I'm of the opinion that amps sound more alike than preamps or certainly speakers do. For example, I'm a huge fan of the Magnepan sound and use them even in my home theater set up. My brother and many others would never consider a Mangepan or any planar speaker - to each his own. My ears hear things differently than yours do. I think Emotiva does make very high quality products that often times sound as well as products costing two or three times as much. Certainly there are reference quality brands that make better products than Emotiva. The biggest difference may be that Emotiva doesn't have the image or "it" factor among audiophiles like my Krell or Conrad Johnson. Just like my Audi doesn't have the "it" factor of the many Maseratis and Teslas running around my neighborhood. My Omega watch doesn't have the "it" factor if your a watch snob either. It doesn't make my Audi a bad car or my Omega a bad watch, just a little more economical or sensible. As a company I think Emotiva brings a value and quality of sound to a whole new group of people that may have never been able or willing to drop $30k+ on audio equipment. I've convinced several of my neighbors and relatives to dump their crappy mid fi receivers and speakers and replace them with high value components and speakers from companies like Emotiva. In all cases, it's opened their eyes to a whole new world of enjoying music at home, which is all what we're trying to achieve. The fact that Emotiva offers so much for so little is very refreshing for an industry that in many ways has managed to lose 95% of the public over the last 30 years.

jimbo
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Emotiva

Emotiva makes excellent audio gear. I had an XPA-2 and sold it when I fell into a great deal on a Classe amp. I didn't find a huge difference between the two. One thing people may not be considering is how Emotiva sells at lower prices. I have a friend who is an audio dealer and a lot of equipment is marked up 50-100 percent. Where Emotiva has no middle man, Bryston and many of the high-end companies do. You may be paying $6000 for an amp the dealer is buying for $3000 - $4000.

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