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JIMV
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The Brystin BDP-1 review??

I have to ask, noting that this is an expensive toy and apparently a bitch to set up and operate, just exactly what does this device do that a MAC playing Pure Music software cannot do at half the price and with an easier user interface???

 

Does it sound better? If so how?

returnstackerror
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Haven’t read the review

Haven’t read the review yet...my digital subscription issue has yet to show up.

Short answer is its a stripped down computer , optimised to do one thing very well rather than being a general purpose computer trying to do music reproduction very well (which can be challenging). So your alternative probably cant match it in terms of pure sound reproduction quality.

But as with all things hi-fi, does the cost differental make it worth while?

I almost brought one myself several months ago but refrained due to the design and operational issue "vibes" I got while tracking it on the Bryston audicircle forum.

Downsides (in my opinion):

1- Bryston did all the hard work on the hardware side but didn’t get good value for money from their software developers. One of the many examples (which may be fixed now) was that if you turned it off and on, it had to rescan your library, which could take 10-15 minutes.

All they had to do (which I did suggest to them on audiocircle) was to write the 1st  index scan back to disk and just re-read the index on the next reboot plus give the option to rescan if new music was added.

2- Its a relatively primitive and immature interface which will improve over time but one has to question if Brytson has the software development expertise to eventually match other interfaces out there. If they did, one would have imagine the first release of the software would have at least a matching "look and feel" to the best of breed examples.

3- Using USB as the cabling option was wrong. USB has a limit of 5M (unless you spend a lot of money on a USB extender that can support USB drives)... It would have been better to support ethernet (as in NAS storage) or firewire plus USB. Adding NAS storage (given they run Linux) would be very easy (they might have by now?). But again by not supporting NAS shows the software design wasnt fully baked.

USB is the perceived standard. but it means you most probably have to have a hard disk drive close to your equipment (which in my book is bad... noise and power polution... USB disk drives are commodity products and no care is taken on the power supply side of their design)

 

 

My current ripped music player (has been since they 1st appeared) is the Slimdevices Transporter (into a standalone DAC)  which for me, being ethernet based, is ideal as it keeps all computer hardware away from my music room.

Sure it must downsampe anything above 96/24 but I have zero 192/24 , what is available is tiny in selection, doesnt cover my preferred music genres and the debate is out on whether 192/24 (or 176.4/24) is really needed.

 

 

Peter

JIMV
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I am still unclear abut the

I am still unclear abut the 'sound better' issue...at this price it should but the review does not really say so....What they need is a remote at a reasonable price that works at least as well as the iPhone remote app.

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bryston review

"Haven’t read the review

Posted: May 17, 2011 - 5:52pm

Haven’t read the review yet...my digital subscription issue has yet to show up."

 

I subscribed to the digital version of Stereophile a couple of months ago.  I have to admit I am VERY disappointed.  I subscribe to HIFi+ and get the issue 2-4 weeks earlier than the printed copy.  A close friend gets The Absolute Sound's digital copy 10-20 days earlier than I get the printed copy(we live about 120 miles apart).  I get the digital copy of Stereophile 4-10 days AFTER I get the printed copy.  To make matters worse TAS and HiFi+ come in pdf form so I can read it clearly and easily on my laptops (Mac and PC) and my desktop (pc).  Stereophile goes through a Zinio reader that is awkward at best to use.   As a result I renewed the printed copy as well which was not my intention.

 

That said the Bryston review left me confused as well as a friend who is trying to get a music server to digitally transfer all of his vinyl to.  It seems to be a promising device but either the reviewer is not computer literate (like most of us!) or the instructions/execution of software leaves much to be desired.  What made the device so wonderful...the convenience once the reviewer got the procedures down pat or the sound quality of hi rez recordings, both or something else?

I think I speak for many of us out here that really want a music serverfor its convenience and potential. We especially want one that easily does hi rez as well as keep all music in a simple easy to use device.  CD's, SACD's and DVD-Audios, as well as vinyl are simple to use.  But a majority of the servers are a major pain to set up or use.

 

 

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BDP-1

There were a few things about LG's review which made no sense to me. 

#1 on p. 76 he says, "The analog and digital power supply circuit boards are kept separate..." But what analog circuitry is there? This box is nothing but a simple CPU running linux with a ESI Juli@ card <http://www.esi-audio.com/products/julia/>. There are no analog outs and no DAC, so why is there an analog power supply? Huh?

#2 If LG wants to make any claim that, despite the stated fact that the software is hard to use, the Bryston "sounds" good, shouldn't he compare the thing to a normal computer's digital (or even usb) outputs? I happen to believe that with proper jitter control the "transport" doesn't matter at all- so I'd like to see even a subjective comparison. Otherwise, wasn't LG just listening to the Bryston DAC?

#3 Why does Bryston support Apple's iphone for app support control of the box, but the box doesn't support "apple formatted files?"

JIMV
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I hate to say it

I was left with more questions than answers....Beyond the price and the impression that the set up was hell and the remote sort of useless (but expensive), I could not figure out if this does anything better than existing PC or MAC based servers.

 

I suggest a follow up....

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Useful review required

I agree with JIMV and others. Given the absence of information comparing this "solution" to others - ie. a Mac or other computer with a real user interface - ouputting to a DAC such as Bryston's own, there is no context for determining if there is a sufficient improvement in sound to warrant buying this device - yet ANOTHER computer - and having to take USB drives walkies around my house. Perhaps there wasn't enough room for a useful review??

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comments

 

1) The BDP or any computer based audio device is not unlike a CD player with the digital circuitry and then the analog circuitry which is still needed for SPDIF and AES-EBU.   Also analog power supplies tend to have less noise than the switching power supplies found in a computer.

2) Sadly most of the difficultly with the BDP could have been negated if Bryston would offer a software package to copy files to a hdd you attach to the BDP.   It's clearly not a device for everyone.

3) The BDP does support apple formatted files. That part of the review is just flat wrong and also is contradicting to the measurement section found on that page.   Looks like an independant editor could have caught that.

 

Jim

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Re: BDP-1

Jim C wrote:
2) Sadly most of the difficultly with the BDP could have been negated if Bryston would offer a software package to copy files to a hdd you attach to the BDP.   It's clearly not a device for everyone.

You can copy files to be played on the BDP-1 from any computer on to a USB drive. The BDP-1 indexes the drive when it is connected to the player.

Quote:
3) The BDP does support apple formatted files. That part of the review is just flat wrong and also is contradicting to the measurement section found on that page.   Looks like an independant editor could have caught that.

Yes, as well as being able to play AIFF files, as Larry said, it did also play AAC or ALAC files, which are Apple formats. The "Apple formatted files" was meant to say "Apple formatted discs." My error.

 

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

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I don't think Mr Greenhill is

I don't think Mr Greenhill is exactly a computer expert. Besides stating in one place that the Bryston reads AIFF files and then stating that it doesn't read Apple Macintosh files, he also buys two pieces of software DBPoweramp to rip his cds and another to convert his WMA files to FLAC when DBPoweramp is able to convert files by itself. This is not a knock on Mr Greenhill, who IIRC has a long history of audio reviewing going back to Audio magazine. But it is time for Stereophile to give computer related devices to someone who will review them correctly and who have more than a basic understanding of how they work.

As to the Bryston device I think that it is a device for an industry struggling to enter the next stage of audio storage and reporduction. I don't think devices like this have much of a future as they don't store files, don't hook up to a computer and don't stream wirelessly. Bryston's problem streaming at a show in a hotel probably had more to do with a slow hotel network and interference from other devices in the area rather than problems that most people would have in their homes. On my home network I have no dropouts streaming from my computer to a pair of Airport Expresses.

The future is computer based and we're still taking baby steps in that direction

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I suspect you are right

But I would clarify that...the future is Hi-Rez and wireless and probably computer based, not specialized gear.

Larry Greenhill
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Bryston BDP-1 Review

Thank you for reading my review. You asked, what was so wonderful? After I set-up the BDP-1, the sound quality was superb, and I had all my Records to Die For reviewer's favorites in one convenient place. In short, the BDP-1 is now my most convenient source of the highest quality high-rez digital file music.

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Reply to Noahbickart on Bryston BDP-1

Dear NoahBickart:

Thank you for reading my review, and thinking critically about its contents. Here are my answers to your questions.

1. WHY ARE THERE BOTH DIGITAL AND ANALOG POWER SUPPLIES IN A DIGITAL FILE TRANSPORT?

The BDP-1 has two power supplies. The digital switching power supply supports non-signal bearing circuits, including front panel controls and display. These are supported by a small digital switching supply, which is noisier than a standard analog design power supply. Therefore, the BDP-1 has an analog power supply where lower noise floor is more critical, such as the signal-bearing circuits (memory buffer, soundcard, motherboard, etc.).

 

2. WHY DID THE BDP-1 REVIEW NOT DO A COMPARISON  OF THE BDP-1 WITH ANOTHER SOURCE, SUCH AS A PERSONAL COMPUTER?

My personal computer, a Lenovo X31 laptop, was used as a source for several reviews, including my review of the Bryston BDA-1 DAC. However, it does not possess an AES/EBU output connector, which is best for transmitting high-rez digital files. The Bryston BCD-1 compact disc player has an AES/EBU connector, but the X31 only has a USB port. When I use the X31 to stream digital files, I connect it to my Bryston DBA-1 DAC using a Bel Canto 48/96 Link that feeds into the BDA-1's S/PDIF input. However, the USB connector on the Bel Canto can't accept a high rez (24/176kHz or 24/192kHz) digital stream. Even if I went to the trouble of setting up a desktop PC with an expensive plug-in soundcard with an AES/EBU output connector and connect the cable to the AES/EBU input of the BDA-1 DAC input, it would still be sourced freom the noisy environment of a PC versus the very low noise environment of the BDP-1.

The whole point of my BDP-1 review was to report on the functioning of a turnkey digital file transport -- a stand-alone transport that doesn't need to run on a network -- that is able to interface with different DACs and different networks, if need be, while generatig high rez digital streams from 24/192kHz digital files from its AES/EBU output connector and remain bit-true when driving a BDA-1 DAC.

 

3. IS THE BDP-1 ABLE TO PLAY MUSIC FILES FROM A USB FLASH DRIVE OR USB HDD THAT HAS BEEN FORMATTED BY AN APPLE COMPUTER OR NOT?

You are correct, I mistakenly stated that the BDP-1 couldn't read Apple files. My mistake. I should have said that it couldn't read Apple-formatted discs, not files.

The BDP-1 will play Apple Lossless and AIFF but the USB drive must be formatted FAT32 (which most thumb drives are not) or NTSF ( which most USB-hard drives are), not formatted vy a MAC operating system. MAC uses a format called HSF which the BDP-1 can't work with. In the next software updatre, the MAC format will also be implemented.

 

Many thanks for raising these issues. I hope I've been able to answer your questions.

 

Best,

Larry Greenhill  

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USB wrong?

Peter:

In your comment, you state, " Using USB as the cabling option was wrong. USB has a limit of 5M (unless you spend a lot of money on a USB extender that can support USB drives.)"

The Bryston BDP-1 does not playback the streaming digital data over USB cables. The USB connectors are not for USB output cables, but to plug in USB storage (Flash Drives or USB HDDs). These are only used for data storage. This makes the concern about USB cables moot.

 

Many thanks for reading the review.

 

Best,

Larry Greenhill

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Bit is Bits
Larry Greenhill wrote:

Dear NoahBickart:

Thank you for reading my review, and thinking critically about its contents. Here are my answers to your questions.

 Even if I went to the trouble of setting up a desktop PC with an expensive plug-in soundcard with an AES/EBU output connector and connect the cable to the AES/EBU input of the BDA-1 DAC input, it would still be sourced freom the noisy environment of a PC versus the very low noise environment of the BDP-1.

I find this interesting in view of a series of posts I made and their response a while ago about computers as a front end and my skepticism that the sound from a noisy, cheaply made, full of cheap parts computer based front end could be as good as the sound from a transport into the same DAC. I was assured by a host of folk that 'bits is bits' and 'bit perfect' is 'bit perfect'.

 

Your post seems to say the exact opposite.

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The Bryston BDP-1

The Bryston BDP-1 does not playback the streaming digital data over USB cables. The USB connectors are not for USB output cables, but to plug in USB storage (Flash Drives or USB HDDs). These are only used for data storage. This makes the concern about USB cables moot.
 

Many thanks for reading the review.
 

Best,

Larry Greenhill

 

 

Larry,

 

I fully understand how the BDP-1 works (my professional computer skills are well regarded worldwide).

 

The point is.... at the END of 5M of the USB cable is a disk drive... it spins, it vibrates, it makes noise, it has consumer based power supplies which can be injurious to any components around it.

 

So unless you drill a hole in a wall, for example, and place the USB drive in another room, then most people will have the USB drive very near their systems (with the short USB cable that comes with their USB drive) ..... or you spend $500 on a USB extender that supports USB hard drives to get it out of the room.

 

As I pointed out (which may be above your computer skills) because they run Linux, they could easily run Samba  which allows Linux to mount a hardrive on a remote PC computer somewhere well away from the listening room (much means to Linux and all upstream software, its looks just like a USB drive and you store your rips on the PC, and in fact can rip directly to this remote mounted drive)

 

This is to my point that their software people let them down badly. They have Linux, they have an ethernet port... so the connectvity options could include USB AND Samba and NAS storage over ethernet.

 

I dont want any noisey USB drive or computer in my listening room and its not because I am computer illterate.

 

The option of a "thumbdrive" negates the noise/power pollution issues BUT given I have over 1TB of ripped music files , 1024gb into a 8GB thumb drive is a very poor equation. The idea of a large centralised, easily managed data repository for music cannot be realised with "thumbdrives"... which aside from capacity issues are also very fragile.

 

Peter
 

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The Bryston BDP-1

returnstackerror wrote:
The point is.... at the END of 5M of the USB cable is a disk drive... it spins, it vibrates, it makes noise, it has consumer based power supplies which can be injurious to any components around it.

 

All true, and all irrelevant, as the USB drive is used purely for data storage, as Larry Greenhill explained. The BDP-1 reads the audio file from the drive into its RAM then plays those data back from RAM. You don't need to use a spinng hard drive, you could use a solid-state drive if you wish, or a memory stick plugged into one of the 2 ports on the BDP-1's front panel.

 

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

(Who built his first computer, a Sinclair ZX81, 30 years ago)

returnstackerror
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Dear John, I wont comment

Dear John,

I wont comment about the Sinclair as my professional computer career predates that some what (and on systems "slightly" larger, more complex and more mission critical)

Now if we refer to solid state drives, yes they do overcome the issues but at what price.. which is to Jim's original point (SSD drives are very expensive especially large capacity ones)

And how do I connect  500gb or 1TB of SSD drive to the BDP-1 when SSD capacities are relatively small compared to their "spinning" brothers. I dont want four disk drives with power supplies running in my room.

And SSD drives will still fail so I still need to back stuff up. The BDP-1 is not a convienent way to manage a collection.

My bitch is not about the sound quality but that they didnt think hard enough about the limitations of USB as a hardware component and implement some ethernet based solutions that Linux provides (you can for example run an ethernet cable 100's of metres with no issues)

With Samba and NAS supported... the product would sound great AND be easy to manage and have limitless capacity.

Peter

 

PS. Just checked some prices on 256GB SSD drives... average is $500.. if I wanted to store my collection, I need to spend $2000 above what the cost of the BDP-1 is.. so all up around $4500!!

PSS. Over time, larger capacity thumbdrives will arrive and SSD will get cheaper but as it stand today...

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Re: External Drives with BDP-1

returnstackerror wrote:

I wont comment about the Sinclair as my professional computer career predates that some what (and on systems "slightly" larger, more complex and more mission critical)

I merely mentioned the Sinclair because you appeared to arguing by credential. Apologies if that was not your intent.

Quote:
Now if we refer to solid state drives, yes they do overcome the issues but at what price.. which is to Jim's original point (SSD drives are very expensive especially large capacity ones)

And how do I connect  500gb or 1TB of SSD drive to the BDP-1 when SSD capacities are relatively small compared to their "spinning" brothers. I dont want four disk drives with power supplies running in my room.

And I am still not getting your point about external magnetic hard drives. I live in an old brick house and running CAT5 cable to my listening room from a remote NAS drive is not practical. So I have my music library stored on an external 1TB drive (and backed up on two more). This drive is connected via Firewire to a Mac mini running Pure Music. Yes it spins, yes it has a power supply. But it is both intrinsically very quiet and it can't be heard from my listening position. I could use that drive with the Bryston BDP-1 in the same way, other than using its USB port. So what's the problem?

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

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BDP-1 design choices

 

We are all entering a new era in music playback. There are a number of new alternatives, each with strengths and weaknesses. There are options from the Squeezebox to the Blue Smoke to the Olive boxes. They each address the opportunity in different ways with different approaches to solving the problems presented. The Bryston BDP-1 is another alternative and not necessarily the definitive solution for everyone.

It’s important to understand the audience the BDP-1 was designed for. Not every audiophile manages a Storage Area Network or High Performance Computing system for a living. Most of the target audience the BDP-1 is designed for are not computer geeks and have no desire to add those skills. It may be easier to think of the BDP-1 as a step between a CD player and a computer playback device. The user interface is modeled after the Bryston CD player and using USB sticks the metaphor works quite well. 

The BDP-1 does have SAMBA enabled and you can write to a USB drive over the network. There is work toward a matching NAS solution as well. However it’s important to understand the challenges of setting up complex network scenarios with no local user interface, users who are not highly computer savvy and the potential for changing things that may render an expensive piece of hardware a brick because some character was wrong. The use of Zeroconfig networking makes the system much more user friendly and will allow for automatic connection to a NAS when it is ready and eliminates the need to teach a user the mechanics of network drive setup.

Keep in mind most audiophiles have no networking local to their audio systems. Further, while WiFi is adequate to 44.1 KHz audio the bandwidth requirements for High Rez are such that WiFi can be dodgy if the access point is not in the same room.

The storage is not inside since drive prices move like fresh fish at the market. External drive enclosures can be had that are USB powered and with 2.5" drives are very quiet and inexpensive (cheaper than most audiophile feet). Finally "ripping" and downloading content is a process best managed with a desktop environment with a keyboard to correct the inevitable wrong metadata and a mouse to manage the desired filing process for the content.

A highly skilled computer geek can put together something similar and make it precisely what he wants. The same is true for a talented electronic hobbyist and building a preamp, poweramp or speaker. That is the realm of DIYAUDIO. And a way to spend many hours fiddling with no music coming forth.

Demian Martin

Auraliti, Constellation, Monster Cable

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It's a competitive market out there...

As a long time user of various Slimdevices(now Logitech) streamers, I've enjoyed the convenience of having my central music server in one part of the house (right next to my router), and as many clients as I care to have (3 in my case) where the music needs to be. There are several reasons to prefer this arrangement. I'd like to have all my domestic "IT" equipment away from my living space and hidden from view. I also like to have my music server and my backup NAS server connected together via short lengths of Cat6 GbE ethernet. Finally, I like the "one server: many clients" paradigm, since I want the same music collection available for bedside headphone listening as I have in my main listening room.

When I do need large physical separation, and I don't want to deal with WiFi, I have used Homeplug Powerline AV Network kits which are about $100 for a pair and I have been able to set and forget. (I do take care to filter the mains power feeding my HiFi components, though.)

I guess my overall point is that Bryston have chosen to support one usage model, which is not my personal favorite, and will probably not be preferred by those of us who have tasted the benefits of a true client-server mulitroom music distribution system. I can imagine that those who have never had such a system in their homes may find the BDP-1 a revelation, however.

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But does it...

Does it sound better than other options out there? I see it costs a lot more. Once you have bought the device and all the sortware and acillary gear you need to get it to work it costs more than 4 times as much as an iMac mini with pure music, a petty great sounding option in itself and far easier to set up and use.

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Thanks for the replay

Demian,

You overplay the geekiness of the options I suggest which could easily be part of the BDP-1 configuration menu.

An analogy of your argument is because many audiophiles might have reduced hearing abilities due to age and its only these old farts that have the money to buy expensive equipment then lets limit the max frequency in our $30K CD player to 15KHZ cause they cant hear above that.

You state the "The BDP-1 does have SAMBA enabled and you can write to a USB drive over the network"

Thats not want I want or are stating. Its going the wrong way. That still means I am using USB drives connected to the BDP-1

I dont want to use a USB drive directly connected to the BDP-1 (because I dont want consumer PC "stuff" which have no mandate to have any noise suppression of any kind as part if its design in my room) and my point is still, with very little effort the  BDP-1 usage options could be expanded (without needing a degree in computer science to use it).

I want to rip my CD's onto a PC in another room, and have the disk drive in that PC mounted via Samba within the BDP-1. That way I can manage my music from a robust, secure and central location.

If you are interested visit http://linux-cifs.samba.org/

 

Peter

 

 

 

 

returnstackerror
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"but does it sound any better" - maybe

From a technical perspective, it should.

While the BDP-1 is a computer, its been stripped of all the "general purpose" "stuff" and is made lean and mean to only process digital files.

But as with anything, tech specs might not equate to real world benefits or to your ears sound better than what you propose.

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But bits is bits

If you get a bit perfect stream out of the thing, like you do in any computer, how does specializing change anything?

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I still think that the

I still think that the failure to compare this unit to a "normal" computer with a digital out (of any kind) makes any comments about the sound quality of this thing totally useless. The fact that it is hard to use and doesn't employ NAS storage options leaves my wondering why it deserves such a high recommendation. I guess if I were both a luddite and a Bryston fanboy...

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Juli@

I've read the review and I've read through all the previous posts and I find I still have more questions than answers.

The first and most obvious question is why was there no further mention of the modified ESI Juli@ soundcard other than the statement about it's inclusion in the BDP-1? The ESI Juli@ soundcard retails for less than $150 and can be installed in almost any desktop computer which can accept a full height PCI add-in card. Exactly how was this soundcard modified by Bryston?

As stated by Jim several times, why wasn't the BDP-1 compared with some of the many other alternatives available for playing high resolution digital files, such as a PC, a PC with a ESI Juli@ soundcard or a Squeezebox Touch (connected wirelessly, connected via Ethernet or using a USB drive). And yes, I am fully aware that the Touch is only capable of playing up to 24/96 files without downsampling.

All of the alternatives I've listed above have one major advantage over the BDP-1 in that they feature full function music library management which is one of the main selling points of a computer based digital audio system. The BDP-1 appears to be a big step backwards since it's music library management functions are almost nonexistent.

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A transitional device

I really feel that this is a device for the computerphobic, for those who don't like wireless or don't think that sound quality from a wireless device is high end and don't want a computer in the living room. It is a transitional device that works well, is very well made and which buffers the sound files in memory. I'm sure it sounds very good but it will have a limited lifetime and marketplace.

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returnstackerror

I think with a moniker like "returnstackerror" you have more than a little understanding of the IT environment. As I have been working with customers it has been clear that to many computers are scary and mysterious. They are understandibly complex. I have also learned that what seems a trivial configuration task becomes really onerous for many. Its difficult to move from a place of extensive knowledge to understand the point of view of someone who is completely innocent of networking, sharing and the other arcana of computers. We have reports from distributors of serious customers who do not have or intend to get a cell phone, let alone a computer. And many customers have no idea what the password to their wireless network is. Building a "consumer appliance" brings some difficult challenges and frustrating compromises.

I looked at using SAMBA for using a NAS but find NFS works much better with lower overhead. Unfortunately NFS is an ugly stepchild on commercial NAS devices and while supported the configuration info is sparse to be polite. We are looking at ways to overcome these challenges since the system used with a NAS makes so much sense. When the decisions have been made about NAS support the internal firmware update process will make rolling out the changes pretty painless. 

        Demian

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limited lifetime and marketplace

maybe....

I could become the next SlimDevices Transporter.....as all its operational issues can be resolved via software updates:

  - lack of NAS support/Samba CIFS (which is the poor mans NAS).
  - not so stellar interface
  - include a remote with the unit

 

I know they are working on internet radio.

So if and when they resolve these issues, the product will almost be a SlimDevices Transporter clone.... because many competitors  products still contain a "spinning" HDD (cause SSD is too expensive) and for many having that "spinning" HDD inside a component is a problem.

And the price is in SlimDevices Transporter range.

So if we assume over time it becomes the feature rich component it should have been from day one, validly for Jim, it doesnt scream bargin nor demonstrates it is better sounding than his alternative.

 

As someone above wisely mentioned,  the review did no comparision (relative to sound quality) against other computer based solutions so the review leaves sound quality issue hanging out there, unresolved.

 

Peter

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end user skills
1audio wrote:

I think with a moniker like "returnstackerror" you have more than a little understanding of the IT environment. As I have been working with customers it has been clear that to many computers are scary and mysterious. They are understandibly complex. I have also learned that what seems a trivial configuration task becomes really onerous for many. Its difficult to move from a place of extensive knowledge to understand the point of view of someone who is completely innocent of networking, sharing and the other arcana of computers. We have reports from distributors of serious customers who do not have or intend to get a cell phone, let alone a computer. And many customers have no idea what the password to their wireless network is. Building a "consumer appliance" brings some difficult challenges and frustrating compromises.

I looked at using SAMBA for using a NAS but find NFS works much better with lower overhead. Unfortunately NFS is an ugly stepchild on commercial NAS devices and while supported the configuration info is sparse to be polite. We are looking at ways to overcome these challenges since the system used with a NAS makes so much sense. When the decisions have been made about NAS support the internal firmware update process will make rolling out the changes pretty painless. 

        Demian

 

I have used samba in its many forms (since 1999) for many critical situations and prefer it to NFS. You are right that NFS is ugly.

So we will leave our Samba discussion where it is but if you are working on a remote storage over ethernet solution (in whatever form it might take), then thats all I wanted to hear. Once that is in place, the BDP-1 will be 1st on the list to replace my Slimdevices Transporter.

Relative to your comments about end users being computer illiterate... that may be true for some/many but it shouldnt stop you from creating a product that appeals to all levels of computer literacy.

 

Here endith my posts on this subject

 

Thanks.

 

Peter

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Expectations of computer audio

 

There are different expectations of what "computer audio" is for. For some its a path to the highest quality audio playback. Others want to manage large libraries and there are those who want it for distributed audio. All can be done but not necessarily in the same box. The Bryston is an example of a box designed to play the highest quality audio. It is not meant to address distributed audio (the Squeezebox does that well) or the large library management task, where Sooloos is focusing their efforts. I will leave it to Larry Greehhill and John Atkinson to address how well the Bryston performs at its primary task of high quality audio playback. 

I think "bit perfect" is a necessary but not sufficient requirement for quality digital audio. It should also be free of jitter and conducted and radiated noise as well. However I will acknowledge that there are some very valid arguements for processing (filtering, resampling, dithering, etc.) the audio in a PC before passing it to a DAC. I think those techniques are still too new for a general application. meeting all of these requirements are why we felt a dedicated package makes the most sense. One of the big noisemakers in a PC is the graphics subsystem. Removing the display does not mean the subsystem (the GPU and all the processes to support it) are not running and most general purpose PC's are really hard to use without a display or keyboard. Conversly having a PC in a rack (even a laptop) is not condusive to either good ergonomics when using it or a noise free environment.

Like any modern technology product these will have a limited lifespan. They will work well long after their usefulness has declined. There are promisses of new solutions and services that will make our current ways of playing audio (like vinyl) obsolete. Last I checked CD's are now obsolete as well. Streamed Hi-Rez is on the horizon, it is conceivable that all the content would be on an on-line server and accessed on demand (for a price). Until then we will all chose the most appropriate to our needs among the choices we have. 

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re: obsolete
1audio wrote:

 

There are different expectations of what "computer audio" is for. For some its a path to the highest quality audio playback. Others want to manage large libraries and there are those who want it for distributed audio. All can be done but not necessarily in the same box.

Hmmmm, I don't see why not. It will happen, and soon, with many competitive offerings, and the prices will fall faster than fish market leftovers. This revolution is just under way, and this box will be obsolete in no time since it is relatively expensive and limited in functionality. I'll wait on the sidelines with my vinyl and SACDs until the bits of smoke settle.

That's my $0.019999...,

WillW

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I expect compter audio to be

I expect compter audio to be at least as good as my CD player through the same DAC, be capable of Hi-Rez, upsample if desired and be VERY easy to set up and use...I do not expect it to crash, get viruses, need replacing every year or so, and cost more than any other computer does.

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re: expectations

Demian,  I've followed your posts here and on another forum for some time.  

I think you are as sane and accurate in your advice and explanations as anyone

working in highend uadio.

Thanks.

 

Bill

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bdp
returnstackerror wrote:
1audio wrote:

I think with a moniker like "returnstackerror" you have more than a little understanding of the IT environment. As I have been working with customers it has been clear that to many computers are scary and mysterious. They are understandibly complex. I have also learned that what seems a trivial configuration task becomes really onerous for many. Its difficult to move from a place of extensive knowledge to understand the point of view of someone who is completely innocent of networking, sharing and the other arcana of computers. We have reports from distributors of serious customers who do not have or intend to get a cell phone, let alone a computer. And many customers have no idea what the password to their wireless network is. Building a "consumer appliance" brings some difficult challenges and frustrating compromises.

I looked at using SAMBA for using a NAS but find NFS works much better with lower overhead. Unfortunately NFS is an ugly stepchild on commercial NAS devices and while supported the configuration info is sparse to be polite. We are looking at ways to overcome these challenges since the system used with a NAS makes so much sense. When the decisions have been made about NAS support the internal firmware update process will make rolling out the changes pretty painless. 

        Demian

 

I have used samba in its many forms (since 1999) for many critical situations and prefer it to NFS. You are right that NFS is ugly.

So we will leave our Samba discussion where it is but if you are working on a remote storage over ethernet solution (in whatever form it might take), then thats all I wanted to hear. Once that is in place, the BDP-1 will be 1st on the list to replace my Slimdevices Transporter.

Relative to your comments about end users being computer illiterate... that may be true for some/many but it shouldnt stop you from creating a product that appeals to all levels of computer literacy.

 

Here endith my posts on this subject

 

Thanks.

 

Peter

Peter,

I think you missed the point of the BDP-1 as it doesn't stream audio, which mostly have been poorly implemented with dropouts, packet skew, etc, and if it did do that I wouldn't have been interested.  You can clearly use the BDP-1 as a NAS (assuming you use fat32, and not NTFS), so with a few solid state drives you have a very silent solution.  If you can afford a $2k player I think you can afford a few SSDs to go with it, but a more economical choice are the bus-powered, mobile HDDs.   

John A., my comment about Bryston not providing a solution to synchronize files between your computer an attached HDD, is related to the fact that most folks don't know how to copy files over a network, or the slightly more challenging task of syncing files between a computer and the BDP.  

If the BDP continues to only allow write access to a fat32 drive (vs EXT3 or NTFS), that task will even become daunting for most as it has a limited character set for filenames and directory names and samba service on the BDP will start to play games on the filenames.  

For those that know the command line with linux, mac osx, cygwin for windows, they will know about rsync as a way to syncrhonize files, but guessing very readers have that skill and perhaps just as few more would curious enough to find an application to do just that.  Most will survive I'm sure, but it's not at all a polished solution and the execution could have been much better to make it an easy to use solution.   

It's a great player though, hands down the best I've owned and like anything amazing, it's easy to overlook those imperfections.

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Getting out of hand
Jim C wrote:

I think you missed the point of the BDP-1 as it doesn't stream audio, which mostly have been poorly implemented with dropouts, packet skew, etc, and if it did do that I wouldn't have been interested.  You can clearly use the BDP-1 as a NAS (assuming you use fat32, and not NTFS), so with a few solid state drives you have a very silent solution.  If you can afford a $2k player I think you can afford a few SSDs to go with it, but a more economical choice are the bus-powered, mobile HDDs.

I beg to differ. I've owned and used various Squeezebox devices (Transporter, Squeezebox Classic, Receiver and Touch) for almost five years now and have connected them both wirelessly and via Ethernet. Most of the issues I've encountered with slow start times and rebuffering have to do with the external hard drives spinning up to speed and have little or nothing to do with "dropouts, packet skew, etc". So, no, the implementation of network based streaming in the Squeezebox family of devices is certainly not poor.

The BDP-1 is not a "player" rather it is a very expensive, poorly implemented and feature lacking "high end" attempt at the $300 Squeezebox Touch. Basically this $2,000 brick provides a jitter free digital audio stream to an external DAC, whihc is exactly what the Touch does (if one sets the Touch in this way since one can also use the analog of the Touch, thus making it a true "player").

In whihc case, what exactly is the "sound" of the BDP-1? Short answer: the BDP-1 has no sound since it must be connected to an external DAC.

And again I ask why wasn't the BDP-1 compred with at least a few of the many other devices which can deliver a jitter free digital audio stream to an external DAC?

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'Compare' demands are out of hand

Since when must equipment be compared to justify what one hears, likes, prefers?  What could have possibly been said to change your mind as to the 'value' of this product as it relates to you?  If he had compared to several similiar devices and concluded it far outpaced them all in sound quality would you have a different opinion?

 

It is what it is.  It was adequetly described.  You get to decide if it warrants further interest to you.

Peace

Out

RG

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The "compare demands" arise only from...

...the fact that the Bryston is significantly more expensive and user-unfriendly than some of the alternatives discussed in this thread. If it cost $300-$500 and was easy to set up and use, I suspect there would be far fewer requests for comparisons.

Given the information in the review and in light of competing products, the Bryston seems ill-conceived and the user interface poorly implemented. Perhaps it isn't as bad as it "sounds," but we won't know until someone compares it to some relevant competition. I for one would love to see a Bryston product compete and succeed in this space.

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Back in line

You can make that same comparison with the BDP to cd transport+DAC and turnables+phono pre-amp, but Squeezebox?  Go do a demo and report back.   

If you think a $300 Squeezebox Touch sounds good, I would say the $99 Apple TV 2 sounds just as good and is easier to use.  Perhaps a used PS2?

Of course the BDP, Squeezebox and the ATV2 can all use an iPad to control it, so the ease of use is there across the board, but setting up the three, BDP is probably the hardest if you plan to use the network.  Without a network, the BDP is the easiest and works very well with thumb-drives and is as simple as a CD player.

I would be nice to have a shootout with Sooloos, Olive, Naim, etc, sure toss in the ATV, Squeezebox, Sonos and the DIY htpc, but something tells me that's not what Stereophile is all about.

Also do review the history with Squeezebox, it's only until recently the product uses a reliable form of streaming, which can still be impacted by packet jitter.

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Digital is NOT analog

Please stop defending overpriced "high end" audio equipment and the companies who produce them. The BDP-1 appears to a nothing more than a $200 PCI soundcard all dressed up in an expensive enclosure. To claim anything else is pure nonsense.

And no, Jim the $99 Apple TV 2 does not compare simply because all things Apple do not play flac files, which is a very big deal breaker.

The $300 Squeezebox Touch does everything the BDP-1 one does except play files with a sample rate above 96kHz. The Touch can be used with or without a network and delivers a bit perfect stream to any external DAC so pray tell how can the BDP-1 possibly justify it's almost 7 times greater price?

Let me answer my own question: The BDP-1 can and does justify it's high price because most audiophiles simply do not understand the difference between a digital signal and and analog signal. Digital does not need high priced cables - this a fact and should not even open to discussion - and other than a decent, non-noise producing power supply and any piece of equipment which handles only a digital data stream only needs to have low jitter to be effective, i.e. to be able to pass the digital data stream to a DAC.

If the above were not the case then one would not be able to download high resolution digital audio files to play on the BDP-1. I also know full well that JA and the rest of the Stereophile will not come to my defense since to do so would be akin to biting the hand that feeds them.

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Jim C, not only the gear you

Jim C, not only the gear you noted but by current computer front ends with audiophile software...

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Out of Hand?
RGibran wrote:

Since when must equipment be compared to justify what one hears, likes, prefers? 

I can't answer the "since when" part, but it seems to be the standard practice of the magazine's reviewers to compare the product under review to other products which perform the similar tasks and cost about the same amount.

The "value" of a product is frequently assessed by comparing the product under review to products which cost much less and much more. When a reviewer tells me that a $300 loudspeaker compares favorably to one which costs $1000, I tend to think that it is a good value.

My complaint is that I read a glowing review of a hard to use product with no comparative sound analysis. Of course hi rez recordings through a good dac sound good! How can one judge if the Bryston is a good way of getting data to DAC if there was no comparison? 

Perhaps there is a fundamental difference between general readership of the magazine and those who post here, so I'll speak for myself. With the exception of Vinyl and a smattering of old DATs, my listening is now totally computer driven (optical out of Macbook Pro> Mufi x24k DAC> Adcom SLC-505 passive preamp> Marantz ma500 monoblocks> Eminent Technology lft-16 speakers [or MuFi xcan v2> AKG k701]). This was a review of a product which is designed to replace the computer in my system. But based on the review's total lack of comparison to that which I (and likely the vast majority of those of us who use digital hi res files) use, (e.g.  computer with some kind of digital out) I have no idea if this might be a good product for me!

It seems that most reviews have a reviewing niche, high priced solid state amps, cheap speakers, analog, surround sound, etc. Perhaps it is time to have someone focus on Computer playback. That person needs a reference source, and everything else needs to be compared to it. I'll volunteer! Ship the Bryston off to me and I'll compare it to my computer and write a follow up.

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Wasting time
noahbickart wrote:

It seems that most reviews have a reviewing niche, high priced solid state amps, cheap speakers, analog, surround sound, etc. Perhaps it is time to have someone focus on Computer playback. That person needs a reference source, and everything else needs to be compared to it. I'll volunteer! Ship the Bryston off to me and I'll compare it to my computer and write a follow up.

Don't waste your time asking for Stereophile get off the dime regarding establishing a high quality computer based audio section, either web based or a monthly feature, I've only been begging JA to do so for several years now. I always get the same response which is something along the lines of Stereophile has always covered computer based audio and a quick scan of the online archives will show how wonderful our track record is on this subject. And then along comes a review similar to the BDP-1 disaster, which clearly shows that some of Stereophile's reviewing staff do not know the difference between computer based audio and a hole in the ground.

Basically when to computer based audio one is left with two equally bad choices:

a) the ill informed nonsense which passes for journalism in the high end audio magazines like Stereophile.

b) the all amplifiers sound the same and if one can't hear the difference in a DBT there is no difference mindset which dominates the audio side of most computer magazines and web sites.

Sad, very sad.

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Probably right

The reviewer should have just come on out and said you need to dump that POS Macbook Pro with optical out!

:-)

RG

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You said it JIMV!

By the end (or half way) of the article I was like: WTF? An iPod and a Wadia dock are more friendly than this expensive box, and the interface is less than what my friggin' CAR has dude!

Seriously, why did the reviewer make so many excuses for something that is like going back to DOS for a user interface? It's a big joke- using a beta level product, no make that a bench prototype, as a production-ready product.

It can't be networked even? No touch screen. What happened to the obvious 2010 features you would expect from a machine costing a couple of grand? How about ALL file formats: period.

How about full color touch screen with album art, metadata, ability to mix and match songs, build playlists, intuitive controls. Oh, sorry, you need to buy a $800 touch screen PC for that, and free iTunes. OK- I get all the isolated stuff and nice sound card, but really? It doesn't even actually output music. Couldn't you just set up a dedicated PC or Mac and output it right into a DAC? My laptop has HDMI and digital out, in addition to the obvious USB ports. What exactly are you getting here?

 

And  please  wait   for      five      minutes     while       it        d  o  w  n   l   o  a   d   s    your     albums   before   it   plays......          anything...

 

Meanwhile you can drop a record on and enjoy your music now! :)

Or from a CD player.

Or your iPod into a DAC.

Or.............

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A New Low
dbowker wrote:

What exactly are you getting here?

The buyer is getting nothing but Stereophile is getting advertising revenue. Never in the over 25 years that I have been reading Stereophile has there been such a clear cut case of Stereophile giving a passing review to what is basically an over priced BRICK for the sake of keeping an advertiser happy.

Of course JA will say that this was not the case but only way Stereophile could ever convince me of their supposed "we call them as we see them" approach would have been for the BDP-1 review to have said "this product is a complete waste of money and avoid at all costs."

A new low has been reached.

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I don't know...but

I don't know if the is really a direct corraltion, but I have to say that as I happened to glance over at the cover and realize again that they put the damn thing as a full cover image I again felt a huge feeling of "WHAT were they thinking?!" This is actually not the first time a so-so review gets slapped on the front. Nothing else could be placed there? I mean, pick somehting that was an unqualified find, or best buy, or SOMETHING!

Trying to appear hip is the surest way to not BE hip. JA needs to get a few lessons about what's actually cool from SM.

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Jazzfan, I don't buy that

My complaint was not that the magazine was faking the review, but that the review didn't tell me what I needed to know, if this thing at 3 times the price, sounded better than a computer based front end....It was the absolute lack of meaningfull comparisons that I had a problem with. I read the thing was a tad complicated, needed a host of bits of extra gear, needed a primative yet overpriced remote, was user unfriendly, and in general, was very expensive. I wanted to read why this thing was better than its competition, not that it was complicated....

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Not faked
JIMV wrote:

My complaint was not that the magazine was faking the review, but that the review didn't tell me what I needed to know, if this thing at 3 times the price, sounded better than a computer based front end....It was the absolute lack of meaningfull comparisons that I had a problem with. I read the thing was a tad colplicated, needed a host of bits of extra gear, needed a primative yet overpriced remote, was user unfriendly, and in general, was very expensive. I wanted to read why this thing was better than its competition, not that it was complicated....

Jim,

There were no comparisons because had there been they would have revealed what a useless, over priced piece of equipment the BDP-1 really is. Had JA assigned the review to someone very familiar with computers and computer based digital audio systems something tells me the review would have been a little more informed, much more useful and maybe even, dare I say it, negative.

I don't believe the review was faked just arranged (as given to the least qualified reviewer) to produce a passable, however useless, review. No harm, no foul. And the money keeps flowing.

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BDP-1

I wondered about the claim that it did/did not play Apple format files, too.  John A's technical review says that it plays Apple lossless, so there seems to be a contradiction between the two reviews. 

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