BRYSTON 7B-SST2

PW13.12.2010

Power amplifiers

It is almost a paranormal phenomenon to see 20-year part and labor warranty on an audio component. Throughout the years Bryston earned the reputation of virtually undamageable products, the fact that can be checked on ´used components´market: there are many Brystons among audio enthusiasts which indicates a huge customers base and affordability and longevity of the amps.

Function and form

93%
Ease of use
66%
Sound
94%
Appearance

The Bryston 7B-SST sports respectable 600W output (into 8 ohms) in fully balanced A/B class. The output stage of the amplifier combines basically two separate amps that are permanently bridged in series and operated with reversed phases. In the ´ST´version it was possible to switch between the serial and parallel bridging to adjust the amplifier´s output to low-impedance loads; this feature has disappeared with the ´SST´. However, you can select the 7B-SST´s gain to be either 23dB (4.6V input sensitivity) or 29dB (2.3dB input sensitivity) that may be beneficial for further driving down any distortion provided that your source/preamp can deliver enough voltage.

Bryston pays a lot of attention to heat dissipation and stable thermal conditions inside their products, partly due to the fact that their amplifiers often find homes in recording studios and need to be built-in in racks. So the chassis of the 7B-SST is monolithic with yhoughtfully designed coolers on its sides – the thermal energy is conveyed more uniformly by the whole chassis and the coolers’ fins do not run very hot during operation.

Bass management

Weight
90
Slam
80
Articulation
85

There was a sense of top-to-bottom coherence and control of the 7B-SST with a bit more weight in lower registers (maybe too much) and with a lot of punch that would transform all my recordings into real rocking numbers. The 7B-SST is very convincing especially on not entirely acoustic pieces where it can completely show off its potential, like the deep synthesized rumblings on Orinoco Flow (Enya, Watermark).The fluidity and rendition of Enya´s voice were among the best I´ve ever experienced and the song did shake my room.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
88
Air
84
Transparency
82

The 7B-SST is a fast amplifier and has therefore no issue with complex guitar staccatos of Jesse Cook (Jesse Cook, The Ultimate, Narada). In Mario Takes a Walk, probably the most popular piece of the collection, the guitars were dynamic and sharp without a hint of neither softness nor transistor-like hardness. And this was something new with Bryston as their previous efforts always sounded hard on my ears.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
82
Dynamics
85
Temporal resolution
85

The textural insufficiency of the 7B-SST distracts a listener from the classical pieces like La Stravaganza (Rachel Podger/Antonio Vivaldi). The violin was portrayed in a very precise manner, however, it was less life-like and more recording-like.

Spatial resolution

Holography
84
Soundstage width
88
Soundstage depth
86

The only issue I had with the 7B-SST was that it had a tendency to unify performances. Whatever you played sounded good but more or less the same, partly due to its focus on the bottom of frequency range. The 7B-SST is more bombastic than delicate and small nuancees like front-to-back soundstage layering, subtle ambient clues and textural delicacy are alleviated, better say hidden under the bass output. This was especially apparent during the one-to-one comparison with my Spectral DMA-150 that was cleaner and showed more of the fragile details in recordings, though I had to admit maybe not that thrilling as the Bryston.

Price as reviewed:215 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Hifi Store, Praha

Associated components

  • Zdroje signálu: Accuphase DP-78, Linn Unidisk 1.1
  • Zesilovače: Bryston 7B-SST2, Bryston 28B-SST2, Spectral DMA-150
  • Kabely: Accuphase, reproduktorové MIT Ultralinear 750
  • Reprosoustavy: Wilson Audio WATT/Puppy 8
  • Filtrace a síť: Furutech Daytona E303E

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