Bryston BR-20 preamplifier is a multifunction Hi-Fi hub

posted on Friday, 9th October 2020 by Steve May

High-end  High Res Audio  Hi-fi 

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Bryston has launched the BR-20 preamplifier, DAC and streamer. Boasting a wealth of connectivity:14 analogue and digital sources, as well as a Moving Magnet (MM) phono stage, equivalent to Bryston’s outboard BP-2. The company says it represents the most advanced combination of analogue and digital functionality in the 50-plus year history of the Bryston brand.

Users can access high-resolution content from up to seven external digital sources, plus Tidal and Qobuz from the internal digital music player. The DAC can decode PCM up to 384 kHz/24 bit and DSD 256 and it has the capability to decode DSD over HDMI thanks to an optional four input plug-in HDMI card.

With the optional HDMI card audiophiles can opt to connect a compatible SACD player, as well as 4K and HDR sources such as Apple TV and Blu-Ray players to the BR-20, while passing the high-resolution video through to the monitor or projector.

Smart home integrators can implement control of the BR-20 using IP, RS232 and trigger input/output options.

The maker quotes a low total harmonic distortion measurement of below 0.0006 per cent. The analogue signal path is a fully balanced design, using an array of ‘very tightly matched components’ and a compact circuit design to achieve the lowest possible noise and superior common mode rejection.

For the music enthusiast, this level of circuit sophistication means more lifelike performances, more detail and more dimensionality from their recordings, says Bryston.

The BR-20’s built-in music player will natively pass PCM up to 384 kHz and DSD128 to the DAC.

The BR-20 also features Bryston’s new Low Z headphone amp, providing a high-output and critical low-output impedance to a wide variety of headphones. A ring of small LEDs track the perimeter of the volume knob, to indicate output level.

With so many inputs available on the BR-20, control options have been expanded beyond the front panel buttons. The user-friendly BR-4 remote control can be configured by each user to command each source component, and a web-enabled phone or tablet can be used to adjust volume and change sources.

Users can rename inputs and hide those not in use. For those who prefer a darkened listening space, the front panel LEDs and display can be dimmed or disabled.

The new preamp is named in honour of Bryston’s president, Brian Russell, who passed away in September 2020.

“Our new BR-20 preamplifier offers a never-before experienced degree of audio clarity, transparency and detail, along with tremendous flexibility in handling every kind of audio signal; analogue or digital,” says Chris Russell, Bryston CEO and technical supervisor. “I know my brother Brian was very proud and excited about the things we have been able to accomplish with the BR-20, and we are also proud to name it in his honour.”

The BR-20 is available from November, with a retail price of £7,500. The optional HDMI card will cost £1200 and the phono stage can be added for £950.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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