Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers

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Joe Frances

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Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers
« on: 30 Jul 2017, 11:25 pm »
Hello:

I am a Bryston owner -to- be:  I love the CD player (heard it in New Haven, CT), and I am going to learn more about DACs, one day soon etc... as I have been out of this "hobby" for 20 years raising kids and trying to stay married.  Now the kids are almost gone; and the wife is still here (I know I should get a medal),  I want to upgrade to a new system and down size my enormous towers to monitors I can move around, and my taste in speakers is pretty specifically BBC types.  I love Harbeths; like Stirlings and still want to hear Grahams, although that last brand seems almost impossible to hear.  I think the Bryston B 135 is a very interesting option for a new integrated amp.  I have a lot of respect for Bryston, and  I have always liked the B 60 and might do that, but I haven't had a chance to hear the B 135 at all; and certainly not with a Harbeth Compact 7 or 30.1 Monitor.  Those are my two favorites speakers.  One dealer who will remain nameless suggested that Harbeth and Bryston was not a good match.  I don't believe that, but haven't had a chance to test it out.  Anyone here having fun with the Bryston B 135 (which itself doesn't get a lot of attention) with one of the two Harbeths I mentioned?  Thanks,


Joe
Joe

doveman

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Re: Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers
« Reply #1 on: 31 Jul 2017, 10:00 am »
Cannot say that I have experience with the Harbeth, but have been the proud owner of a B135 for a while, maybe one or two years, it's a great amplifier, although these days I'm now using it as a pre-amp for a 4B3, and again it does this job well too! I don't think you would be disappointed with it.

I bought mine without ever hearing it - no dealers remotely near here - but I really like it so got lucky I guess.

gene9p

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Re: Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers
« Reply #2 on: 31 Jul 2017, 01:56 pm »
I am using a Mac tube pre amp and Parasound A21 amp with a newly acquired Pair of Harbeth 7's. I also still have my Bryston Mini t speakers in this setup. Got an offer I could not resist from Gene Rubin on the Harbeths . The mini t's are getting a vacation while I break in  the 7's. In the end one will have to go but not for a while.I don't really know how a Bryston pre amp or integrated will work with the Harbeth's. I can tell you CD's using my Bryston BDA1 dac sound awesome on the 7's.

martydmnt

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Re: Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers
« Reply #3 on: 31 Jul 2017, 03:22 pm »
  Anyone here having fun with the Bryston B 135 (which itself doesn't get a lot of attention) with one of the two Harbeths I mentioned?

I haven't heard them specifically together. I run the B135 SST2 with a pair of Mini Ts. Sensitivity is very similar to the Harbeths at 86 dB, though the Mini Ts are 4 Ohms instead of 6. I have little problem driving them with the B135 in my roughly 13x22 room to sufficient volume and beyond.

I think you'll find it accurate that the Bryston equipment doesn't impart any of its own character on the speakers you are using, so if you like the Harbeth sound, that's what you'll get when driving them with a Bryston.

gene9p

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Re: Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers
« Reply #4 on: 31 Jul 2017, 08:43 pm »
for sure the Harbeth's are easy to drive. The mini t's , 4 ohms, uses lots of power where as the 7's at 6 ohms don't need much.

R. Daneel

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Re: Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers
« Reply #5 on: 6 Aug 2017, 03:11 pm »
Hi!

Your dealer has no idea what he's talking about. Bryston and Harbeth go together nicely.

Mind you, C7ES3 and M30.1 are different speakers. Even though they're similar in that they use similar drive units, the M30.1 is voiced slightly differently and to my ears, sounds drier and more neutral. C7ES3 is more "romantic" in it's presentation and though I prefer a neutral tone, in this case I prefer the C7ES3.

Bryston is considered neutral in general but soeakers like Harbeth and Spendor benefit from this kind of an amplifier, more so than the other classic British loudspeakers.

A dealer did a presentation for me one time. Mimetism CD player and integrated amplifier with a pair of Harbeth Super HL5 loudspeakers. It sounded amazing and Icould have sworn there was a tube lurking somewhere inside that big amplifier but the thing is, it lacked the resolve and detail of a Bryston amplifier.

It appears to me that loudspeakers like these tend to present detail in a different way and to avoid sounding too foggy, they require careful selection of amplification and source. I actually believe Bryston is an ideal choice. A pair of Harbeth monitors is on my wish list as well.

Hope this helps.

Cheers!
Antun

Joe Frances

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Re: Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers
« Reply #6 on: 6 Aug 2017, 04:29 pm »
Hi!

Your dealer has no idea what he's talking about. Bryston and Harbeth go together nicely.

Mind you, C7ES3 and M30.1 are different speakers. Even though they're similar in that they use similar drive units, the M30.1 is voiced slightly differently and to my ears, sounds drier and more neutral. C7ES3 is more "romantic" in it's presentation and though I prefer a neutral tone, in this case I prefer the C7ES3.

Bryston is considered neutral in general but soeakers like Harbeth and Spendor benefit from this kind of an amplifier, more so than the other classic British loudspeakers.

A dealer did a presentation for me one time. Mimetism CD player and integrated amplifier with a pair of Harbeth Super HL5 loudspeakers. It sounded amazing and Icould have sworn there was a tube lurking somewhere inside that big amplifier but the thing is, it lacked the resolve and detail of a Bryston amplifier.

It appears to me that loudspeakers like these tend to present detail in a different way and to avoid sounding too foggy, they require careful selection of amplification and source. I actually believe Bryston is an ideal choice. A pair of Harbeth monitors is on my wish list as well.

Hope this helps.

Cheers!
Antun


Thank you for these well-considered statements.  This is very helpful.  Although I have been leaning toward the 30.1 (now possibly 30.2 coming out), I am going to listen to the C 7 as I like the idea of the more romantic sound balancing off the Bryston.  My goal is a system that is very easy on the ears; so many systems bring out listener fatigue in me.  I find some high-end rooms at audio show unlistenable, truly.  I heard McIntosh with Legacy one time recently, and I thought it was the best, but I am not sure about McIntosh-- the facia is nice but the controls feel like plastic, UGH!  Also, love the BBC family of speakers.  Anyway the Bryston B 135 with either the Compact 7 or the Graham SL 5/9 might be perfect. 


R. Daneel

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Re: Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers
« Reply #7 on: 6 Aug 2017, 04:55 pm »
Hi!

No worries, I think you'd be well off with a pair of M30.1's. As you pointed out, perhaps it would be wise to wait a little and see if Harbeth upgrades it to M30.2 as they did with the bigger M40.1. Don't expect big changes though, they refine the formula in very small steps.

If you like the sound of Harbeth, you should also have a look at Spendor. The classic Spendor models are constructed similarly - thin walls screwed together and lot's of a damping material inside that make the cabinet more lively than inert. I think Harbeth goes deeper into the "romanticism" than Spendor I think, but then, Spendor is a lot more romantic than say, ProAc, let alone ATC.

The Bryston would get plenty loud with these too, you would have plenty of reserves.

Someone else here mentioned that Harbeth is 6 Ohm and this is why they're easier to drive than 4 Ohm Bryston loudspeakers. That's not entirely true. Harbeth druve units are rather old-fashioned if you ask me. They employ special lightweight plastics for mid-range diaphragms but the magnets driving the voice-coils are rather compact, much more so than the ones used by ATC or Focal for instance. A 135 Wpc Bryston would deliver full volume with authority with a speaker like the Harbeth so at least in terms of technical aspects, you really wouldn't have any problems.

Cheers!
Antun

LesterSleepsIn

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Re: Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers
« Reply #8 on: 7 Aug 2017, 01:48 pm »
I have Harbeth C7ES3s and have auditioned them against the 30.1s as a possible upgrade. I kept the C7s. I also have the big Spendors,  Spendor S100s and SP100s (as well as Salks, Vapors and Selahs .... yes, we are still married). If I didn't already own the big Spendors would I have upgraded to the 30.1s? I'm not sure, probably not.

The Harbeths and the Spendors are the easiest to drive of all of the above. And even though both Alan Shaw (Harbeth) and Spencer Spendor do not like using tube amps with their speakers, I have found that not to be the case.

The Canucks seem to strongly favor Naim amps with their Spendors and Harbeths. Your Brystons should serve you well. Presently, I'm driving the big Spendors with McIntosh C32 and MC 2125 and the Harbeth with NAD C372, but I'll switch things around a bit in a few months, just for grins. For reference purposes, see My Amps below.

Regarding a possible Harbeth upgrade, below is Alan Shaw's response on another site:

Originally posted by Pencey View Post
...The differences between the C7's and 30.1 are small, not large as some speakers sellers in the US suggest. Buy more music, smell the flowers more - and beware the audio show, audio press hype here in the states as it's geared to temp you to spend again..."

As the designer, I have to agree. As you know, our new product launch cycle averages at about 7 years. I suspect that what we are seeing is the comments of third-parties who, after years of exposure to mediocre sound, suddenly experience the fresh open sound of Harbeth again when our slot comes around again. Possibly any Harbeth would give the same jolt and be the latest and greatest - compared with the utter sameness that permeates the hi-fi speaker market.

As with all marketing — and we definitely are not grumbling! — what matters is perception not necessarily reality. If you want to believe that I have worked some special magic into the M30.1 that I couldn't into the C7ES3, great! Perhaps I have. It is true that taking the fifteen year old M30 as a starting point and thoroughly reappraising all my carefully recorded design notes, every twist and turn of that original design journey, my respect for the original design grew. Hunting for areas I could (and did) improve (by degree) I had to completely analyse the performance of the bass unit in that size cabinet to be sure it is best optimised for the task. That necessitated a (ridiculous?) amount of software modelling of the bass unit/box (all new skills I had to learn) just to say, truthfully, that the M30.1 is as good as it can be at this time. And our good friends as SEAS came up trumps with an ever smoother version of their tweeter by careful re-engineering, which taken together led to a completely redesigned (and again, thoroughly software modelled) crossover network.

If that translates into consumer confidence and listening satisfaction, that's very gratifying for us. It is absolutely factual to say that the M30.1 is a comprehensively validated design, building upon a long success story with the M30 and using the very latest engineering software tools to be sure of that.

As always, I treat my job very seriously and I don't care how hard or long the design journey; I stop only when I reach the ultimate destination.
Alan A. Shaw
Designer, owner
Harbeth Audio UK

................


My amps:

NAD Masters Series M2 Digital Integrated Amplifier, direct digital amplifier,  2 X 250W Continuous Power at 8 and 4 Ohms

NAD C372, At 150-watts per-channel

NAD D 3020 digital amp 30 watts x 2 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz)

Art Audio Quintet, 25 watt pentode, 15 watt triode.
Audio Mirror PP1 Preamp

Van Alstine AVA Fet Valve 550 Ultra, 250W into 8 and double into 4 ohms.
AVA Vision SL solid state pre

Odyssey Kizmet/Khartago mono blocks, 180 w per channel
Rogue Perseus preamplifier

Cary CAD-280SA V12 Tube Amplifier- 50w per channel in triode, 100w in ul
Cary SLP 98 F1 tube PREAMPLIFIER

Cary SLA 70 tube AMPLIFIER, 35w per channel

Kenwood 8004 (what a great SS integrated amp!)

McIntosh c32 pre
McIntosh MC2125 120 watts per channel

R. Daneel

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Re: Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers
« Reply #9 on: 7 Aug 2017, 03:04 pm »
Thank you for that!

Yes, Mr. Shaw has a knack for writing but I agree with everything he has stated.

I must say, your list of gear is impressive. Salk speakers can be wonderful. But I also like the fact you own a Kenwood integrated. That one was a seriously good one I believe!

Cheers!
Antun

gene9p

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Re: Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers
« Reply #10 on: 12 Aug 2017, 01:03 pm »
« Last Edit: 3 Sep 2017, 12:46 pm by gene9p »

servingko

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Re: Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers
« Reply #11 on: 12 Aug 2017, 05:30 pm »
That same item is on usaudiomart as well.  The price changes almost hourly but was 3695 this morning.

http://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649371794-bryston-b135-cubed-new/

gene9p

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Re: Bryston B 135 with Harbeth Speakers
« Reply #12 on: 3 Sep 2017, 12:44 pm »
Warning!!

this same item after bouncing from site to site and pricing all over the map is now on AGON. Please avoid this deal. It was even marked as sold once before on US Audiomart. I personally made a report to AGON on this seller and this B135...BUYER BEWARE..... :nono: