BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS

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James Tanner

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BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« on: 20 Apr 2017, 11:23 am »
HI Folks,

I am going to start a thread on all things relating to the Bryston Active speakers.

The first versions will be the Model T and the Middle T.

james

James Tanner

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #1 on: 20 Apr 2017, 12:53 pm »
BRYSTON MODEL T ACTIVE SPEAKER

The Bryston Model T loudspeaker is also available in a fully ACTIVE version.

Active loudspeakers differ from Passive speakers in that the crossover that determines which drivers (Tweeter, Midrange and Woofer) get which audio frequencies is controlled by an ELECTRONIC crossover placed between the preamp and the power amplifiers rather than the passive crossover version which is typically built into the loudspeaker. Also all the drivers in the loudspeaker (T.M.W.) have an independent amplifier channel controlling them as opposed to a Passive crossover where one amplifier channel controls all the drivers in the speaker. So an Active 3-way speaker like the Bryston Model T requires 3 separate amplifier channels per speaker whereas the Model T Passive only requires one amplifier channel per speaker.

The advantage of an electronic crossover placed between the preamplifier and the power amplifiers is all the speaker control (crossover slopes, crossover points, gain etc.) are performed at what is called low level signal levels whereas passive crossovers are operating at what is referred to as high level signal levels. Manipulating and adjusting signals at low levels is far more accurate than attempting the same with high level signals. So if you look at the frequency response, the crossover slopes and the volume levels per driver required the Active crossover provides much more accuracy than the passive option.

If you refer to the graph below of the Bryston Model T Active loudspeaker you will see two curves – one (upper) is the ‘Listening Window’ and the other is the ‘Sound Power Response’. With an Active crossover we can adjust and design these two performance areas of the speaker separately and independently whereas with a passive crossover they have to be adjusted in tandem.  So in a passive system an adjustment on the listening window affects the sound power directly and vice-versa.  The importance of the listening window and power response in a loudspeaker is explained in detail in another white paper available on request. So the flexibility and accuracy that Active crossovers provide cannot be underestimated from a performance perspective.



The other advantage of Active loudspeaker systems is the fact that the amplifiers output stage is directly connected to the loudspeaker driver.  So the Woofer, Midrange and Tweeter all have separate amplifiers controlling their movement directly rather than having to deal with passive components (capacitors, inductors, resistors etc.) required by passive networks.

If you recognize that music is essentially a transient condition, a ‘stopping and starting’ as the music signal requires then any system that can control this stopping and starting of the drivers is much more capable of an accurate rendition of the input signal.

The transient response improvement with the direct connection between the amplifier and speaker in the active system. is mainly due to the fact that the main filter components in a passive crossover network, the inductors and capacitors, are energy storage devices. By definition they both suffer from forms of hysteresis where there is a delay between the energy storage and the release of that energy. This leads to a distortion of the signal’s time signature and it will also be frequency dependant to some extent. The other big area of benefit is that fact that the passive filter network has intrinsic losses and these losses translate directly into a reduction in the amplifier power that actually makes it to the loudspeaker drivers. Removing those losses from the equation translates into a more efficient transfer of energy between the amplifier and the loudspeaker.

If you are considering moving to an Active system at some point in the future then purchasing the Bryston ‘Signature’ version of the Model T loudspeaker is a great first step. You would simply replace the external passive crossover that comes with the Signature version of the speaker with the Bryston BAX-1 Active crossover and add 4 more channels of amplification.
« Last Edit: 20 Apr 2017, 06:28 pm by James Tanner »

Testsystems

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #2 on: 25 Apr 2017, 05:26 pm »
James

As you are aware I have been tri-amping your Signature T's for almost 2 years using four 7bs and 1 4B. All SST2.   I can attest to your comments about improved overall sound and transient response.  Further the DSP crossover allows me to modify the sound for less than ideal recordings and/or significant room anomalies.  Not room correction in the full sense, but some limited aspects to reduce base boom.  I have also used the same setup / technology to good effect with 2 way ESL's and 3 Way Horns.  I truly believe it is the future of audio.

Last weekend I was at the Chicago AXPONA audio show.  The Legacy Wavelet was the only audiophile multi channel preamp at the show that supported this type of 2 way setup.  They are just opening up the closed platform to other brands of speakers and I believe it is a serious game changer.  What was really interesting was the number of smaller brand inexpensive speakers offering 100% DSP corrected equalization and class D amplification.  The value for the money was outstanding and so was the sound stage.   $390 Vanatoo was an excellent demonstration how this technology surpasses a passive crossover.   

I cant wait to hear what Bryston has done with their BAX-1 active crossover.  I just hope it comes with a few tools to make the final solution slightly user adjustable.  The DSPs are so powerful these days it would be a shame not to have some ability to deal with recordings mixed for lesser systems.  In my opinion the Quad Tilt control was a brilliant solution to an everyday need.

James, when can we get on an order list?   Cheers Drew


James Tanner

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #3 on: 26 Apr 2017, 09:40 am »
Hi Drew

I too believe Active systems are the future if ultimate performance is the goal of any given design.

We differ though in our approaches as I realize you want a crossover that allows all kinds of manipulation of the signal so you can 'customize' the sound for your specific likes.

The problem there though is you have no idea what is going on when it comes to the dispersion and polar response of the given speaker.

The Bryston BAX-1 Electronic Digital Crossover utilizes a very unique approach.  Most electronic crossovers allow you to change the crossover point and slope but our BAX-1 crossover is specifically designed for the Model T or the Middle T speakers.  By that I mean the crossover software has been designed by placing the speaker (Model T and Middle T)  in an anechoic chamber and making over 600 measurements both vertically and horizontally to make sure the on and off axis polar response is as flat as possible.  With a generic crossover there is no way to know what is going on off axis and therefore the polar response is a crap shoot. In fact the software for the Model T is different than the Middle T.   

The nice thing about this type of crossover though is you can replace one set of crossover software with another going forward so if you change your Bryston speaker from one model to another and want to stay active you can just load different software. Speakers with DSP and amplifiers built into the cabinet in a contained systems can be designed correctly but the problem there is most of our customers want to choose the amplifiers they want to use rather than have to accept built in amplifiers which generally are power chips due to the small size needed to fit in the cabinet.

I realize this makes the crossover more dedicated to a given speaker than others but it is much more exact in terms of the desired goal - which in our case is a very wide and uniform polar response.

Now we are building a GUI that allows the customer to tailor the low frequency response from 120 Hz down as most room issues fall within these frequencies.  You will be able to choose the problem frequency and reduce or boost it a limited amount and also adjust the 'Q'.  We are restricting any adjustments above 120 because then you start affecting the off-axis response of the speaker and again its an unknown effect.

So we start shipping crossovers next month and we will see if serious music listeners buy in or if like many attempts at active systems in the past it will fall flat.

james



« Last Edit: 26 Apr 2017, 11:27 am by James Tanner »

Testsystems

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #4 on: 26 Apr 2017, 11:37 am »
James

Everything in Engineering is a compromise.  I understand your goals and will trust that Bryston has done it extremely well.  Please sign me up for a BAX.

Cheers
Drew

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #5 on: 26 Apr 2017, 01:03 pm »
James

Everything in Engineering is a compromise.  I understand your goals and will trust that Bryston has done it extremely well.  Please sign me up for a BAX.

Cheers
Drew

Hi Drew

I do agree with you though that we could add more features like frequency tilts etc. and the crossover being software driven there are options which we can certainly entertain in the future.

Also I am thinking about a version of the crossover for Subwoofer/Satellite systems which would allow for adding a Sub to an existing system - similar to our 10B Sub crossover.

james

James Tanner

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #6 on: 26 Apr 2017, 04:32 pm »
HI Folks,

Soundstage Magazine is coming out with an article on May 1st regarding the state of Active Speakers now and in the past and the Bryston Model T Active is featured in the article.


Favorite Quote:

"Their all-Bryston system in 2017 reproduced incredibly deep, tight bass; beautifully clear, detailed mids; superbly extended highs; and a soundstage as awe-inspiring for its width as for its depth.

Rarely, at any audio show, have I heard a system sound so good!"




james

Raimo

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #7 on: 27 Apr 2017, 11:21 am »
Hello James, does the BAX1 have digital inputs with a voume control or is it analog in?
Best regards Raimo.

JLM

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #8 on: 27 Apr 2017, 11:54 am »
About 17 years ago I auditioned Paradigm Studio 20's ($800/pair 2-way monitors) against the Paradigm Active 20's ($1600/pair, same 2-way drivers/cabinet).  It was no contest.  The Active's were much more dynamic, offered super flat frequency response (a revelation in itself), and offered amazingly deep/full bass.  Passersby thought we were listening to the Studio 100's ($2,200/pair large floor-standers) and were gobsmacked when they realized where all that sound was coming from.  It was a true epiphany.

Highly recommend offering the same comparison to your customers.

James Tanner

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #9 on: 27 Apr 2017, 01:13 pm »
Hello James, does the BAX1 have digital inputs with a voume control or is it analog in?
Best regards Raimo.

Hi

No digital volume control - we prefer analog volume controls.

The BAX-1 is discrete Class A analog in as well as out crossover.  Internally the BAX-1 does all the crossover functions in the digital domain.

We are going to have a preamp where you can insert the digital crossover card internally and that way you can keep the digital source signal digital all the way through to the analog output stage of the preamp.

james



witchdoctor

Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #10 on: 27 Apr 2017, 01:32 pm »
About 17 years ago I auditioned Paradigm Studio 20's ($800/pair 2-way monitors) against the Paradigm Active 20's ($1600/pair, same 2-way drivers/cabinet).  It was no contest.  The Active's were much more dynamic, offered super flat frequency response (a revelation in itself), and offered amazingly deep/full bass.  Passersby thought we were listening to the Studio 100's ($2,200/pair large floor-standers) and were gobsmacked when they realized where all that sound was coming from.  It was a true epiphany.

Highly recommend offering the same comparison to your customers.

I still use that system today, Paradigm Active 40 bed channels and Active 20 height channels in an Auro 3D immersive audio setup. You can see the Active 20's on the tall stands and the Active 40's below. That is an Active CC center channel. I don't think you can get the same value for $$$ with a passive system. Every speaker is internally biamped. I have 9 bed channels (including wides) plus 5 height channels. If I were to biamp each speaker in a passive setup I would need 28 channels of amplification plus miles of extra cables. Then you also lose the benefits of the active crossover. As pardigm stopped making these you should get the Bryston's, another great Canadian company.
I heard a rumor that Paradigm used Bryston amps internally for the reference active speakers, I wonder??








James Tanner

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #11 on: 27 Apr 2017, 04:36 pm »
MEMO: To All Bryston Customers
SUBJECT: Going Active


April, 2017

Model T BAX-1 Active Crossover

Hi James,

I don't know if you remember about an email I sent you regarding my decision to go from the PMC IB2i's to the Model T Signatures.

Just wanted to give you an update...



Up to this point I have been using a Esoteric K-03x as my cd player, a Esoteric C-03x as my preamp, an Esoteric A-02 as my amp with the Model t's. I have been very happy with this setup. BUT, I have been waiting for the BAX-1 crossover to come available,
and now that it is, I have been thinking of going active.

If I went active with the Esoteric A-02,  I would need 2 more, and the cost would be outrageous. So instead it decided to test my single 7B3 (which I have been using on my center channel) on one of the model T's against the A-02, in mono mode.

I was surprised how well the 7B3 performed, so much that I found it difficult to like one over the other. Each had great qualities, but in the end, I found  the 7B3 would make me just as happy. Plus the fact that it would improve even more in the active setup.

So, I ending up ordering another single 7B3 and a BAX-1 today, to get me started. I know the Bax-1 will be a longer wait time than the amp, so I can at least run my Model T's in passive mode for now.

I will have to wait for my A-02 to sell before I can get the 2-4B3's, and go active at that point. I will keep you updated on my findings.

Adol

witchdoctor

Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #12 on: 29 Apr 2017, 09:43 pm »
I vote for an active mini a with no dac or dsp
for home theaters.


Jpktenere

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #13 on: 1 May 2017, 09:53 pm »
So to clarity for the middle T owners there is a bax-1 for the current tower or is there a signature middle T coming out??? If there is a signature middle T coming can  the standard be upgraded or traded up for the active xover?

James Tanner

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #14 on: 1 May 2017, 10:57 pm »
So to clarity for the middle T owners there is a bax-1 for the current tower or is there a signature middle T coming out??? If there is a signature middle T coming can  the standard be upgraded or traded up for the active xover?

Hi jpg

 The Active Middle T is a new speaker.

There was never a Signature version of the Middle T with an outboard passive crossover. So there is no way to bypass the internal crossover in the passive Middle T .

James

James Tanner

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #15 on: 3 May 2017, 06:36 pm »
MEMO: To All Bryston Customers
SUBJECT: Pulsworks Audio Arts Active Demo


May, 2017

Model T Active System Open House at Pulsworks

Hi James,

Ken and I have just been listening to the new active system before our event tomorrow.   




Although we were always happy with the T's in passive configuration and even more impressed with the Signature version, this active system is on an entirely different level! 


The regulars around here know I (Ken) generally don't listen very loud.  I find most systems get hard and annoying long before they approach clipping or dynamic compression.   

They were amazed, however, to walk into a session where I was literally fluttering pant legs and rattling everything in the room with a big smile of my face! 

This system is so clean, pure and powerful that amazing levels can be reached without any hint of hardening or strain.  The bass is more powerful, clean and extended that I have ever heard in any system, even those with stacks of uber expensive subwoofers.  The upper and mid frequencies also lose a level of grain, become tonally more accurate and are therefore much more revealing of timber and space.

This is a significant upgrade over performance as we already suggested stated was perfectly good!  I am sure this system will impress all that hear it, and thank you for giving us the opportunity to demonstrate the new Bryston Model T active system.

Ken Roach/David Puls
Pulsworks Audio Arts


mr_bill

Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #16 on: 3 May 2017, 11:49 pm »
James,
How many channels of amplification will be needed for the active versions?
Thanks,
Bill

James Tanner

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #17 on: 4 May 2017, 12:15 am »
James,
How many channels of amplification will be needed for the active versions?
Thanks,
Bill

Hi Bill,

3 channels per speaker.  Any 3 channels from any Bryston amp can be used.





james

James Tanner

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Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #18 on: 4 May 2017, 06:50 pm »
MEMO: To All Bryston Customers
SUBJECT: Bryston BAX-1 Digital Crossover GUI


May, 2017



Hi Folks,

Please see below the GUI that is available with the new Bryston BAX-1 Digital Electronic Crossover.

Most room problems occur below 120Hz due to standing wave issues.

The BAX-1 GUI allows you to modify the factory preset  frequencies from 30Hz to 120Hz in 1Hz steps. You can also enter any frequency you wish and make the same adjustments.

You can ‘increase’ the gain a maximum of  3dB or ‘reduce’ the gain by 6dB in 0.1 increments at the frequency chosen.

You can also adjust the ‘Q Factor’ in 0.1 steps. The factory setting for Q is ‘3’

The Red Line in the graph at the bottom indicates the changes you are making.

After making the appropriate adjustment just hit SAVE.


Mag

Re: BRYSTON ACTIVE SPEAKERS
« Reply #19 on: 5 May 2017, 06:30 am »
MEMO: To All Bryston Customers
SUBJECT: Pulsworks Audio Arts Active Demo


May, 2017

Model T Active System Open House at Pulsworks 




Just got back from Pulsworks Open House. Turn out was fairly good, met some new people. Gary from former Custom Stereo was doing the demo. First impressions with unfamiliar music was that the bass was incredible! Similar to the articulate bass you would hear at a modern custom movie theater.

Dave then let me have the room to myself which was about an 1 hour an a half. Brought my own music that I am familiar with. First let me say this room is ideal. You can crank the volume and it is barely noticeable outside the room with the door closed.

I had the volume set pretty loud aprox. 95 decibels which I was comfortable with and the amps were warming up the room nicely. With just two Model T's I found the imaging to be immersive. No need for extra speakers to fill out the soundstage.
The treble was smooth with articulate bass. The mid-range was a bit recessed to my liking and I would adjust that upwards.

In summary I had a great evening listening to this showcase Active System. :smoke: