BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER

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Grit

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1340 on: 21 Sep 2022, 06:39 pm »
What's the process for going from 110v to 220v on the BHA-1? Is that a trip to Bryston, and if so, what's involved?

James Tanner

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1341 on: 22 Sep 2022, 09:15 am »
Yes the transformer and some parts need changing

james

inglisd

Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1342 on: 26 Sep 2022, 09:25 pm »
I have the following signal path:

BDP-2 => USB in to BDA-3 => RCA out to CD in 11B => RCA Main out to 4B in => A3's

I'm considering adventuring into the high end headphone experience with the intent of
adding a BHA-1 to my system.  If I have read the manuals correctly it seems I could connect:

 - balanced XLR out from BDA-3 to balanced XLR in of BHA-1
 - RCA out from BDA-3 to RCA CD in of 11B
 - RCA Tape1 OR Tape2 out from 11B to RCA in of BHA-1

Basically, I want to have the BDA-3 direct connect to the BHA-1 for headphone listening but
also connect to the 11B / 4B / A3 for speaker listening.  I would also like to listen to other analog
sources (tuner, TV, phono) off the 11B through the BHA-1.  Have I got this right ?

GrooveControl

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1343 on: 26 Sep 2022, 10:53 pm »
yes, that sounds right. 

inglisd

Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1344 on: 28 Sep 2022, 03:48 pm »
Quote
yes, that sounds right.

thanks for confirming.  I picked up a mint BHA-1 last night from a CAM member.  I have my 11B tape 1 out
to RCA in on the BHA-1.  Currently waiting on a pair of XLRs to run BDA-3 direct to BHA-1.  I gave a brief
listen to some Tidal content with an old pair of Shure cans through the 1/4" outlet on the 11B and then
through the BHA-1 : noticeably cleaner / quieter.  I now know why you would use the BHA-1 as a pre-amp.

Now I just have to find suitable headphones ...
The listening room is in the basement and the goal behind the foray into headphones was to enable
everyone else to sleep when I stay up late listening.   I'm thinking something open backed planar with
a balanced XLR connection budget $1500 - 2500 (used or retail).  Any suggestions ?

zoom25

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1345 on: 28 Sep 2022, 09:59 pm »
Audeze.

NekoAudio

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1346 on: 29 Sep 2022, 06:26 pm »
I'm thinking something open backed planar with a balanced XLR connection budget $1500 - 2500 (used or retail).  Any suggestions ?

I'd also recommend looking at the Audeze, specifically the LCD-X, MM-500, or LCD-3 models. You'll want to audition them to compare as they sound different from each other and everyone has a preference irrespective of the different price points. The LCD-MX4 is $3000 so a used one could fall within your budget.

inglisd

Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1347 on: 29 Sep 2022, 11:48 pm »
I have read great reviews about the Audeze line.  Unfortunately no dealers with that brand in my area and
few even have in store auditioning.  I may be able to audition some Meze and Dan Clark next week.

zoom25

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1348 on: 29 Sep 2022, 11:55 pm »
You can do that or go for smaller speakers that perform well and linearly at low SPL. I use both my Audeze and Amphion monitors late at night.

Btw do you have any insulation in your basement ceiling?

inglisd

Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1349 on: 30 Sep 2022, 12:02 am »
no insulation.  I'm keen on a very good set of headphones, it just may take some time
to find the right ones for me.  May have to make the drive or GO into TO ...

R. Daneel

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1350 on: 8 Oct 2022, 11:38 am »
Hi fellas!

It’s interesting that the usual recommendation is Audeze. My experience with this company is not all positive so let me share my observations.

Like most people, I have read plethora reviews, fulsome in the praise of the headphones and the brand in general. It made my disappointment that much greater. I have not listened to all the models but I did extensive listening sessions with the LCD-2 Classic, LCD-X and LCD-3.

The often-recommended LCD-X isn’t even a contender in my experience. It is very grainy which is probably why people think they sound detailed. Quite the opposite actually, I found it very poor in resolution, not being able to resolve harmonics and sympathetic string resonance of a piano at all. The sound image as a whole was big which isn’t surprising considering the physical size of the diaphragms but the actual width of the image was only average. I find the price completely ridiculous for what it offers. It is even more ridiculous that it is often compared to a Sennheiser HD800 because of the similarity in price. The Sennheiser is a far better music-listening experience in every way.

The LCD-2 Classic was actually a whole lot better. It was still grainy but to a lesser extent which gave the impression of a slightly harder-sounding upper midrange. As a consequence of that, it sounded better with male, lower-reaching vocals than with female ones. Still enjoyable though. The image was just as big as with the LCD-X but this time with more girth and grunt in the lower octaves. It is a better headphone than the LCD-X, through and through.

The LCD-3 was better still because it was more refined in the upper midrange and so, being able to bring out more nuance from the music I was listening too. It also appeared to have worked equally well with both male and female vocals. It is a very pleasant headphone to listen to, analogous to what Harbeth represents in the world of speakers. Still, at their asking price of 2000 €, they’re very expensive for what they are since the same midrange quality can be found with the likes of Sennheiser HD650.

But the overall positive impression I had of Audeze has been overshadowed by the simply unacceptably poor LCD-X. No doubt, there are some clever people over at Audeze and here I primarily think about their sales and marketing folk. High-profile reviews by known publications and even people from MI channel have proven successful for them.

The bottom line? Don’t believe everything you read online, especially when the feedback is overwhelmingly positive.

Also, keep in mind that the mentioned MX-4 uses the same diaphragm as the LCD-X. As far as I know, both are 20 Ohm impedance which is too low to be used with a BHA-1 in a balanced mode. This amplifier has an output impedance of 4 Ohm in balanced mode which would amount to a damping factor of 5 and probably affecting the response of the headphones too much.

Cheers - Antun

inglisd

Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1351 on: 8 Oct 2022, 02:15 pm »
thanks for sharing your info on the Audeze LCD line.  I had the opportunity this week to audition a used mint Sennheiser HD800.
The seller lives close by and was kind enough to bring them over to try on my Bryston system.  I could appreciate all that I had
read in reviews and forum posts but listening to music I know on them and talking about them with the seller was a rare and valued opportunity. 
This being my first listen to anything of value over $300, I was expecting to be blown away, but the HD800 didn't do it for me.
The seller twigged me onto the LSA HD-Diamond and down that review / research rabbit hole I went.  A set along with 4 pin XLR
cable upgrade are on the way landing sometime next week.  I will post my impressions after burn in.

R. Daneel

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1352 on: 8 Oct 2022, 04:39 pm »
thanks for sharing your info on the Audeze LCD line.  I had the opportunity this week to audition a used mint Sennheiser HD800.
The seller lives close by and was kind enough to bring them over to try on my Bryston system.  I could appreciate all that I had
read in reviews and forum posts but listening to music I know on them and talking about them with the seller was a rare and valued opportunity. 
This being my first listen to anything of value over $300, I was expecting to be blown away, but the HD800 didn't do it for me.
The seller twigged me onto the LSA HD-Diamond and down that review / research rabbit hole I went.  A set along with 4 pin XLR
cable upgrade are on the way landing sometime next week.  I will post my impressions after burn in.

Hi!

Oh, the HD800 is most certainly not for everyone! To me, they’re perfection for classical and musical genres where acoustic instruments are predominant. Like with a finely tuned instrument or I suppose, a sports motorcycle, you have to know what you’re doing. That’s why I never really recommended them to anyone but it’s odd that after ten years I haven’t found anything better for acoustic music.

Cheers - Antun

zeeman

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1353 on: 16 Oct 2022, 05:41 pm »
Hi fellas!

It’s interesting that the usual recommendation is Audeze. My experience with this company is not all positive so let me share my observations.

Like most people, I have read plethora reviews, fulsome in the praise of the headphones and the brand in general. It made my disappointment that much greater. I have not listened to all the models but I did extensive listening sessions with the LCD-2 Classic, LCD-X and LCD-3.

The often-recommended LCD-X isn’t even a contender in my experience. It is very grainy which is probably why people think they sound detailed. Quite the opposite actually, I found it very poor in resolution, not being able to resolve harmonics and sympathetic string resonance of a piano at all. The sound image as a whole was big which isn’t surprising considering the physical size of the diaphragms but the actual width of the image was only average. I find the price completely ridiculous for what it offers. It is even more ridiculous that it is often compared to a Sennheiser HD800 because of the similarity in price. The Sennheiser is a far better music-listening experience in every way.

The LCD-2 Classic was actually a whole lot better. It was still grainy but to a lesser extent which gave the impression of a slightly harder-sounding upper midrange. As a consequence of that, it sounded better with male, lower-reaching vocals than with female ones. Still enjoyable though. The image was just as big as with the LCD-X but this time with more girth and grunt in the lower octaves. It is a better headphone than the LCD-X, through and through.

The LCD-3 was better still because it was more refined in the upper midrange and so, being able to bring out more nuance from the music I was listening too. It also appeared to have worked equally well with both male and female vocals. It is a very pleasant headphone to listen to, analogous to what Harbeth represents in the world of speakers. Still, at their asking price of 2000 €, they’re very expensive for what they are since the same midrange quality can be found with the likes of Sennheiser HD650.

But the overall positive impression I had of Audeze has been overshadowed by the simply unacceptably poor LCD-X. No doubt, there are some clever people over at Audeze and here I primarily think about their sales and marketing folk. High-profile reviews by known publications and even people from MI channel have proven successful for them.

The bottom line? Don’t believe everything you read online, especially when the feedback is overwhelmingly positive.

Also, keep in mind that the mentioned MX-4 uses the same diaphragm as the LCD-X. As far as I know, both are 20 Ohm impedance which is too low to be used with a BHA-1 in a balanced mode. This amplifier has an output impedance of 4 Ohm in balanced mode which would amount to a damping factor of 5 and probably affecting the response of the headphones too much.

Cheers - Antun

Your opinion of the LCD-X must be based on a defective model.  I use mine (March 2022 production date) on my BHA-1 via the balanced output and it's a match made in heaven.  No problems at all driving the 20 Ohm impedance of these 'phones.  I also have the Senn HD-800S and while they have a bigger soundstage they can't match the dynamic range and bass response of the X's.  I used to own the LCD-2C but they were to rolled off in the top end and they sounded less precise in the bass.  They did have a bigger soundstage than the X's, however.

R. Daneel

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1354 on: 23 Oct 2022, 04:32 pm »
Your opinion of the LCD-X must be based on a defective model.  I use mine (March 2022 production date) on my BHA-1 via the balanced output and it's a match made in heaven.  No problems at all driving the 20 Ohm impedance of these 'phones.  I also have the Senn HD-800S and while they have a bigger soundstage they can't match the dynamic range and bass response of the X's.  I used to own the LCD-2C but they were to rolled off in the top end and they sounded less precise in the bass.  They did have a bigger soundstage than the X's, however.

Like I said in my post, I know that many people praise the LCD-X. I just didn’t find any justification for it. They were not defective or broken. In fact, the staff in the store clearly preferred the LCD-X as do their customers. Of course, more $$$ means more for them. They are outrageously overpriced and unacceptably low in mid-band resolution.
As for the impedance, I did not say they will not work. I said the low impedance will change the frequency response, and with a 5x damping factor, it does.
If you are enjoying your LCD-X, then good for you!
Cheers!

zeeman

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1355 on: 25 Oct 2022, 05:53 pm »
Like I said in my post, I know that many people praise the LCD-X. I just didn’t find any justification for it. They were not defective or broken. In fact, the staff in the store clearly preferred the LCD-X as do their customers. Of course, more $$$ means more for them. They are outrageously overpriced and unacceptably low in mid-band resolution.
As for the impedance, I did not say they will not work. I said the low impedance will change the frequency response, and with a 5x damping factor, it does.
If you are enjoying your LCD-X, then good for you!
Cheers!

"overpriced" re:  the X's is very relative, considering it outperforms the more expensive 800S' in all but soundstage width and the last ounce of "air".  Most listeners, myself included, find the X's to be more accurate in general tone (partially due to the accurate full range bass absent on most dynamic driver designs).  I find the midband on the current X's to be more accurate than the 800's. Output impedance on the headphone amp is not critical for most applications and the planar tech in the Audeze line gives a perfectly flat impedance response across the entire frequency band, unlike dynamic driver models which can vary widely.  The BHA-1 and other high quality amps are coasting and providing a good damping factor on the X's.

R. Daneel

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1356 on: 29 Oct 2022, 07:53 pm »
"overpriced" re:  the X's is very relative, considering it outperforms the more expensive 800S' in all but soundstage width and the last ounce of "air".  Most listeners, myself included, find the X's to be more accurate in general tone (partially due to the accurate full range bass absent on most dynamic driver designs).  I find the midband on the current X's to be more accurate than the 800's. Output impedance on the headphone amp is not critical for most applications and the planar tech in the Audeze line gives a perfectly flat impedance response across the entire frequency band, unlike dynamic driver models which can vary widely.  The BHA-1 and other high quality amps are coasting and providing a good damping factor on the X's.

Hello!

Like I said, if it sounds good to you, then that’s all that matters.

That being said, I must say, when I evaluate equipment, I apply ALL my experience and knowledge. That includes more than fifteen years of being a musician in an orchestra, playing everywhere – from the smallest of venues to large concert halls and open town squares throughout Europe, as well as recording three compact discs in the largest production studios here in Croatia. These, mind you, are the “reference recordings”, both to me, but also because some of the most talented people were involved in their creation. So, when I talk about what is “natural”, I really do have a point of reference and a fairly good idea if the equipment translates the recording well or not. Don’t think I am saying this to reach a higher moral ground in this discussion – but it is what it is and if I said it any other way, it would be a lie. In short, I am not interested in “general consensus” on how something sounds, so nothing that you can say, or anyone else for that matter, will make me feel differently about a piece of equipment. That does not mean I don’t take other people seriously or value their opinion but forgive me for saying so, not every opinion is equally valuable (and this is true in every profession).

It's like trying to get a job – having no formal education and/or field experience doesn’t bode especially well for you at a job interview. But these audio reviewers… People trust them blindly and buy whatever they recommend. Sure, it’s not exactly structural engineering and no one will die from buying a substandard headphone, but someone might die if an unqualified engineer is hired to design a cable-suspended bridge. See my point?

I always suggest people to buy tickets for an opera or to go listen to a symphony orchestra. It can be a very rewarding and humbling experience. But many people buy expensive (overpriced) audiophile-grade recordings thinking they’ll get closer to the actual musical event when in fact it is SO far from the actual event. In fact, the musical event everyone has in their heads might not have even happened – the bass and drums might have been recorded in separate (smaller) rooms and the other instruments may have been layered on top of them during some other session or even in a completely different studio. So it really is the funniest joke when people (reviewers included) say something sounds as close to a live event as they’ve heard it or even better, it sounds like the artist intended it to sound. Would it help if I said most artists don’t even know what they want, or maybe they do but they just don’t know how to achieve it. Or maybe they know all of that but the studio time is so expensive that the first draft will also be the final product.

As for “a good damping factor”, I would really like to know what that is. 😉 It’s either sufficiently high or it is insufficient.

But, like I said twice before, I am happy that you are enjoying your Audeze LCD-X.

Cheers – Antun

Jozsef

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1357 on: 18 Nov 2022, 05:45 am »
Audeze used to use the BHA-1 in their demos and last I heard, James Tanner and Chris Russell both owned LCD-3s. Hearing that headphone over a Bryston system just a few years ago made me want them rather badly. They were unbelievably clear and lifelike. However, when they decided that their own headphone amp should be a tube unit designed by Bascomb H. King and they began making different models that sounded very different with deliberately ambiguous marketspeak essentially proclaiming all of them to be the best, I became reluctant to give them my money. I suppose I'm spoiled by Bryston's honest and straightforward business model.

BTW, I recall that when Rin Choi tested the LCD-2 using objective instruments, the results were splendid. Another site also doing a proper laboratory test on a recent, much less expensive Audeze model showed very unsatisfactory results. Your choice of recording may or may not reveal flaws in hardware which is why great patience for a massive investment of time and a willingness to gamble are necessary in the absence of a company one can trust completely.

R. Daneel

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1358 on: 20 Nov 2022, 12:04 pm »
Audeze used to use the BHA-1 in their demos and last I heard, James Tanner and Chris Russell both owned LCD-3s. Hearing that headphone over a Bryston system just a few years ago made me want them rather badly. They were unbelievably clear and lifelike. However, when they decided that their own headphone amp should be a tube unit designed by Bascomb H. King and they began making different models that sounded very different with deliberately ambiguous marketspeak essentially proclaiming all of them to be the best, I became reluctant to give them my money. I suppose I'm spoiled by Bryston's honest and straightforward business model.

BTW, I recall that when Rin Choi tested the LCD-2 using objective instruments, the results were splendid. Another site also doing a proper laboratory test on a recent, much less expensive Audeze model showed very unsatisfactory results. Your choice of recording may or may not reveal flaws in hardware which is why great patience for a massive investment of time and a willingness to gamble are necessary in the absence of a company one can trust completely.

Conveyed with sharpness and literacy! Thanks!