BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER

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R. Daneel

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1120 on: 17 May 2018, 11:20 am »
I think it can be generally agreed upon that the 660S to many, not all, is a refreshing face lift to the 600/650 by maintaining the cherished mid-range but producing better extended clearer highs and quicker better defined bass. The HD700 is quite different IMHO and a nice departure from the 600 series sound signature, not quite the 800 but it produced a fairly extended sound stage, deeper and better extended bass over the HD6XXs, the recessed mid-range put some off but that was what made the 700s more speaker like. Also IMHO I've come to believe that if the 700s were not powered properly it resulted in some complaining bitterly about its extended highs, ...which were never a problem off the Bryston BCD-1/BHA-1 combo, of which I believe actually added to the realism and excitement of the recording.  :thumb:

Thanks for the reply mate!

Okay, so in your experience, does HD700 have more bass than HD660S?

I never heard an HD660S or an HD700. I have an HD800 (non-S model) which I bought in early 2012 so this is my only reference. On the BHA-1/BDA-2 the HD800 shines and providing the recording is adequately high-quality, there is no sibilance.

Cheers!
Antun


rob80b

Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1121 on: 17 May 2018, 01:12 pm »
Thanks for the reply mate!

Okay, so in your experience, does HD700 have more bass than HD660S?

........
Antun

Didn't compare them side by side and as you know rumor has it they share a similar driver and going from memory the bass was similar.... but the rest of the frequency spectrum was quite different due to the fact that the ear cup and baffle design is very different between the two....
The angled drivers in the 700s have a tendency to direct the treble energy in a unique way which produces a wider sound stage but this I believe is what is responsible for  some head-fiers perceiving the upper frequencies as unwanted annoying treble peaks. Personally I believe the Bryston combo of the BCD-1 and BHA-1 kept things under control so it was never an issue. :thumb:

R. Daneel

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1122 on: 17 May 2018, 07:16 pm »
Didn't compare them side by side and as you know rumor has it they share a similar driver and going from memory the bass was similar.... but the rest of the frequency spectrum was quite different due to the fact that the ear cup and baffle design is very different between the two....
The angled drivers in the 700s have a tendency to direct the treble energy in a unique way which produces a wider sound stage but this I believe is what is responsible for  some head-fiers perceiving the upper frequencies as unwanted annoying treble peaks. Personally I believe the Bryston combo of the BCD-1 and BHA-1 kept things under control so it was never an issue. :thumb:

Hi Rob!

Yes, I too have read the drive units between the two are similar. It just goes to show there's more to acoustics than "plain" drive unit design. Hmm, I will need to think about this.

When I had the HD650, I liked it very much. However, the one thing I always missed was a bit of detail in the top end as it always seemed to mask some of the fine harmonics of acoustic instruments like piano and violin. All of that has been corrected with the HD800 but they take serious umbrage if you feed them substandard recordings. However, I never found HD650's sound stage to be too small. It wasn't particularly wide or deep but it was adequate I think. Perhaps HD660S would be a better choice for me than the HD700 because it seems to improve on the one thing I missed with the HD650 - top end detail.

Still, I think anyone can agree that HD700 looks simply spectacular.

Like I said, I will need to think about which one to buy.

Cheers!
Antun

rob80b

Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1123 on: 17 May 2018, 08:54 pm »
Hi Rob!
........
........ All of that has been corrected with the HD800 but they take serious umbrage if you feed them substandard recordings. .........

Like I said, I will need to think about which one to buy.

Cheers!
Antun

If you do have the 800s already  I'd personally swing for the 660S if you're in need of a second can to cover the bases. The 700s are closer to the the 800s so you'll always be reaching for the 800s and the 660S are much kinder than either 2 for substandard recordings while maintaining a similar frequency clarity of the 700s.

Krutsch

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1124 on: 17 May 2018, 09:28 pm »
For classical or instrumental jazz, well recorded, I totally get the comments about clarity and sound stage.

But I have a collection of original issue and re-issued LPs of vocal-centric music from the '50s & '60s (e.g. Frank, Dean, Barbra); the 650s kill it with this genre of music, with the right amp. For me, it highlights the difference in genre coverage, between the HD-650 and the HD-700/800 (I've not listen to the 800S).

R. Daneel

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1125 on: 18 May 2018, 01:17 pm »
If you do have the 800s already  I'd personally swing for the 660S if you're in need of a second can to cover the bases. The 700s are closer to the the 800s so you'll always be reaching for the 800s and the 660S are much kinder than either 2 for substandard recordings while maintaining a similar frequency clarity of the 700s.

Rob,

this is exactly the kind of information I've been looking for. I appreciate it, thanks!

Cheers,
Antun

TJ-Sully

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1126 on: 18 May 2018, 03:43 pm »
hi folks, apologies if this question has been addressed already, but does anyone have experience using the BHA1 as a pre-amp? Any significant limitations? i'm looking to set up a third system for quiet listening and thinking it would be cool to listen to headphones and switch to loudspeakers from time to time.

thanks!
TJ

rob80b

Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1127 on: 18 May 2018, 03:56 pm »
hi folks, apologies if this question has been addressed already, but does anyone have experience using the BHA1 as a pre-amp?.......

thanks!
TJ

Check my thread here.....
https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=121595.0

and here....
Just to see is if the above mentioned attributes transfer over to using the BHA-1 as a preamp I managed to hook it up front and put it through its paces.
Basically your purist set-up, BCD-1, BHA-1, 4BSST and the Dynaudio Special 25s.



In a nut shell I heard the best reproduction of cymbals that I’ve had the pleasure of hearing, definitely one up on my previous BP25P which was true to its numbers but which I have to confess I felt was getting a little long in tooth and was replaced by the very affordable Emotiva USP-1 this year to accommodate HT bypass with sub woofer management, but only because the EMO IMHO did sound better even with the phono, sad to say. :(
Needless, I was losing faith in my coveted Bryston, but the BHA-1 in its minimalist approach has brought a whole new sound to the playing field, the word that comes to mind is “Crystal Clear”.
My biggest caveat with the BP25P, at least in system, was the lack of distinct layering and depth with the Dynaudio Special 25s, the USP-1 resolved and that and was what made me question the BP25s resolving power.
The BHA-1s imaging prowess IMHO, at least from what I’ve heard so far is second to none; width, layering and depth is very distinct, with no doubling up, the full audio spectrum appears to have better resolve top to bottom. 
As I mentioned cymbals took on a new vitality, they were distinctively real when listening to John Surman’s “Stranger Than Fiction”, very silky but not in the bright sort of way, just right, the same being said for the piano and Surmans sax, the drums displaying that tactile feel.
Just to change pace I threw on some Techno, Underworld’s  “second toughest in the infants” expecting the clarity of the BHA-1 would have be reaching the volume knob, which was not to be, sat down and listened again through the whole album. The bass was extremely well resolute and again with the resolving power of the BHA-1 the music was a pleasure to listen to.
So once more as with the SST series, the BCD-1 and now the BHA-1 Bryston continues to show what can be done, thanks guys! :thumb:
Too bad there’s no HT pass through, remote and bass management, other wise the BHA-1 would stay right up front, plus the silver doesn’t match the rest of my equipment. :scratch:
Maybe there’s a BP30 in the works!   :)

Tezza009

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1128 on: 18 May 2018, 08:25 pm »
I’ve used the BHA as my preamp in an all Bryston electronics set up (bdp-1, bda-1, 7bsst2) for several years. It is an excellent preamp. I have had the gain reduced as I have very efficient speakers.

If it provides the flexibility with connections that you need and you can live without a remote then it provides a great low cost minimal solution.

Having said this I have a bp17-3 on order to provide more flexibility and the remote ...

TJ-Sully

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1129 on: 19 May 2018, 02:40 pm »
thanks fellas. Good luck with your BP17cubed. Lucky!  :thumb:

Hey James, would there be any downside of using the BHA1 as a preamp - compared to....say a 15 year old BP20?

thanks!
TJ

James Tanner

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1130 on: 19 May 2018, 03:29 pm »
thanks fellas. Good luck with your BP17cubed. Lucky!  :thumb:

Hey James, would there be any downside of using the BHA1 as a preamp - compared to....say a 15 year old BP20?

thanks!
TJ

The BHA is a newer design.

james

rob80b

Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1131 on: 19 May 2018, 04:36 pm »
thanks fellas. Good luck with your BP17cubed. Lucky!  :thumb:

Hey James, would there be any downside of using the BHA1 as a preamp - compared to....say a 15 year old BP20?

thanks!
TJ

Not to speak for James...no downsides audio-wise IMHO but you'll need to shut down the connected amp when using headphones as it does not mute the rear balanced outputs ...... also, and I've talked to Mike about this one, but the BHA-1 has a remote trigger in but no trigger out :scratch:...would have been nice when using it as a pre to power up and down the associated amp.



James Tanner

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1132 on: 19 May 2018, 05:50 pm »
the BHA-1 has a remote trigger in but no trigger out :scratch:...would have been nice when using it as a pre to power up and down the associated amp.

[/quote]


Hi

The BHA was never designed as a preamplifier - it was an afterthought so the first 50 units did not even have a pair of Balanced outs on the rear.

We realized we could add the extra outputs and that allowed a bit more flexibility for those that wanted to use it as a preamp.

james

TJ-Sully

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1133 on: 19 May 2018, 07:02 pm »
hi james
i noticed the BHA user manual doesn't show balanced output on the rear side. Now i know why. cool.

i had a look at the input impedance  specs of the BP20 (15k ohms) and the BHA1 (10k ohms). Used as a preamp, and everything else being equal (power amp, cables, etc), would the lower impedance of the BHA have any effect on sound compared the BP20 - other than volume control?

CanadianMaestro

Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1134 on: 20 May 2018, 05:32 pm »
^ it shouldn't.

It is a good thing for a voltage input, as if the input impedance is high compared to the source impedance then the voltage level will not drop too much due to the divider effect.
generally an input impedance of at least 10 times the source impedance is a good idea to prevent significant loading.

wormcycle

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1135 on: 12 Jun 2018, 08:08 pm »
I am using BHA-1 mostly as headphone amplifier with BDA-2 and  BDP-2 and this is the first time when I am not thinking about upgrading anything, anything whatsoever. My HD800S and Hifiman HE1000v2 with Bryston stack sound exactly as I like it.

I have two questions somewhat related:
I cannot figure out the BHA-1 volume control. It is a steep increase in volume, then a flat part and again increase in volume at the lats part of the turn. Is this a way it is supposed to work?
And the second question regarding the preamp function. I found recently a very good price on two 2B LP Pro and decided to bridge them. This is the first Bryston amp I have ever tried, both  are more than 25 years old, and they are way better than my Emotiva XPA- which I sold promptly. But With the 2B LP gain at 3 I have to run two Shure XLR attenuators at -15dB to get the preamp volume to even 10, it is loud, nut the sound is the best.
 I am running 6 Ohm speaker in bridged setup which is the way it is supposed to be, and it is temporary, but I listen mostly to classical music at low volumes. Basic question is: in this imperfect situation how should I set the 2B gain? High with attenuators, or much lower without?

CanadianMaestro

Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1136 on: 12 Jun 2018, 08:52 pm »
Basic question is: in this imperfect situation how should I set the 2B gain? High with attenuators, or much lower without?

Since you stated that you listen at low vol, then set the 2B gain to a lower setting, without attenuators. Then use the preamp vol knob to a fuller extent.

cheers

rob80b

Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1137 on: 12 Jun 2018, 10:43 pm »
I am using BHA-1 mostly as headphone amplifier ..........Basic question is: in this imperfect situation how should I set the 2B gain? High with attenuators, or much lower without?


You can try what CM suggested and I do use it that way if I use the 2BLP pro has a head-amp as there is way too much gain otherwise.... but for speakers IMHO I've found it best to open up the attenuators completely on the 2BLP pro as the potentiometer on the BHA-1 is of a higher quality and one is not constantly fiddling to get the balance right between the two channels...experimenting is free though :D

Also if I'm not mistaken when used as a preamp the BHA-1 performs normally and is more linear in terms of adjusting the volume from quiet to loud.

...but I'm a bit perplexed that even with the -15 attenuators (they are directional) it is still too loud....hhhmmmm :scratch:

« Last Edit: 13 Jun 2018, 12:28 am by rob80b »

wormcycle

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Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1138 on: 13 Jun 2018, 01:36 pm »
Thanks, it is helpful. With -15dB is not too loud, it is just right with 2B LP gain fully open and BHA-1 at app 11.
But my understanding is that there  is not much of a difference between inline attenuators on the input to power amp, and reducing the gain on the power amp, but I am not sure about that.
It could help to know the BHA-1 voltage on balanced, outputs and what is acceptable input range for 2B LP but I cannot find this info anywhere

CanadianMaestro

Re: BRYSTON BHA-1 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
« Reply #1139 on: 13 Jun 2018, 01:57 pm »
Thanks, it is helpful. With -15dB is not too loud, it is just right with 2B LP gain fully open and BHA-1 at app 11.
But my understanding is that there  is not much of a difference between inline attenuators on the input to power amp, and reducing the gain on the power amp, but I am not sure about that.
It could help to know the BHA-1 voltage on balanced, outputs and what is acceptable input range for 2B LP but I cannot find this info anywhere

Try it and let your ears determine whether there's a difference.
I'm confident the 2B can handle the bal out voltage of BHA-1 preamp. But Bryston should chime in here....

cheers