Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3

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Gumby

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Would CDs ripped and played through the digital player and Dac sound better than simply playing CDs straight from the Bryston player?

Mag

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #1 on: 4 Jun 2019, 10:36 pm »
Would CDs ripped and played through the digital player and Dac sound better than simply playing CDs straight from the Bryston player?

IMO assuming you have a high quality pre-amp & dac. Piggybacking two dacs upsampled with digital player is comparable to a cd played in the BCD-3, but I would give a slight edge to the BCD-3 being more refined.

I actually heard the BDP & BDA-3 at the dealer. Though not a direct comparison IMO my BCD-3 when I got home, with the same recordings sounded better. The source was the only difference in gear I could attribute to the difference as I have mostly Bryston gear. :smoke:

redbook

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #2 on: 4 Jun 2019, 11:10 pm »
 Good to hear it because I just got the wonderful BCD3 recently and at this point I know it exceeds the BCD1 in many subtle ways probably due to the double chip set as well as better everything else including that new loader from  Stream  Unlimited.. I was going to go the other BOT route and maybe will in the future if the BCD3 is discontinued ( hope not) but I do prefer the all in one method. :thumb:

Gumby

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #3 on: 4 Jun 2019, 11:29 pm »
Mag,

Thanks.   I have an old Nad CD player I’ve been thinking of upgrading with a big jump to one I’ll be happy wth for a long time.  I want to choose one or the other, not both, ...File/Streaming or CD. 


Gumby

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #4 on: 4 Jun 2019, 11:35 pm »
Redbook,

Did you listen to other CD players before investing in the bcd-3, or did you want to stick with a  Bryston System? 

Mag

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #5 on: 5 Jun 2019, 12:07 am »
I don't think there is a lot of options on the market for piggybacking dacs. You can use your typical avr receiver but my experience it doesn't compare with using the Bryston Sp2.

The new Bryston pre-amp BP-18? in the works, maybe able to piggyback the dacs. :dunno:

thorman

Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #6 on: 5 Jun 2019, 12:32 am »
I can attest to the BCD-3 sounding exceptional...Just received one and with less than 20 hours, I am totally amazed at how good Redbook can sound............

redbook

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #7 on: 5 Jun 2019, 03:33 am »
Redbook,

Did you listen to other CD players before investing in the bcd-3, or did you want to stick with a  Bryston System? ...... No , since I was always impressed with the BCD1 over other previous players ( Sony Es and Carry) I was certain the  new BCD3 would be even better knowing Bryston's way of design and performance...: I wasn't wrong , the new player takes my listening to a higher level of refinement....and once agian.my thanks to  Dennis  at the  Hi Fi Center in  Vancouver for putting up with all my rambling  LOL. :roll: :lol: :thumb:


gberger

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #8 on: 5 Jun 2019, 05:57 pm »
IMO, the simplicity of using the BCD-3 for playback transcends any perceived increase in fidelity using other methods.
 
BCD-3  >  BP17 cubed  >  4B cubed  >  speakers.   

Minimal chances for induced jitter, clocking mismatch,  hum, incorrect wiring, etc.

Besides, getting up out of the chair every so often to change the CD is good for the cardiovascular system.

Gumby

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #9 on: 5 Jun 2019, 06:33 pm »
the real question i have,....is it still worth investing thousands in CD playback, or putting that budget towards a killer Dac, or Analog?   

I currently play CDs and LPs, and enjoy them, but have entry level sources. Looking for big jumps in either format to see what I’m missing. 

Lately, its been difficult to get out to the dealers for auditions, but I will buy in person, not online.   

CanadianMaestro

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #10 on: 5 Jun 2019, 07:53 pm »
the real question i have,....is it still worth investing thousands in CD playback, or putting that budget towards a killer Dac, or Analog?   


Killer DAC, imo. If it's a big jump in performance. Then buy downloads.  :thumb:

R. Daneel

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #11 on: 15 Jun 2019, 09:12 am »
My choice would be direct CD playback with BCD. Since BCD is a CD player only, it requires no resampling and reclocking like an external DAC does, BDA included. In this case, integration of digital circuits and a more straightforward signal path has an advantage over a more traditional "separate everything" audiophile approach. It should be reflected in audio quality but you can never be certain whether it's a difference worth debating about.


Cheers!
Antun

R. Daneel

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #12 on: 15 Jun 2019, 09:37 am »
the real question i have,....is it still worth investing thousands in CD playback, or putting that budget towards a killer Dac, or Analog?   

I currently play CDs and LPs, and enjoy them, but have entry level sources. Looking for big jumps in either format to see what I’m missing. 

Lately, its been difficult to get out to the dealers for auditions, but I will buy in person, not online.

Hi Gumby,

it would be helpful to know a little bit about your source components before I, or someone else, can suggest something.

In my previous post I explained why direct CD playback should be superior from a technical standpoint, not that I consider myself an expert in this manner.

But, if you already have a CD and vinyl collection you enjoy, I see no point in going through the process of ripping all your discs onto a hard-drive. If you are looking to invest in better-sounding equipment, it is best to "reset your expectations" and start looking at equipment at the bottom of your avalable budget, not the top. The often mentioned "Law of diminishing returns" starts to show it's effect a lot sooner than most people think, especially if you're constantly bombarded by magazine-fueled marketing campaigns on what should be on the top of your list. Remember, you are not other people, you are you.

Bryston equipment, while good, isn't exactly affordable and this is even more true if you live in Europe or Asia. You mentioned your source equipment is modest so I assume you will be taking into account the price when the time comes to choose new equipment, which is exactly what you should be doing.

Cheers!
Antun

Gumby

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #13 on: 15 Jun 2019, 03:07 pm »
Hi Gumby,

it would be helpful to know a little bit about your source components before I, or someone else, can suggest something.

In my previous post I explained why direct CD playback should be superior from a technical standpoint, not that I consider myself an expert in this manner.

But, if you already have a CD and vinyl collection you enjoy, I see no point in going through the process of ripping all your discs onto a hard-drive. If you are looking to invest in better-sounding equipment, it is best to "reset your expectations" and start looking at equipment at the bottom of your avalable budget, not the top. The often mentioned "Law of diminishing returns" starts to show it's effect a lot sooner than most people think, especially if you're constantly bombarded by magazine-fueled marketing campaigns on what should be on the top of your list. Remember, you are not other people, you are you.

Bryston equipment, while good, isn't exactly affordable and this is even more true if you live in Europe or Asia. You mentioned your source equipment is modest so I assume you will be taking into account the price when the time comes to choose new equipment, which is exactly what you should be doing.

Cheers!
Antun

Antun,

You make a good point about the small differences. 

 My Sources are:   

1. Project Debut Carbon turntable with acrylic platter, Origin Live mat, Ortofon Blue cartridge, Sim Audio 110 Phono stage, Cardas cables

2. Nad 516bee CD player

3. Mojo Dac,  Audioquest Beetle Dac,  Airport Express Streamer Dac

I do shootouts, playing the same albums through all three.  The differences are very subtle but vinyl wins most of the time. CD is second.    It’s surprising how close all three Dacs are, when levels are matched.  I don’t have any hi res downloads, so maybe it’s not a fair test.  I use Apple Music.   I used Tidal Hi Fi for several months also. I was surprised to hear it did not beat Apple Music.  In fact, album after album , Apple Music sounded better. 

I have a small LP and CD collection, so I’m not married to either Source.  Plus, the convenience and abundance of music that streaming offers, makes it a tough decision. 

My sound goal is clarity,  and sweet smooth treble.  Graininess and harshness drive me crazy.  Currently, my turntable gets closest to my goal. 

But I wonder what a better CD player would give, or a better Dac with hi res music.  I’ve read that once you invest in a turntable in the $5000 plus range, vinyl trumps all digital and CD.   

Thanks.

Pundamilia

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #14 on: 15 Jun 2019, 04:42 pm »
Could you please explain to me what "graininess" in music sounds like. I can relate to the concept in describing photographs and food, but I have trouble imagining what it means in the context of music.

Thanks.

Gumby

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #15 on: 15 Jun 2019, 05:23 pm »
Could you please explain to me what "graininess" in music sounds like. I can relate to the concept in describing photographs and food, but I have trouble imagining what it means in the context of music.

Thanks.

By “graininess”, I’m trying to say the song doesn’t sound smooth, natural, a touch of distortion or choppiness.

Think of the shimmer of a cymbal being struck:...the dynamic of the initial strike, the fullness of the tone vibrating, then the decay.  It sounds more natural to me on Vinyl than CD and Digital.  On CD and Digital, you can hear the cymbal is grainy.   It’s choppy.  It could also be poor recordings and the player.   

I don’t know if it’s the right word or description, but it’s what I use to help myself. 

R. Daneel

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #16 on: 16 Jun 2019, 11:22 am »
Antun,

You make a good point about the small differences. 

 My Sources are:   

1. Project Debut Carbon turntable with acrylic platter, Origin Live mat, Ortofon Blue cartridge, Sim Audio 110 Phono stage, Cardas cables

2. Nad 516bee CD player

3. Mojo Dac,  Audioquest Beetle Dac,  Airport Express Streamer Dac

I do shootouts, playing the same albums through all three.  The differences are very subtle but vinyl wins most of the time. CD is second.    It’s surprising how close all three Dacs are, when levels are matched.  I don’t have any hi res downloads, so maybe it’s not a fair test.  I use Apple Music.   I used Tidal Hi Fi for several months also. I was surprised to hear it did not beat Apple Music.  In fact, album after album , Apple Music sounded better. 

I have a small LP and CD collection, so I’m not married to either Source.  Plus, the convenience and abundance of music that streaming offers, makes it a tough decision. 

My sound goal is clarity,  and sweet smooth treble.  Graininess and harshness drive me crazy.  Currently, my turntable gets closest to my goal. 

But I wonder what a better CD player would give, or a better Dac with hi res music.  I’ve read that once you invest in a turntable in the $5000 plus range, vinyl trumps all digital and CD.   

Thanks.

Hi Gumby!

Let me first say that digital source components sound more similar than different compared to analogue source components. The most of this comes down to power supply, analogue stage following the actual DAC chip and the digital filter being implemented. The DAC chip itself isn't where the difference is despite what most people are inclined to believe.

I don't know where the 5.000 dollar mark comes from but I don't find it even remotely true. With analogue, most of the (good) sound comes from precision-tuning and a balanced selection of components beginning with the cartridge and ending with the phono preamp. For now, I would forgo the phono preamp upgrade as 110LP is a good one. You could perhaps upgrade the included wall-wart power supply but this isn't the bottlenek of your system for sure.

Tell me, what is the rest of your system comprised of, the amplifier and the speakers in particular?

Cheers!
Antun



gberger

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #17 on: 16 Jun 2019, 01:15 pm »
Hi, Gumby,

Agree with Anton on about everything he's written - - especially concerning the DAC. He's a well of knowledge.

I've been an audiophile for many, many years, beginning with building my own systems, including the speakers.  I've learned one principal fact, viz., the speakers are the heart and soul of your system. No matter how good are the sources, the electronics, CD  player, turntable, cartridge, preamps and amplifiers, if the speakers aren't top flight, the sources and electronics just cannot override deficiencies in them.

Just a thought.

George,   The Old Fud

Gumby

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #18 on: 16 Jun 2019, 03:03 pm »
Hello Antun and George,

Thanks for the advice.  Happy to read the turntable may not be my bottleneck.  It’s true, the Sim Phono is good. It’s the latest version. I’m impressed with Sim Audio.  I plan on auditioning their integrated Amps. 

Which alternative cartridges do you recommend to the Ortofon Blue.  Should I stay MM or try an MC. 

My main Music is rock, pop, and alternative, but I’m also dabbling with Jazz lately.  It’s amazing the difference a great recording makes on the sound.  I played Chet Baker Sings LP yesterday, and thought, “I could live with this sound and be happy, no need to upgrade”.    But then I drop the needle on a U2 album and my smile fades a bit.  Still enjoyable because I love the songs, but that clarity and smoothness are missing. 

I have no control over mediocre recordings, so sometimes I think, what’s the use of upgrading. 

Someone told me that Grado Gold cartridges would balance my system for rock and pop. 

Regarding the rest of my System:  Bryston B60 integrated amp,  B&W 707 ,  Cardas 101 speaker cables

I bought the 707s last summer. The latest version.  I like their sound.  For such small standmounts they fill the room very well. 

George, you make a great point about the speakers.  Before upgrading to the B&Ws, I had a few other pairs I’ve been using since my youth: Signet, Energy, Sound Dynamics.    They’re fun, but they didn’t  have the clarity and smoothness I’m searching.  As soon as I hooked up the B&Ws , I relaxed with a huge smile. 

Of course, the curiosity bug hits me regularly,  and I wonder if I should audition other speakers such as Harbeth, Spendor, Klipsch,...or the larger models of the B&W 700 series.

I also wonder about changing Amps.   The rabbit hole of hifi.

R. Daneel

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Re: Bryston BDP with BOT and BDA-3 versus Bryston BCD-3
« Reply #19 on: 18 Jun 2019, 07:02 pm »
Hello Antun and George,

Thanks for the advice.  Happy to read the  may not be my bottleneck.  It’s true, the Sim Phono is good. It’s the latest version. I’m impressed with Sim .  I plan on auditioning their integrated Amps. 

Which alternative cartridges do you recommend to the Ortofon Blue.  Should I stay MM or try an MC. 

My main Music is rock, pop, and alternative, but I’m also dabbling with Jazz lately.  It’s amazing the difference a great recording makes on the sound.  I played Chet Baker Sings LP yesterday, and thought, “I could live with this sound and be happy, no need to upgrade”.    But then I drop the needle on a U2 album and my smile fades a bit.  Still enjoyable because I love the songs, but that clarity and smoothness are missing. 

I have no control over mediocre recordings, so sometimes I think, what’s the use of upgrading. 

Someone told me that Grado Gold cartridges would balance my system for rock and pop. 

Regarding the rest of my System:  Bryston B60 integrated amp,  B&W 707 ,  Cardas 101 speaker cables

I bought the 707s last summer. The latest version.  I like their sound.  For such small standmounts they fill the room very well. 

George, you make a great point about the .  Before upgrading to the B&Ws, I had a few other pairs I’ve been using since my youth: Signet, Energy, Sound Dynamics.    They’re fun, but they didn’t  have the clarity and smoothness I’m searching.  As soon as I hooked up the B&Ws , I relaxed with a huge smile. 

Of course, the curiosity bug hits me regularly,  and I wonder if I should audition other  such as Harbeth, Spendor, Klipsch,...or the larger models of the B&W 700 series.

I also wonder about changing Amps.   The rabbit hole of hifi.

Hi Gumby!

Okay, I see now why you think your front end needs an upgrade.

Let me fisrt touch on your amplifier and loudspeakers. I think they are very well matched to each other and also to your preferred style of music. Bryston B60 is something of an oddity and rarity in this day and age as it reminds me of Electrocompaniet amplifiers from the eighties. It is an excellent amplifier. Your loudspeakers are good too and like the amplifier, lean towards neutral fidelity with no or very little coloration. If I am not mistaken, the woofer diaphragms are made from "kevlar" and B+W in general offer excellent transient response which is precisely what you need for music styles with a faster tempo.

Now let's talk a bit about what you could do to improve the sound.

I'd suggest replacing the Ortofon Blue MM for a higher quaity cartridge. My recommendation would be the Dynavector DV-10X5. This is a high output MC cartridge so it won't present a significant drag on your phono preamp in terms of gain but it will bring many strengths of MC cartridges to your system. I think this is one of the best cartridges anywhere near it's price and you would have to spend a whole lot more to improve upon it in absolutely every category. Dynavector is fast, dynamic and delicate at the same time and it will surpass your existing cartridge in every category. Just remember to make sure your turntable is in tip-top condition before you start making any changes since only then you will be able to determine how big of a performance upgrade it was.

Also, make sure the connection cable in-between the cartridge and the phono preamp is of high quality. MM and high-ouput MC cartridges are less susceptible to variances in cables but keep in mind that voltage coming out of your cartridge is still very low and is in fact very much similar to what a pick-up on an acoustic guitar would produce. Therefore, low-capacitance and low-resistance cables must be used to ensure frequency response isn't altered because at these miniscule voltage levels, cables can act as capacitors, decreasing the high frequencies in the procoss. This is the last thing you want with a nice cartridge like this.

The other thing is the Pro-Ject tonearm. I am not familiar with the Carbon model but I think it's tonearm should be sufficiently good for a cartridge of this level. It is however best to check with your Pro-Ject dealer or the factory to see if there are any possible compatibility issues. I think there will be none but it doesn't cost anything to check before you decide.

I would also look for a replacement power supply unit for your Simaudio 110LP phono preamp. One of the key differences between a 110LP and a 310LP is the power supply. The 310LP uses a linear supply with a shielded toroidal transformer while the 110LP uses a switch-mode supply. Replacing the 110LP power supply with a nice linear type from a 3rd party manufacturer would certainly decrease the noise floor and bring it more in-line with the higher-priced Simaudio models. This is not mandatory though since your 110LP is still an excellent little phono preamp that, quite frankly, gives a headache to more expensive models from some other manufacturers.

Next, it's finally time to have a look at your digital source. The NAD C516BEE is a decent player but is, IMHO, out of it's league in your system. I recommend you get a music streamer from Cambridge Audio. A model like the CXN would suit your system nicely. This is a fully-featured digital hub with a full-color display and nice set of on-board controls that can also be controlled with a tablet. Cambridge is fuss-free, software is intuitive and easy to use and the sound is really excellent. The CXN uses a pair of Wolfson DACs and some proprietary technologies for optimum sound but you will likely forget all of those and just enjoy the music. In comparative terms, I can say without hesitation Cambdrige Audio source components have always mopped the floor with anything but the really best devices, and even then the differences were nothing to argue about. I have had a Naim ND5XS in my home for a while and the Cambdrige was simply better in every way, at 40% the cost. It was also easier to use and nicer to look at. Model like the 851N would be even better, albeit 50% more expensive than the CXN, and still half the price of something like the aforementioned Naim ND5XS.

Both the CXN and the 851N have digital inputs so you would be able to use your NAD player as a CD transport by connecting the two with a coaxial S/PDIF cable. There are better options for a CD transport but you could certainly use the NAD for that. There is a general ease of use to conventional CD players as opposed to multi-format players and especially music streamers with integrated CD rippers. These are often the cheapest kind available and I am always bothered by the chunky noises they make. It just reminds me the parts inside cost as much as a 20 € DVD-ROM drive you would buy in your local PC hardware store. The NAD is certainly better than that and is straightforward in use. Needless to say, either Cambridge streamers are better at D/A conversion than the NAD so you would be improving your entire digital front end.

I am generally not fond of music streamers but the ones I have mentioned are very compelling and comprehensive indeed.

I hope this is helpful to you and please let us know when you decide.

Cheers!
Antun

P.S. If you want clarity, forget either Harbeth or Spendor! I am sure one of these days someone is going to kill me for saying this.