Skip to 13:10 for beginning of preamp chat (BP 17 cubed, BP26, and the BR-20). It goes on until the 28 minute mark about technical stuff and SQ difference. After that, it's about cost/value, Roon, MPD, downsizing BR2 compatibility and remote inclusion etc.
I think the other person initially had the sound presentation of the BP17 cubed and BP26 backwards, but then Gary got it right? What Gary said sounds similar to what James has said. The BP-26 is more dynamic and forward, while the BP-17 cubed is more holographic and 3D. The thing that confused me was when Gary said that the BP26 has the lower noise floor of the two (BP-17) by a few dBs. Is that true? I thought I remember reading from James that the BP17 has the newer tech and lower noise, which lets you hear the music in a more relaxed way and it feels less dynamic because it doesn't get strained. Can you guys clear that up?
Second interesting point from the video was that the preamp section of the BR-20 measured (and sounded?) better than both the BP-26 and BP-17 cubed, if they were to sell that preamp portion of the BR-20 separately. A couple of questions about that.
1) How would you describe the sound and presentation of the BR-20? Is it like BP-17 cubed or BP-26 or in the middle or something else?
2) While the BR-20 does have the best measuring preamp among the 3 preamps, however, when you start including the other digital things such as the DAC and Pi4 streaming board into the same chassis, does the BR-20 still measure (and/or sound better) than the combination of the slightly inferior BP-26 and BP-17 preamps paired with separate external DAC and BDPs?My question is: If I'm after ultimate SQ, and cost or space is not an issue, what do I get?
(Also, for this case let's take out other things such as polarity, balance dial out of the picture or as a factor/feature required that can sway the decision. XLR in, XLR out. Basic stuff. That's all that matters.)
Do I go for the BR-20 and pair it with external amps or active monitors directly, or is separates still the king in SQ.