as a proud owner of the BDA-1 here are my impressions.
BCD-1, BDA-1, 26, 1.5 and 4B.
opto-1: Pioneer plasma
spdif 3+4: not in use
i decided to give the 26 top priority for stereo preamplification instead of the SP2.
the music stored on the laptop are MP3 files so far. the minidisc is connected to the tapeloop so that comparisons between the internal DAC and the BDA-1 can be done easily. so all digital outs are feeding the BDA and all analog outs feeding the 26. BDA and 26 are connected via XLR and RCA. i used to listen to the laptop's analog out,too. but the sound was too crappy and that's why i want the USB only.
BDA-1 vs. laptop, md and dvd:
the BDA betters the sound of these units. if there would be ranking i would say that the laptop has the 'worst' digital sound. but given the fact that mostly MP3 music is played may explain the results. then comes md and dvd. using the analog outs the dvd comes close in terms of resolution. the sound is not too bad. same for the md. but using the digital outs via the BDA you will notice instantly where the Bryston is coming from! it just puts the missing air where it belongs to. the whole soundstage is improved. seems to me that the other 3 units are almost swallowing musical informations that is so much important for the sweetness of audio.
BDA-1 vs. BCD-1:
that is something i was very interested in. and it happened what i wanted to happen. they sound the same. yeah! both units have the same impact and the same timing. great. no matter if XLR or RCA- i can not tell which is which.
this is a nice feature for sure. but just to be honest i can not tell the difference. so in a blind test it would end like a comparison between BDA vs. BCD...which is which?
this phonostage is just great. even with the let's say low budget cartridge that i am using at the moment the differences are noticeable in a second. it just completes my setup.
i don't want to invent new words for the musical improvement that happens to my ears. words like closer, deeper and clearer might be the right ones. this setup really gives me the feeling that it is now a 'grown up'. may it be a cd or another piece of equipment with digital outs or just the good old vinyl- all of them will find their input into the Bryston-setup knowing that it will output the music with unique performance. and last but not least the look of the 'all-Bryston-design' flashes me again and again...
what to do:
for everyone out there who couldn't make up his mind about a BCD-1 or a BDA-1...don't worry! it more depends on what you need. if cd playback is wanted then go for the BCD. if you need a more versatile unit then the BDA might be yours. in fact the BDA is a BCD without the drive. whatever your decision may be- go and get yourself one of these 'daredevils' and make your system playing louder than a bomb.
p.s.: technically speaking the BDA-1 and the BCD-1 are not the 'same'...the BDA-1 has dual Crystal 4398 chips!