Bryston BHA-1 Amplifier Impressions and stuff

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by tommytakis, Jun 16, 2020.

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  1. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    I just finished a Black Amp loaner and it was just about ALL of those things, to me anyway. Never heard any air at all. Found it warm and hazy and almost monophonic. Certainly not worth the retail price IMHO. My only guess is that tube amp lovers like it because it's not bity at all, like most SS amps, but still something germanium transistor about it.

    The Stratus is a tube amp that I am unfamiliar with, but I will check it out.

    Only the Magni 3 has this in any HP amp I have heard. Class H designs have this because of the complicated power supply. The amp's character can change quite a bit for these type amps depending on power being delivered. BHA-1 character did not change at all on volume position.
     
  2. Beefy

    Beefy Almost "Made"

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    Wish I could have been there :(
     
  3. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    Uh, I don't know what to tell you, but the unbalanced in had a completely different character. What dynamics were there were completely gone. Might has well been a Topping amp. Balanced in and out had the best performance and really was maybe not as bad. It had much more clarity and dynamics and still very totally accurate.Normally unbalaned is fine, but just not the BHA-1.

    My griviences with the BHA-1 was the fatigue in he microdynamics and slight congestion in that area and just some harshness in the high mids.
     
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  4. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Dude you also missed the food. @Velomane brought smoked bacon wrapped cheddar stuffed jalapenos (and also his utterly ridiculous stax rigs). I made some perogies cooked in caramelized onion cream sauce. ecwl brought some really fancy schmancy desserts from Gateau A L’Epi de Ble. It was either rifi or his wife that made those chocolate peanut butter ball thingies.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  5. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    I am not sure why a magni is not a 'for real' amp. because it's priced appropriately?

    I don't listen to solid-state amps. if I have efficient and low-impedance headphones, I use them from the headphone jack of a computer, CD player or ipod.

    if I have headphones that need some juice I will take a tube design that sounds good because despite the non-linear distortions of its individual parts the whole adds up to something that makes music more interesting to listen to. I cannot say the same for the Jotunheims, Gilmores, Brystons and THX amps of the world.

    PASS Whammy (or similar) is the minimum bar for me to consider an external headamp. class A, short signal path, high quality parts, linear power supply, not made or designed in china. otherwise why bother.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  6. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    Dynalo is a all class A discrete FET input, BJT amp design based on Pass symmerty amps. The schematic is eerily similar to Adcom Pass designed speaker amps. Also why I now realize why they sound both sound very similar.

    I get that Gilmore is a douchebag and why some will never own or even say anything half pleasant. I also think the commercial Gilmore products doesn't do any services with the stock PSU and quantity does not match the price point. Whereas Magni is punching way above its price point.
     
  7. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Either you are really not expressing yourself well, or you are saying:

    1) solid state amps are more transparent to the source than tube amps. Complete horseshit. You either have not heard good tube amps, or ike the coloration of solid state amps.

    2) You are blaming my impressions of the BHA-1 on my Gungnir A1. Also horseshit. The Gungnir sounds nothing like my impressions of the BHA-1.

    Go ahead and listen to solid state amps if that is the sound you prefer, I could care less but your posts are very inaccurate.

    I trust your hearing and respect you, but I also doubt what you are saying. For one ting @loadexfa had the same issues with the BHA-1's tonality as I did and he used a Freya to lower the volume so he could use the full volume range. I also just know the sound of designed for measurements solid state amps and this fit that pattern very well. I won't say you are wrong because I can't test it, but I am very doubtful.

    This post is really beneath you man, you're better than this. If someone doesn't like the Gilmore sound, they like warmpoo? What nonsense. This reads like a head-fier defending his favorite toy. I checked your profile expecting to see that you own a BHA-1. I'm not sure why you are getting illogically defensive over negative impressions of an amp you don't own.

    The only solid state amps I have ever liked are the Schit Magni 3+, iFI Nano BL and Micro BL and the First Watt Aleph J. None of those have cold, flat, sterile tonality or dynamics.

    And you marking my post emphasizing what @loadexfa wrote a "shitpost" because it was important for everyone to hear is not appreciated from someone as wise and intelligent as you. It seems you still need to hear this, so I will post it again below so you read it again.

    No one is trying to change anyone's mind. A lot of people with good ears like Gilmore amps (a lot of people also use them because they buy into Kevin Gilmore's propaganda bullshit). I respect when someone legitimately prefers that sound though. I do not like their sound, and I expect you to have the wisdom to realize that disliking that sound is a valid opinion. I know you have heard well designed tube amps that are not "warmpoo". I have actually never heard a "warmpoo" tube amp because I have only heard well implemented designs.

    Different impressions are a good thing because people have different preferences. Reading these impressions of the BHA-1, if you know you dislike that Gilmore sound, your will know the BHA-1 is not for you. If you know it doesn't bother you or you iike it, you will read other people's impressions. It is important to get to know members's preferences so you know where they are coming from, and who to listen to when trying to formulate an opinion of a piece of gear's sound.

    Enough with the bullshit defensiveness and dumbass excuses please. The BHA-1 has a sound that some people like and others do not. Different impressions of the amp are a good thing so people can formulate a better sense of how the amp sounds. That is in fact the entire point of loaner tours like this. Not to just hype shit. This is not Head-fi.
     
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  8. loadexfa

    loadexfa Friend

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    To help others pinpoint my taste, I forgot I have and like the iFi iDSD BL. I also liked both the Mojo and Hugo2 but that was brief listening at CanJam, I'd need more time (and various headphones) to be sure on those.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  9. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Man, why are people getting all their knickers twisted into a knot?

    So RD posted a bunch of stuff about the BHA-1. Do I disagree with him? Maybe a bit. Do I strongly disagree with him? You know what, I honestly don't even remember what he wrote, and frankly don't care to even go back to it, because his impressions do not match mine so obviously we hear things differently. That doesn't make him wrong. Do I think he was perhaps deliberately stirring the pot by spotting The BHA-1 below the Magni? Again, I don't care. If I think someone is being poopoo for the sake of poopoo, I mentally apply the psalm filter and carry on with my life (no offense meant to @Psalmanazar... but honestly he's probably the least offendable person here in his own way, or maybe he actually is but I never noticed because of the psalm filter)

    I'm only slightly more invested in this thread because I recently acquired a BHA-1 for myself. Even if I figure I'll probably sell it off in the near future to fund whatever upgrade-itis comes my way, I still feel a slight need to "defend" it per se. Except you know what I mean by defend? I mean I write my own impressions with zero reference to RD (or anyone else for that matter), because he's entitled to his impressions and I'm entitled to mine.

    Y'all can yammer back and forth with your multi quoting whatchamacallits. I'll just ignore everyone and keep posting my thoughts a little bit at a time. My personal belief is that words and impressions carry more weight when you're not spending half your energy trying to tell someone they're wrong.

    </soapbox>
     
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  10. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I explained this already, but while I do like stirring pots, this was a simple honest comparison. Comparisons to well known gear is incredibly useful in impressions and reviews, it gives context to flowery language. The Magni3+ is a very well known amp and a great reference. I prefer the Magni3+ to the BHA-1 and @loadexfa 's review shows that SE in was not to blame for that.

    Do people get all butt hurt when someone says that an expensive headphone sounds worse than the HD650? No. I once again, am disappointed in SBAF's reaction to a negative review. I call it like I hear it, and I thoroughly trust my ears.

    Some people don't like the BHA-1, fucking get over it.
     
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  11. HotRatSalad

    HotRatSalad Friend

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    If you sell that BHA-1 end of the year give me a shout haha. Yeah I agree with @Armaegis, I've never heard the Bryston but Iove JoT2. Jot2 from what I can tell is disliked around here. Do I care ? Sort of I guess because I'm curious as most the people have heard better things. It doesn't make me like it any less. I spent time with a 3F it's my big boy SS standard now. Everything SS gets compared to that. From memory anyway. I also love HD650 lots of people don't. I don't know why I'm butting in since I don't when people dislike my like things in other places here. Ok I'll go away now.
     
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  12. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    The BHA-1 has been my go-to SS amp for quite some time until I replaced it with Jot 2. I also had sufficient time to compare it side-by-side with the Jot 2. So, let me throw my take on the BHA-1, relative to the Jot 2. Please note that I have never heard of DSHA-3 or high-grade tube amps (EC, DNA, etc). So I'm adding a different context here.

    Prior to the BHA-1, I was searching for a worthy SS and went through several (V281, THX 789, various Questyle amps, etc etc) before I settled with BHA-1. Was a happy user for about 2 years till recently. I bought the Jot 2 initially just out of curiousity and did not expect it to replace the BHA-1 at all, but instead it made me understand the BHA-1 better.

    Chain: Bifrost 2/X-Sabre Pro => Jot 2/BHA-1 => HD6X0/Verum (All balanced).

    The BHA-1 is definitely no slouch. I'm not sure about SE-in (never used it), but SE-out is definitely below XLR-Out, not only technically, but tonally as well. Just forget that this amp has SE-out. I also only ever used low-gain. Balanced out, it is clean, clear, and very neutral sounding from top to bottom (with a bit of upper-mid elevation). Nope, it is not dry and lean like the THX 789. It still has this smoothness and inner warmth. To me, it has enough body, not too thick, not too lean. I find that it is very easy to match it with my gears. it sounds good with every single headphone I threw at it, planar or dynamic.

    As we know, the Jot 2 is a fair bit more colored. Thicker and warmer. So, gear and headphone matching will come more into play here. The shoutiness that I noticed before, I don't notice it as much anymore. Perhaps my brain is already accustomed to it.

    Jot 2's strengths:
    • It didn't take me long before I noticed the first difference: microdynamics. This is the starkest difference, and surprised me a lot. The BHA-1 is simply and flatly outclassed by the Jot 2 in this area. So, I agree that the BHA-1 can't do nuances. But it doesn't mean that it is weak relative to other SS amps. Though this probably means that ALL the SS amps I tried before also couldn't do microdynamics well.
    • I always thought the BHA-1 was strong in macrodynamic, but suprised to find that the Jot 2 also beats it in this area. But it is a closer call here. The Jot 2 is just simply a more dynamic amp.
    • Up next is bass. Both are very good and have very different type of bass here; hence preference may play a role here. While BHA-1 is like a Broadsword, the Jot 2 is like Thor's hammer. The BHA-1's bass is linear and impactful, definitely can slam, more so than my previous SS amps. That is why I enjoyed it with my HD800. But through some tracks, I noticed that while I enjoy hearing the BHA-1 bass, I can feel the Jot 2's bass on my chest. It is more visceral and provides an area of blunt force impact. For me, am pretty sure which one I would go for.
    • I never had an issue with BHA-1's timbre. But the Jot 2 has this amazing timbre. The best I've heard in a SS amp. It made me realize that the BHA-1 actually sound quite digital. Well, compared to the Jot 2 at least. But better than THX 789 and Questyle.

    BHA-1 Strengths:
    • The most unique things about the BHA-1 to me is probably the transient. It has sharp transient but never aggressive. Jot 2 is more rounded and harder to match headphones with it. For example, I feel the Senns and the Auteur are a better match with the BHA-1 because it gives them much needed snap and bite in transients.
    • Another one that BHA-1 is better than Jot 2 is consistency. From my experience, whatever I throw at it, it maintains the same sound. It never got confused. With harder to drive planars, the Jot 2 can lose some composure if I throw more complex songs. Guitars and string instruments can lose detail, kinda like going from 1080p to 720p. This is probably due to BHA-1's big class-A power available on tap.
    • BHA-1 has larger stage size than Jot 2. Actually the largest I have heard in SS amp. Also more open and airier. But I am one of those that is not bothered by Jot 2's staging. We are not talking about big difference here, to be realistic. It is still a headphone.
    • I also prefer how the BHA-1 places sound images on the stage. It is wider and better separated. The Jot 2 can be a little weird in image placement (track dependent of course). Lets say there are 5 images on stage. The BHA-1 places them more linearly on a straight line from left to right. The Jot 2 can be more V-shaped. There is more depth to them, which is good, BUT....in terms of width, they can kind of overlap each other. With heavier load, this V-shape can take on a steeper shape.
    Value proposition is very obvious on the Jot 2's side. But in overall scheme of pricing, I don't think the BHA-1 is the worst offender in the market. I have seen a lot worse. It is very solidly built, has unearthly long warranty, made in the west, and have not heard anyone having any issue with it. It is a very robust and reliable amp.

    Both are very good amps, in my eyes. But I simply cannot unhear the difference in dynamics and timbre, which rank higher in my priorities. Overall, the Jot 2 is a more engaging and emotional amp, and makes the BHA-1 sound kind of flat and digital.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
  13. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I have the Jot2 as well. If I were to describe both in an unflattering light, I consider it a very "in your face" kind of sound, sort of like a little dude getting up your grill with attitude. BHA-1 meanwhile just gave you an unprovoked punch to the face.

    I greatly prefer the BHA-1 over the Jot2 (does that mean I prefer getting punched in the face? I dunno, my analogy falls apart here), but I have also stated many many times here that I have yet to find a Schiit amp that I actually like aside from the Rag1. The Schiit headamp sound doesn't do work for me, but I keep trying anyways.

    edit: I did not see Jerry's post just before mine, so it's just a coincidence here. Nope, not worth getting dragged into something something we hear things different. *shrug*
     
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  14. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    No worries, bro. I normally don't post much impressions too. But I thought I would share this one since it relates to the ongoing topic.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  15. HotRatSalad

    HotRatSalad Friend

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    I only have had Asgard 3, Valhalla 2 and Jot 2. Had iem magni 3+ briefly on loaner and it was the most in your face to me. I like JoT2 with Aeolus mostly. It's weirdness seems to mesh well with Aeolus for me.
     
  16. JeremiahS

    JeremiahS Acquaintance

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    Since higher end solid state amps don't get discussed much here since the preference here seems to be with tube amps this have been a fun discussion. I don't post much mainly because of language barrier but I have been around for some time and I like how these days we can disagree in a polite manner, I think back in Changstar days if you criticize a popular FOTM amp things became very personal and dramatic. I really didn't like that.
     
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  17. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    Good amp but it’s a Bryston so wtf did you guys expect? Overpriced new and Class A too so heat issues.
     
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  18. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    This is exactly how I would describe those amps. So pardon me whybI ask for some clarifications. I've never been into the peaky iFi sound. And because of all this I will pick up a Magni 3+ just for doing a review if anything. I am sure if I don't like it, I could easily find a buyer or return it. (I have even thought of picking up Magni 1, 2, 3, 3+, to do a comparison review.)

    PS - the dislike was for noise posting. You are free to have you own opinions or Like/Agree with someone else's post.

    I have already said that I forget my Gimore is unique with a different build and different power supply. Stock PSU and that thing is murky warmpoo trash.

    Carry on.
     
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  19. Beefy

    Beefy Almost "Made"

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    It's clear we all hear things differently. Now, if only there was a website on the interwebs that looked at audio in a scientific way. Maybe if they reviewed equipment based on measurements that are not swayed by human emotion, and capture every nuance of sound. And how awesome would it be if this unbiased resource then ranked equipment on important metrics like distortion and noise.

    *drops hand grenade*

    *runs*
     
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  20. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    It actually doesn't run hot. Warm at best. Similar temperature to my Gungnir and Yggdrasil.
     

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