Before the revelation of Bryston’s new BDA-3.14 streamer/DAC/digital preamp ($4195) came another, far less welcome one: The Gaylord Resort and Convention Center is huge. Ridiculously huge, and constructed with less-than-penetrable logic.
“You’re sure going to get your 10,000 Fitbit steps in today,” quipped a fellow audio reviewer as we both attempted to navigate the quarter mile between the hotel and the RMAF registration table in the convention center. The main navigation problem is that the hotel consists of several towers that don’t connect on highr floors: If I start out from my 7th floor hotel room, hoping to visit Bryston in Room 4105, I have to go all the way down to the first floor and find another elevator. This is the kind of landscape that led Lewis & Clark to enlist Sacagawea. All of which is to say that yours truly arrived for his Bryston appointment at least 20 minutes late.
A modification of the original BDA-3 DAC, which was released at the end of 2016, the BDA-3.14 obviates the need for a separate streamer. Instead, the two are united in one box, with a Raspberry Pi acting as preamp. A preamp with 10 inputs, I might add. Some of those digital inputs can accept up to 384/32 PCM and DSD256, but both are converted to 192/24
The all-Bryston system I heard, which also included the BAX-1 digital crossover ($3495), 21B Cubed 3-channel monoblocks ($10,995/each), Model T Active loudspeakers ($9555/pair), and BIT20 AVR ($6495) 20A power isolation transformer with voltage regulation, excelled in throwing solid, no-nonsense, tightly focused images. Bass was strong, excellent, and fast. I especially loved how the system’s 3-dimensional capabilities came to the fore on “Luxe,’ from Brad Mehldau and Mark Giuliana, where sounds seemed to be swirling around above my head.
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