RMAF 2011: YG, Devialet, Bryston, Kubala-Sosna

One of six rooms showing YG Acoustics speakers at the show, the $18k Carmel loudspeakers in room 537 were one of the best-sounding of the YG bunch. Driven by a $17k D-Premier Integrated Amp/DAC from Devialet, and fed from a $2,250 Bryston BDP-1 Digital Media Player or the $3k PS Audio Perfect Wave Transport for those of us wandering by with a pile of silver discs, the Carmels rocked and rolled all over the place, with great imaging, dynamics and control. All in all? This room is the room that changed my mind about YG. All cabling came from the Kubala-Sosna “Emotion” line ($3k for speaker cables or interconnects, digital i/c’s were $1.5k and the power cords were $1k each).

The Devialet is, of course, chromed all to hell. Which made photography something of a nightmare. Oh well. Next year, I’m bringing a tripod. Or something. Anyway, this unit has been recently reviewed all over, so I’m not going to dig in here. Just know this: it looks as good as it sounds. Quite the sonic achievement for something perhaps too easily relegated to being a “lifestyle piece”.

The Bryston is a hard one to figure out. Namely because Bryston’s website doesn’t even list it. Nice. Anyway, Google has an answer to that, and from the single reference I was able to find from Bryston, here’s the scoop:

The Bryston BDP-1 Digital Music Player uses any direct coupled USB (thumb drive or hard-drive) ‘storage source’ and can play all high resolution FLAC, WAVE and AIFF files up to and including native 192/24 bit files as well as Apple Lossless (m4a), WMP and MP3. Music must be ripped using a different computer running any operating system and any ripping program the end user is comfortable with. Playback can be controlled via numerous methods. A popular option will be the iPod Touch, iPad or iPhone, a web browser such Mozilla Firefox or the front panel controls on the BDA-1 digital player or basic functions using the Bryston BR-2 remote. Or of course the Bryston embedded MAX or MINI software interface.

Note the hard-drive sitting on top of the chassis in the pic above. There be the tunes! The Bryston has a few digital outputs, including S/PDIF over coax, BNC and AES/EBU. I’m told by a colleague that’s had a chance to compare the BDP-1 with a standard Mac Mini, that the Bryston sounds quite superb as a server-source, and that direct-out audiophile-grade S/PDIF (no conversion necessary) is no doubt in large part of why.