Sonus Faber is an Italian loudspeaker brand with a storied history, and designs which have been lauded as timeless classics. Bryston is an award-winning Canadian high-fidelity manufacturer with decades of experience in amps, pre-amps, speakers, and electronics. What do you get when you put them together? As I found at Hi-Fi Centre during the Vancouver Audio Festival, you get a musical pairing that seemed to balance each other out quite nicely.
Like many Sonus Faber speakers I’ve heard over the years, the Serafino Traditions that were singing with the Bryston stack seem at ease with most amplification manufacturers, as long as the wattage output is of suitable heft, and the voltage rail of suitable grunt. The Bryston 14B3 power amp outputs 600 watts into eight ohms, and seemed to have the Serafinos well in hand during the demos I sat in on. A BCD-3 CD player, BDA-3 DAC, and Bryston Digital Audio Player BDP-3 (with separate MPS-2 power supply) was feeding the big Italian three-ways a healthy diet of CD, and Tidal high-res files during the show, and the sound here was accurate, fast, and tight with just enough warmth to satisfy a tube guy like myself.
A track which stood out during my time in the room was “Hey Now” by London Grammar, and while there was all the air, space and decay around Hannah Reid’s voice that I’ve become familiar with in hearing this song on different systems over the years, there was a speed to the bottom end that I’d not experienced before. It wasn’t as deep as I was used to, but it was fast, and gripping, and ultimately, it was enjoyable. I don’t listen to Bryston very much as a reviewer, or as just a music lover, but once again when I heard it through the Sonus Fabers at the Vancouver Audio Festival I came away with a renewed appreciation for just what this homegrown solid-state company can do with speed on attacking notes, bass definition, dynamics, and accuracy.