AXPONA 2018: Bryston actively demonstrates superiority


Bryston is a Canadian company with a proven history of offering standout products that famously stand the test of time. This year at AXPONA, the team from Bryston had assembled one of their newest six-channel, actively-driven, and DSP-controlled stereo speaker systems. That may sound confusing at first, but to relax and listen to this all-Bryston offering is to have everything clearly displayed in a field of sound that is comfortably measured and precise.


The Story

Active Loudspeakers Un-Boxed
Throw away everything you know about active speakers. Especially the part where you are beholden to the idea of everything necessary to make speakers active be built into the speakers. Bryston’s The Mini T Active stand-mount speakers contain no amplifiers, no crossovers, and no connections between drivers. On the back you’ll find three pair of five-way speaker binding posts, each feeding to a driver channel independently. From there you will find color coded wiring that will lead all three channels (three per speaker) to their dedicated outboard amplifiers. Still with me?

AXPONA 2018 Coverage brought to you by Zesto Audio

The Mini T Active loudspeakers are a stereo pair, but require six channels of outboard amplification. The Bryston 24B3 is a single-chassis six-channel (300×2+75×4) outboard amplifier designed to fully carry out the power demands of all three Active loudspeakers models in the Bryston line-up. (The Model T and The Middle T loudspeakers, larger variants of The Mini T, were not on display at the show.) If more power is in your sights, Bryston also offers a two-chassis (three-channel per chassis) solution in the 21B3. As per usual they are all available in silver or black faceplates with rack handles optional.


In a unique position in the chain we find the Bryston BAX-1 digital crossover, nestled between the amplifier(s) and preamplifier. The BAX-1 is the brains of the operation, as it contains all of the necessary software to actively manage each loudspeaker in the Active model line-up. The crossover receives a fully analog signal from the preamplifier and actively contours driver correction and crossover functionality for each independently driven amplifier channel, including customizable bass filters for a perfectly tailored room loading.

Why do all of this?  
Upgrades to speakers in a Bryston Active System don’t require you to purchase a new crossover or amplifiers. Upgrades to the amplifiers in a Bryston Active System don’t require you to purchase a new crossover or speakers. Upgrades to the crossover in a Bryston Active System don’t require you to purchase new speakers or amplifiers. You see where I am going here.

In a Bryston Active System everything is compartmentalized and given a more simplified task. Where passive loudspeakers place the crossover inside, and rely on one amplifier channel to power all drivers. The Bryston Active System is near-perfect in amplification, and crossover isolation from all other signals in the power chain. More than a one-branded system of synergistic parts, the active DSP works to bring your room into that same harmony.

The Sound

They tell me the hotel room was non-issue once the system was dialed in via the software, and I have to agree. Everything sounded measured and balanced. Linear from top to bottom, I found nothing to stand out but the mix and texture of the music.

Bill Frisell’s rendition of “Heard It Through The Grapevine” from East/West had all of it’s spooky charms unhindered by narrow walls and stubborn hotel room acoustics.

Gotye‘s track “State Of The Art” from their album Making Mirrors felt like a laser light show of sound. Synths and modulated voices had reverb and grind to them that echoed the control offered by the implementation of perfectly measured power.

The System

Bryston BDP-3 Digital Player – $3,495 USD

Bryston BDA-3 Digital-to-Analog Converter – $3,495 USD

Bryston BP-17 Cubed Preamplifier – $3,995 USD

Bryston BAX-1 Active Speaker Crossover – $3,495 USD

Bryston 24B Cubed Six-Channel Amplifier – est. $10,995 USD

Bryston The Mini T Loudspeakers – $3,700 USD

Bryston BIT 20 AVR Power Conditioner – $5,995 USD

Target Audio Products MR50 Speaker Stands – $609 USD

Target Audio Products ESV60 Equipment Stand – $995 USD

All cables provided by Straight Wire 


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