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Bryston BHA-1 Balanced Headphone Amplifier

Rating:
96%
$2,195.00
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Designed for both audiophiles and audio professionals the BHA-1 fully resolves musical detail and clarity. Effortless transient power at any level or load the resolution from your headphones is dramatic. Advancing our tradition of unmatched audio performance and functionality, the Bryston BHA-1 is our reference amplifier solution for the finest listening experiences with your headphones.

The advantage of driving each headphone driver with two amplifiers configured in balanced or series mode is doubling the signal voltage into the speaker. This configuration has been proven with our 7B, 14B and 28B amplifiers.

Moon Audio manufactures a complete line of headphone cables available for your balanced and single-ended connections with your high end headphones.

Bryston is bringing this concept to driving headphones. Balanced power amplifiers have no speaker currents being drawn from the circuit ground so the ground reference is always clean and stable especially when higher power is in order.  Balanced amplifier outputs can never be grounded, and at this time it seems most headphones are supplied with stereo 1/4” plugs that connect the low sides of their speakers together and attach them to the shield or ground pin. The remedy is simple and in most cases requires only changing the 1/4” connector to either two 3pin XLR connectors or a single 4 pin XLR connector. Bryston is able to provide this service if necessary.

Continuing Bryston's tradition of unmatched audio performance and functionality, the BHA-1 Balanced Headphone Amplifier is Bryston’s reference amplifier solution for the finest listening experience from your headphones. The BHA-1 is compatible with both traditional single-ended headphone designs and balanced headphones.

The Bryston BHA-1 takes advantage of the significant benefits of balanced dual-mono amplifier designs that are inherently clean and stable especially when there is a demand for higher power and/or a difficult load to drive. The advantage of powering each headphone driver (right and left) with two amplifiers configured in balanced or series mode is a doubling of the signal voltage to each speaker. This design configuration has been the foundation of Bryston's legendary 7B, 14B, and 28B amplifiers. Now headphone users can experience the same dramatic resolution from the BHA-1.

As with every Bryston product, the BHA-1 uses the highest quality internal components throughout its construction, and it uses hand-assembled circuitry. These premium components include a premium and exceptionally quiet Noble Stereo Volume control, laser trimmed for precision. The BHA-1 also uses six fully discrete 'Class A' Bryston operational amplifiers for exceptionally pure and lifelike sound.

In addition to the advanced volume control, you'll also find a left and right balance control on the sleek, ultra-clean front panel along with a control for selecting 14 dB or 20 dB of gain. The BHA-1 runs off a very low-noise internal power supply in order to eke out every last bit of this impressive headphone amp's performance potential. For an upgrade in performance, you can also use Bryston's MPS-2 external power supply, which replaces the BHA-1's internal supply.

Because most headphones are not balanced devices, Bryston provides a traditional unbalanced 1⁄4" connection on the BHA-1 as well as connections for balanced headphones. The balanced outputs consist of four-pin stereo and dual left/right three-pin outputs. Thanks to its powerful design, the BHA-1 boasts multiple headphone drive capability. So enjoy it with an audiophile friend!

Bryston not only hand assembles but also individually tests each and every product it manufactures. The company exclusively uses only the finest components in its products, such as 1% metal-film resistors, polystyrene capacitors, and hand selected and matched transistors, in order to reduce noise and distortion to the absolute minimum.

Bryston employs techniques and custom materials in its everyday construction of electronic equipment that are more typically utilized by military and aerospace industries. The company's traditional adherence to the use of proprietary parts, sophisticated construction, and refined testing techniques, guarantees that your Bryston component will perform superbly, without any problems, for many, many years. It also prevents any unit-to-unit variance, which inevitably is the result of any mass produced product.

Not only the BHA-1, but also each and every Bryston audio product undergoes an extensive quality control "burn-in" procedure. This extremely rigorous burn-in quickly "matures" components and weeds out any potential premature failures. The result is a reliable, trouble-free performance for many years.

Recommendations

Drew Recommends the Audeze LCD-2 Headphones paired with the Silver Dragon V3 Headphone Cable as an excellent pairing with the Bryston BHA-1 Balanced Headphone Amplifier.

The BHA-1 is one of Drew's favorites for a desktop headphone amplifier that's high in sound quality and affordable.

Reviews

Enjoy the Music Review, Bryston Branded System
Enjoy the Music

by Rick LaFaver
Aug 2014

Enoy the Music Review, Bryston BHA-1
Enjoy The Music

by Ron Nagle
May 2014

Bryston BHA-1 Balanced Headphone Amplifier Review
Home Theater Review

by Steven Stone
Jan 2017


"A High Quality Noble volume control and the ability to drive headphones through standard quarter-inch single-ended outputs or balanced via dual XLRs means you can grow with the BHA-1 as your headphone arsenal expands. And the sound? That's why it's our Product of the Year."
— Tone Audio 1/4/13
Manuals and Guides
pdf
(Size: 989.7 KB)
Bryston BHA-1 Balanced Headphone Amplifier
pdf
(Size: 5.9 MB)
Bryston BHA-1 Balanced Headphone Amplifier

FEATURES

  • Balanced Dual mono circuitry
  • High Quality Noble Stereo Volume control – laser trimmed
  • Left/Right Balance Control
  • 6 Fully discrete Class A Bryston operational amplifiers
  • Balanced outputs – 4 pin stereo and dual left/right 3 pin outputs
  • Stereo 1/4 inch single ended outputs
  • 14dB or 20dB of selectable gain available
  • All input and output connectors are Gold plated
  • 10k input impedance
  • Multiple headphone drive capability

POWER OPTONS

  • Standard: high quality Bryston internal analog power supply
  • Optional: MPS-2 power supply also available (replaces internal supply).

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Harmonic distortion: Less than .003 at 32 ohms at 100mW 20Hz to 20KHz.
  • IM Distortion: Less than 001%
  • Signal-to-Noise: Greater than 105 dB
  • Frequency Response: 20 to 20 KHz plus or minus .1dB
  • Hi-Z Load: 20 Volts into 600 ohms (667mW) at 001% THD + N at 20-20K
  • Low-Z Load: 4 volts into 32 ohms (500 mW) at 001% THD + N at 20-20K
  • Dimensions: 3.125" high, 17" or 19" wide, 11.25" deep
  • Weight: 8 lbs

SETUP - SINGLE ENDED INPUT @ 1V - DISTORTION MEASURED 20HZ TO 20 KHZ

LOAD 600 OHMS

GAIN HI - 10.9V OUT @ 001%   POWER 200 mW

GAIN LO - 5.45 V OUT @ 001%  POWER 50 mW

GAIN LO - 2.50 V OUT @ 001%  POWER 10 mW

GAIN LO - 788m V OUT @ 001%* POWER 1 mW

LOAD 300 OHMS

GAIN HI - 10.8 V OUT @ 001%   POWER 390 mW

GAIN LO - 5.40 V OUT @ 001%  POWER 50 mW

GAIN LO - 1.79 V OUT @ 001%  POWER 10 mW

GAIN LO - 583 mV OUT @ 001%* POWER 1 mW

LOAD 80 OHMS

GAIN HI - 10.4 V OUT @ 002%   POWER 1.35 W

GAIN LO - 5.20 V OUT @ 001%  POWER 383 mW

GAIN LO - 887 mV OUT @ 001%  POWER 10 mW

GAIN LO - 345 mV OUT @ 003%* POWER 1 mW

LOAD 32 OHMS

GAIN HI - 9.65 V OUT @ 0.150%   POWER 2.9 W - onset of clipping

GAIN LO - 4.84 V OUT @ 002%     POWER 732 mW

GAIN LO - 578 mV OUT @ 001%*  POWER 10 mW

GAIN LO - 185 m V OUT @ 005%* POWER 1 mW

GAIN LO - 4.00 V OUT @ 001%     POWER 500 mW - rated output

*= 80 KHZ FILTER
mW = milliwatt
W = watt
mV = millivolt
V = volt

4.8 / 5.0
6 Reviews
5 Stars
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I paired the Bryston up with Audeze LCD-4s and the results are astounding. Drew Recommended Dragon cables for a balanced connect between my Cambridge DAC Azur D and the Bryston. He further recommended a Dragon balanced cable for the LCD-4s. The resulting sound is rich, focused, and detailed. There plenty of power for 200 Ohm headphone load and lots of headroom. The balance control is a real game changer for me as I have some hearing loss in my right ear.

Moon Audio is a great dealer, very informed, excellent service, and gives great advice.

Otrman
July 28, 2017
Perfect for a person with a hearing imbalance
With its balance control, this amp will allow a person with a hearing imbalance to hear through headphones by increasing the volume in one ear cup and decreasing it in the other ear cup.
May 22, 2017
Earcandy
Moon audio delivers the most knowledgeable headphone advice on the planet. Have purchased many times from them and as always they deliver with excellence.
February 16, 2017
Solid, well-built HP amplifier
I've got a few months now with the BHA-1. I have come to really enjoy the SQ. Extremely quiet.

Powerful enough to easily drive my Audeze LCD-X and (tested with) the LCD-3 Fazor. Nice smooth punch to the sound.

While a SS amp, the sound is not cold/bright but is more on the warm side. The build quality is out of this world.

It's my first Bryston component, now I see how they can offer such an outstanding warranty.
November 5, 2015
Makes great phones sound better, amazing sound and value!
Drew was very helpful at Rocky Mountain Audiofest. He spent the time explaining what Bryston had done and was able to demo it with a variety of phones and cables. Drew knows the products that he offers extremely well.

My unit was shipped the day after the RMAF show and within one day had outperformed all of my headphone amps. The Bryston BHA-1 is also a great preamp with the new balanced outputs and puts many $4K - $6K preamps to shame.

The sound is authoritative, dynamic, neutral and low in noise and distortion. Imaging is dependent on phones and speakers but is great if your transducer can keep up. The construction quality is typical Bryston and when combined with their warranty it is a HUGE value.

My compliments to James Tanner and the Bryston team on a winner.

My thanks to Drew at Moon Audio for the expert advice and great service.
October 29, 2012
Excellent Product-Excellent Service
After a long wait Drew turned this around and out to me like 5 minutes after he got it from Bryston--UNBELIEVABLE--

I am using it Balanced with my Audeze LCD 2's with a Balanced Silver Dragon 3 cable Drew did up for me--
Fantastic sound with no time on it yet right out of the box--

My LCD 2's have never sounded so good and I have 3 other Headphone Amps-2 Solid State and 1 Tube amp-

Thanks Drew-What a pleasure to deal with you!!!

Jack
June 26, 2012
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