Bryston Active Speaker System Explained
Gary Dayton (Bryston) and Drew Baird (Moon Audio) explain what makes a speaker system active and go over the features of the latest DACs, Amplifiers, and Speakers from Bryston. This Bryston Active Speaker System includes the BAX-1 Digital Crossover, BP-173 Preamplifier, BDP-3 Digital Player, two of the Bryston 21B3 Amplifiers, and two of the Bryston Middle T Loudspeakers.
Hey, this is Drew Baird from Moon Audio and we're excited to be here with Gary Dayton from Bryston and we're going to talk a little bit about the new fully active system. We're really excited we've been waiting for the new big 21b amps so we can get out some of our older generation amps from other companies to use in this active system with the Middle Ts. Gary's going to go through the whole sort of signal path flow of how the whole active system works and then we're going to go through some of the computer controlling aspects in a separate video.
For those of you who don't know, Bryston has been producing loudspeakers now for about five years but just this year we've introduced our fully active loudspeaker system now I think it's important to first draw a distinction between active loudspeakers and powered loudspeakers the powered loudspeaker crowd I think has inappropriately co-opted the term active to describe loud speakers that have amplifiers built-in and that's just not the case so a powered loudspeaker would have an amplifier built into the back of the unit an active loudspeaker may also be powered in our case not active simply means that we've removed the crossover from the loudspeaker cabinet and we're producing the crossover function in a separate line level piece of equipment that is installed in the system before the amplifiers that's how the Bryston system works a Bryston active loudspeaker has no crossover components in the cabinet at all that's all being done by a BAX-1 outboard DSP crossover why would Bryston produce active loudspeakers? For years loudspeaker engineers have been chasing the finest and best quality internal crossover components to go into a system. Read any advertisement for an audiophile loudspeaker and you'll find commentary about audiophile grade capacitors, specific brand capacitors, inductors wound in certain ways, specific resistors used in the crossover... That's because everyone acknowledges that crossover components have a very influential aspect on the sound quality of the final loudspeaker and that makes sense. Loudspeaker engineers go to great lengths - ours included - to design the best quality drivers possible so any influence those crossover components have on the final sound of the speaker is resolved by those drivers we went down that road as well using fine quality components and our crossovers and still do. But our engineers thought if we take those components out, if we can have a perfectly transparent crossover that has absolutely no influence on the sound of the loudspeaker, can we get better sound? The answer is yes. Can we also look at the crossover as an opportunity to fix non-linearities in the response of the loudspeaker that we otherwise could not correct in the loudspeaker? Yes, we can do that as well. The Bryston BAX-1 is our outboard crossover that lets us perfectly linearize the response of the loudspeaker and have absolutely no influence on the output sound of the final loudspeaker product and if I understand it correctly depending on which pair of active speakers you go with whether the Middle T or the Signature T, or the smaller Mini T, the bottom line is that you've set up the crossover to influence that particular speaker that you buy. With the crossover is that correct that's correct yeah Bryston offers three models of active loudspeaker the middle tea here beside us may well be the most popular we also offer a larger full-scale Model T which can play from 20 hertz all the way up to 20 K and then a large format bookshelf the Mini T can be used each of these three models uses the same BAX-1 crossover but as a user when you set your system up for the first time you program the BAX-1 simply with the click of a button or a tap on your iPad to choose which model filters are activated on the BAX-1 so let's go through the signal path of what's going on here in the system like normal any source component in the system is connected directly to the preamplifier so in this case we're using the BP-17 cubed our digital front end the BDP-3 and BDA-3 feed an input on the BP-17 cubed unlike a typical system the output from the preamplifier does not feed the hamster run a pair of balanced analog cables to the BAX-1. The BAX-1 creates the crossover function for the loudspeakers so in other words the one input in generates three outputs from the BAX-1 now those are low mid and high so for each channel left and right the BAX-1 generates three signals from those three signals we need to feed six channels of amplification with the brightest and active system there are many different ways to create an appropriate amplifier package for your loudspeakers you can use some of breast and specialty active loudspeaker amplifiers in this case we have a pair of 21-Bs. The 21-B is a unique amplifier because not only is it 3 channel, which is unusual, but the power is asymmetric. Each 21-B has a 601 channel for the base section also a pair of 300 watt channels for the mid-range and high frequency so a pair of 21-Bs can be thought of like 3 channel monoblocks each loudspeaker gets an amp each amplifier has 3 channels for the 3 ways and the speaker and it has an enormous amount of dynamic range for listeners who like to listen very loud or who have a particularly large listening room for somebody that doesn't have the space or doesn't want to go to the expense of the 21-Bs we offer a 6 channel models that's the new Bryston 24B cubed. The 24B cubed has a pair of 300 watt channels to drive the bass section and 475 wide channels which can drive the mid-range and high frequencies so 6 channels of amplification I think is a lot for people to swallow when they're used to a typical 2 channel system with a pair of amplifier cams what if you want to buy a pair of passive Middle Ts today or passive mini tees with the thought of maybe upgrading to active in the future well you can definitely do that a pair of passive Middle Ts today, for instance, can be driven with traditional Bryston 2-channel amp like the 4B. If you want to upgrade to active in the future we can send you a bypass kit to install in your loudspeaker to bypass the internal passive crossover. You can add four more amplifier channels to your existing for me to power in the mid-range and the high frequency and not have wasted a single dollar on your initial investment and realistically you don't necessarily have to go with the two larger 21 B models on on these speakers. These are actually pretty efficient and you could get away with that one single channel and I mean that one six-channel amplifier one chassis but when you're trying to squeeze out every last drop of performance then this is the way to go Bryston loudspeakers have been designed to be extremely dynamic. Regardless of the output level Bryston loudspeakers have the exact same response to take advantage of that dynamic range you need to have an appropriate amount of power available so if you have a large room and you like to listen at very high output levels or even if you listen to very dynamic music and an amplifier like the 21 B it gives you 600 watts for the bass section and 300 watts for each mid-range and tweeter is definitely the appropriate choice if you're in a smaller room or you don't listen really ambitious levels a 6 channel model like the 24 B that has a little less power available is a great choice as well but remember unlike other active loudspeaker solutions you can always put together your own amplifier complement with Bryston selection of monoblock and stereo and multi-channel amplifiers you can also take advantage of amplification that you already own. Now what we're gonna do is do some room corrections. We're gonna jump over to another video where we are going to show you the computer interface for the crossover and how to set up all the settings after you've done the measurement the measurements are pretty easy and will be covered well in the manuals