Replace W4S amp with Bryston?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Itsik, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. Itsik

    Itsik Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Hey all,

    I'm hoping someone here has tried both.
    I have near-field setup which is PC -> Bryston BDA-2 -> Bryston BHA-1 -> W4S ST-500mk2 -> PMC DB1i.

    The W4S has too much gain so I'm currently using an inline attenuator to get some more control with the volume pot.
    I am considering replacing the W4S with a Bryston 2B SST or 2.5B SST2.

    Any thoughts or experience with these components?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    So you are using the Bryston BHA-1 headphone amp as your preamp in this system, wired to the amp with the rear panel balanced connectors? Do you have the BHA-1 set to low gain (14dB versus 20dB)? You could also control the level at the PC output in the digital domain, might not be any perceivable losses if done at high precision.
     
  3. Itsik

    Itsik Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Yes, the BHA-1 is used both as a headphone amp and as a preamp and the gain is set to low as you mention. The issue as I understand is that balanced connections (both from the BDA-2 and BHA-1) have higher voltage than SE, in addition the the high gain of the W4S amp (30db, 1V sensitivity).
    The Bryston in comparison is 23db, 2V sensitivity.

    Without the Rothwell attenuators the volume control was unusable, it was too high at 8 o'clock.
    I used foobar2k and have played with RG preamp settings to improve, but it degraded the sound significantly. (I don't understand why, but it did)
     
  4. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Where do you put the attenuators and what value are they? I wasn't really suggesting Replay Gain, I've really no idea how it's implemented, but if using foobar, you can set the output to 24-bits, and then using the volume control in foobar shouldn't be too bad if you only need to cut it by 6dB or so (presumably you are using Wasapi or some equivalent driver to bypass the OS audio processing). How do you get from the PC to the DAC, USB?

    So if you use headphones without the attenuators, the volume control is OK? It's just with the amp and speakers that you have the problem?

    Anyway, don't have any knowledge of the Bryston so can't really help, but was just curious how it was connected up. I have a second system that is somewhat similar in that I use a Burson HA-160 Soloist as the combo headphone amp/preamp, but it's all single-ended connections and also has a turntable and phono preamp in the mix along with a DAC (the Burson has three line level inputs).
     
  5. Itsik

    Itsik Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Your assumptions are correct.
    The issue is due to an amp/speaker mismatch. The attenuators are -20db and are plugged into the power amp.
    I have no volume issues with with my Beyerdynamic DT990 600ohm headphones.
    The DAC is connected with USB through an iFI iUSB+iPurifier.

    -6db would likely not degrade anything but it is not enough to solve the issue.
    Your second setup is very similar indeed.
     

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