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Bryston Announces BR-20 Preamplifier for Modern Audiophiles

$5,995 audiophile stereo preamp includes hi-res DAC, headphone amplifier, built-in streaming music player and optional phono stage.

Flagship Audio Hub

Bryston just announced the BR-20 preamplifier, which the company says offers the most advanced combination of analog and digital functionality in the 50-plus year history of the Bryston brand. The BR-20 combines a brand new, highly advanced analog preamplifier with the company’s flagship digital-to-analog conversion (DAC) platform and a high-performance streaming music player to create an ultimate performance audiophile hub.

Initially called the BP-18, the BR-20 nomenclature was chosen to honor Bryston President Brian Russell, who passionately devoted his life to the Bryston brand. Brian passed away in September, 2020.

“Our new BR-20 preamplifier offers a never-before experienced degree of audio clarity, transparency and detail, along with tremendous flexibility in handling every kind of audio signal; analog or digital. I know my brother Brian was very proud and excited about the things we have been able to accomplish with the BR-20, and we are also proud to name it in his honor.”Chris Russell, Bryston CEO and Technical Supervisor

Analog Circuits

The BR-20’s analog preamplifier is a byproduct of years of R&D that resulted in the development of an optimized discrete buffer amplifier capable of delivering a staggeringly low THD+N measurement at or below 0.0006%. The analog signal path is a fully balanced design, using an array of very tightly matched components and a compact circuit design to achieve the lowest possible noise and superior common mode rejection. A ring of small LEDs grace the perimeter of the volume knob, clearly and elegantly indicating output level. For the music enthusiast, this level of circuit sophistication means more lifelike performances, more detail and more dimensionality from the recordings you love. With support for up to 15 sources and a wide variety of inputs, users will certainly find the connectivity options they require for any system configuration.

Digital Circuits

The BR-20 features Bryston’s most advanced DAC and digital player/streaming platforms, giving listeners the best possible performance from any source. Users can access high-resolution content from up to seven external sources plus the internal digital music player that offers TIDAL and Qobuz streaming capability. Connectivity for an additional four HDMI sources becomes accessible when using the optional HDMI card. The internal DAC can decode PCM up to 384 kHz/24 bit and DSD 256 (DSD x4), and it has the unusual capability to decode DSD over HDMI. With the BR-20’s optional HDMI card, audiophiles can connect a compatible SACD player over HDMI to achieve the purest signal reproduction and best sound quality utilizing the player’s onboard decoders. Furthermore, if the Hi-Fi shares living space with a video system, users can connect 4K and HDR sources such as Apple TV, Blu-Ray players and more to the BR-20, while passing the high-resolution video through to their monitor or projector. The bit-perfect digital music player inside the BR-20 ensures the smoothest possible user experience along with the ability to effortlessly manage large music libraries thanks to gigabit Ethernet, more RAM and the addition of USB 3.0 connectivity for external music storage. The BR-20’s built-in music player will natively pass PCM up to 384 kHz and DSD128 to the DAC.

High-Power Headphone Amp

The BR-20 features Bryston’s most powerful onboard headphone amplifier ever offered, providing the high-output and critical low-output impedance to drive even inefficient headphone models. The new Low Z headphone amp utilized in the BR-20 delivers startling clarity and dynamic capability second only to Bryston’s legendary BHA-1 outboard headphone amplifier.

Controls

The BR-20 includes elegant front panel controls plus Bryston’s user-friendly BR-4 hand-held remote. With so many inputs available on the BR-20, control options have been expanded beyond the front panel buttons. The BR-4 remote control can be configured by each user to command each source component, and a web-enabled phone or tablet can be used to adjust volume and change sources. Users can rename inputs and hide those not in use. For those who prefer a darkened listening space, the front panel LEDs and display can be dimmed or disabled. Smart home integrators will love the control over IP, RS232 and trigger input/output options.

Features

  • 2 ea. Balanced and Single Ended Inputs
  • 2 ea. Balanced Outputs
  • All New fully discrete Class A analog circuitry
  • XLR pair configurable as variable or fixed output
  • Independent power supply for analog and digital circuits.
  • Relay switching on all inputs
  • Programmable theater bypass feature
  • Software control and balanced action volume control
  • Included high-res DAC up to PCM 384 kHz / 32 bit and DSD x 4
  • Digital Inputs include 2 ea. AES/EBU, TOSLINK, S/PDIF (RCA) and 1 ea. USB
  • Included high resolution streamer plays back virtually any file format at native resolution. 
  • Control entire system using intuitive webUI on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  • Low Z Headphone amplifier is a dedicated headphone circuit capable of powering even very difficult to drive headphones.

Learn more at: https://bryston.com/preamps/br-20/

Price & Availability

The Bryston BR-20 is expected to ship to dealers Q4, 2020 with a US MSRP of $5,995.

Options

  • Silver or black faceplate
  • 17” or 19” faceplate (non-rack mountable)
  • A premium quality Moving Magnet (MM) phono stage equivalent to Bryston’s outboard BP-2 can be added for $1000 US MSRP
  • HDMI card can be added for $1200 US MSRP
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