Author Topic: A Visit with Bryan - Wow  (Read 9448 times)

Offline ozmillsy

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A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« on: March 24, 2012, 10:41:54 AM »
Hey Guys,  

I recently went to Melbourne to collect my Tannoy Golds from Bryan.  I spent a day in Melb, and what a great day that was. The highlight of the day was without doubt Bryans system, but I will come back to that.

My day in Melb began with a visit to an old friend for lunch, followed by demo session to hear some Shindo Autograph boxes fitted with Tannoy Reds owned by David (demmauhong on SNA), thread here: click (you need to be signed into SNA to view the thread)

David has some amazing gear in his room, genuine top end stuff. His Tannoy Reds in Shindo boxes were driven by a 300B amp, and had a nice relaxed sound, it was very easy to listen to.   The Shindos are true monsters in size, just massive, and I could see them shining even more in a larger room.

I then made my way over to Warrandyte to pickup some records,  an SNA member had over 200 classical records that had not been used in years,  and was giving them away.   I just happened to be coming to Melb at the right time, and scored this lot.   I'm not overly knowledgable on classical music, but Bryan had a flick through and tells me there are some real gems in the bunch.

Next stop was Bryans.  We listened to his system for a little while (back to this later), before heading over to KeithW's.

Keith has a lovely room, with some gorgeous looking gear.  Here's a pic......


What we see is plasma tweeters, paired with some smick midrange horns, and subs supporting the bottom end.   It's an active system with a Marchand active crossover,   the bass units are integrated in using a DEQX,   there is Cary valve monoblocks, and also a SGR stereo amp in the mix.     This is a very clean sounding system, with loads of detail.  It was well thought out, and integrated together nicely.     If there was a drawback, I would have liked abit more midbass body/weight,  but this is a personal taste thing of mine.   It certainly is a great system, and Bryan tells me, was his inspiration.

We went out for some nice Peking Duck, before heading over to Peter Chen's,  where I was treated to yet another lovely room and system.  
Here's a pic of Peters room.....


As you can see, Peter runs some Apogee Diva ribbons, which are driven by some monster Classe monoblock amps (on the very left, I dont know the models, they're massive).   Front end is a Krell cd player into an AudioNote M8 preamp.  

I just love ribbons, and these delivered more of what I like from ribbons.   Great imaging, and that natural sound that you get from ribbons.  During the listening Keith observed that the treble was abit pronounced, I didnt notice it, but it prompted some tweaking.   So, Peter proceeded to change the interconnects between player/preamp,  and this made a radical night/day difference.  The treble was recessed, but now the music lost some real dynamics,  it was flat.  Amazing the difference 1 pair of interconnects made (both were copper based).  So, back went the original interconnects, and then Bryan tweaked the tweeter settings on the Divas.   And yep, this seemed to be the best config that I heard at Peters.   I didnt feel the top end was out of place earlier,  I observed to be silky,  but this minor tweak of the tweeters did seem to make a positive difference.  

It was another very nice sounding system, that had a different character to Keiths, and different again to Bryans.  

Dropped Keith off and listened to a few more tracks on his system, then back to Bryans to top off the night.    

What can I say about Bryans system, that hasnt already been said by others??

Well,  I can start by describing some changes since earlier reports.  He's moved his system into larger room,  than when the others heard it on the Melb hifi show weekend.   Here is a pic of the current room.....



What has changed on the system since then.  Gone is the modified Lightspeed volume control, which was once a must have, but has now been superceded by a DIYHifi Tram2 Linestage preamp.....
http://diyhifisupply.com/catalog/121
Bryan is very very happy with this new component in his system, and praised it highly.  To the point where he is now quite critical of the Lightspeed.  I didnt do any preamp comparisons, but I have to say,  I am inspired to give the Tram2 a try.  

Bryan has also doubled the number of bass woofers in the system from 4 to 8 , due to the larger room.   You can just catch a glimpse of them in the mirror on the left.  These 15" woofers are driven by a Jungson amp. The woofers only run from 48Hz and below, and are EQ'd by a Behringer (dcx I think). The Tram2 has 2 sets of outputs, and the bass rig runs off the second set,  so the 'sub' bass system is totally out of the signal path of the main horn system.  

The 'sub' bass in a word is 'brilliant', it is the best (most musical) low bass I have ever heard.   Anyone who says that open baffle bass cant go down into the depths is kidding themselves.  What we have here is extremely fast, extremely dynamic, and very low bass that is flat to 24hz and keeps extending lower - all blended very nicely so it doesnt stand out.   If there is a reference way of doing musical 'sub' bass very well in a mid sized room, this has got to be it.   Very very impressive !!

The front end is the original ScottT dac, the 1st one ever built by Scott I believe?   I didnt get a chance to listen to his TT, we were far too busy enjoying the Kdac,  that will have to be another time.

So, the overall sound of Bryans system. I havent heard another horn system that is integrated aswell as this one.  Most horn systems feel like they are attacking me, slapping me in the face with great dynamics, most horn systems I've heard I struggle to relax.   Not true of Bryans.

The plasma tweeters run from 2k upwards, and just sound superb. The realism from these plasmas is on another planet.   But it's the dynamics of the overall system that takes my breath away.  

The 2 x horns and plasmas all run off a 1 watt tube amp, and are integrated by a hand made passive crossover network.   It's hard to believe how much raw power and dynamics this 1 watt amp delivers through this speaker system.  Truly breath taking.

But it doesnt attack me.   It produces a massive soundstage, that just oozes power.  This system makes me feel like I am at a concert, like no other system has made me feel.

I can easily get lost in the music for hours listening to this system, and we did.  I didnt feel fatigued.  By 2am I had to pull up stumps, knowing I had a long drive back to Sydney the following day. But I had to force myself.

For a reality check, no system is perfect.  So, let me balance this report with some minor cons.   There were some midrange resonances at times, which I feel were room related.  This room is *not* on a slab, and a system that is this dynamic probably needs a slab. This is a minor thing, that I didnt find distracting.  Also, some pieces of music where it was a intimate un-amplified recording (eg: Johnny Cash Personal File) became just a little larger than life.  Rather than feeling like JC was in the room singing to me,  I felt like I was at a gig,  with Johnny on stage. This might actually be preferred by many, given the choice, the 'live gig' character was something I really enjoyed.
Again, let me say these observations are just for some balance to the report.  

But really, I'd have to say,  this is definetly a reference system that everyone should experience,  if you have the chance.  If you're in Melb, give Bryan a hoy. As it really is an inspirational system in so many ways.  

We got in another hour or so of listening in the morning, before loading up the car for the journey back.  I was treated to some more great music,  Pink Floyd the Wall and others.    Bryan played me a track from this CD, which was a trio from the middle east he had recently seen.   Bryan, I've ordered this CD, as I want to hear more. :)




Bryan, you've done incredibly well on this system.  Thanks to David, Keith, Peter and especially Bryan for your hospitality and taking the time out to entertain me.  Cheers





« Last Edit: March 24, 2012, 04:11:06 PM by stevenvalve »
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

tuyen

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2012, 11:14:15 AM »
Looked like you had some fun, oz!

I have always been interested in the DHT based preamp. Good to see Bryan is liking it.   I guess adding a whole heap of extra components in the signal path isn't always a bad
thing. 'Less is not always more'!

Hopefully I can meet some Bryan and few other guys when I'm over there in August.

Thanks for sharing :)

PS. Keith's subs are from JL Audio. 
« Last Edit: March 24, 2012, 11:16:14 AM by tuyen »

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2012, 04:24:45 PM »
That is an early Scott DAC, and it has been heavily modified, so it more now more like a junior Killer DAC. It also now also runs some of my rare 1940s oil filled freed chokes, and they are simply superb. It is a great horn system alright.

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2012, 04:30:51 PM »
Is that where the freeds went......  They go well with Bryans system.
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline hedalfa

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2012, 07:55:07 PM »
ozmillsy

Thanks for your efforts in documenting your trip and these systems, was a interesting and enjoyable read.
Done well a horn system can be really special. Id love to be able to hear how plasma tweeters sound.

Cheers


Offline gamve

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2012, 09:25:09 PM »
Hi Oz,
Looks like you had a great trip down to Melbourne. Bryan and Keith's systems are a treat.
Don't forget to grab the Ribbon Super Tweeters from Steven. I left them with him so you can try
with the golds.

Offline kajak12

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2012, 10:03:33 PM »
ozmillsy

Thanks for your efforts in documenting your trip and these systems, was a interesting and enjoyable read.
Done well a horn system can be really special. Id love to be able to hear how plasma tweeters sound.

Cheers


Hedalfa plasma tweetrs are addictive please listen with ear plugs inserted correctly or you risk spending big $$$ on some plasmas
still discovering the link between electronics and audio reproduction.so much to learn and so little time

Offline kajak12

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2012, 10:05:33 PM »
Thanks for sharing oz i still remember pink floyd THE WALL on bryans system the only place to visit in melbourne is bryans house  and ducs house stuff the rest of melbourne
still discovering the link between electronics and audio reproduction.so much to learn and so little time

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2012, 09:05:56 AM »
Hi Oz,
Looks like you had a great trip down to Melbourne. Bryan and Keith's systems are a treat.
Don't forget to grab the Ribbon Super Tweeters from Steven. I left them with him so you can try
with the golds.
Cheers G, I haven't been up to Stevens for awhile. I'll definetly grab them soon.
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline ozcal

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2012, 12:45:19 PM »
Great read Oz and a fun day by the looks of it.
I am also interested in the TRAM 2 as it seems to be getting a very good rep.
Listening with my ears :)

Offline terry j

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2012, 07:50:17 PM »
entertaining millsy

the 8 subs you mention, they are directly behind the main speakers??

You 'seemed' to differentiate between the plasma tweeters in keiths and bryans (did I read that wrong?)..if so, any thoughts on why they seemed different? Simply different brands of plasmas, or maybe just different integration? Most likely different rooms (?)

Nice comfy looking room with the apogees.

thanks (listening to the cd on grooveshark too, so if anyone wants to get an idea an easy way to do it)

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2012, 07:33:44 PM »
the 8 subs you mention, they are directly behind the main speakers??
Yes, 4 x 15" woofers on either side, vertical open baffle arrangement.  Most of the bass in the system is delivered by the biggest horn.   The woofers are only doing <48hz (ie: the sub bass).

Quote
You 'seemed' to differentiate between the plasma tweeters in keiths and bryans (did I read that wrong?)..if so, any thoughts on why they seemed different? Simply different brands of plasmas, or maybe just different integration? Most likely different rooms (?
I think you must have read it wrong.  I'm pretty sure I mentioned that Bryan indicated that Keiths system was the inspiration for his.    I don't feel the top end was dramatically different between the 2 systems.   The difference was more in the midrange/midbass, to my ears.
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline Lansche plasma guy

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2012, 01:07:01 AM »
Thanks to Ozmillsy for his kind words and to the great positive and or constructive comments and posts in general I read on this great forum.

Im really happy with my system and thr path I have gone down.  But ive had so much constructive help from so many friends i feel sometimes a little like a project manager.  Foums like this are such a wonderful repository for sharing ideas and for friendship sharing elation and the midnight phonecall rave, as well as the "this hobby sux and im going to pull it all apart, sell it and buy a Bose" periods when we get hifi burnout.

In particular i have to thank Steve.  Apart from being one of my closest friends we are usually speaking to each other every other day sharing ideas (usually  me using his ideas!) without his incredible knowledge of valves and the sound of parts, i would never have the type of sound i have and love now. 

He took a very good dac and hot rodded it in the same way AMG will take a Mercedes and create something truly extraordinary.  And thats what i think the better iterations of the 'killerdac' are.  Most os valve dacs ive heard have been musical and pleasurable to listen to but Steves top level dacs are truly phenomenal (not withstanding my preferance for the 6c45 pi tubes over the 6dg8's.

Ive been taking photos and compiling lists of my horn build.  If anyone is interested i can post them here.  There are quite a few people down here who are compiling parts to build versions of these here.

My inspiration for using plasmas was entirely due to Keith W's lovely Acapellas.  The first ime i heard them i just knew i was a goner and would have to try and find some.

My inspiration for the speakers themselves were actually the Avantgarde Trios.  I loved aspects of what they i and tog hy could sound truly incredible if he were built from a diy poijt of view.  Without the constraints of having to use affordable drivers and units and parts that were available for larger production runs.

So who wants a series of build posts on my horns??

Lansche Plasma Guy

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2012, 08:41:21 AM »
Yeah Bryan, now you're talking mate.  :D  I'd definetly love to see the build pics.

Thanks for clarifying the inspirations.   

It was great to meet you, and some of your friends.   Thanks again.
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline Jehuty

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2012, 03:25:05 PM »
So who wants a series of build posts on my horns??

Lansche Plasma Guy

My hands are all up Bryan  ;D

Cheers,
William
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.

Offline gamve

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2012, 03:37:20 PM »
Yeah I would love to see the process Bryan, not sure I would be up for putting such a large system together but.
Struggling enough now with a relativley simple system  :)

tuyen

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2012, 03:40:07 PM »
Very keeen to read about the build process Bryan!

big thanks in advance  ;D

Offline terry j

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2012, 07:53:54 PM »

So who wants a series of build posts on my horns??

Lansche Plasma Guy

heck yeah!

Quote

My inspiration for the speakers themselves were actually the Avantgarde Trios.  I loved aspects of what they i and tog hy could sound truly incredible if he were built from a diy poijt of view.  Without the constraints of having to use affordable drivers and units and parts that were available for larger production runs.

It may come out in the next thread, but tell me, when did you start the journey and had you any prior experience? Or did you start and research the entire horn area, teach yourself and then do. In any case, very well done.

Offline rab

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2012, 10:09:15 PM »
I first heard Bryan's system last year during the Melbourne audio show and was completely blown away by the sound, to the extent that i couldn't sleep that night at all. I lusted after his system, but felt it was just too tweaky and time consuming for someone like me with a demanding job and a young family, and resigned myself to being content with just the memory. ('tis better to have heard and lost ...?)

So just this week I heard the latest incarnation, which is even better than the one I heard last year, apparently by a significant margin. I can safely say this is the best sound reproduction I have ever heard in my life. Yes, i have heard better imaging, and horns might not be the best choice for reproducing the true small scale of single musicians. BUT: on every other level, the sound this system makes is, to my ears, essentially flawless - and this is playing redbook! The dynamics, tonality, timbre, bandwidth, and sheer life of the music are just laid out in front of you in a way that is somehow absolutely astounding in its presence, but in a modest, natural way in the sense that the sound seems to just be 'there', without fanfare or theatrics... the coherence is astounding. Bryan's highly tuned ears may well be able to pick some flaws in the reproduction, but seriously I really have the feeling that the limitations are nearly all in the recordings. The sound is seamless, top-to-bottom. You might expect those arrays of 15" drivers would be too much of a good thing, but they are not: without question the best bass reproduction I have ever heard. And that plasma tweeter is similarly natural. I understand that Bryan has worked long and hard in his audio journey, and the results speak for themselves: Bryan is a true master of the highest order.

The best thing of all? I communicated my disappointment that I would never be able to have a system anything his, or even one with horns, due to my living conditions, but Bryan has convinced me that it is possible. So that very night as i lay awake (again!), unable to turn my mind to anything else, I decided to sell my entire system and go horns and single-ended amplification, with Bryan's help. Sadly, funds are tight, so I can't take the first step without first selling off my Lenehan Audio ML3s, and I expect they will take a while to sell in the current economic climate. I am trying hard to contain my excitement, but it's very hard!!!

- rab

Offline mcb

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Re: A Visit with Bryan - Wow
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2012, 12:54:05 PM »
rab,

I saw your fs ad's elsewhere and was wondering what you where up to.

It all makes sense now.  Good luck with the sale of your gear and the next part of your audio journey.

regards

Murray