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"Recommended Component" Class A, 2013 - Stereophile
"Product of the Year" Award Winner 2011 The Absolute Sound
Plays Digital Files with Extraordinary Musicality
Many digital playback systems incorporate an all-in-one approach to digital playback. These systems are burdened with performing all of the identified tasks of playing digital audio, including ripping content and managing storage in the same box that is struggling to play the audio files faithfully. Instead of opting for the usual 'Swiss army knife' multi-functional approach, Bryston broke the different tasks apart with the BDP-1 digital player and dedicated its efforts to the stages where it could bring the most value and performance.
All-in-one music servers have serious issues with noise and distortion, so Bryston totally separated the 'digital processing' side (playing music files) from the 'data management' (storage, handling, ripping) side of the equation. The Bryston BDP-1 Digital Player's single function is to play high-resolution digital music files without compromise using a USB drive. It does not contain a hard-drive streamer, CD player, ripper, or noisy fans and switching power supplies. Thus there are essentially no mechanical moving parts to the BDP-1 that could compromise sound quality.
To do this most efficiently, the BDP-1 uses a Linux operating system to provide the highest quality audio performance. Its industrial quality motherboard uses only a small amount of its computing power. The built-in soundcard is one of the finest available, and the AES-EBU Balanced and BNC SP/DIF output section offers unparalleled performance when connected to the AES-EBU, BNC, or coaxial input on the Bryston BDA-1 external DAC or other no-compromise external DAC. Bryston also electronically isolated the audio components from the computer components and used galvanic isolation to isolate and avoid charge-carrying particles moving from one section to another.
The BDP-1 Digital Player was honored by its inclusion in The Absolute Sound 2012 High-End Audio Buyer's Guide, which noted, "The astonishing new BDP-1 Digital Player is a technological tour de force that bridges the generational divide between the Old World familiarity of a traditional CD player and the new world of high-resolution files and music-library management, between a past constrained by frustratingly compromised digital audio sound quality and an exciting future in which digital artifacts have finally been reduced to inconsequential levels."
"A Keeper," Says Stereophile
"It played every hi-rez file I could lay hands on, including 24-bit/192kHz FLAC, WAV, and AIFF files, consistently delivering open highs, rich mid- range timbres, a stunning dynamic range, and three-dimensional imaging," reports Larry Greenhill in his June 2011 Stereophile magazine review. "When you hear it, you, too, will find the BDP-1 a keeper."
Stereophile honored the Bryston BDP-1 digital audio player by including it in its "Recommended Components - Class A" list for 2013. "Bryston's BDP-1 proved to be an excellent-performing digital source, with a low-jitter bit-accurate data output capable of operating at sample rates up to 192 kHz," said the magazine.
"The Sense of Space is Astonishing"
"The sense of space is astonishing," marvels England's What Hi-Fi? magazine. "Not just the space that defines the venue, but that between instruments, too. And despite all the insight, there's no loss of cohesion. There's also a spell-binding finesse here, a lightness of touch, that once heard is hard to do without."
"A Remarkable Device"
"The BDP-1 has a very rich, very clean sound with ample bass and astonishingly low levels of distortion," says Andy Schaub in Issue 56, July/August 2011, of Positive Feedback magazine. "This is a remarkable device that gets that much closer to integrating the Internet into your home audio system and doing so with aplomb."
UnParalleled Playback of Files Up To 192 kHz
The Bryston BDP-1 Digital Player focuses 'only' on playing high-resolution files, and playing them with a level of uncompromising musicality. It will support 16-bit and 24-bit files with the following sample rates: 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, and 192 kHz. It accesses these digital files from a USB device – either a thumb-drive or a hard-drive.
The BDP-1 reproduces the digital content in its native sample rate and bit depth and outputs the data stream through a high performance dedicated AES-EBU balanced XLR output or BNC/coaxial (SPDIF) connector. It processes digital music files at a performance level unattainable with other approaches.
Using the BDP-1 with Your Home Network
The easiest way to understand the Bryston BDP-1 is to think of it as a 21st century updated CD player. Instead of using CDs as the music source, though, it utilizes USB thumb drives or USB hard-drives as the music storage source. For example you can use a large 1TB USB hard-drive which is permanently connected or mass storage of your music and then use a number of smaller 8-16GB USB thumb-drives to create specific play lists – one for Jazz, one for Classical, one for Rock, etc, and insert them into the BDP-1 as you wish. Also your friends can come over with their favorite songs loaded on their personal thumb-drives and listen as well.
If you like, you can use the BDP-1 with your home network. It incorporates state-of-the-art electronics which link up to your home network and may be controlled by a variety of graphic interface devices, such as laptop, netbook, iPhone, or web browser The BDP-1's graphic interface operates under 'open source' software protocols, ensuring long term future proofing and compatibility with the widest possible range of other digital devices as they are developed. Bryston will also be developing its own Bryston web based MPD client.
The home network is only utilized to allow you to view, manage and control your playlist. The other interface option is utilizing the front panel controls and two-line graphic display on the Bryston BDP-1 digital player. You do not have to be connected to the home network in order to use the front panel controls. The BDP-1's graphic interface operates under 'open source' software protocols, ensuring long term future proofing and compatibility with the widest possible range of other digital devices as they are developed.
Important Free Firmware Update
Bryston is pleased to announce the addition of a NAS feature update to the BDP-1 Digital Player. This will allow the BDP-1 to connect to many of the more popular NAS drives via SMB (Windows File Sharing) and UPnP/DLNA. It lets you play your digital music files from a remotely located NAS drive over your wired home network as well as via your currently attached USB drives. The BDP-1 still retains its ability to function as a NAS as well.
This feature is available at no charge to all current BDP-1 owners and moving forward will be included in the BDP-1 onboard software.
See Bryston's download page for the latest firmware.
ARCHOS 7o Internet Tablet is a new Android based interface that works well with BDP-1 Digital Player using MPDROID music player.
Gnome Music Player Client is a free client for MPD that you can use with the Bryston BDP-1 Digital Player and Windows, Macintosh, Linux, or Unix operating systems.
Q&A with James Tanner, Vice President of Bryston
Q: What was your motivation behind designing the BDP-1 digital audio player?
A: "The BDP-1 was born out of my frustration with trying to assemble a quality digital playback system that would go all the way to 192/24 without glitches, dropouts, etc. I spent a year playing with different operating systems like Windows and Mac and different sound cards and finally decided on Linux because it can be dedicated to do 'one thing'- PLAY A MUSIC FILE - with no housekeeping or virus issues, for example."
Q: The concept behind the BDP-1 seems simple enough. So why didn't anyone else use this same approach?
A: "It's not easy to assemble a computer system which will have an incredibly low noise floor with the low distortion and high resolution file playback that the BDP-1 has to offer. Certainly a knowledgeable computer guy can assemble a great sounding setup, but it is not a simple task."
Q: What special components did you choose for the BDP-1?
A: "The raw components in the BDP-1 were selected for their performance and reliability. Designing computer components from scratch is challenging with the short life cycle of consumer computer components.
"I chose the specific computer motherboard that we use because it is used in industrial areas and changes very little over time so you have a consistent supply of parts and predictability of performance. But the really important part is it has NO MOVING PARTS - no fans, switching power supplies, or anything else that can generate noise. The motherboard has been used for metro area wireless systems for a number of years and has a very good reliability record. It also meets the essential requirements of low power and fan-less operation, both essential to the low noise, both acoustical and electrical, requirements for good audio."
Q: How did you select the soundcard?
A: "I played with a number of soundcards, and many had issues integrating with the specific operating systems. The operating systems had to have many areas 'deactivated' (for example, 'do not map through this device' in Windows) in order to get 'bit perfect' output. Some would play 96/24 and 192/24 but not 176/24, etc. Anyway, to make a long story short, I wanted a plug-and-play system which performed at a state-of-the-art level, but it was very important that you didn't have to be a computer guru to figure out how to set it up. And it had to be a sound card that did not have issues with high resolution 192/24 playback.
"The sound card in the BDP-1 player is a 'Julia' soundcard, and it is excellent in native configuration - one of the best out there. To improve its performance, we modified it with a much better output stage (both the transformer and driving stage are removed) so it is NOT a stock unit. We also installed a dedicated balanced low-noise, low-distortion AES EBU and BNC output section to integrate properly (in terms of impedance matching) with our BDA-1 DAC."
Q: All your hard work really paid off. The BDP-1 sounds amazing!
A: "The BDP-1 provides as faithful a bitstream as we know how to provide with current technology. Very few PCs come close to this goal and then only with a lot of special optimizations that cripple their utility as a PC. Many PCs have a lot of audio processing running in the background as well as a lot of EMI and RFI that can influence the performance of connected equipment. Sometimes the effects of the noise and jitter can be pleasing but they are not necessarily accurate."
"Recommended Component" Class A, 2013 - Stereophile
Stereophile honored the Bryston BDP-1 digital audio player by including it in its "Recommended Components" list for 2013. "Bryston's BDP-1 proved to be an excellent-performing digital source, with a low-jitter bit-accurate data output capable of operating at sample rates up to 192 kHz," said the magazine.
Listed in The Absolute Sound 2012 High-End Audio Buyer's Guide
"The astonishing new BDP-1 Digital Player is a technological tour de force that bridges the generational divide between the Old World familiarity of a traditional CD player and the new world of high-resolution files and music-library management, between a past constrained by frustratingly compromised digital audio sound quality and an exciting future in which digital artifacts have finally been reduced to inconsequential levels."
"The Bryston BDP-1 doesn't merely 'sound better'; the Experience of hearing music through it is qualitatively different."
- The Absolute Sound 2012 High-End Audio Buyer's Guide, November 2012
"Though there is a display, there are no fans, no CD drives, no keyboards, no DAC circuitry, and no built-in routers to produce noise, RF interference, or heat, or to tax the player's central processing unit with multitasking demands."
"It played every hi-rez file I could lay hands on, including 24-bit/192kHz FLAC, WAV, and AIFF files, consistently delivering open highs, rich mid- range timbres, a stunning dynamic range, and three-dimensional imaging."
"When you hear it, you, too, will find the BDP-1 a keeper."
- Larry Greenhill, Stereophile magazine, June 2011
"Think of it as a stripped-down computer, tuned for audio quality. As a consequence, the design is equally sparse: there's no touch-screen display or internal transport, and no streaming circuitry, storage or DAC… The BDP-1 simply takes music data from a memory stick or hard drive via one of its four USB inputs, processes the data and squirts it out digitally for an external DAC to complete the task."
"Listen to a 24-bit/192 kHz recording such as The Scottish Chamber Orchestra's rendition of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.3 in C Minor, Op.37 and the sense of space is astonishing. Not just the space that defines the venue, but that between instruments, too. And despite all the insight, there's no loss of cohesion. There's also a spell-binding finesse here, a lightness of touch, that once heard is hard to do without."
- What Hi-Fi? magazine
"The BDP-1 has a very rich, very clean sound with ample bass and astonishingly low levels of distortion."
"It isn't until you hear such a low distortion system that you realize all the 'fuzz' that you thought came from the dust on your stylus was actually coming from the noise in your electronics, or somewhere else. While I do think there is a certain finesse to my home-grown digital music server - and I was lucky enough to start with a Macintosh - it doesn't have the deep bass definition nor the strikingly low levels of distortion that I get from the BDP-1."
"The Bryston BDP-1 is a remarkable musical computer that just requires a S/PDIF cable and a DAC to bring you into age of computer-based music (OK, you need a flash drive or hard drive and some kind of computer to manage the music and remote control the Bryston; an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad helps); but no matter how you look at it this is a remarkable device that gets that much closer to integrating the Internet into your home audio system and doing so with aplomb."
- Andy Schaub, Positive Feedback magazine, Issue 56, July/August 2011
Audio Advisor Review - Bryston's Warranty
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Audio Advisor Review - Bryston BDP-1 Digital Player Rear Panel
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Audio Advisor Review - Bryston BDP-1 Digital Player Sources