CNO is right, the Bryston pre power driving your EB1i's would sound absolutely fantastic with well recorded music but ruthlessly revealing with poorly recorded music .
A valve pre amp with the 4bsst2 might give you a slightly warmer sound with the same amount of grip but as Cno says it would only make sense if you could sell the Brystons on for a similar amount that you paid for them if they do not suit your taste .
I still think you should try an Electrocompaniet amp though
Read this review of the ECi 5 mk2
Electrocompaniet EMC1UP Cd player , EC 4.7 pre , AW120 DMB power amp , PMC PB1i speakers . Isotek Titan / Nova , Nordost SPM speaker cable , Kimber KCAG balanced interconnects .
Linn LP12 Lingo , Ittok lv3 , Lyra Lydian , EAR834P .
"Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler." Albert Einstein .
Thats a very positive review of the EC5 and pretty much sounds exactly what i was looking for in my sound and well within budget hence ive considered the amp for a while now. My one reserve is that it maybe asking too much of it to drive the Eb1's. I did also read a review in Hifi news that lab tested its real power output at 130w into 8ohm and 240w into 4 ohm, therefore by my sheer power of deduction i guess it manages around 185w into 6ohm! Would this be enough though?! Only one way to find out i suppose.
I am sold on the power output of the Bryston 4B obviously but if i go for a valve pre-amp and end up dissapointed (sometimes i really doubt i would be disappointed with any of the kit ive listed so far) i then face having to move on a Valve pre amp as well.
From the review of the Electro amp it can be used as a preamp too so maybe i could take a punt on the 4B and go for the EC5i mk2 and then i can keep the system i prefer ie EC5 on its own or feeding the 4B?
Obvious choice of CDP becomes the EMC1up though my SACD collection keeps growing and i cant enjoy the DSD on these via the EMC1up hence re-considering the Marantz SA11s3.
So much decisions lol and i forgot the MCIntosh6600 again, an amp that it seems no one has reviews or opinions on online!
The EB1i is quite efficient at 89db and are a 4 ohm load so the ECI5 will have no trouble at all driving them to very high levels and keeping control because it is stable into loads down to 0.5 of an ohm and has up to 100 amps of current delivery so there should be no problem .
Your idea of using the ECI5 as an integrated amp and also as a pre amp for the Bryston 4BSST is a good one and will give you plenty of time to make the choice of which you prefer .
As to the choice between the EMCI UP and the Marantz I suppose I am a little biased but I have found that with hybrid SACD's the Cd layer played on the EMC1 UP sounded far better than the SACD layer played on my NAD M55 universal player, but I have not heard the Marantz SA11s3 so I don't know what the difference in sound quality is likely to be between the two .
But I am sure you will have fun finding out .
Consider the Teac AI-2000 for amplification.
Ok i think i am going to take a punt on the Bryston 4Bsst2 power amp but leave the pre-amp which from all ive read now seems to be responsible for the dry, clinical sound i dont want. The 4B should be the perfect power amp to drive the PMC's but its a shame about the styling!. I think i am getting a bargain at £2400 and i reckon i can move it on easily anyway with minimum if any loss if i dislike it.
I have now turned my attention to pre-amps and so far it comes down to Musical Fidelity M6PRE, Electrocompaniet EC4.8 and the Sugden Masterclass LA-4. These are all fully balanced circuits so will allow the 4b power amp and whichever of the Electro or Marantz CDP's to realise their full potential.
I have enquired about the brand new Icon Audio LA5TX with their sales team to find if it offers fully balanced circuits and conn's but i suspectit doesnt so i will then rule it out.
Upto now the MF M6PRE has the most positive reviews and the price appeals getting back on budget although i have not yet found a single comment let alone review on the Sugden LA-4!? I would have high hopes for this one too! Any opinions guys?
The search continues
You're getting there!
Out of the 3 pre you mention, I think the Electro would be the best partner... I've heard the Sugden is the week link in their amps.... don't know anything about the MF.
Accuphase E350 amp, Electrocompaniet EMC1UP CDP, Siltech 25th Classic anniversary 330I XLR Harbeth Super HL5 on Sound Anchor Quod ELS63 stands, Chord Odessey2 speaker cable. Grado SR60 headphones.
I would definitely buy the Bryston 4B at that price and add the Electro EC4.8 pre to it , I would imagine it will sound superb and drive the EBIi's with absolute ease with superb transparency and detail and with a touch more midrange warmth than the Bryston pre amp .
If you find the sound to still be a little unforgiving you could sell the Bryston for what you paid quite easily and buy the Electrocompaniet AW250 R stereo power amp or maybe the AW180 Monoblocks .
This I can almost guarantee will give you what you are looking for
Thanks guys for the opinions on the Electro gear again. LOVE the look of these items and the sounds described from them by reviews/owners seem to be what i'm after. However my budget would be badly stretched by the Electro 1upCDP & 4.8 pre amp as i am looking at a £12900 system without cables etc which i need to budget for too. I am now thinking cautiously with my budget all of a sudden.
So i am also considering this now too http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/Opera-Consonance-Droplet-CDP-5.0-CD-Player/product_619
It has a valve XLR output built in and a very analogue warm sound. Also it can be used as a preamp. All of a sudden my system becomes £8900 which puts me under my £10k budget i set a while back!!
I'm not trying to be a cheapskate but i wonder if i end up spending £13k before cables i then wouldnt want to skimp on XLR interconnects and this may well add a few hundred to the cost. Also a decent equipment rack would mean £13k easily becomes £14k or more. My budget seems to have spiralled abit.
I have read some very good reviews of this too but again struggle to find much from owners!
How about this as an alternative, I know it's not through a dealer, but at the price wouldn't be much of a risk and Electro can vouch for it's quality;
If you are spending that much you may go a bit further and get some room sound treatment, like bass traps in the corners, they are not that expensive, about £50 each.
Oh and i now own the Bryston 4B BTW
Good find Mac .
This will work perfectly with the 4BSST and reduce the budget quite substantially .
In fact I think the EC4.7 preamp sounds slightly better than the more expensive EC4.8 .
The EC4.8 has more connection options and is more complex but at a higher price, so if you don't need the extra sophistication of the EC4.8 then the EC4.7 would be a better bet especially at the price in Mac's link .
Good find indeed represents fine value will mail the seller!
I think you are getting good advice......and really hope this game of "Pin the tail on the Donkey" works out for you.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
I guess whatever he ends up with from the equipment mentioned it's unlikely to sound like eeyore
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