I have reviewed several Bryston components, including the Bryston BDP-1 Digital File Player, which to this day, is the best single digital source I have heard in my home system and at various audio trade shows. I have seen the $2,200 BDP-1 used in $200,000 systems. Scan the internet and you will find a good number of rave reviews, especially when the unit is paired with Bryston’s own BDA-1 DAC.
Recently, a number of audiophile grade file players and streamers have been brought to market following Bryston’s lead. They are banking, as is Bryston, that many music lovers do not want to interface with a consumer grade computer while listening to music. Obviously, a computer is needed to rip and organize a music collection, but need not be in the listening room. The BDP-1 is in fact a computer, but one optimized for audio functions, and not tied to a commercial operating system. It should be noted that things are changing very fast in the world of computer audio.
That being said, the Canadian firm has not sat still. Since my review was published, there has been a significant BDP-1 firmware upgrade, which allows the unit to stream files from a NAS via Ethernet. The BDP-1 could previously play back files in just about any format from directly attached USB thumb drives and hard drives. Of course, there are iOS and Android apps to use as interfaces as well as the chunky, impressive optional remote. But the apps are the way to go. A wireless router is all that is needed to use your iPad, iPhone, or Android device as a controller. Using a web browser is another option.
Bryston has also been developing new products outside of the digital domain. The recently made waves with their BHA series headphone amplifiers, and even home theater processors and speakers. Around the corner is a new high end speaker system. Since they serve both the consumer and pro markets, they are constantly trying to develop cutting edge products that offer real world performance advancements and value.
James Tanner, the long time VP of Marketing at Bryston, was gracious enough to answer some questions about the BDP-1 and a few other topics. Special thanks to Micah Sheveloff, Bryston’s PR man extraordinaire for setting up the interview. For further information, I strongly suggest checking out Bryston’s web page for review links, manuals, and product information.
AVRev: In my review of the BDP-1 digital file player, I noted it was the best sounding digital source component I had heard and It has still not been surpassed by anything I have heard since. With the current firmware update from May of this year, (Ver. 1.4), you have added streaming capability via Ethernet. Can you tell us about that in some detail?
James Tanner: Yes the current software allows you to connect to an NAS via Ethernet. Most of the current NAS units we have tested work fine – any SAMBA enabled NAS should work. You implement the feature through the BDP Settings Page. In the future we are looking at UPnP/DNLA capability as well.