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Bryston BIT-15 Isolation Transformer & Surge Protector Review Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015
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Bryston BIT-15 Isolation Transformer & Surge Protector Review
Set Up and Listening
ImageBryston Ltd has always been known as a fairly conservative company, making solid, reliable, and fairly-priced high-end pro and consumer audio gear. After decades of building a wide-reaching customer base with amplifiers, preamps, and digital sources, Bryston entered several new product categories including speakers. I recently reviewed the mighty $1200 Bryston Mini A stand mount monitor and came away very impressed.
Bryston has also ventured into is power isolation. This is quite interesting as Bryston used to recommend their amplifiers be plugged directly in the wall. Their biggest concern was that conditioners could limit current to amplifiers and cause more problems than they purported to solve. Amplifiers can demand very high peak current, just like a Ferrari that guzzles fuel when its owner shifts into high gear. There is a price to pay for performance.
As with their speakers, Bryston used existing technology as a framework, but added several key ingredients -- Bryston build quality, their own improvements based on sound engineering principles, and extensive testing. There are three basic models in the lineup, with multiple purchase options. The BIT-5 has six outlets; the BIT-15 and BIT-20 each have ten. The outlets on all the units are medical grade duplexes, orange coded just like you see in hospitals. The BIT-15 and BIT-20 are rated at 15 Amperes and 20 Amperes, as their names would indicate. All units can be purchased, in black or silver, and with or without surge protection.
According to a Bryston’s Gary Dayton, “our surge protection is actively managed which makes it both far more reliable and able to clamp down at even 2 volts over nominal line which is way better than typical MOV based systems. We also have BIT 20, 45 and 60 A balanced versions which take balanced 240V input and output single ended 120V lines so you get common mode rejection on your AC mains, gobs of available current, and compatibility with normal gear. There are also 60 and 100 A wall mount versions. Finally, we have the four AVR series which have also include automatic voltage regulation.”
Bryston had a number of checkboxes and design principles they wanted to implement when bringing their power products to market. First, they wanted to stay clear of MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor) based designs for surge protection, which most consider an inferior implementation. Bryston uses Series Mode Surge Protection, which does not shunt the spike to ground and offers far more stability.
Bryston says, “most MOV-based surge suppression units allow as much as 300 volts through to the protected components, easily enough to do substantial damage, where-as BIT surge suppression has clamping voltage onset of around 2V above peak nominal voltage. BIT units are built to meet 6000 volts, 3000 amps at 1000 repeats standard.”
Bryston also wanted very low source impedance and high current for amplifiers, as well as total isolation from the outside power grid in order to reduce almost all variables and concerns regarding your incoming power line.


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