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Bryston Mini A Loudspeaker Review Print E-mail
Monday, 23 February 2015
Article Index
Bryston Mini A Loudspeaker Review
Set Up and Listening

The cabinet is 3/4" MDF that is braced to control resonances. The speaker is on the efficient side, with published specifications of 8 Ohm, 87 DB. Not a particularly difficult load. Bass is stated to go down to 60 Hz, and there is a flared port at the rear of the speaker, towards to top end.

Mini As are packed very nicely, and the build and finish are absolutely first rate. Mine came in a wonderful Walnut finish. Natural Cherry, Boston Cherry, Red Rosewood, Black Ash, and custom finishes are also available. The binding posts are high quality and the clean lines of the cabinet are impressive. The overall package is classier and more substantial than the $1200 price would indicate. Additionally, the speakers can be bolted to optional stands specifically designed for the Mini A for an additional $299.

Set Up & Listening

The Mini As got a quite a workout over several months with four different amplifiers, two sets of speaker cables, and Bryston’s own BDA-1 DAC, connected via AES/EBU to the Simaudio MiND streamer. I spend roughly equal amounts of time with a McIntosh 200 wpc MA6600 solid state integrated, a Bob Carver 20 wpc EL84 based tube amp, a 25 wpc CLONES Audio 25iR integrated (review forthcoming), and a 50 wpc Denon PMA-50 direct digital integrated (review also forthcoming). All four amps could not be more different. Cables were both recently reviewed Audio Art, and Transparent. The only nit pick I have on the Mini A is the OK-quality binding post links. I replaced them with Anti Cable jumpers, which made an improvement.

Starting with the McIntosh, my initial impression was that the imaging was simply sensational. Instruments and vocals seem to have ample space around them, and pinpointing their location in the mix was uncannily easy to do. What I was hearing was well beyond what I would normally expect from a $1200 monitor, and I have heard some good ones.

Irish singer songwriter Luka Bloom’s recent Head And Heart CD, wonderfully recorded, was a real showcase for the Mini A. It is a throwback recording with minimal postproduction and a very natural, acoustic vibe. Nothing like the run of the mill pop CDs that are brick-walled and loudness war ready. The piano, double bass, and acoustic guitars sounded exactly as they should, with woody sounding timbres, and impeccable transients.

The legendary Tim Buckley’s sublime Happy Sad album was a sheer delight as presented by the Mini A. His otherworldly voice, vibes, acoustic guitar, and applied atmospherics were holographically present, to the point that, suspending disbelief, one would almost be sure to find the musicians behind an imaginary curtain. At this point, I knew I was dealing with a speaker that is a contender for a standard-setting benchmark in its price class.

With the Carver amp, the presentation became more lush, with some of the most liquid midrange I have ever heard produced in the listening room. Returning to the Tim Buckley CD, the double bass sounded thicker and more elastic, the piano more velvety, and Buckley’s voice even more present. The sound was addicting, listening sessions stretching out longer than anticipated.


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