Bryston A3 Theater System
Bryston’s A3 tower speakers ($2400pr) are getting recognized as being pretty special. They’re quite different from what our industry has gone to for “stock and trade” at the price point. Like all Bryston speakers, they’re made in Canada and have a TWENTY YEAR WARRANTY!
What almost everyone else offers at $2.5k is a pretty mediocre rectangular box, with pretty mediocre drivers screwed into that box, from a factory in China. Since they have to be shipped here, keeping the weight down is important. They want it to be short and skinny so your wife won’t mind. Put all this together and you get a smallish tower that sounds downright wimpy.
First of all, Bryston thinks the super-sleek profile limits the performance too much to be acceptable. When you hear A3, you’ll understand why it needs to be 9.25” wide. A3 is (37.5h, 9.25w, 15d, 53 lbs) a “medium” sized cabinet. It isn’t a rectangle (to avoid booming) either! You need the extra 2 3/4” in width! Stick to your guns. She’ll get over it. The A3 is a legitimate 3-way system with a rich, powerful sound.
The “other guys” use two 5” treated paper woofers with light magnets. Remember, they’re being floated here from the other side of the world. Bryston uses two massive 6.5” cast frame, ceramic coated aluminum woofers with heavy magnets. The improved performance is worth the slightly larger size!
The “other guys use an OK but somewhat flimsy midrange driver of various materials. Bryston uses the same 4” Ceramic Coated, heavy, Aluminum mid driver they use in their bigger brothers. Make no mistake, A3 maintains the lauded Bryston timbre and muscle. Bryston uses a 1” Titanium tweeter with a metal flange to improve heat dissipation and power handling. The other guys use a traditional mass produced aluminum dome with small magnet- in a plastic housing that can’t help dissipate heat.
A3 has substantial internal bracing to further muscle up its heavy cabinet. The other guys have a rectangular box with some stuffing shoved in it. When you add up all of these details, A3’s performance is a lot better than “brand X.”
Of course its cheaper to have your speakers built in China by one of a few suppliers. It’s a temptation that almost everyone can’t resist. But that left the playing field wide open for Bryston to step in and say, yep, we’re a little bigger, a lot better sounding, and worth a few bucks more. Did I mention Bryston is made in Canada with a 20 year warranty?!
So rather than apologize for being a little bigger, Bryston tells you WHY you should consider going a little bigger. When you hear A3 with muscular music, you’ll swear a subwoofer is on. We sell our Bryston A3 Theater System SANS subwoofer because the A3 goes so deep that you won’t miss one.
In a recent HiFi Choice (English mag), six towers battled it out at the $2k-ish price point.
Every single one is built in China. Every single one is a skinny tower with drivers 5-6” and weighs under 38lbs, some under 30lbs! They give you a 5 year warranty and cross their fingers.
Bryston AC-1 Micro Center $500
The new AC-1 Micro is a fine mate for the A3 above. A-3 will carry the muscle. AC-1 Micro provides the center channel dialog and clarity we need. AC-1 Micro uses two 5.25” cast frame, heavy duty drivers along with the same tweeter used in A3.
If you need shelf mounted LCR speakers, a hat trick array of AC-1 Micros will cover your bases.
Bernie Williams of NY Yankees
Bernie is a legit musician and has released two jazz albums post baseball career!