Dave’s Faves – Bryston BDA-3

Bryston BDA-3 DAC, $3500


Bryston’s BDA-2 DAC was a classic. Many reviewers rated it the best DAC money can buy. It’s tough to call any one product the BEST in its field, but BDA-2 was on everyone’s short list of the best sounding DACs at any price.

BDA-3 has now landed and it’s a step up in every regard. First of all, it sounds cleaner, with all sources, not just hi-res! The most noticeable improvement is midrange clarity. The music just opens up and sounds less constricted.

When you consider the world of music Sonos can tie you into so easily, why not consider getting THE MOST out of that world? While most streaming radio is low fidelity, we now have many great sounding services available and at reasonable prices. Further, every CD or file you’ve saved can be delivered with better clarity and nuance than you’ve ever heard them. Hence the main reason you want to consider BDA-3 is the great wide world of music that will be improved.

Hi-res is the crowning jewel for BDA-3. We think the best sound possible comes fed from a Bryston music player like BDP-2. When you’ve saved your music to an outboard drive and then send it through BDP-2 to shake hands with BDA-3, it’s as GOOD AS IT GETS! You get the computer debris out of the road and the resulting immediacy and clarity… sounds like a master tape. The improved micro dynamics through this combo is flat out the best I’ve heard. It takes a little effort, but it’s worth it. BDA-3 offers HDMI connections and DSD handshake as well.

I think back to the late 80s. For state of the art digital we needed a $4500 Transport and $4500 DAC. Cutting edge products of the day ran about $9k. They sounded wonderful for the time. But today, you run Bryston BDP-2 and BDA-3. You’re all in for $6500 and the performance absolutely blows the doors off the best performance we had yesteryear.

The experience of listening through the Byston combo is… that you remove veils between you and the music. The music has more breath and space than we knew existed. While we get the most benefit from the best sources, we still get significant benefit from BDA-3 when shaking hands with a CD player or Sonos Connect. Literally anyone in our hobby can run THOSE sources! Make your signal going into the system better with BDA-3 and you’ll be rewarded for improved equipment further down the line.