Dave’s Faves – Bryston Model T

Bryston Model T Speakers, $8685pr.

Bryston Model T
Bryston got into the speaker biz at Thanksgiving of 2012. Its first speaker was the top of the line Model T. Start on top and trickle down. Being a Bryston electronics fan forever, I was anxious to give the Ts a listen. I knew they wouldn’t come out with a turkey! Further, it seemed conspicuously under priced for all the hardware within. At a time when many other top speaker guys are going to China or charging “artisan” money, oft times for OEM parts screwed into a box in the USA, I thought Bryston’s timing was fortuitous. Let’s check it out.

Bryston certainly knew there were a lot of good speakers on the market. They took their sweet time in coming out with speakers. Along the way they learned a lot by distributing a fine UK brand, PMC for a few years.

But they felt literally everything out there sounded “compressed” compared to LIVE MUSIC, the ultimate reference. Hence in coming out with its own speakers, Bryston felt DUTY ONE was to deliver a large image with lifelike bass and dynamics. Mission accomplished! You can hear that instantly. But there’s more to the Ts than loudness.

Most impressively, the Model T produces authoritative bass, and does so with definition. Most speakers that produce prodigious bass aren’t very articulate. Perhaps the Model T’s greatest strength is that it has loads of bass and remains taut and accurate in the process.

The first impression the Ts give you is that they produce an expansive, effortless stage. The bass impact is strong, and the speakers always feel like they’re coasting. Toss on a jazz trio and WOW, it feels like you’re there- a true scale of a band playing in your room. Play a singer with guitar or piano and it sounds like they’re comfortably cruising. Bring on symphonic fireworks like “The Rite of Spring” and woah, there’s a weight and presence the Ts convey that I’ve not heard before.

The other thing is, the T lets a Steinway sound like a Steinway. The timbre is not BRIGHT. The timbre is very neutral to my ears. This is coming from a guy who plays a grand piano every day. Many speakers that get fancy reviews in the audio rags sound like they’ve got a smile curve built in, they are tilted sharp.

The Ts run $7900pr in a real wood finish. They run $7200pr in a laminate finish. They’re also available for $10k per pair as a Signature version- Real Wood, Outboard Crossover including the necessary cables to connect that crossover. The Signature version would allow you to update the crossover in the future or multi-amp if you are so inclined!

How did Bryston accomplish this level of quality at this price point? Bryston commissions Axiom, a Canadian speaker company an hour away, to build the speakers under their design. Bryston created the design and funded the manufacture of its drivers. Axiom provided assistance in the manufacturing efficiency- they have an interest in the speakers selling well too of course! Axiom already had the tools, facility and employees. Bryston speakers help keep the parts and labor moving. Bryston didn’t have to purpose-build a speaker manufacturing facility, which would cost a bundle, take a lot of space and additional employees. It’s win-win for both companies.

With such an auspicious start, we wondered what would follow. It’s nice to have one great speaker at an important price point- but that doesn’t make for a successful business model. And yes, we are in business.

Shortly after the T came out, Bryston followed with the Middle T ($5700pr Real Wood, $5200pr Laminate) and Mini T ($3200pr Real Wood, $2880pr Laminate), all of which revolve around the same monster, Ceramic Coated Aluminum 8” woofer, neutral sounding 4” Ceramic Coated Aluminum midrange and 1” Titanium tweeter. You can hear they’re all cut from the same cloth. You get a bigger, more relaxed presentation as you spend more.

Bryston speakers presented a real business dilemma for us. These three new models in quick succession provided us with shockingly new levels of performance for the money. We made the difficult decision to say goodbye to B&W.