To Doug Schneider,
You praised the new Bryston BDP-1 digital file transport, but you gave us very little in the way of comparisons against other high-end transport solutions, such as the modified Mac Mini, the PS Audio PerfectWave transport or the PerfectWave Bridge, Sonore, Auraliti, etc. For most of us who have our files residing on our computers and have a high-quality DAC, this type of comparison seems extremely valuable. Most of the review of the new BDP-1 spent way too much time writing how the author is trying to figure out what it is, rather than compare and explain its performance. We get what it is -- we just want to hear how it performs and compares as we are judging how to spend our hard-earned money.
You have an awesome reference system -- if you have any more insight into some of the other highly respected digital transport options cited above, please share.
You make a good point, but I’ll tell you my perspective on how I approached the BDP-1 review, as well as give you a long-winded answer as to why products such as these are really difficult to review and make everyone happy.
First, I don’t agree that most people “get what it is.” When the BDP-1 first came out, most people didn’t know quite what to make of it, including me. Is it a transport? Is it a music server? Does it have storage space? Does it have a USB output? There were lots of questions about it. As a result, one of my primary goals was to explain the BDP-1's purpose, and feedback I received after the review was published said that I explained it better than most other reviewers did. Second, Bryston’s own marketing of the BDP-1 didn’t focus as much on its low-jitter output as it did on ease of use in comparison to a computer in terms of getting bit-perfect output to a DAC. Therefore, how it compared to a computer was of primary importance, not just in terms of performance, but setup and use.
Obviously, a person like you understands the BDP-1 and wants it compared to a host of other digital front ends. The trouble with that is that computer-based audio is still in its infancy and there seems to be new, better products released every week, and the number of companies producing them seems to be growing as well. When it comes to computers, potential sources go far beyond the Mac Mini -- there are all the other Apple offerings, not to mention literally thousands of Window-based configurations you can come up with, as well as all the different software-based players that are out there that are constantly getting updated. Can anyone really keep up with everything?
There are the companies you mention such as PS Audio and Auraliti, but one of the most talked-about companies right now is WideaLab from Korea because of their Aurender products. It’s WideaLab's products that would likely be at the top of my list for comparison to the BDP-1, but they weren’t available to me at the time of the BDP-1 review. Are there more companies and products out there? No doubt. In fact, I suspect that we might see dozens of competitors to the BDP-1 at the Consumer Electronics Show next month in Las Vegas. But are they really competitors if their purpose and features aren’t the same?
That’s not to say that someone is not going to try to do an exhaustive comparison someday, but I’m not sure the end result will be that valid given the different products, as well as features and configurations, not to mention that there seems to be something new and worthwhile almost every week. Computer-based audio is a lot more complicated than simply streaming a digital music file to a DAC. . . . Doug Schneider