Hi-FiReviews
October 15, 2015

The Bryston B135 SST2 Integrated Amplifier

Serious Sound
Article by Venoth Nair
 

The clean lines of the B135 are only disrupted by the heatsinks on each side, shown here with the optional remote
The clean lines of the B135 are only disrupted by the heatsinks on each side, shown here with the optional remote

 

The split arrangement design of the left and right channels in the B135 SST2 is key to its unusually silent operation
The split arrangement design of the left and right channels in the B135 SST2 is key to its unusually silent operation
 

As an audiophile, I always find myself searching for the next “Big Thing”. A piece of equipment that will set the standard and deliver a performance so good, that everything else just feels ordinary. The Bryston B135 SST2 in my opinion is definitely that “Big Thing”.

 

The B135 SST2 is the larger of the two available integrated amplifiers in the Bryston stables with an adequately powerful 135 watts per channel into an 8-ohm load and digs down deep to 180 watts with a 4-ohm load. This power figure though is a minimum rated value as the unit itself actually produces more power, which is indicated by the specification sheet included with each unit purchased.

 

Physically, the B135 sports its typical “Bryston” look, with its thick front panel and solid heavy-duty aluminum body all around. The sides of the case show off large heatsinks, which help to keep the B135 running cool and quiet. The fascia on the other hand is dotted with buttons for direct source selection, balance control, mute, power and a large smooth gliding volume knob.

 

On the input/output side, the Bryston does not disappoint with 6 analog inputs and 4 digital inputs. However, the digital inputs only work if you have purchased the optional DAC internal upgrade, which without it, would make these inputs unusable. The unit also comes with a pair of preouts for an upgrade path should the power on tap be insufficient and the speaker terminals which are large with robust connectors are capable of handling the biggest cables you can find.

 

Bryston has put a lot of research into the design and build of this amplifier to make sure that it delivers the best possible performance given its specifications. Part of this is the use of three ultra-low noise power transformers and the implementation of separate grounding paths for its digital and analog circuitry. These and other features are all there to keep the signal clean and free from interference or distortion.

 

So now to the fun part, how does the Bryston B135 SST2 sound? The answer is, astonishingly good! The B135 is excellent when it comes to detail and transparency, revealing every aspect of the song without ruining the fun and emotion. The sound reproduced is also very clean with an almost nonexistent noise and coloring of the sound. Bass is deep and tight without overpowering the rest of the audio range.

 

What’s special about this amplifier is how good it sounds irrespective of genre. It is commonplace for equipment to be geared towards specific genres as each type of music has different dynamics and personality which maybe a challenge with most equipment, but with the B135, everything is just right. The crash of cymbals, the roar of a guitar and even the singers vocals are all presented with panache never sounding mismatched or unnatural.

 

The volume control on the B135 is also something special. Unlike other powerhouses which turn things up in a jiffy, this amp has a wide range to its volume which means that the knob has to be turned a lot to achieve high volumes. What makes this special to me is the ability to control the exact volume output that you desire to keep it sounding right with the environment that you are listening in. The volume gain is also perfectly linear and balanced with no hint of any noise related to volume adjustments.

 

If there is going to be a caveat when it comes to an amplifier of this caliber, it would have to be the lack of an included remote control as the matching remote has to be purchased separately. This accessory also comes with a price tag that will stop your heart. However, if you are running a complete Bryston system, the remote will happily control everything in the setup like a universal remote. Plus considering that it’s milled out of a single chunk of aluminum, the price seems almost fair. Well, almost anyway.

 

At RM 25 000 + the B135 SST2 is not exactly affordable, but if you are serious about sound and have the budget to take the plunge, not to mention the right components to partner it with, then this is one integrated worth spending on. Its character in sound and its delivery is definitely something worth investing in. To experience the B135 and other Bryston equipment do get in touch with the guys from AV Designs to hook you up with an audition or maybe even purchase a piece of audio mastery.

 

For further details contact:

Audio Visual Designs Sdn Bhd

Tel: 03-21712828

Tony Low: 012-2330771

 

Article by Venoth Nair