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1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions
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Author:  sebastian_in_toronto [ Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:25 pm ]
Post subject:  1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions

Hi Gang,

I just acquired this 1979-era 3B, which I am told has been refurbished at Bryston Vermont.
Upon close inspection of this amp, I am puzzled by several things and am hoping to learn
a few things from knowledgeable forum members. Specifically:

1) I was expecting the old, rectangular power transformers. I have more-recent 3B/4B specimens
which do not have the round ones shown here.

2) When did the "ground lift" switch arrive on these old units? I have more-recent specimens
which do not have this feature.

3) The rounded heat "fins" are another mystery. Again, I have newer units which have the
old, pointy corners which were dangerously-sharp to the touch.

4) The capacitors appear quite different than what I have seen before. There seem to be more
of them, but smaller in individual size.

5) There is no green LED showing the power switch turned on.

6) Is there anything else shown in these photos which looks unusual for this vintage of 3B?

Thank you, guys, for any information you can share with me and other forum readers.

Attachments:
2 - Top View.JPG
2 - Top View.JPG [ 348.4 KiB | Viewed 4068 times ]
3 - Left Channel.jpg
3 - Left Channel.jpg [ 335.15 KiB | Viewed 4068 times ]
4 - Right Channel.JPG
4 - Right Channel.JPG [ 301.4 KiB | Viewed 4068 times ]
5 - Right Channel.JPG
5 - Right Channel.JPG [ 369.93 KiB | Viewed 4068 times ]
6 - Left Channel.JPG
6 - Left Channel.JPG [ 348.72 KiB | Viewed 4068 times ]
7 - Rear View (1).JPG
7 - Rear View (1).JPG [ 249.43 KiB | Viewed 4068 times ]
9 - Rear View (3).JPG
9 - Rear View (3).JPG [ 354.57 KiB | Viewed 4068 times ]

Author:  Cobratec427 [ Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions

I would guess it's not a 1979 build. Some of the changes you mention happened around 1982-84 according to some of the different schematics I just reviewed. Silver handles were also the norm on the old units. Your unit does look in great condition though! I would grab the serial # off the bottom & call Bryston for build date, they are awesome to deal with!

Author:  TwentyKHzPlus [ Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions

As the wiring observable from the top is decidedly different in appearance left to right, it is obvious that someone has done some "work" on your amp; the question is who. Forward your concerns to Bryston Vermont and ask them if it is their work; make sure they can read the serial number. The bigger question is how does it sound. Play something with the mono switch on your pre-amp engaged and check for differences between channels, if any. You could also visit the local Bryston dealer and ask what his tech thinks. You haven't mentioned where you got the amp nor how much you paid for it nor what else you were told by the source. To me the biggest worry would be the competence of the repair and future safety. It shouldn't cost you that much to have it checked by someone who has the proper level of competence. You need to know facts here, not opinions. Good luck!

Author:  BinkyTheCat [ Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions

[quote="TwentyKHzPlus"]As the wiring observable from the top is decidedly different in appearance left to right, it is obvious that someone has done some "work" on your amp; the question is who. Forward your concerns to Bryston Vermont and ask them if it is their work; make sure they can read the serial number. The bigger question is how does it sound. Play something with the mono switch on your pre-amp engaged and check for differences between channels, if any. You could also visit the local Bryston dealer and ask what his tech thinks. You haven't mentioned where you got the amp nor how much you paid for it nor what else you were told by the source. To me the biggest worry would be the competence of the repair and future safety. It shouldn't cost you that much to have it checked by someone who has the proper level of competence. You need to know facts here, not opinions. Good luck![/quote]


Methinks the inverted board is throwing you off.

Author:  TwentyKHzPlus [ Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions

Yes Blinky, you are entirely astute here about the boards. I must admit that I have some visual issues and that is one reason why I tend to plug in the second hand stuff and just listen with no music for a bit in case something is amiss; ear to amp as well as speakers. I keep my nose close as well. When I finally listen to music, it's only at lower volume until I'm confident that nothing is going to flame out, as it were. Better safe than sorry. I start with the cheapest speakers in the house for the first few hours of music as well.

I'm currently saving up to have my Sonic Frontiers Line 3 tricked out to the nines. It just took over as my favourite when I recently got it over 750 hours and finally broken in. Then, the solid state power supply blew; it sounded simply amazing the night before. The noise coming out of it was truly scary. I'm so glad I wasn't using my ESL's at the time. When they go it really sends chills up and down the spine as no one wants to fix them locally any more, and I cringe at the thought of shipping them. Of course, the cost for repairs is way less than the cost to better these units, and by a very wide margin. Always keeping our fingers crossed. Cheers.

Author:  sasquatch [ Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions

One of the driver boards in the photo is dated Jan89.

Gary

Author:  Musicware4u [ Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions

The Toroidal Core transformers and the caps were installed many years later so this amp has been upgraded. The entire power supply is not original (a good thing) and I'm guessing some other work has been done. Looks like a pretty good 3B. I have owned Bryston amps and currently have a 3B NPB (the pro version of the 3B NRB) which of course has Toroidal core tranformer. It is a superb sounding amp and a definate improvement over the original. Unlike the ST or SST (not sure but it's the designer's initials), the NRB or NPB just sounds warmer and overal tonal quality is better in my opinion. Your 3B is prob much closer to sounding like mine than it was when original.

pic off the net
http://img.canuckaudiomart.com/uploads/ ... lifier.jpg

Author:  BinkyTheCat [ Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions

any way I look at it, you've got a nice little amp there.

condition looks above average and that visit to bryston was a pretty in depth overhaul!

I like it : )

Author:  sasquatch [ Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions

BinkyTheCat wrote:
any way I look at it, you've got a nice little amp there.

condition looks above average and that visit to bryston was a pretty in depth overhaul!

I like it : )

Ditto.
Almost looks as somebody raided the stock room and built from scratch.
Never seen those power supply cap/rectifier boards before either.

Gary

Author:  BinkyTheCat [ Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions

[quote="sasquatch"][quote="BinkyTheCat"]any way I look at it, you've got a nice little amp there.

condition looks above average and that visit to bryston was a pretty in depth overhaul!

I like it : )[/quote]
Ditto.
Almost looks as somebody raided the stock room and built from scratch.
Never seen those power supply cap/rectifier boards before either.

Gary[/quote]

and st heat sinks or...???? darn I crave cool things like this.

-- 18 Jul 2017 15:11 --

whoops - nope . thought those corners were wedged.

Author:  sebastian_in_toronto [ Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions

Hello again gang and thanks for your comments.

A friend listened to this refurbished 3B last night and agreed the amplifier sounded more
like a 3B NRB than the earlier versions. He also showed me some online 3B/4B product
reviews from the mid-1980s which stated the square Hammond transformers were
still in use at that time. This suggests the toroidal transformers didn't arrive in these
Bryston amps until some time after. Someone must have later swapped them out in this 3B.

I understand the company which made the toroidal transformers used in this 3B, Plitron,
wasn't even founded until 1983 -- well after the 1979 build date suggested by the amp's
3126xx serial number.

I wish I knew if the transformers were swapped out during the recent "refurbishment"
at Bryston, or during a previous repair job. Very strange.

I've added 2 more photos to complete my visual tour of this updated 3B.

Thanks again for the help here, guys.

Attachments:
1 - Front View.JPG
1 - Front View.JPG [ 245.69 KiB | Viewed 3556 times ]
10 - 224W Toroidal Transformer.jpg
10 - 224W Toroidal Transformer.jpg [ 262.85 KiB | Viewed 3556 times ]

Author:  sebastian_in_toronto [ Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions

Hello again Gang,

Just a follow-up on this amplifier:

Still mystified how a Bryston 3B amplifier made in 1979 could have toroidal transformers,
our good friend Mike at Bryston Canada cleared things up for me:

"That 3B was actually made in December of 1990, by which time we had switched
over to toroidal transformers in all amps. You’ll find toroids in the last year or so of
4B production as well, from late 1990 until it was replaced by the 4Be/NRB in 1991"

So, there you have it. I was greatly mistaken about the amplifier's *true* manufacture
date because the factory literature (including test results) which came with the amplifier
was dated 1979, not 1990. Very strange.

Mike was also very helpful in describing why the old Hammond transformers are
usually not replace with toroidals:

"We do not, as a rule, replace the transformers in these units. The reason behind this is
that it is a very expensive job, with a very modest payoff. The toroidal transformers are
much more efficient for their weight, but other than making the amp lighter, isn’t something
that you would notice. Toroidal transformers also have a much higher in-rush current, requiring
us to fit a soft-start circuit to the unit. This adds to the cost and complexity of the upgrade,
again without any payoff for you."

I can't say enough about the boys & girls at Bryston Canada!!!

Author:  johnww [ Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Bryston 3B Amplifier Images & Questions

Interesting story. Hope you enjoy the amp, regardless of age.

Thanks for the update.

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