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 Post subject: BP26 vs Moon Neo 350P
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:21 pm 
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I'm going to be adding a dedicated preamp to my system. I've been using an integrated line stage pre-out for the time being. I've narrowed it down to either the Bryston BP26 with separate power supply or the Simaudio Moon Neo 350P. I've arrived at these two as they both have balanced outputs, the option for onboard phono stage, or DAC (if I decide to replace my existing units - see below). I have dealers in the city who carry these which has also lead me to choosing between these two options.

My current system:

VPI Scout II w/ DV 20X2L - Moon LP3 phono w/ separate power supply - Moon 300D DAC - Bryston 3B Pro amp - Totem Hawk - Cardas Parsec interconnects and speaker cable

One dealer carried Moon and the other Bryston so trialling them side by side, in the same room, with the same source and components isn't possible. To further complicate things the Bryston is only built to order so listening to it at all probably can't happen.

I don't want tubes, so please don't recommend any other amps. I'm just looking for opinions for others who may have considered between these two.

My intention after the preamp is to upgrade my power amp eventually. I haven't fully thought it through, but I would be leaning to likely match whichever pre I choose, so either a 4B3 or Moon power amp - although right now my hunch is the Bryston.

I don't need to replace my current phono stage and DAC, but may decide to have those options included on whichever preamp I go with. The only reason I would is to streamline the system and remove the added connections and interconnects that come with running separate phono and DAC.

I primarily use my turntable for listening (85%) and only use the DAC for streaming and for convenience when I'm not feeling up to switching records.

Looking forward to any opinions or experiences you all may have to share.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:40 am 
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Personally I find Simaudio Moon to sound bright and hard, the Bryston more neutral. To me I found Simaudio to have a ramped up treble.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:46 am 
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I did not compare both but I really like my BP26, a lot of input and output XLR/RCA, nice remote...


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:39 am 
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Energyguy999 wrote:
Personally I find Simaudio Moon to sound bright and hard, the Bryston more neutral. To me I found Simaudio to have a ramped up treble.

Coming from a 14B Cubed and MOON 600i owner the Bryston is brighter and more "hard" sounding although I wouldn't necessarily use those words to explain either product. It's even more apparent with the older MOON products.

If the OP is going to stay in the Bryston camp and can't be persuaded to get a tube pre might as well go with the BP26.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:00 am 
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James_W wrote:
Energyguy999 wrote:
Personally I find Simaudio Moon to sound bright and hard, the Bryston more neutral. To me I found Simaudio to have a ramped up treble.

Coming from a 14B Cubed and MOON 600i owner the Bryston is brighter and more "hard" sounding although I wouldn't necessarily use those words to explain either product. It's even more apparent with the older MOON products.

If the OP is going to stay in the Bryston camp and can't be persuaded to get a tube pre might as well go with the BP26.

I don't know James, I've owned them all and I think the BP-17 has the most pleasant delivery of all the Bryston pres. I found the BP-26 harsh and mechanical sounding but than again, we all hear differently.YMMV.... :)

Disregard, I just noticed the op wants balanced ins and outs which the BP-17 doesn't have. :(
It only has balanced outs.

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Last edited by KJT1 on Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:42 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:09 am 
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KJT1 wrote:
I don't know James, I've owned them all and I think the BP-17 has the most pleasant delivery of all the Bryston pres. I found the BP-26 harsh and mechanical sounding but than again, we all hear differently.YMMV.... :)

I'll take your word on it, none of them made it past a home demo on my end. For my ears a tube pre was mandatory.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:13 am 
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James_W wrote:
KJT1 wrote:
I don't know James, I've owned them all and I think the BP-17 has the most pleasant delivery of all the Bryston pres. I found the BP-26 harsh and mechanical sounding but than again, we all hear differently.YMMV.... :)

I'll take your word on it, none of them made it past a home demo on my end. For my ears a tube pre was mandatory.

Me too. This was before I tried my first tube pre, never going back. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:02 am 
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I see you guys are pretty strongly suggesting a tube pre. I have avoided looking at those for the most part since they rarely have phono stages or remotes. I appreciate the "tube sound" as I play guitar and understand the sonic differences between a tube and SS amplifier. I would consider a tube pre under the following conditions:

- Absolutely must come with a remote control
- Absolutely must be black in colour (not my call...)
- MM/MC phono stage would be nice to have, but not necessary
- Not absolutely huge

Price point would be similar to what I'd be spending on the Moon or Bryston, so let's say $5000 Canadian, give or take.

Looking forward to your suggestions.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:56 pm 
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I'd wager a guess that Ken will recommend an Icon Audio and James will recommend BAT.

I've used a Icon w/ Bryston 4B Cubed on Hawks many times. If you want balanced options you'll need their LA5 TX. It's a real transformer coupled pre. The single ended outputs benefit from the transformers as well if you need to run longer interconnects of either variety. No balanced inputs though. Two singled outputs, one balanced output pairs.

No internal phono options on Icon though. They work very hard to make their phono stages quiet and they are mostly two chassis. One for tube regulated power supply and one for preamp stage. The Icon Audio PS3 is the best phono preamp I've ever heard. Although my experience with phono stages above $4k is limited. Only one I've heard actually competes anywhere near it's price. That one is actually the new Bryston BP2 MC. Also a high quality two box affair.

-- 16 Feb 2017 21:59 --

The Primaluna Dialogue Premium Pre with phono option is good as well. But not in the same league as the less expensive Icon Audio LA4mkiii. Neither of those have balanced options, mind you. Just a few that I have directly compared with a Bryston 3b3, 4b3 and 7b3s.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:10 pm 
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Adriankn wrote:
I'd wager a guess that Ken will recommend an Icon Audio and James will recommend BAT.

I don't make it a habit to always recommend gear I own, too much good stuff out there to assume what I run is the best. A new BAT piece will be well out of the OP's budget (Canadian retail on the entry level VK-33 is just under 10k). I can't recommend used as my experience is only with their new stuff. If buying used I'd recommend an Audio Research LS27, something is just right about the synergy with Bryston amps and I haven't had any AR customers bringing them in for service.

I heard a Wyetech Labs preamp with a 4B SST2 that was damn good too but my experience is limited to one long listening session.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:31 pm 
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Adriankn wrote:
I'd wager a guess that Ken will recommend an Icon Audio and James will recommend BAT.

I've used a Icon w/ Bryston 4B Cubed on Hawks many times. If you want balanced options you'll need their LA5 TX. It's a real transformer coupled pre. The single ended outputs benefit from the transformers as well if you need to run longer interconnects of either variety. No balanced inputs though. Two singled outputs, one balanced output pairs.

No internal phono options on Icon though. They work very hard to make their phono stages quiet and they are mostly two chassis. One for tube regulated power supply and one for preamp stage. The Icon Audio PS3 is the best phono preamp I've ever heard. Although my experience with phono stages above $4k is limited. Only one I've heard actually competes anywhere near it's price. That one is actually the new Bryston BP2 MC. Also a high quality two box affair.

-- 16 Feb 2017 21:59 --

The Primaluna Dialogue Premium Pre with phono option is good as well. But not in the same league as the less expensive Icon Audio LA4mkiii. Neither of those have balanced options, mind you. Just a few that I have directly compared with a Bryston 3b3, 4b3 and 7b3s.

Yup, that's the one I'd recommend. I also really liked the Audible Illusions M3A ( no remote ) and the McAlister M12 " I think that was the model # " but it was a little noisy between selections.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:50 pm 
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Don't mean to hijack the thread, but this discussion reminds me that I really need to finish my Bryston BP-26 vs Sonic Frontiers Line-3 shootout....
For the OP, the Line 3 has the balanced I/O and remote, and is available in a silver+black colour scheme. The catch is both boxes are 2ui high, rather than the 1ui of the Bryston.
Cheers, Dave


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:27 am 
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I took some time to look them all over. I'm very interested in the Audio Research LS-27 as recommended. I would be in the market for a used one of course. It seems they are pretty tough to find, especially in the black version. I will keep watching CAM and Audiogon for some to pop up. Any beat on AR dealers that may have one on a trade-in?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:46 am 
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Adriankn wrote:
I'd wager a guess that Ken will recommend an Icon Audio and James will recommend BAT.

I've used a Icon w/ Bryston 4B Cubed on Hawks many times. If you want balanced options you'll need their LA5 TX. It's a real transformer coupled pre. The single ended outputs benefit from the transformers as well if you need to run longer interconnects of either variety. No balanced inputs though. Two singled outputs, one balanced output pairs.

No internal phono options on Icon though. They work very hard to make their phono stages quiet and they are mostly two chassis. One for tube regulated power supply and one for preamp stage. The Icon Audio PS3 is the best phono preamp I've ever heard. Although my experience with phono stages above $4k is limited. Only one I've heard actually competes anywhere near it's price. That one is actually the new Bryston BP2 MC. Also a high quality two box affair.

-- 16 Feb 2017 21:59 --

The Primaluna Dialogue Premium Pre with phono option is good as well. But not in the same league as the less expensive Icon Audio LA4mkiii. Neither of those have balanced options, mind you. Just a few that I have directly compared with a Bryston 3b3, 4b3 and 7b3s.


Kind of off topic here...but how did the 4b3 and 7b3 compare to one another?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:19 pm 
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OP here. I thought I would update this thread. A few months ago I was able to find an Audio Research LS17SE in excellent condition for the right price. I had been looking pretty hard and hoping for an LS27 as recommended, but the prices just weren't coming down from outside my budget range. I was hoping that the introduction of the LS28 meant that the LS27 prices may come down.

I have also upgraded my power amp to a Bryston 2.5B cubed, so I'm hoping to make a full evaluation of the two new additions in the coming months.

Thanks for the suggestions, especially on the AR pre-amp. I think it will be a huge leap for my system.


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