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Review Bryston 4B SST3 power amplifier


Final verdict

Reproducing a natural sound of voice and instrument, a combination of the instrument including fundamental and overtones (‘timbre’), generally turns out to be a difficult mission. Musicians among you will attest to this. The choice of the right amplifier has an important influence on this. Focus, placement, stereo image and sound depth are difficult criteria in themselves for an amplifier manufacturer. The result of 40 years of further development and innovation; the 4B3 excels in all areas.

The openness, neutrality and linear behaviour across the entire frequency spectrum are remarkable. Especially the speed of the whole gives a better articulation of voices and a tighter definition of the mid-bass area. All tones, resonances and instrument-specific imperfections are reproduced beautifully and faithfully. Despite the fast character of the power amp, the 4B3 brass instruments without sharp edges to display and this is often the Achilles heel of solid-state amplifiers. This effect is clearly audible in cymbals and rides in percussion. We often hear a minimal ‘sssh’ sound, but this is missing in the 4B3. Instead we hear a warm, ‘singing’ copper sound.

We have to admit, the result of the Salomy input stage is phenomenal. The sophistication and sound image of the 4B3 comes very close to a high-end tube amp. The power reserves of the Bryston 4B3 will rarely be drawn on under normal conditions, but it ensures optimum control and stability under the toughest conditions. This makes the 4B3 just as usable as the previously tested 3B3.

We’ve listened to the Bryston combination with a wide variety of music styles and we can’t say that it’s only suitable for a specific genre. From classical, jazz to pop and (hard)rock, the Bryston shows itself to be an everybody’s friend and plays everything at goosebumps level; and regardless of the volume. The refinement in the reproduction, natural timbre and the ability to involve the listener in the music works infectiously on us. So contagious that we don’t really want to give it up anymore.

The Bryston has left such a good impression on us that we decide to retire our old reference 4B and use this 4B3 as a reference amplifier from now on. Carefully we approach the importer and prepare him for the inevitable; this 4B3 will be a keeper. Six thousand Euros is quite an investment for us, but with a guarantee period of twenty years, we know that we will not have any unforeseen costs until we reach retirement age.

Now let’s hope we can exceed the life span of our Bryston.

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