The Bryston BDA-3.14 is Bryston’s current reference DAC. With its built-in volume control and multiple inputs, it is ideally suited to play a central role in a purely digital system. Why conclude this? Read on…
Let’s start with the function as a preamplifier. Because that’s an interesting one. On the sleek front panel, there are no indications for it at first, but the volume can be controlled in various ways. The most obvious method is via the infrared remote control but it can also be done via the Bryston dashboard by connecting via a PC, Mac, phone or Tablet. And when using Roon it can even be done directly from the Roon interface! When the volume is adjusted, the input selection LEDs indicate the volume level very nicely and even from a large distance it is clearly readable.
By default, the volume is set to 50% when switched on. This is a sensible safety feature that prevents heart attacks and speaker damage, but it’s also a feature that often irritated your editor with Wadia CD players and DACs at the time. Fortunately, the BDA-3.14 allows the user to define the base level of their choice in the Bryston dashboard. For this review we have set the volume to 100% to be able to compare the DAC with other DA converters via an external preamplifier.