Brys­ton

BLP-1 Turntable + BTP-1 TT Power Sup­ply

NOVO - - REVIEW -

Imag­ine this: it’s mid-morn­ing at Brys­ton’s HQ in Peter­bor­ough On­tario. James Tanner, VP of Sales, sits at his desk an­swer­ing emails. He’s sur­rounded by boxes filled with cash- CDN dol­lars, US dol­lars, and Eu­ros. There’s so much money piled up that his of­fice is—lit­er­ally—buried in cash. A bouncy sec­re­tary bounds into his of­fice and, in a bored voice—as if it’s be­come ex­pected and nor­mal—calmly says: “More money Mis­ter Tanner.” A Fed-Ex de­liv­ery guy wheels a 6 foot high stack of boxes brim­ming with cash into the of­fice. In a panic-stricken voice, J.T. yelps back: “Jumpin’ Je­sus on a Kawasaki… get it outta here!!” His sec­re­tary yawns and then asks: “What would you like us to do with it Sir?” Ris­ing up with his arms wav­ing fran­ti­cally, an adrenal­ized J.T. barks back: “Burn it! Smoke it! Throw it out the win­dow of a car onto the 401!! I don’t care. Just get rid of it! The stor­age costs of all this money are gonna bank­rupt us!”

Ok… back to re­al­ity. Con­trary to what some peo­ple might think, James Tanner isn’t hoard­ing money. Gold Bul­lion… maybe(?). But not cash cur­rency. The fact is this: Brys­ton are a very suc­cess­ful con­sumer au­dio com­pany. And this suc­cess means they can in­vest their prof­its into new prod­ucts and at­tempt things which smaller com­pa­nies sim­ply can’t. Ex­am­ples…? Brys­ton have re­leased a new turntable called the BLP-1.

DE­SIGN & FEA­TURES

This is Brys­ton’s first turntable. As such, they’ve re­lied upon the ex­per­tise of more ex­pe­ri­enced TT man­u­fac­tur­ers to bring their ‘ta­ble to life. Built to Brys­ton’s spec­i­fi­ca­tions, the plinth, drive mech­a­nism, mo­tor, and plat­ter are all sourced from Gold Note in Italy. GRW of Ger­many sup­plies the B7 ti­ta­nium ton­earm. The 3cm thick plinth is made from non- res­o­nant MDF and comes in one colour: black. The BLP-1 com­bines a belt-drive mech­a­nism with a 3.5cm thick Del­rin plat­ter, a 5mm di­am­e­ter pol­ished-bronze main bear­ing, and an 8cm long car­bon-rec­ti­fied hard­ened steel spin­dle.

The ‘ta­ble uses a 12 volt syn­chro­nous low speed / high torque mo­tor. It fea­tures Pulse Width Mod­u­la­tion (PWM) power con­ver­sion that changes volt­age in an A/C to D/C and then back again to A/C fash­ion. 33 RPM and 45 RPM ro­ta­tional speeds are both sup­ported and can be fine-tuned us­ing the power sup­ply’s speed but­tons. The stock BLP-1 comes with a 4-pin DIN fe­male out­put plug, an en­try-level OFC phono IC, a plat­ter weight, and ba­sic cylin­dri­cal feet. On a TT of this cal­iber, all of th­ese items need to be up­graded. For­tu­nately, they can be.

The BTP-1 is the turntable’s power sup­ply. It’s lin­ear; not switch­ing. Brys­ton de­signed and built the one-third sized out­board unit

en­tirely in Canada. I had a pro­fes­sional bench-tech mea­sure it. He said it’s the sec­ond best power sup­ply for a TT that he’s seen in over 20 years. The qui­etest and most ac­cu­rate one came with a ‘ta­ble sport­ing a $25K price tag. In prac­tice, the BPT-1 runs si­lent and de­liv­ers ul­tra-clean power to the mo­tor. The BTP-1 comes equipped with a Gold Note B7 9-inch long, piv­ot­ing ton­earm. To re­duce vi­bra­tion, the B7’s wand is made out of 7 dif­fer­ent di­am­e­ter ti­ta­nium sec­tions. The arm uses four sealed tung­sten mi­cro ball­bear­ings: two for the ver­ti­cal plain and two for the hor­i­zon­tal axis. The coun­ter­weight is ma­chined out of 303-grade alu­minum and can han­dle car­tridges up to 15 grams.

The in­ter­nal wiring is an AWG 36 Hy­per Litz shielded 99.9999% Oxy­gen Free Cop­per (OFC) ca­ble. The Ver­ti­cal Track­ing An­gle (VTA) can be ad­justed via 2 set screws on the arm’s base and the car­tridge’s az­imuth can also be fine-tuned by a mi­cro-sized screw.

Over­all, the B7 is a su­perbly en­gi­neered ton­earm with an im­pres­sive level of mi­cro ad­justa­bil­ity.

PER­FOR­MANCE

I let the re­view ‘ta­ble run con­stantly with a pre-in­stalled Benz-Mi­cro M0.8 M/C cart and a cus­tom-made Au­dio Sen­si­bil­ity 4-pin DIN State­ment phono ca­ble for a few weeks to burn it in. Dur­ing my lis­ten­ing ses­sions, I also tried sev­eral higher-ech­e­lon $3K to $6K level M/C car­tridges and my ref­er­ence Stealth Hyper­phono IC.

I had Gold Note’s Giglio TT with a B7 arm in for re­view at the same time as the Brys­ton ‘ta­ble. The BLP-1’s plinth, mo­tor, spin­dle mech­a­nism, and plat­ter are all made in Italy by Gold Note. Not sur­pris­ingly, th­ese two ‘tables cre­ated re­mark­ably sim­i­lar son­ics. Both of­fered an in­cred­i­bly full, co­her­ent, and mu­si­cal sound with ex­cel­lent PRaT, tim­bral ac­cu­racy, and sound­stag­ing.

With higher-end car­tridges and phono ca­bles, though, the BLP-1 ex­tracted more in­for­ma­tion from the records’ grooves than the Giglio rig. De­pend­ing on the car­tridge and the phono ICs, the BLP-1 of­fered 10% to 15% more sound across the fre­quency spec­trum than the Giglio.

With the sick­en­ing news that Gord Downie has ter­mi­nal brain can­cer, for sev­eral months now I’ve been go­ing through a strong re­nais­sance with the Trag­i­cally Hip’s mu­sic. 1996’s Trou­ble at the Hen­house is a fas­ci­nat­ingly in­tro­spec­tive al­bum that sounds like the band was paint­ing with sonic tex­tures.

Pace, Rhythm, and Tim­ing (PRaT) ac­counts for a lot of what dis­tin­guishes the sound of a ‘ref­er­ence’ cal­iber TT from a medi­ocre ‘ta­ble. If the PRaT is even slightly off or the tim­bre of the var­i­ous in­stru­ments sounds un­nat­u­ral, mu­sic loses its fo­cus, in­ten­sity, and pu­rity.

On songs like ‘Gift Shop’, ‘Spring­time in Vi­enna’, ‘Don’t Wake Daddy’, and ‘700ft Ceil­ing’, the BLP-1 re­pro­duced the amaz­ing son­ics on this al­bum with su­perb PRaT and chilling tim­bral ac­cu­racy. At the front end of the song ‘Sherpa’, for ex­am­ple, the pitch and de­cay of the odd high-moun­tain gui­tar sounds echo­ing around the sound­stage was as clear, ac­cu­rate, and haunt­ing as I’ve ever heard it; which made lis­ten­ing to the track a soul-mov­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

As I wanted to hear if the BLP-1 could han­dle faster and heav­ier mu­sic, I needed some­thing… eh hem… harder. Bri­tish doom-metal band Cathe­dral’s End­tyme is a ce­ment-mixer heavy al­bum that swings with an in­fec­tious rhythm and groove. If you like Black Sab­bath, you’ll (prob­a­bly) en­joy Cathe­dral’s vibe. Ac­cu­rately recre­at­ing the ster­num belt­ing low-end slam con­tained on this record will chal­lenge any TT.

With End­tyme, the BLP-1 rig pre­sented the com­plex time sig­na­tures, dy­namic shifts in en­ergy, and the pos­i­tive / neg­a­tive mood swings (i.e. the ‘feel’) of this heavy record with pre­ci­sion and bravado. This is the way that doom metal is sup­posed to sound.

What­ever type of mu­sic I tried, the re­sult with the BLP-1 was the same. Jazz record­ings sounded so re­al­is­tic that I could close my eyes and imag­ine be­ing at live club shows. Clas­si­cal records brought me spine-chilling mem­o­ries of live or­ches­tras I’ve heard in con­cert halls all over the world. Harder-edged rock and punk records had me on my feet play­ing air gui­tar. With good quality vinyl, this ‘ta­ble con­sis­tently made goose-bump in­duc­ing mu­sic.

Com­bined with their phe­nom­e­nal BTP-1 power sup­ply, Brys­ton’s first TT sounds like one of Gold Note’s $6K-level turnta­bles on steroids. Priced at $3,995 US, the BLP-1 is a ref­er­ence cal­i­bre ‘ta­ble with, by au­dio­phile stan­dards, an af­ford­able price tag.

Caveats…? The BLP-1’s stock phono ca­ble and cylin­dri­cal feet need to be im­proved. For­tu­nately, Au­dio Sen­si­bil­ity of­fers sev­eral su­perb plug ’n’ play 4-pin DIN phono ca­ble up­grades. And var­i­ous af­ter-mar­ket feet, spikes, or tun­ing de­vices can be in­stalled fairly eas­ily.

Have I heard bet­ter sound­ing ‘tables? Yes… but all of them have price tags in the mid 5-fig­ure range. If you’ve been search­ing for your “for­ever” ‘ta­ble and thought you had to spend $25K or more to get it, lis­ten to Brys­ton’s TT with a ref­er­ence cal­i­bre M/C car­tridge and top-shelf phono ca­ble. This may just be the last turntable you’ll ever buy.

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