Goodbye CD players, hello Bryston BDP-1

CD players are fast becoming an endangered species; the next generation of high-end music players are going to look like Bryston's BDP-1.

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read
Done with CDs? Here's the replacement, the Bryston BDP-1 Bryston

I'm seeing fewer and fewer CD players at consumer electronics trade shows; most demonstrations play music from higher-than-CD-resolution digital files or LPs! No wonder CDs are used in less than 10 percent of the demos. So it seems like the CD, even for high-end audiophiles, will soon be an endangered species.

The Bryston BDP-1 High-Resolution Digital Music Player was designed to give audiophiles easy access to music files from USB storage devices. It's purely a player and therefore doesn't have a built-in hard-drive, streamer, or a CD player/ripper. The BDP-1 must be used with a digital-to-analog converter, and I'm sure most buyers will team the player with the company's stellar BDA-1 DAC.

Bryston is based in Peterborough, Ontario, just northeast of Toronto, and sells its products through more than 150 dealers in North America and in 60 countries worldwide.

The Linux-based BDP-1 is a standalone music player, though it can be used with a computer, iPhone, or iPad. The BDP-1's graphic interface operates under open-source software protocols, ensuring compatibility with the widest possible range of devices. Output connectivity options include AES-EBU (balanced) and BNC (spdif) jacks, with electronic isolation of audio components from computers. The BDP-1 supports 16 and 24 bit files with sample rates of 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz and 192 kHz.

Bryston's build quality is legendary. The company offers a 20-year, parts-and-labor warranty on all of its analog based components (preamps, power amps, etc), and 5 years on digital products. Production starts with a bare circuit board, and each component part (resistor, capacitor, etc.) is hand-selected and installed, every wire is cut and bent by hand, and every connection is hand-soldered.

On average it takes 30 to 35 person hours to build a single Bryston amplifier or preamplifier, and that level of dedication to quality is reflected in the 20-year warranty, which is four or five times longer than most high-end components, and 20 times longer than most mass-market products. Every Bryston undergoes comprehensive and carefully documented testing of all functions. The printed results of this computer-aided analysis are shipped with each unit. Technicians reject any product that falls outside of Bryston's advertised specifications.

The Bryston BDP-1's MSRP will be $2,100, with deliveries starting later this year. Warranty on the BDP-1 is five years, parts and labor.