Bryston is one of the most famous names in professional audio amplifiers. Known for stunning reliability and incredible build quality, the amps come with an unheard-of 20-year warranty. The Canadian-designed and built Bryston 9B SST is a five-channel power amplifier that can produce 140 watts per channel into eight ohms and 200 watts per channel into four-ohm speaker loads. The amp comes with a faceplate in either silver or black, as well as options for standalone installation or a 19-inch rack-friendly faceplate. The Bryston 9B SST is priced at $6,495, which puts it toward the top of the food chain of consumer multi-channel amps, most of which come with seven, not five, channels.
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• While the bass control on the Bryston 9B-SST is very, very good, the high-frequency performance is just a little too bright for my tastes. You need to match this amp carefully with just the right speakers or the sound may be overly harsh on the high end for many listeners. Other five- and seven-channel amps from the audiophile brands such as Classé, Theta, Mark Levinson and Krell offer a more even sound over more channels for comparable money.
• While built like a tank, the look of the Bryston 9B-SST is very utilitarian overall. The front faceplate is nice and, if the amp is going in a rack, this may be no issue for you, but if you want to show off your amp like some audiophiles do, other products in the price category are built to look much better.
The Bryston 9B-SST is the definition of a robust amp that can be worked and worked and worked and always perform. The amp does have a specific sound that puts an emphasis on the high end, so you will want to audition it before making a purchase. Overall, this amp has what it takes to be the last multi-channel amp you ever buy, from a company willing to put their reputation where your money is.