Bryston SP3 7.1 Surround Sound Processor Review


Bryston SP3 Surround Sound Processor Review Highlights

Best of 2014 Awards

This review covers the Bryston SP3, which is a 7.1 channel preamplifier / processor. The SP3 uses Class A discrete analog circuitry and does not use mass-market large-scale analog integrated circuits in the design of its output stages. Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity has published a series of articles on build quality and how component choices contribute to high performance design. Bryston is a great example of a company that takes component choice and design to heart. The SP3 does not strive to keep up with every mass-market product feature. Instead, it delivers on a singular goal of delivering outstanding sound quality for both two-channel stereo and multi-channel music and movies alike.

Bryston SP3 Processor Review

Bryston SP3 Surround Sound Processor Highlights Summary

  • • The Bryston SP3 uses Class A discrete analog circuitry and offers true analog bypass for both stereo and the 7.1 multi-channel input using relay switching.
  • • The sound quality is superb with outstanding clarity and detail.
  • • The SP3 does not include room correction.
  • • The SP3 performed very well on the bench with very low distortion measurements but the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) with HDMI inputs is lower than expected.
  • • The SP3 does not process any analog video, and HDMI video is passed through to a maximum of two connected displays.
  • • Bryston will be upgrading the SP3 to support 4K video pass-through.

Introduction to the Bryston SP3 Surround Sound Processor Review


  • Design: 7.1 Surround Sound Processor
  • Codecs: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, DTS, DTS-ES (Discrete, Matrix), DTS 96/24, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio
  • Dolby Volume
  • DACs: Crystal Semi-conductor (Cirrus Logic) CS-4398 24-Bit/192kHz Delta-Sigma
  • DSP: Two Texas Instruments DA710 chips with an ASRC (Asynchronous Sample Rate Converter) between the DSPs
  • 2-Zone Operation
  • Audio Connections: HDMI 1.4 (8 In, 2 Out) , Stereo Inputs (6 RCA In, 2 XLR In), Optical (3 In, 1 out), Coaxial Digital (4 In), AES/EBU (2 XLR), 7.1 Multi-channel (1 In), Pre-amp out (7.1 RCA and XLR), Auxiliary out (2 RCA, 2 XLR), Tape Loop out (2 pair stereo RCA), USB (1 Rear)
  • Other Connections: Ethernet, 12V triggers (1 in, 3 out), RS-232, IR (1 In), 2nd Zone (Stereo Audio), Headphone Jack (1/4”)
  • Dimensions: 6.25" H x 17" W x 15.38" D
  • Weight: 18 Pounds
  • MSRP: $9,500.00 USA
  • Bryston
  • SECRETS Tags: Bryston, Bryston SP3 Reviews, Surround Processor, Preamplifier reviews, Surround Processors Reviews 2014, Relay Switching, SP3

While Bryston may be best known for their expertise in analog amplifier design, they have embraced the world of digital audio and created excellent products like the BDA-2 DAC which won a Secrets Best of 2013 award. Dealing with the ever-changing HDMI landscape proved to be a big challenge for many of the high-end audio companies. Bryston took their time and developed the SP3 preamplifier / processor with a singular focus on audio quality. Their goal was to design an easy-to-use product that could perform in the world of high-resolution music and movie soundtracks, while still providing outstanding performance as an analog preamp. Let’s take a closer look at the SP3 and see just how Bryston went about tackling these goals.

Go to Page 2: Design