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Bryston SP4 Surround Processor for Home Theaters Explained by

hey this is Drew with Moon Audio and we’re
really excited today to have gary dayton from bryston and we’re here to talk
about a fantastic new pre-pro processor for your home theater the SP 4 I’ve been
waiting a long time for a new processor that really had the configurations that
I needed from my home theater I’m still using the Denon upa-1c HDI it’s a
honker big massive chassis a little bit taller than the sp4 weighs a million
pounds and it’s the only processor at the time that had at least two but
actually has three subwoofer outputs so that I can really get a good
configuration on my home theater in the way I want it to sound the bad news
about it is it’s dated it doesn’t have Dolby Atmos and you know I need to get
with new technology so finally somebody has come out with something very special
and I’m very excited about to replace out with and we’re gonna be selling it
at Moon Audio starting when starting at the end of the month
into the month and what month is this this is May so Gary’s going to tell us a
little bit about the functionality then we’re going to turn it around and look
at more of the technical inputs and outputs and all the crazy things you can
do with it so tell us about it Carrie alright so Bryson is very pleased to
introduce the new SP 4 this is a fully functional surround sound immersive
surround sound processor for high-end home theaters the unit features 16 fully
configurable outputs a seven by two HDMI switch you can take seven HDMI ends to
HDMI outs it supports the full range of dolby digital DTS at most DTS X and even
or 3d surround codecs you can mix legacy sources to take full advantage of your
immersive surround loudspeaker layout it can also process to channel sources in
either their native mode or a nut mix it doubles as not only a very high quality
surround processor but also an extremely good quality to channel preamp as well
one of the nice things about the SP 4 is that not everybody has 16 channel layout
and home theater but any unused channels can
be routed to either a second zone or you can build a special headphone out zone
using the sphere audio codec to get surround virtualization and you’re in
your headphone unit or you can route your sources to distribute audio systems
throughout the home regardless of how you use the sp4 there’s always a way to
take full advantage of all 16 outputs on the back plus the down mix channels to
build your entire home entertainment system around this unit so we’ll take a
look at the back part of the SP 4 where there’s just a plethora of inputs and
outputs and and first we’re going to talk about the video aspect yeah so the
the SP 4 has a full suite of inputs and outputs that are fully configurable so
regardless of how your theater is configured you can find a way to use the
SP 4 in a very intuitive and a high performance way taking a look first at
the HDMI inputs we have seven inputs and two outputs this HDMI switch can accept
a wide variety of formats it can process at up to 600 megahertz so you get full
HD are 4k for the inputs out of the box run at hdcp 2.2 HDMI 2.0 speeds the
other three can be enabled to run the that speed as well through software and
then the two outputs let you configure two different monitors these are in
parallel so maybe you want to have one go to a projector and another go to a
television but this is a this is a modern software upgradeable HDMI sleeve
so that has new additions of HDMI come out we should be able to issue firmware
updates to keep your SP for current for quite a long time and essentially it’s
all passed through so you don’t have to worry about any issues with formats not
being taken care of this so you can do your 3d or 4k whatever it’s going to
pass through and whatever your blu-ray DVD Xbox etc is doing it’s going to push
it through no matter what and a great other feature
with the dual outputs as you can do picture and picture with your projector
so you can watch two sports games at once so that’s very nice so tell us
about the the audio outputs that’s going to go to all of our amplifiers so take
note first of the fact that of these 16 channel outputs not a single one is
labeled for a specific speaker location they’re simply labeled 1 through 16
instead of left front right front Center etc that’s because each one of these
fully balanced analog outputs is configurable to any loudspeaker location
in your theater or in another zone in addition to the 16 balanced outputs we
have a pair of dedicated down mix outputs so these down mix outputs will
always process 2.0 down mix of whatever surround program you’re running and you
can assign those to either run to the distributed audio system in your home or
you might decide to add the optional Sphere audio license which is an
incredibly believable headphone virtualizer forced surround maybe you’re
down mix and headphone system is often 2 bedrooms so you can start the movie in
your cinema finish up in the bedroom with a bryceton BHA one and a headphone
ready very nice very nice and what I’m really excited as I alluded to earlier
is now I can go from 3 subwoofers before individually configured subwoofers in my
home theater which I’ve wanted to do for a very long time yeah everybody knows
that LFE base is mono base but with the bryceton SP 4 you can configure as many
of these outputs to process subwoofers as you’d like even though the signal is
mono going into each sub every sub can have its own level and EQ curve applied
and so I’m assuming we can do DSP correction for every speaker
individually every speaker individually yeah every channel has its own 10 band
parametric equalizer and so taking care of that boom in the room the unwanted
anomalies that are happening from your subwoofer if you’ve only got one LFE
output you’re really somewhat screwed so now I can configure each one based on
its location and the geometry of the room to take care of too much boom and
get it tighter and more controlled yeah speaking of subwoofers you can also
integrate those subs with the main speakers through a very intelligent
crossover system naturally you can set the crossover point between the sub and
the main speaker and in each one of these channel occasions but you can also
set separate crossover points and slopes for the high pass and low
pass in addition to delay so you can always make sure you’ve got excellent
phase addition and very linear response to through the subwoofers and then I see
we’ve got some RCA outputs and inputs can you go over those for us right so in
addition to the HDMI switch we also offer legacy sources we have three
Toslink and three coaxial digital inputs as well as eight RCA inputs so looking
first at the digital inputs this is a great way to support legacy sources
maybe a DVD player maybe a CD player music server etc you these spin if
receivers will take up to 192 24 digital audio the RCA input is particularly
configurable this in software can be configured to support either 7.1 Audio
maybe through an OPA or Universal disc player if you want to listen to
multi-channel audio discs and surround or they can be configured as four pairs
for stereo input pairs it also be convenient for your older si CD players
that had the multiple music audio format outputs so that would be good for that
and then if you could tell us about the control connectors as well yeah this is
where the SP 4 really shines there’s a lot of very difficult to use at most
processors on the market that almost require an advanced degree to set up and
use but barrestins SP 4 has really put quite
a bit of focus on user interface and for setup and control this means operating
the SP floor through a dedicated bryceton web interface or through an iOS
app so when your SP 4 is connected to your local network through Ethernet 100
megabits per second Ethernet connection you can log into this from your iPad
computer or mobile phone etc and go through a series of very intuitive menus
to do a setup process within that setup process you can connect a microphone
such as our our optional model here to do automatic room calibration or take
measurements you can also configure trigger outputs so that based on what
source you’re listening to or what profile you have currently enabled
different products in your home theater rack are turned on and off so using the
SP 4 has the control up for your makes an awful lot of sense based on
some areas and profiles you set up you can always have just the right gear on
or off and perfectly configured and then I see that we’ve got a couple of panels
I guess for upgrades in the future what do you think are some potential options
for those right yeah for a processor of this scale in this price it’s very
important that it stays current in your home theater for a very long time we
have two separate slots that will accept upgrade modules right out of the gate we
offer a 16 channel RCA output that can be inserted into this slot here this
will give you the opportunities to either run 16 extra channels in your
existing theater if you have a particularly large room or you can
assign these channels separately to feed other zones other possibilities for
modules in the future include a full bypass analog section which would
duplicate the precision of Bryson’s analog preamplifiers
we may also do a dark section that includes USB and spit of input but
really the possibilities are endless the digital audio and DSP engine that’s
built into the SP 4 has lots of extra Headroom so that as customers come to us
with specific requests we can consider new features in the future so tell me a
little bit about all the calibration software and kits and whatnot what are
the different options that customers might want together yeah so there are
several different options the SP 4 can be configured automatically with a dirac
live system with the optional direct live kid
you can place a microphone in the theater let the SP 4 run a full suite of
measurements you know with your your laptop in the microphone and
automatically program the SP 4 to have flat response in your room you can save
that calibration as a profile and make modifications to the profile or
duplicate the profile for different listening scenarios if you choose not to
purchase the dirac Live kit you can also manually go in measure each channels
response you can build groups to measure the response of speakers and subwoofers
put together and configure just the right EQ on a per channel basis using
your ears or the microphone or a combination of the two to achieve
excellent response regardless of your home configuration so what that means is
essentially now you guys that are trying to have two systems in one a two channel
and a home theater it’s very it’s been very complicated in the past to try and
get both to sound right in the same room it sounds like this tool really makes it
flexible for creating a profile for audio so when you want to listen to
music it doesn’t have the same sort of boom if you will to the that you had
with your theater it’ll be more tight controlled and audiophile like if you
will so that’s really exciting because now even get rid of some extra gear that
I’ve got in my theater and just set it up as a dedicated theater that can do
two channel as well and pull out my two Channel preamp that’d be nice yeah it’s
worth noting that those profiles are very very configurable
in addition to different eq’s that that you can apply to the same speaker layout
in one room you can also build profiles that will let only the two front left
and right speakers run in full range for your music listening for instance but
you might want to enable subwoofers for your movie listening so use these
profiles wisely build certain listening scenarios for yourself and make
listening to music and movies in the same room an absolutely joy and pleasure
very exciting well we’ll have all the information on this product on our
website as well as PDFs and setup guides and so forth in the future as they
become available we’re really excited can’t wait to start
shipping these out to you guys thank you


  1. J G Author

    I love Bryston gear but the price is insane for a non-modular piece of gear that will likely be outdated in two years. Or, is it modular?


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