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I wrote to you a while back, and I have a new question.

I am again considering an upgrade for my two-channel system consisting of Magico Q3 speakers driven by a Bryston 14B SST amp and a Bryston BP-25 preamp. My source is a Weiss DAC202 fed from Amarra running on a MacBook Pro, and the system is cabled with Nordost speaker cables and Shunyata interconnects. The listening area has proven to be a good one, and I have enjoyed many hours over the past seven years with what I have currently, but dreams of upgrades are part of this hobby.

I want to stay with the Q3s, and I’m considering either a simple update to Bryston 28B3 mono amps or going all-out for my dream system, which would include an MSB S202 amp in hopes of being able to add an MSB DAC at a later date.

The question is, since you have listened to some of these components and perhaps given similar systems a listen, what will I be missing in going with the Bryston preamp and 28B3 amps versus the Bryston preamp with the MSB S202 amp? A Magico M2/MSB combo is my dream system.

Thanks again for your kind advice. Your SoundStage! Ultra columns are always an informative and entertaining read.

United States

Hi Tim,

Talk about a can’t-lose situation. First of all, your current system contains some amazing products, and I have no doubt that, since you say you have a good room, the sonic performance you are experiencing is extremely good. The fact that you’ve lived with this system for seven years is a testament to that. Still, I understand—believe me!—the desire to upgrade, and I think you are looking at some great options.

Moving up to a larger Bryston amplifier—in this case going from an older 14B SST stereo amplifier to a set of the company’s most current monoblocks—is likely to yield a nice improvement. The more advanced circuitry of the later design and the higher amount of power should translate nicely into sonic gains. I have to say I have not heard any of these Bryston amps in my system, though the company’s reputation for terrific amplifiers is well known.

I have heard the MSB S202, and it is truly an exquisite amplifier. How it would fare in the same system versus the largest Bryston monos is anyone’s guess. However, the real clue as to what you should do is when you say you want to add an MSB DAC eventually. Any MSB DAC paired with any MSB amplifier is going to give you a unique synergy, which I explained in detail in the S202 review linked above. If an MSB DAC is in your future, then my advice is to stretch for the S202 now.

As for your dream setup of the above-mentioned MSB components and a pair of Magico’s fantastic M2 loudspeakers, I’m with you there. I can’t think of a compact system that would outperform it, frankly. The amazing sonics, when coupled with the exemplary build quality of these products, mean you’d be in rare air in terms of the overall high-end experience. Truly an endgame system.

Good luck, and please let me know what you settle on.

Jeff Fritz