Next week, Bryston will begin shipping its BDA-2 DAC, the much-anticipated update to the Golden Ear Award-winning BDA-1. The BDA-1 set something of a standard for DACs at and even above its price point of $2195. However, the earlier model’s USB chipset harkened from the era before asynchronous and higher bit rates, and USB performance suffered accordingly. The BDA-2 rectifies that deficit with a fully modern USB module. In addition, Bryston claims to have upgraded S/PDIF performance as well, thanks to the new (and very popular) AKM DAC chipset.
The BDA-2’s price is the real cause for excitement. Bryston has raised it just $200—to $2395—over the previous model. This puts the new DAC in the relatively sparse range above the myriad $1,000 units yet well below the $5k that has traditionally served as the entry to flagship territory. If the BDA-2 performs in the same league as its predecessor, and if its USB sonics now equal those it delivered S/PDIF, this is going to be a DAC to reckon with. Naturally, a review will be forthcoming.