Media Servers

Bryston BDP-1 Music Server and BDA-1 DAC

ARTICLE INDEX

The Design

A review of the BDA-1 has already been published, so I won't go into any detail here about it, other than to say it mated perfectly with the BDP-1 Music Server. It uses top quality dual DAC chips for use as fully balanced stereo analog outputs. I could have used a different DAC, but since we already have bench test data in the previously published review, I thought it would be a good idea to use it with the BDP-1.

Unlike most music servers that have built-in hard drives, the BDP-1 has connections for hard drives, via USB 2.0 ports. However, it really is designed for you to use music stored on your USB thumb drives that you might be using on several players (my new Nissan Leaf electric car has a USB port to connect a thumb drive to play music stored on the drive).

There are two USB ports on the front, and two on the rear panel.

You simply plug in your external USB hard drive, or up to four USB thumb drives, all selectable from the front panel, and the BDP-1 will load information about the albums stored on the drives.

The front panel display is very small. This is because the BDP-1 is designed to be used with an iPod or iPad, wirelessly through your local network.

When setting up the BDP-1 to be controlled with, say, an iPad, first you go to a computer that is on your wireless network and make sure that the Bryston shows up in the Network Devices. You should also check the Bryston website for the availability of any new firmware updates. I did that, with the BDP-1 hard-wired to my wireless router, and downloaded the latest version. A screen shot of the firmware update menu is shown below. Once that is completed, and you have connected the BDP-1's digital output to a DAC (in my case, the BDA-1), and the stereo outputs of the DAC to a stereo input on your preamplifier, you are ready for some music.

If you have an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, use it to download the free app called M-Pod or, for $2.99, M-Pad. Open the program, and select the Bryston. At this point, you will see the music listed that is stored on the devices you have plugged into the BDP-1. The control device (iPhone, iPod, iPad) will display the music, and you merely select the albums or songs you want to play.

The iPad communicates with your wireless network router, and the wireless network router communicates with the BDP-1, so you need a wireless network to use the iPhone, iPod, or iPad with the BDP-1. However, if you don't have a wireless network in your home, or don't want to add the iPad-BDP-1 system to your wireless network, you can simply purchase an inexpensive wireless router, plug it into the BDP-1, and the iPad, using the M-Pad app, will see the router and you can play your music using this single dedicated wireless router.

Here is what the front display panel on the BDP-1 looks like:

bryston-bdp-1-bda-1-closeup-of-bdp-1-display

And here is what you would see if you use your i-device as a controller (in my case, it is an iPad):

bryston-bdp-1-bda-1-i-pad-screen-shot

Obviously, you will want to use an i-device to control the BDP-1. However, note that you can also interface the BDP-1 with your PC or MAC and play music that is stored on your computer.