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Bypass Surgery

I need to get this off my chest. The Bryston amp is hurting a bit. As is the ARC preamp. The SP-14 preamp won’t go out of “bypass” mode into “normal” mode anymore. If you flip the “bypass” switch to “normal” you get nothing. No sound whatsoever. Never mind that I never listen to it in normal mode. I always use bypass, so, for me, it still works. There’s just the angst of knowing it doesn’t work in a mode that, frankly, I would never use. And what does “bypass” actually bypass? Well, the balance control for one, and the mode switch. If you’re in bypass mode, forget about reversing the left and right channels. I never did understand the need for that feature. Now, an absolute polarity switch – there’s a two-channel hot button topic that could easily fill a Rosetta stone. But alas, that’s not to be had either, even when “normal” worked, well, normally.

The Bryston has a busted power switch. It wouldn’t turn off, for years, so you just unplugged it, or left it on. “It’s warming up.” When I think of all the electricity I wasted. Hybrid cars waiting in gas lines just wishing they were my amp. I knew about the on/off problem when I rewired the office system, so I plugged everything into a $7 power strip. This is how I atone. With one flip of the switch, I can turn everything on or off. So can my kids and Gina. Unfortunately, the Bryston’s power switch decided to “evolve” further. Now it will only stay on properly if you push the power button in real hard and keep pressing. Let go, and the left channel fizzles out after five seconds. Brystons have really big caps, so when the left channel fades out, it doesn’t do so with a whimper, more of a sizzle. One fears for one’s tweeter, as well one should.

Fortunately, Bryston amplifiers come with a bagillion years of warranty. You don’t even have to buy it new. You can buy it from a rug merchant in Baghdad ship it back to Canada and they’d still fix it. Point of pride I guess. You pay shipping though. Did I mention the amp is very heavy? It’s as heavy as many multi-channel amps I’ve reviewed, and you only get two channels for your trouble. Shipping from Baghdad, or even Connecticut, would be expensive. So, I’m considering a more permanent solution than the packing tape that I’ve pressed into service. Maybe a combination of packing tape and really thick cardboard. Or, I could just get the amp fixed. Maybe they’ll send me a switch and I’ll try doing it myself.

I love the new old office, in spite of the influx of lawyer-wanna-be’s, and intend on listening to lots of cool music in there and maybe even giving you my opinion of the best of them in the future. Or, I might just sit in there and write about what happens in the other room, the home theater room. That is, after all, why you’re here, isn’t it?

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