Bryston BP-17 cubed or Benchmrk LA4 Preamp

My old Levinson No. 38s preamp is getting a bit long in the tooth. Oh, it is working fine; I've got the itch.

I have recently used a Cary CAD-120s in my system and found it less musical than my Bryston 2.5b cubed power amp, so tube preamps are out. Seems I just can't "appreciate" the tube sound.

I've been researching preamps. The Benchmark and the Bryston BP-17cubed (or other Bryston preamps) are the two that seem to meet my price and feature desires. But sound....don't know how these units differ. How different is the sound compared to my old Levinson? Which one(s) would you recommend?

My speakers are Usher V-604, a 2-way MTM floorstander, and a HSU sub.


Thanks for your help.

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xkevemaher

Budget is $6K USD. Both of the preamps above meet this criterion.

I'd like hear opinions on at least two things:

1. Between the two preamps I've mentioned above.

2. Between either of the two above and any other preamp that I should consider within the price range.

Both the Benchmark LA4 and Bryston BP-17^3 are designed to be reference-oriented devices. So things like frequency response, etc. will be very similar. The noise floor on the LA4 is lower. The BP-17^3 has more inputs and outputs, plus a headphone jack and the option for DAC or phono modules. They're both excellent options.

The BP-17^3 has been discontinued, so you will likely not find it available new. But it does mean you may be able to find a used or demo unit at a better price (I have a demo unit available). The BP-19 replaced the BP-17^3 and still fits in your budget. The BR-20 is a little above your budget.

@nekoaudio  I'd like to hear more about the demo BP-17 you mentioned.

Please PM me if you would like.

I have seen new units for sale at a few online retailers.

What is the difference in the sound between the  the BP-17 cubed and the BP-19 cubed?