Bryston BDP-Pi An Upmarket Squeezebox Player!

Posted by trig on February 2, 2017

A recent review by Philip Schneckenburger in HiFi Einsnull magazine alerted me to the existence of an unexpected and interesting new product from Bryston, a venerable Canadian manufacturer of high end audio equipment. By "high-end" I mean, of course, expensive, well built, heavy and sounding great. 

The product is Bryston's latest digital audio player, the Bryston BDP-Pi. 


Here is a link to Philipp's review (pdf download) - translated into English. Here's a link to HiFi Einsnull.

So what's so unexpected and interesting? Isn't it just another digital audio player from a mainstream company? Well, not really. Here's what attracted my attention. 

  • The BDP-Pi is a Squeezebox player, among other things. We have been very happy to see companies like IQaudio, HiFiBerry, and Allo create devices that fill the Squeezebox player niche left unserved by Logitech. It's good to see a long-established name in the audio firmament offer a player too. That's unexpected. 
  • However, my guess is that it was Roon, oddly enough, that was the key to finding Squeezebox player software on the BDP-Pi. Roon has been able to support Squeezebox players as endpoints since December 2015 (Roon 1.1 Build 88). So it may have been that it was the price/performance characteristics of the typical squeeze endpoint player that was the attraction, rather than the wonderfulness of the Squeezebox ecosystem. After all, in a Roon / Squeeze Player environment, LMS is not needed. That's interesting. 
  • Price/performance? Developers of open source software and firmware for Squeezeplayers have done a brilliant job. (You know who you are. Thanks.) The Raspberry Pi with add-on boards from the innovative companies mentioned above has demolished the traditional player pricing model. And so we find that at the heart of the classy Bryston BDP-Pi, we have a Raspberry Pi plus a HiFiBerry Digi board, one of our favorite Squeezebox player combinations. That's unexpected. 
We have not had a chance to audition the BDP-Pi, although we'd love to. We expect the digital audio output to be bit-perfect as it is in our own home made RPi+HiFiBerry Digi constructions. We would expect that Bryston has put a lot of effort into integrating the Manic Moose firmware (used on all their BDP devices) with the Roon Core and the Squeezeplayer software. Plus, Bryston knows a thing or two about power supplies. Here at easysqueezebox we have always emphasized the important of clean, regulated and over-specified power for RPi audio devices, and we believe that Bryston will have done a decent job in that department. When we get our hands on one, we'll let you know. 
With the BDP-Pi, you will need to pair a decent DAC. Bryson makes great DACs, but the BDP-Pi can push its bits into any DAC you want to use. 

If you are already a Roon user, you will know that Roon will pull together all your musical sources into one "Core" and provide you with a neat integrated library of everything that you can play back on a wide variety of audio players - including standard Squeezebox players. But if your digital music life is less complicated, then you should be able to keep your Squeezebox server and use the BDP-Pi simply as another endpoint player, and we expect it to do a good job of that too. 



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