Speakers

Hands On: Bryston Mini T Sub Exemplifies Max Engineering Prowess

CE Pro senior editor Robert Archer reviewed the Bryston Mini T subwoofer, noting he was impressed by its ability to track fast-moving bass lines without losing its grip.


Hands On: Bryston Mini T Sub Exemplifies Max Engineering Prowess
Bryston’s Mini T Sub has a unique design for a subwoofer with two 8-inch drivers in a vertical sealed enclosure.

Photos & Slideshow

Robert Archer · April 30, 2015

A few years ago when Bryston entered the loudspeaker market, the Canadian company decided to use the same no-nonsense approach that has enabled it to be one of the go-to manufacturers in both consumer and pro audio electronics. Using this approach, the company has developed new drivers and engineering techniques in the areas of cabinet vibration analysis, crossover design and anechoic testing to launch the T Series and A Series loudspeaker products.

Stating its design goals simply, Bryston says the products are engineered to produce high levels of tonal accuracy and minimum distortion for two-channel and home theater applications. Judging from industry response, early returns on its R&D in loudspeaker development indicate that Bryston’s mission has been accomplished with its design goals. It’s safe to say the same can be said about the company’s subwoofer engineering, too.

Features

Sitting within the company’s T Series of products, the Mini T is “column style” subwoofer. Unlike a majority of subwoofers that employ a large, square cabinet highlighted by a 12- or 15-inch driver, the Mini T is a small-footprint model that incorporates a pair of 8-inch drivers in a sealed enclosure.

One word of installation caution, though, despite dimensions that are more vertical than wide compared with a traditional sub the Mini T does weigh 105 pounds. The sub’s rear panel features a standard set of options that includes low-level (RCA and XLR) and speaker-level connections, volume, on/off, crossover adjustment, phase, a subsonic filter and trigger inputs.

Setup

Unpacking and placing the heavy Mini T on top of my Auralex Subwoofer platform proved to be a nice little workout. Integrating the Mini T into my system, however, was simple; I ran a subwoofer cable from an Onkyo A/V receiver to the low-level RCA input of the sub. I followed by plugging the sub into a Richard Gray’s 1200S power conditioner.

Specs

  • Frequency response 25Hz to 150Hz +/-3dB
  • Maximum SPL levels up to 108dB
  • Crossover points of 40Hz, 60Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz and 150Hz
  • 600-watt RMS internal amplifier
  • Speaker-level, and line-level RCA and XLR options
  • Finish choices: black ash, natural cherry, Boston cherry, custom veneers
  • MSRP: $3,595 standard finish; $3,995 rosewood

As I began listening, I tweaked the sub’s settings and location. I increased the volume from 10 o’clock to 1 o’clock on the dial and moved the sub from midway along my wall under my projection screen by approximately 18 inches closer to the corner of the wall. I did leave my crossover setting at 60Hz to allow for what I believe is the best integration with my Monitor Audio Platinum PL-100 speakers.

Performance

Based on my listening experience, I believe the Mini T achieves Bryston’s design goal of tight, impactful bass. Listening to the sub with music that included Avenged Sevenfold, Lorde, Young MC and Rage Against the Machine, movies such as Planes: Fire and Rescue and Transformers: Age of Extinction, and test tones, I can’t say I’ve heard a more detailed subwoofer in the mid-bass and bass frequencies.

The ability to track fast-moving bass lines such as the groove Flea plays on “Bust a Move” without losing its grip on the content was impressive, as was the thump and weight the Mini T produced with the close-miked kick drums of Avenged Sevenfold’s Arin Ilejay or Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine.

I measured the sub’s extension in my room to play down to 32Hz, but the roll-off from 40Hz to 32Hz was noticeable. Moving the sub approximately 18 inches toward the corner of my room did augment its extension. Putting aside the test tones, I think that a vast majority of users will be quite satisfied with the quality and extension of the bass the Mini T produces with movie and TV content.

Photos: Bryston Mini T Subwoofer

The punch of explosions during action movies like the Dolby Atmos-encoded Transformers disc literally rocked my house, while the growl of airplane engines and fires in the Planes sequel were aided greatly by the sub’s ability to seamlessly blend with my speakers.

Conclusions

I think the Mini T is a unique product. Its small footprint, finish and tall, slim cabinet make it one of the few subs that could be considered room friendly. Its musical performance also makes it one of a select few that can augment two-channel audio without sacrificing octave-to-octave linearity and transient speed.

In fact, the Mini T might even disappoint a public conditioned to expect one-note bass from their home theater systems. It’s simply not that type of product, and while it doesn’t hit the lowest bass levels or provide the highest output levels, the low frequencies and volume it does reproduce are uncolored, tight, fast and impactful.

You could say the Mini T is the antithesis of many subwoofer products that currently populate the market — and in this case that is a good thing.

CE Pro Verdict

Pros: Tight, impactful bass; Inert, heavy cabinet speaks to quality design; Small footprint makes Mini T more room friendly than traditional large box designs
Cons: Mini T isn’t huge, but it isn’t small or lightweight either, so it can be awkward to move around; Likely not a match for clients seeking simple low-frequency extension — it’s definitely not a one-note bass machine



  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at [email protected]

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