They may not be a name familiar to everyone but Canadian audio electronics manufacturer Bryston have a very enthusiastic following and user base on these here boards, so news of the launch of a new surround processor might just have a few salivating in anticipation. PMC loudspeakers, UK distributor of Bryston, is launching the SP-3 surround processor, following three years development and designed to surpass the SP-2, naturally. Bryston say it has 'ultra-high performance' properties that combines discrete Class A audio circuitry with separated analogue and digital power supplies, true analogue pass through and the ability to handle the latest audio formats. The SP-3 preamplifier and processor is first and foremost a high performance audio product which provides high quality two channel stereo output, in addition to 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 surround modes required for home theatre use. Processing is provided for the latest Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats as well as the standard Dolby Digital and DTS decoding for 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 channels. With ease of customer use also very much at the forefront of the designers brief and to simplify the operation of a high-end home theatre playback system, Bryston has automated many of the commonly used functions. For example, the SP-3 automatically detects the input signal bitstream type and adjusts the mode accordingly. The factory settings include the most common configurations pre-set and ready to use. In addition, step-by-step set up menus are provided for any custom settings. Building on Brystons expertise in the field of high-end audio, the SP-3 features Class A discrete analogue circuitry throughout, rather than the more common integrated circuits used for cost- saving purposes in most surround processors. Separate isolated power supplies are also utilised for the analogue and digital circuits to lower the noise floor. Future upgrades are catered for via a fully modular internal design, which enables upgrades to be performed easily; and firmware updates are conducted via the users home network, which also provides remote access for the retailer/installer in the event of any servicing requirements. Brytson has also incorporated true analogue pass-through for two channel and 5.1 and 7.1 surround formats, which eliminate any digital circuits from the signal path. With a total of 11 inputs, including six digital and one with discrete analogue stereo or 7.1 analogue and 3D compatible video pass through, plus two HDMI outputs, the SP-3 should satisfy the requirements of even the most demanding home theatre and audio set ups. It was very important to the overall value proposition of the SP-3 that this product has real longevity in the marketplace, states Brystons James Tanner. Considering the volatility of rapidly changing video formats, we have chosen to simply pass the video signal through the SP-3 untouched to the display. This helps future proof the SP-3 while emphasising Brystons expertise in delivering the finest audio performance possible. All of this doesn't come cheap, of course, and the Bryston SP-3 is priced at £9,995. It's available now.