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      Bricasti Design

      Bricasti Design







      Bricasti came into corporate existence only in 2004, but it is not a pure startup. The principals of Bricasti were longtime Lexicon employees who had to seek other options when Harman International closed down Harman's New England operations. Bricasti co-founder (with DSP-software engineer Casey Dowdell) Brian Zolner's 20 years at Lexicon were spent in international sales. But Zolner was completely immersed in the development of the new DAC, especially from the standpoint of critical listening.

      Bricasti writes all its own signal-processing software, but contracts out certain aspects of hardware engineering to AeVee Labs, a company in New Haven. Similar to Bricasti, AeVee is made up of former employees of Madrigal Labs (another Harman International company) who worked on many of the classic Madrigal products during their time there.

      So, between Lexicon (which branched out from professional audio to home-theater audio and video processing) and Madrigal (stewards of the Mark Levinson brand and the erstwhile Proceed brand), Bricasti has access to considerable knowledge bases of audio engineering and the professional and audiophile markets. As far as I'm concerned, they have a pretty good story to tell.

      Bricasti's first product, released in 2007, was their M7 stereo reverberation processor for the professional recording and mastering markets—not surprising, considering the widespread use of Lexicon reverberation units in pro audio. Bricasti's clean-sheet-of-paper M7, which uses reverberation synthesis rather than convoluting from recorded impulse samples, has gained an enviable reputation as the "gold standard" of reverb generators. Its users include legendary recording engineers Al Schmitt (Capitol Recording Studio A) and Chris Lord-Alge, Robert Friedrich (Telarc), pianist Alicia Keys, and the archival-recording operations of the Chicago and Boston symphonies.

      Maker of highly-regarded studio electronics, Bricasti hit the market with a state-of-the-art DAC that is the fruit of some of the best grey matter in digital audio, namely, ex-Madrigal and Lexicon Brian Zolner (company President and the ‘Bri’ in Bricasti) and Casey Dowdell (digital software designer and the ‘cas’ in the nomenclature). Further digital design is outsourced to Aevee Labs, a company made up of ex-Madrigal engineers and headed by Bob Gorry, former Chief Engineer at Madrigal Audio Labs. All this Madrigal and Lexicon (now Harman International) über know-how has had some obvious design influences on the Bricasti products; quite aside from the treasures hidden inside, there’s more than a passing physical resemblance to Mark Levinson components of yore in that smoothly curvaceous gunmetal and silver aluminium external livery.