What a score! I think the BEL is a very nice sounding amp. What is your budget for a preamp? Get a tubed preamp.
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What? You got a BEL MK II and a CD player for $8.50? Did you mean $850? If you bought it at $8.50, I would then offer to buy your BEL MKII at $20. :)
I used to own BEL MKII, to MKIII, to MKIV, and to MKV. They are awsome amps. If you can find another MKII, then you can run them as mono amps. Sound is way better as mono amps. Unfortunately, the designer Dick Brown passed away. I don't know if anyone out there continues his legendary work.
I would pick a tube preamp to go with any of the BEL amps. I had good result with CAT and CJ preamp.
You will get plenty of folks to tell you that you scored large, and I agree. I found a BEL 1001 Mk V 3 years ago and ran it in my system, changing out with my other amps (I kept most the others, putting them in other systems.) I was very happy with the tube like warmth, but in a very honest, no frills package. Imaging was stellar, and the soundstage deep. I found a 2nd Mk V a year later, switch the toggle on both to mono (on back panel), and bi amped my Meadowlark Blue Heron II's. Magic! This setup retired a Musical Fidelity Trivista 300, ARC VT 130SE, McCormack DNA-1 (Gold + mods), and a Pass X250.5. I have tried a Gill Audio Alana pre (modded), Aesthetix Calypso, but settled on a Hovland HP 100 (tweeked by Mr. Hovland). The BEL's mate well with tube pre's.
You may have found out, but Mr. Richard Brown was an electrical engineer with an intense interest in audio. He worked for some audio component companies (I'm not sure which ones), but started making his own amps at home. Those who heard them wanted ones for themselves, so he went into business, sort of. He had a lousy but completely honest business plan: he made everything himself, he tested each unit until he was happy with it, he never compromised or cut corners, and he sold a damn fine amp for relative peanuts. Unfortunately, he died after a very brief illness in the fall of 2010. I don't think anyone picked up the mantle; mainly because this is a currency driven business and Mr. Brown did it for what appears to be the love and pride of his workmanship. Keep your amp; they will become rarer and at full retail price, are still a bargain.
Thanks all for info about the amp and about Richard Brown. I'd love to find another one for $8.50 so I can run them in mono as suggested by you audiophiles. My guess is hell will freeze over first. Unfortunately my budget is zero towards a preamp. My local music store has a preowned luxman C-02 preamp for $130.00 I know its not a tube preamp, but think I might ask them if they would trade me for it since my budget is zero. Would the luxman be ok till I can afford a tube preamp?
Don't know about Luxman preamp. Luxman has nice reputation. I used to own a Luxman integrated with tubes that you could see through a window. That was nice sounding for budget system. If I were you, I would ask if they could loan you the preamp for a day or two so that you know if it works for you.
Keep the BEL amp. You can build a nice system around it.
I went today to see if they still had the luxman, sold it last week. They did have a pair of Boston Acoustics T830 Speakers $100 for the pair. Had nothing else but did make some guys year when he asked if they had the cd soundtrack to American Graffiti. He was so excited to purchase it you would have thought he'd just won the lotto. Did remember that my Nakamichi receiver 1 has pre output and main input, could I pull the jumpers and wire it to the bell amp so it acts like a preamp?
Its in boulder,co. A place called Bart's Music Shack, really is a one room shack. It's not real easy to find unless you know where it's at, but its worth discovering if you like vintage vinyl as well as used CDs and music DVDs. They don't sell really any audio pieces, but from time to time they have a preowned piece come thru like the luxman preamp and the boston speakers as well as some turntables.
I used to go to Bart's quite often when I lived in Denver. They did have some nice vintage gear on occasion. So did Twist & Shout but their prices weren't as attractive.
My old buddy Doug just moved his record shop from it's former outpost in North Boulder to a spot nearby Bart's. So there are a few good places in the downtown Boulder vicinity now (assuming Wax Trax is still around) to pick up vinyl.
Dear Santa, all of us audiophiles well be good next year, so to make your gift giving easier and to save on sled time. You can just give us each a room from RMAF 2012. Being the kind and generous audiophiles we are, keep a couple rooms for yourself to help you relax after a busy night of delivering gifts to the world.
This past week I found two preamps and wondered what you all thought about them and what one would be nice to use with the bel amp. The preamps are an adcom gtp-450 or a soundstream c-1. I know the adcom has a tuner and soundstream does not. Thats ok cause I have a marantz st7001 tuner I can use with the soundstream.