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I can endorse the Bel Cantos, but I have no experience with Red Dragons. I have the Bel Canto Ref 500 M and also bought the 300 Ms for a buddy of mine. We listened and compared both amps, and heard essentially no difference. I know the Ref 500 Ms get better reviews than the 300s, but at least in the system we listened to, they sounded the same: powerful, controlled, high resolution and no coloration. The system was a Marantz SA8004 CD player , a NuForce MCP 18a analog preamp, and Definitive Technology ST8080 towers. The speakers (and the room) are big and they sound great with the power provided by the Bel Cantos. Cables were Nordost Heimdall 1 interconnects and speaker cables, stock power cords. He has had them over two years now with no troubles at all. Same for me for four years with the 500s. We leave them powered up all the time, and they run cool. Hope this helps.
Yes this helps. Did they seem to have lots of power? I am running Thiel speakers which like alot of power. The Thiels tend to run a little "hot" in the high end. So I am trying to tone it down a tad. I have read reviews that say the M 300s are somewhat tube like, do you agree?Thank You for your help!
Tons of power, never in doubt. The Bel Cantos replaced a B&K amp that was 200 or 220 wpc, and the BCs seemed more in control and just as powerful. I had graduated from an 80 wpc NAD, which was also good, but you get addicted to big power. I haven't had tube equipment in 40 years, but I can say that the BCs are musical and not etched. And not bright at the high end. I think the preamp has a lot to do with it in any event.
I have owned both the Bel Canto M300 and S300. I think they sound great and love the simple, understated look. I also have owned and still do own the PS Audio Trio A-100 amp. These amps use the same ICE modules and have a near identical sound. The PS Audio amp is a bit more versatile that the Bel Canto as it can be bridged mono.
Now, the shocker to me is, the PS Audio can be had for much less than the Bel Canto amps. In fact, I'd bet you could by two C-100 amps for less than a pair of Bel Canto mono amps. You'd have twice the power with more versatility. You could run two C-100s in bridged mode or bi-amp them.
Cary also made an amp with the same ICE modules which is usually priced similarly to the BC.