Every Bel Canto product is very bright and digital sounding. You have gotten away with it so far because the Monitor Audio speakers are warm and smooth plus you have Transparent cables that are rolled off in the top end. Of you get the amp it may push you over the edge. It will be much more refined and less grainy than the NAK you have but with the same tonal balance.
Musical Fidelity has a new X series integrated amp that has a tube input stage with outboard power supply that is very small. It has the refinement of their KW series without having to pay for the brute force.
It is not warm even though it is tubes. In fact, I think it is a tadd thin but not nearly as bright as Bel Canto. With the warmth of your speakers and cables it may be a perfect match.
By the way, the tubes they use have super long lives close to 10,000 hours.
Thanks for your opinion Duane.. I looked at the X series unfortunatly the amp is too deep to fit on my shelf :-( As I'd mentioned it has to go into a cabinet that allows me only 13" ... The Musical Fidelity is 14.5 deep.
In my system not bright at all.Very well balanced sound.Duane do you like the Rotel digital amps?Plus just really clean sound,beatiful package,decent price,no tube worry,In this way overpriced hi fi,this is a pretty decent deal.Bel canto has a great history,
I do like the Rotel digital amp. I think it sounds better than any of the other Rotal amps and it was a shocker because I didn't like any other digital amps before this one. I have never heard Bel Canto in my system but I have heard it in many systems including Bel Canto systems at trade shows and it has always been dry and 2 dimensional but very clean, much like Spectral equipment.
I went to their place when I was in Minneapolis and they played a music DVD on their theater system and a 2 channel system and both were un-involving and almost annoying in how sterol they were.
If it is working great for you then awsome. I would asume you have warm speakers, cables, or a well damped room.
I have been extremely happy with my Bel Canto M300s driving Von Schweikert VR-4 JRs via anti-cables. The high end is quite detailed and if paired with a bright CDP and/or bright speakers could very well be edgy and bright. It doesn't come across that way to my ears. They are small, run cool and are fairly priced. You will have to listen to them yourself before deciding. As I have posted before, Underwood Hi Fi may give you a short trial to see if you like it. Wally is a great guy. Good luck and have fun!
My Arcam cd92t and signal cable seem to match up good with it.also just using a volex power cord with the int,and that seems ok.
Might want to get in touch with Joe Abrams at Portal Audio and see if he has any Panache's coming in from being auditioned. Get a great price ona a fine amp, plus you get the full warranty , andin home trial- it is 11 inches or so deep. Might also want to try a Consonnance B2000x - Quest for Sound carries them - another fine amp at a great price - a little brighter than the Panache and at just under 13.5 inches - either to my ears is much better than any Rotel. Haven't heard the Bel Canto so can't say. Use the Panache with Tyler Linbrook System 2s and the Consonnace with PSB Image 6Ts
The Portal would be the ticket except the lack of remote is a deal breaker for it's intended use.. Too bad cause it looks the shintz :-)
Bel Canto units are fantastic sounding and a bargain. Bright sounding, NOT! Only clean and detailed. It seems the term digital is still closely related to bright or "edgy" etc,etc. This is simply not the case. My Bel Cantos bridge a gap between my tube amp and solid state equipment that leaves me smiling. Is there better out there, maybe, but it's all relative to your ancillery equipment. Monitor Audio makes a wonderful product and I think you will be amazed at the power and neutrality of the Bel Canto
Just to chip in on the S300. This little amp uses the standard Icepower 200ASC modules which is a cheap version of the hegher end 250ASP model. In the ICEpower spec, the ASC modules are for "mass market" applications for car audio & subwoofers.
Comparing this amp with the likes of Rotel RMB1077, the Rotel uses 2x250ASP for front channels and 5x250A modules for the other 5 channels, the Rotel is clearly a more superior product base on price performance. Even if you do not need 7 channels, the amp can be used to bi-amp the speakers ie using the front for the HF and the surround for the LF since the 250A modules are design specifically for HT sub woofer application. If you also look carefully at the Rotel amp design, I believe it is highly customised version of the ICEpower modules bec they have eliminated the grounding to lower noise floor which Class D amps typically suffers from.
Bottomline is, if you like the Bel Canto, you owe yourself an audition of the new Rotel class D. You get more technology and sound (IMHO) than you pay for.
Hello Once Again,
My criticism of the Bel Canto's sound is based on sound not the fact that it is digital. In my post near the top I admitted that the Rotel sounded smooth and refined and I said it was the best amp Rotel has ever made.
Because the Monitor Audio Gold series is very smooth and warm it would be a good match but that just confirms my belief that Bel Canto is bright. Clean, yes, detailed, yes, detailed because it is bright and accentuating the level of detail, yes. Just like Spectral, Dunlavey, and Thiel.
S300 is not at all bright with my Nordost cables and Joseph Audio RM7Xls.
The int. just brings out whats on the disc,bright recording,bright sound,,it justs plays what it gets,thats really all that needs to be said,as for somebody that said its Very bright,not even close to an accurate statement.
Funny, I use a Bel Canto e. One S300i with a pair of Thiel CS 2.3 speakers, and it's not overly bright. The combination is accurate sounding with air, warmth, pace and drive. I think it's a matter of setup. Pay attention to the details, and you'll be thrilled (and amazed) by the performance of the Bel Canto.
I've been very happy with mine driving a pair of Totem Arros. Very smooth sounding. No brightness at all. Bel Canto is a very successful high end company with a strong reputation. Do you really think that they would get there by Making "every bel canto product is bright and digital sounding" I think not. It is much smoother sounding than my previous mcintosh or YBA.
I have had a S300iu for a month now playing through DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 8's in our NY City apartment, where space is at a premium. This amp has an internal DAC and USB port that is attached to my Mac G5 delivering apple lossless format. I am very impressed- the sound is incredibly neutral and detailed with a great soundstage. I bought mine with a 30 day money back guarantee from Bel Canto that allows you to return it for any reason... i think it would be a perfect solution for your setup, and definitel worth a listen...
waiting to get a s300iu in here, to try on a couple pairs of magneplanars. felt that bel canto might b an uprade from outlaw audio gear. ordered it for power, may keep it for sound. we'll see - will post here next week, if the thread is still going.
I'm using ref1000 monos with Totem Mani-2's (a very picky speaker) and it's wonderful. There's no brightness or harshness at all. The s300 is just its little brother power-wise so I'd bet that you'd be just as happy with that as I am with mine.
I suspect that the Bel Canto amps are all pretty revealing, so brightness in the upstream components will come through pretty precisely through the speakers.
As with most components, make sure you're carefully matching different pieces based on their relative strengths and weaknesses.
I've been listening to a Bel Canto S300iu here, and I have to say that it's impressively quick and amazingly detailed, but not overly bright at all. I threw a lot of voices at it, and the amp acquitted itself very well. it does much better on my planar speakers than previous amps. it's also surprisingly intuitive to handle, I was a little apprehensive about the all-in-one knob.
can you use the internal DAC and preamp on the e.OneS300iu to output to eOne ref amps? seems like a good deal either way. I am thinking of changing my DAC.
I have the eOne refs and I am very happy with them - although on poorly recorded stuff, the amp matched with a tube preamp seems to give me a more "listenable" sound. On good recordings the amp really delivers.
Is this correct power module for S300?
look at that TINY integrated power transfromer!! it's so cute!!