Bel Canto and Wyred monos

Hey all,

I've got a Mccormack DNA-125 driving my Martin Logan EM ESLs that I really love. Were it not for one big issue, I wouldn't even think about upgrading - and that issue is that it's really big. Like, too big for my rack, meaning it has to sit on top under my TV.

I decided recently to look for amps that were either standard component width or less, and two amps that keep popping up are the Wyred and Bel Canto monoblocks. Both would fit comfortably in my rack, and seem to be very well regarded.

My only concern is that I regard the McCormack so highly I'm concerned that these amps may not represent a significant upgrade in performance, despite the difference in price. I love it's almost tube-like warmth and musicality, and am a little concerned that with the Class D amps paired with my great but neutral speakers and my tonally similar Class D preamp (the underrated PS Audio GCP), things might get too clinical.

Has anyone compared either of these amps to any of the classic Mccormacks or similar AB amps?
Wouldn't it be a lot easier and cheaper to just get another rack instead?
I've owned a few different McCormack amps. DNA 1.0, DNA 0.5 and DNA 0.5 with SMc upgrades. All VERY nice amps for the money.

I don't remember which model, but I did try a Wyred. I found it to be a little too, for lack of a better word, soft. Meaning, in my system it wasn't as dynamic sounding as the McCormacks. The low end was a little soft & the highs were a little laid back.

I also owned a Bel Canto integrated. It was in a different system, so not really apples to apples, but I really liked the Bel Canto. Very smooth, clean, clear, dynamic sound. Where sometimes the standard McCormacks (more so the DNA 1, never the 0.5 with SMc upgrades) could get a little harsh when pushed, the Bel Canto was always composed. Always smooth and easy to listen to.

Hope this helps.

As always, just my opinion. YMMV

My buddy said the exact same thing. The thing is I really like my rack (a Sanus JVF65) and it also doubles as my plasma mount (as pictured here: so the switching cost would probably be pretty similar to switching amps.

Ecruz - thanks, that does help. Which BC integrated was it? I'm hoping that going "big" on wattage, which is easy to do from the Class D's, will prevent dynamics from being an issue. And I do most of my listening at low volumes and they seem like good candidates for that. But you're right, the Mccormack's are amazing amps for the money which makes it hard to switch.
I'm also intrigued by the Job 225, though I'm concerned it won't have enough juice for the Martin Logan ESL's. Does anyone have any thoughts on the Jobs, vis-a-vis how they comapre to the Bel Cantos in particular?
" like warmth..."?
Are you questioning me describing the Mccormack that way, or my use of the common and widely understood trope "tube-like" to describe a warm sounding transistor amp?

Or just derailing the honest attempt at soliciting feedback for the heck of it?
W4S just released new versions of their stereo amps. They charge a restocking fee for returns, but it might be worth a home trial anyway.
From what I have read researching McCormack, I would not doubt that the McCormack amp might come across with more warmth, tube like or otherwise, than some.

For example Class D amps I use and have heard have some tube like traits in the midrange, but warmth is not one of them. Every SS amp I have owned prior to my current Class Ds were somewhat warm in comparison. My current Tube Audio Design Hibachi monoblocks I run in my other system at present concurrently as well.

They don't call it "Icepower" for no reason. More like a cool crisp winter's day than a warm summer evening. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact it is is quite good, but just a tad different perhaps than most Class A/B SS amps I have heard.
Hudsonhawk, not trying to derail anything; it's just that to my ears the McCormack amps present the opposite of a "tube like warmth".
The McCormacks have a tight extended rhythmic bass with an extended high end, not a tube like warmth which would indicate a soft bloomy bass and rolled off treble. The only things the McCormacks have in common with tube amps is a forward presentation and liquidity in the treble.
I have a McCormack DNA-125 and a Wyred4Sound ST 250 that I used in my main system. I find them both quite good but they have do have some differences. I find the Wyred4Sound to be a little warmer on the the top than the the DNA-125 and not quite as extended on top. The smoothness was nice but they were a little polite for my taste at first. I was able to correct that with brighter tubes in the preamp to add some sparkle. The mid-range and bass I think the ST-250 edges out the DNA-125 but not by much. I currently have the ST-250 in my system while the DNA-125 is in storage.

Thanks Jim, that's incredibly useful.

I'm currently deciding if I will stick with the separates route (in which case I'd most likely get the Wyred) or get an integrated like the Hegel H100.

Unsound, that's fair, though I will say I'm not the first person whose described the amp that way. Either way it's a great amp, and a bargain for the money. I just want to make sure I find a replacement that is its better and hopefully gives me the warmth and intimacy I prefer from a system (if this system didn't have to double as our TV system I would just get a tube amp).
^I agree; "Either way it's a great amp, and a bargain for the money."
I suspect the Bel Canto and Wyred monos might be warmer than the McCormack. But I'd also guess that the more forward nature of the McCormack might offer more intimacy.
I have been doing some research and it seems several sources say the
Very new Wyred MK-2 amplifiers are a clear improvement in several areas.
Better Bass,dynamics,upper midrange and treble more liquid sounding and full,more front to back layering ,all at similar pricing.
I asked about a integrated Mk-2 , not at this time maybe end of year.
Maybe even a SE integrated !!
I mentioned in another thread that the two new W4S stereo amps both employ the latest generation B&O ICE, using the ASX 250-2 amp in both models. Both amps use two ASX 250-2 modules. This is the same amp that is used in the Bel Canto
REF 500M which has raised a lot of eyebrows in recent years.
Hook the new W4S ST-1000 MKII to the new Emotiva XSP-1 Gen2
Preamp which costs only $999.00 and you'll have a combination of sonic excellence.
I have directly compared the older Ice modules in the St amps.
I bought the New St-500-MK-2 which use the exact latest Top of the line
Ice amps,as well as the complete new FET input stage,with full differential
Balanced inputs ,and where the St was a bit laid back .the latest Mamp
And St500,1,000 MK-2 has a very liquid tube like presentation ,but still
A firm grip on images top is very open and airy mids very controlled
The Bass is exception vise like grip snd controlled.I bettered any review sample for I spent the extra $180 on the 3 Synergistic fuses,the stock fuses have gold plated ends so are not bad,and a very good power cord
Wireworlds Silver Electra 7 is a excellent match. You can buy the new amps with yowl confidence .i will do a review after a couple more weeks.