Bel Canto DAC vs. Perpetual Tech P3A?

I've had a couple of Bel Canto owners tell me they've switched the Perpetual Technologies P3A, or P1A&3A combo. Is it better? Is the 3A better than the B.C. on its own, or only as a combo with the 1A? Looking for advice.
kevint has a review comparing the 2 DACS - WITHOUT the P1-A. You may want to check it out. I use the P3-A and I am simply astounded by it. I think the P3-A and the Bel Canto have very different tonal characteristics (neither is better, just different), so its a matter of taste. I think the phenomenal resolution and punch of the P3-A combined with the features offered with the addition of the P1-A (jitter reduction, SOCS, room correction etc) make it a clear winner. Just my opinion.
I replied to this query in another post today, seems like a hot topic. The Perpetual P-1A/P-3A and power supply were more dynamic, and painted a blacker background than the Bel Canto (both using a Pioneer 525 as a transport) in my system. Never compared the P-3A to the DAC 1 without the P-1A though. I could live with both easily, but I preferred the P-tech gear. Neither of them could give me exactly what I was looking for, and as a result I had to spend much more $$$. I ended up with a Muse model 9 signature, and I could not be happier.
Wes Phillips has an informative review of the Bel Canto DAC on his website: (click on "hot product"). He plans to review the Perpetual P1/P3 combo in November and compare it to the BC. He liked the BC DAC a lot.
Well I feel very comfortable comparing these two units. I have given my comments on the PT unit on other threads and there is no point in belaboring my impressions. The Bel Canto is MUCH more like music than the P-3a although the P-3a is on the right track so far as resolution and dynamics. Tonally it is all wrong and really doesn't compare. DO NOT take my word for it, listen for yourself, it is a no brainer. The Bel Canto is MUSICAL. I got listener fatigue in short order with the PT unit and sent it back. PT DOES give a 30 day no questions asked in home trial period so there really is no reason not to listen for yourself. The Bel Canto isn't as successful as it is for no reason. It is a great product at a real world price. Good luck.
In response to Tubegroover's comments, I would like to add the following. I recently sent my P3-A bach to Perp Tech to fix a documented problem with the Crystal chip set. I bring this up because the tonal characteristic (which was amazingly smooth AND musical) right out of the box suddenly turned harsh and fatiguing - this happened immediately after I heard "clipping" sounds from the system. I was told by the Technical Director of PT, Jon Lane (an extremely helpful gentleman) that this was because of the problem with the Crystal unit which had just then been documented. They expect a fix within the first week of November. OK, the reason for this long-winded passage - Tubegroover, your experience MAY be due to this problem. I do agree that the BC is amazingly musical - I just feel, that based on my experience with the P3-A BEFORE it clipped, it sounded amazingly smooth and non-fatiguing - and I have solid state electronics as well as metal-dome tweeters - in other words a pretty forward-sounding system to begin with.
ok all ewe bel-canto lovers, i have no experience w/this, but bruce wenger, a local toob-roller & equipment mfr (czech out his www:, sez he has a mod for the bel-canto dac that puts it into the $4k+ performance category. mite wanna give him a buzz... doug
Srama I have no doubt on the chip being the problem. It is the only plausible explanation for what I heard. What is strange is that I E-mailed Perpetutual Technology’s Mark Schiftner explaining the problem thinking there was something wrong with the unit. He E-mailed me a response back a week later. By that time I had sent the unit back to the dealer. He had no explanation on what I was hearing and stated that it was an isolated case and couldn’t imagine what the problem might be. When I purchased the unit from the dealer I was told me the sound was metallic out of the box and would take 100+ hours of break in. After the first week I suspected what I was hearing was more than a break in issue. When PT didn’t respond immediately I didn’t know what to think so I sent the unit back. I had a hard time believing that a product could sound the way that unit sounded without something being wrong but my concerns were never fully explained. My dealer thought the unit was better than the Bel Canto so now with your explanation of the bad chip I suspect there was something wrong with the unit.
I'm looking to use my old CD player as a transport and add a DAC. The units I'm considering: Bel Canto, Perpetual Technologies P-1A/P-3A with power supply, or the MSB Platinum. Has anyone who's heard the Bel Canto and the PT units also heard the MSB Platinum? It's very difficult to find an opportunity to audition them all, especially side by side through the same system.
I have had both the Bel Canto and PT. With my sytem the Bel Canto was more musical. Yes the PT was more detailed but I could not get involved with the music as I did with the Bel Canto. I like musicallity over precision and detail. I was using a Pioneer 525 DVD player. I bet if I used a better transport, it would all get even better. I sold my combo in search of something better. So far nothing. I am going back to get another Bel Canto DAC1 with a better transport. Try them both. I think they both offer a 10 or 30 day offer. Good luck.
Any experience with the Millenium DAC from Electro Visionary Systems (EVS)?? Check (mfr. site) and for RAVE reviews. The brand new upgraded model at $850 is due out in a couple of weeks. Looks very interesting!!