Bel Canto EVO 200.2

Just wanted to testify to (1) the sound quality and value of the Bel Canto 200.2 and (2) the service provided by my dealer, Goldman Audio. The sound quality is outstanding--the amp has no sound--quiet as a mouse--with good body, terrific highs, solid bass (the clarity of Paul Chamber's bass at the beginning of "So What" is remarkable, as is Scott Lafaro's bass on Bill Evans' "Waltz for Debby"). I'm a long-time tube man but amp is something special (and this comment is written while the amp is still breaking in...).Too, it's only $2395 per--a steal for an amp this good (sorry about the hyperbole but what a deal for the quality of this amp). I'm getting a second to monoblock. If you're looking for this amp, try Goldman Audio, the dealer through which I purchased my amps ( Jon is great to deal with--responsive and fair. Highest recommendations for both amp and dealer. Jamie
i highly agree, this has got to be one of the best amps out there. because of its new tech and design approach many are skeptical about it however i honestly believe that if this amp were made without a price point (e.g. no op amps, and maybe better certain parts) it could possibly be the world beater. however i am perfectly happy with it just the way it is, i couldn't see myself with any other amp. i also plan on monoblocking and because of this am selling my power plant p300 and upgrading to a p600, which if you don't have one yet jamie you really need to get one. i was having a problem with my frequency sweeping with my low frequency response being very thin and shallow. i attributed it to my passive preamp (evs attenuators) which i'm sure played a part in it, but once i hooked it up to a power plant and switched to placette preamp i was stunned at how awesome this thing is. anyways, definitely give a power plant a listen in your system if you don't have one already. the evo sounds good without it, but with it is like angels singing.
My skepticism about this amp is not its technology but its price. The tripath module is supposedly available at a very low price. Audiosource has produced a 100 watt version of a tripath based amp that has a street price of around $300-$400 and a 200 watter for $600. While I would think the Bel Canto sounds better, I have read that "other manufacturers" are working with the tripath module and wonder what other versions will be out in the marketplace. Unfortunately, Audiosource has been sold and I have read that their distribution and quality control may be a bit uneven at the moment.
the tripath unit itself is low cost yes, but it is only a "stock" version. bel canto has modified it (read: voiced) to their own specs. also the difference in sound between the audiosource and the evo are night and day. the audiosource is no slouch for its price range but in no way competes with the evo regardless of similar parts. as most know, parts are only a part of the package, its the package as a whole that comes with the price. and you will see that the evos price isn't that far off the mark for a retail company (overhead, R&D, advertising, etc.) btw, the tripath chip itself runs about $100 so if you believe that audiosource could sell something for $3-400 you better check what else is running underneath the hood or else they are making zero profit or running at a loss and that is what put them under
will this thing run electrostatics (MLSL3 to be specific)?
the first time I auditioned the EVo it sounded good. the second time the dealer had gotten the matching Bel Canto Pre-1 preamp, great cables, and put a DAC on the player. My god what clarity and sound! Dead quiet background. I ultimately bought one, but got a First Sound Presence tube pre-amp to breath a touch of life into mid-range without adding tube haze noise (to my ears it was a tad lean on acoustic material without a touch of tube, now its stellar). I'm saving up for a DAC and silver cables. The EVo is powering a pair of Talon Audio Khite monitors which I run with the ROC powered sub. What an great match up.
I have had the EVO in my system several times for several days at a time. It is a good amp but has a dryness in the midrange and can get congested in complex passages. I ended up getting a Marsh amp and prefer it over the EVO.
sws, i agree with your statement that the midrange may be a bit dry, but the reason for that is its inherent low noise floor that we are not accustomed to, it gives the illusion of a dryness in the midband. although the evo may be system specific i have a very lush midrange and do not experience the dryness that you speak of. the funny thing is that many people compare the sound of evo to tube amps in which tubes=lush midrange. as for the congestion part, well that i'm going to have to disagree with completely, in fact the congestion argument in general i think is flawed. most amps, unless they are clipping, will not have any problem with complex passages. the main problem that hinders "complexity" in systems is the recording. you have to figure that not every instrument has its own microphone and therefore some instruments may smear with others in the area especially in loud passages where many varying instruments are competing for the same airspace at the same time. not saying that the marsh isn't better in your system or in all systems, i was just replying to your comments with my personal experience with the evo.
Vintgeguru is on target. Hearing the EVo with and without an upsampling DAC and good cables showed a huge difference on the same material. I listened to jazzy mid-70s Santana, without the DAC his solo was a bit vieled and recessed; with the DAC it suddenly stood out clean and pure -- I was impressed at the difference. The better the source, the better the EVo sounds. With TI just coming out with a great, cheap chip to do upsampling to 24/192Hz, I'm waiting for next year's DACs to upgrade.
I own the EVo and never find myself thinking about my next amp upgdrade except maybe a second EVo for mono operation. In terms of parts cost, how much do you think transistors cost in normal amps? I have seen a lot of people critisize Bel Canto for just packaging someone elses technology but there aren't too many other companies delivering on it.
sws2 piqued my interest in the marsh line of amps and it just so happened that a friend/dealer had his line in. so i asked to demo one and i got to take home the a200s. while the marsh was very nice in some ways, it was terribly harsh sounding. i had another fellow audiophile over and we listened to both switching them in and out after listening time and time again to certain tracks. the conclusion we came to was that although the marsh had 95% of the low level detail of the evo, its ambience and soundstage just wasn't quite there. also, as noted before, there was very noticeable sibilance and the midrange seemed real edgy. depending on the system used, this may be a desired trait. in my system, the harshness of the top end and the edgy midrange didn't bring the best out of my ribbon driver. i would imagine in a system in which the speakers were very inefficient and in which the top end seems darker and or more lush then accurate and real detailed. not to say the marsh won't perform well in any other system, but in my experience with it i wouldn't recommend it to anyone looking for most of the positive aspects of the evo. i would also like to agree with morasp above, if this technology and the effort to build them is so cheap and i quote from a poster on another forum "simple for any DIY'er" why hasn't any other company jumped on the bandwagon seeing the potential for sales with its demand, after all there is a 3 week back order on the evo.
I want to comment about Vintgeguru's experiences with the Marsh as I can only assume the Marsh was not fully broken in. Mine took about 150 hours to totally break in and was rough the first 50 to 60 hours. I am not experiencing any harshness or brightness currently. I use the analysis plus speaker cables which is the same cable I used with the EVO. The Marsh clearly has more detail, less dryness and is better overall in my system. I have to think others have had similar experiences with the EVO as at times there are 6 or 7 for sale at one time on Audiogon.
Just so you know, we at BCD have a pair of SL3s in our listening room and they play to this speaker's highest performance.
At BelCanto, they told me that the EVO200.2 is not suited to drive speakers with low impedance. Any experiences?
Just wanted to pass on some info. Have heard this amp in 3 different places and in all 3 a similar theme was that power conditioning is more important with this amp than any other they've had. I read an article somewhere that implied that due to the digital architecture this amp needs clean power to sound its best, and this seems to have been backed up by the dealers/owners I've spoken to. So make sure you've got clean power before making any final conclusions on this amp. Also, using them in monoblock pairs was also said to bring this amp to a much higher level. For what it's worth.

How would you expect this amp to perform in stereo mode with B&W 803 Nautilus speakers, and what might be good choices in preamps for this set-up?
To maintain your warranty, have your amp serviced by your dealer. Service continuity is best adhered to through BCD.
Been using the eVo 200.2 for 5 months and all I can say is, I think Ill be buying another one to go monoblocks. They are broken in now. Had replaced all power supply caps as the old ones were almost waving goodbye. It was pretty harsh sounding during the break in period but slowly smoothed out and opened up as it burned in.

Now, it just sounds wonderful. Pre is a conrad johnson pv7 and wavetouch audio grand teton SE speakers. VPI HW19 mkII, Jelco 750E (10 inch) Grace F9 (soundsmith ruby).