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The Virtuoso was supposed to be his latest and greatest integrated, but I have to admit I'm beginning to wonder if it will ever happen...
A few comments I’ve gathered - and there are very few indeed - more or less imply that the integrated is comprised of that amp and one of his preamps. Having never had either, I am just as content with the integrated. The specs you state for the amp are most likely the same for the integrated.
I’ll bet your Maggies sound excellent with it. Colorless speakers mated to an articulate amp. Woof!
Thanks. This is a system you build around the amp. Since I got a hold of my first Thiels years ago I built my system around the speakers, eventually getting to a time where my “standard” was Thiel/Pass Labs.
With all due respect to Nelson Pass, this integrated gives me everything my Pass system did. It is THAT good. I’m not kidding here - this is an articulate, dynamic, resolute integrated. I do not consider this an “alternative” to Pass, it is by any comparison I can muster through experience an equal.
Now, pair this with Maggies or Thiel? This is my 3rd pair of MMG’s. The ONLY thing that would have me sell these would be a pair of Thiel 2.3, or 2.4’s. As a matter of fact there’s a NY local pair of 2.4’s I’m considering after I sell my ARC DSi200 Integrated. The Thiel seller is asking $1800. Methinks I may be able to get ‘em for $1500. (Third floor walk up in Manhattan - ugh!). But...worth it.
This is is a seriously refined integrated. Articulate like Thiel and Magnepan. Happier than hell now.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSyZuSyO76M The Belles Virtuoso dual-mono power amp is here playing music along with the Virtuoso Preamp at Audio Connection NJ.The Virtuoso is a healthy match for many speakers B&Ws, Magnepans, Vandersteen's, Thiels, etcFor those looking for a sophisticated, strong capable choice, this is a refreshingly different experience seemingly void of electronic artifacts with an endless engaging feel by stepping out of musics way.
The V integrated is in the final stage with just final CAD drawings and should be available October Best JohnnyR
The Power Modules website lists the integrated at 200 watts into 8 ohms. I've had Belles amplifiers and pre-amps in my system for 19 consecutive years. My first amplifier was his SA-200. I had a pair of Quicksilvers with the 20A preamp and then a CJ Premier 3/MV 100 setup. At the time I swore I'd never go back to solid state. Then a move to a room double the size with carpet required a change. I auditioned Krell, Bryston, Parasound, Mcintosh extensively before settling on the 350A amplifier with the 22A preamp which to me was the most musical and realistic presentation I found. I liked this piece so much that I just bought the next generation and then had him modify it twice before moving to the SA-100 and now the mb 200's, upgrading pre-amps along the way. As good as they are there are still things I miss about the previous amps. Over all these years I've auditioned many competitors and while at times I wanted something different I never found anything as good for the money much less better. Dave is in his mid 80's, designs and hand builds all his equipment. He told me one reason he stopped making the 350 because he couldn't pick them up anymore. Email isn't the best way to reach him but he answers the phone and I often talk to him several times a year. I'm mystified at how little appreciated his work is.
Thanks for the info. Like you stated, I too am mystified why he doesn’t get more recognition. This is absolutely the best integrated I have ever owned. Period.
As my personal benchmark was Pass Labs, I can state without hesitation that this delivers everything I enjoyed with the Pass. I will not let this piece go.
1.) I cannot afford to continue swapping things in and out in pursuit of the “it” system. I just reviewed what I’ve sold here since 2013 and it’s embarrassing.
2.) I agree with you that I’d probably be disappointed with something else. I’ve learned my lesson with selling off three pairs of Thiel CS3.5, a pair of CS3.6, and others. I was an idiot.
I am building what in all likelihood will be my final hifi system. (Not being melodramatic here, just acknowledging my age and finances.) It will be built around this integrated. I definitely will add a pair of Thiel down the road when and if finances and opportunity arise. The Maggie MMGi’s are an excellent match for this, the detail is eye-opening.
Thiel is Magnepan with more bass. I’ve moved in this identical direction before and what these two brands share far outweighs what they don’t. I am certain a pair of CS2.3 or CS2.4 will add that bass pressurization that the MMGi cannot. (50HZ bottom end.). The Thiels both reach down around 33HZ.
Perhaps the best way I can describe my impressions of the two brands is that Thiel does better at delivering the bass at low volume. Neither brand colors the bass. It’s natural sounding, no bloom nor bloat.
I can hardly wait to add a pair of Thiel to this integrated.