Belles 350a or Mccormack DNA -1 Deluxe?


I've narrowed my SS amplifier search between these two. After reading the reviews, they both seem to have all the attributes that I am looking for. They will be driving a pair of B&W CDM 7 NT's with a CJ PV-7 at the front end. Any opinions either way? Any experiences that you can share would be greatly helpful.
Thanks
skipper320
Also considering a Belles 150a reference
Heard them both a lot, owned a Belles 150a and a Mcc DNA-1.
I'd make it simple as this, if acoustic music, jazz, classical, folk , buy the Belles.
If you rock, the Mccormack .
I was a McCormack dealer for many years and have owned most of the amps that Steve has made. Excellent build quality and sound. Couldn't go wrong.

IMHO, Belles is one of the most underappreciated and unknown high end manufacturers. I have owned alot of David's gear and find it top notch. Just SUPERB and deserves to be held amongst the best out there.

The Belles gear tends to the yin side of things. Warm, open, a little dark and romantic, (my kind of equipment). The McCormack is the yang. Fast, bright, clear, detailed.

If your system is already a little bright, the Belles would be the way to go. But if your system is a little dark and slow, the McCormack would be better.

I have owned literally hundreds of amps and the Belles is one of my favorites. In fact, once I can afford it, (I'm going back to school), I plan on buying a Belles 350A Reference or a pair of MB-200s or a MB-500 and calling it quits. My last amp(s). I'm just smitten with the Belles stuff.
I have the belles ref.150 v2 and I have heard the McCormack dna 1. I agree with both Shubert and Mofi. Two good choices.
Never heard the Belles but his designs are universally praised. Owned the McCormack and it was an excellent piece. Only comment I can add to those above, is that Steve McCormack is still active in providing support and upgrades to his designs through SmcAudio.com. He and his technician (Curt, maybe?) are readily accessible to respond to questions and provide honest, un-biased advice. The DNA amps are very good and exceptional bang for the buck. When upgraded, they are quite remarkable, world class products.
If going McCormack I'd highly recommend holding out for one that already has one of Steve's A or gold revisions. When buying used the premium is not that much and you get a much superior amp. Best of luck.
+1 soix
I'm having a DNA 125 modified right now by Steve.

I also own a monoblock .5 and a stereo .5 that have Rev A platinum mods.

I have used other amps in my 20+ years, but his are a no brainer. Once you buy one, you can have it for life because he constantly comes up with new mods/upgrades/etc as technology allows.

I don't care what's in these "new" $20k amps being sold. They aren't going to have better parts than what you get via his upgrades. Plus, you can tailor the amp upgrade to your exact budget.

You also never have to worry about where to get it serviced or if XYZ repair shop knows what they are doing. You can send it to the designer himself.

I thought my Rev A platinums were the best SS amp I've heard, but those were done over 7 years ago. My new one is supposed to be even better than that.

As good as Belles or any other brand may be in stock form, you're not going to be able to get this upside.

The only time I wouldn't recommend a McCormack amp is if your system needs the tube coloration/flavor.

Also, they will drive almost any speaker well, so the most important thing is to focus on your source component mating. I would avoid any cheap sources because one thing I notice over the years is just how big a difference the source makes when you have a truly neutral and transparent amp.

It's an extremely liquid, dynamic, and practically flawless amp with a good source. If you try to throw in sources with cheap op-amps or other inferior designs, then you will hear exactly what is flawed upstream.
I remember years ago taking over 23 amps home and ending up with a Belles amp driving Maggies/Apogee
Also a belles dealer
JohnnyR
+1 Mofimadness and JohnnyR, I have owned the Belles 150a and
McCormack amps, their advice nailed it.
Truly liked this thread. Much great advice given by those who know via experience. Have heard both amps, however never owned either due to budget constraints at the time.
I ended up with the Belles 350a. Sounds great, but it has introduced a thumping woofer problem when my preamp goes from standby to active mode. Not sure what the problem is.
I'm assuming you are talking about the auto-warm up
feature on the PV7 that stays muted for about 45-60
seconds after turn on?

Your PV7 inverts phase through the line stage, but not
the phono stage.

Did you swap the positive and negative at the amp OR at
the speaker? Do just ONE swap, not both. That
"might" solve the problem.

Did your old amp do the same thing?

You should always turn the preamp on first, then the amp.
You reverse this sequence when you turn off the gear.

You might wait until your preamp has gone through the
auto warm-up sequence, THEN turn your amp on. That
will keep this from happening for now. There should be a
capacitor or resistor in the PV7 that should keep this
from happening. Maybe call or email cj and see what they
say. You could also call David (Belles) and ask him. He's
a pretty cool guy and would most likely know.

It could also be that the interconnect cable isn't shielded,
(at all or not properly). I've had this happen a few times.
Nice amp
I would re seat the tubes in their sockets.
with the pre amp off of course
Is thumping in both channels or just one?
if just one swap rt channel line tubes with left ch tubes and if it moves replace the tube in that channel.
JohnnyR
Click title to read one, or click date to read all below it.

02-12-15 This does not indicate a problem with either the amp or prea ... Bill_k

02-12-15 Bill_k is correct. there's nothing wrong with your amp. my r ... Zd542

02-12-15 I just posted this on the other thread: i'm assuming you ar ... Mofimadness

02-13-15: Skipper320
I put my cary tube amps back in the system and the problem is there. I have tracked it down to the preamp. I tried changing tubes with some extras I had, no help. With the cover off and a power line glove on, I moved the line stage tubes just a bit and the hum changed with every tiny move. I swapped a SS preamp into the system and the problem isn't there so I am going with a problem with the preamp. I tried switching the speaker wires as indicated and that didn't work. I also tried as suggested to power up the source and allow the preamp to come out of standby before powering up the amp and the problem is still there. The only time the problem goes away is when intake the CJ PV-7 out of the system completely. I guess I'll send it back to CJ to have them troubleshoot it. Could it be just a bad tube socket? The preamp IS 30+ years old.
Thanks for all the help
Skipper320 (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Try replacing your Synergistic research Alpha sterling Interconnect with a shielded interconnect and see if its acting like an unshielded antenna.