I have not had the opportunity of comparing Bel Canto Ref 1000 Mk.2, Channel Island, and Wired for Sound. I have however listened to the lower power BC Ref 500 MK.2 for several hours at RMAF and I was extremely impressed by its subtlety and musicality, particularly considering its relatively moderate price point. If by any chance a class D integrated were of interest, under $9K new, you may want to have a careful listen to the JRDG Continuum 500. DCSTEP can comment on it sonically. . . from a technological point of view, it matches JRDG 501 circuits with Power Factor Correction circuits similar to those found in the JRDG 312 flagship, and a bank of additional bulk capacitors in the output to increase authority and dynamics; the linestage component of the Continuum 500 is supplied by the circuit cards of the Capri linestage. As I have not yet compared directly BC with JRDG, I cannot comment on sonic differences.
I've just finished auditioning the Bel Canto Ref 1000 Mk.2 and it is unbelievably good. Compared to the Wyred for Sound (multichannel version auditoned) and the Jeff Rowland 501 mono's i've also auditioned the BC is clearly superior to my ears though YMMV.
You don't mention a budget but if you could manage circa US$11k i would bypass Guido's recommendation of the JRDG Continuum 500 and package together either a Lamm LL2 or Modwright LS36.5 pre-amp [choice depending on personal taste] with the BC Ref 2's. Tube warmth, density and musicality + class D power, control and dynamics IMHO makes for sonic bless. I now understand why people are trading in massive Class A power amps for BC Ref 2's. When you get the front end right - they really are that good.
BTW i don't own any of the above-mentioned products in case my rave makes me look like a fanboy.
Kiwi, your impression of BC Ref 1000 Mk2 does not surprise me. Have you compared BC 1K MK.2 side by side with JRDG 501s or are you summizing from notoriously fickle audio memory? Either way, I would not be surprised if BC Mk.2s sounded more refined than the 501s. . . BC Mk.2s implement a form of power rectification combined with charge capacitance in front of the power supply that sounds somewhat reminiscent to what JRDG does for Continuum 500 and 312. As for your suggestions of 'bypassing' my recommendations. . . I shall now suggest Icarem bypass yours with my own. . . BC Ref 1000 at $6K new + a used JRDG Capri at $2K may also turn out to be a very delicious proposition. . . is it superior to Lamm LL2 or Modwright LS36.5? Truly no idea. . . it all depends on one's sonic/musical prefs. In the end, Icarem should perhaps avoid any simple bypasses, or bypasses of bypasses. . . and just listen for himself and decide which bypasses are most bypassible.
Hello Icorem - totally agreed with above posters that Bel Canto Ref1000 MkII is superb amplifier and no msiatek can be done going with them.
I aslo like tube preamps BUT of highest quality. You will go right into your budget if you will pick up Joule-Electra LA-150MKII which I will not describe but refer to Harry Pearson of TAS Golden Ear Award 2007. For its money its bargain.
Joule-Electra coming with new flagship which 2-3 time more expensive then this one.
I am biased because I ordered it.However, everybody's opinion here iis biased too - its very personal. My amplifiers also class D and may be better then new Bel Canto or may be not (Musician III Mk2 - monoblocks) - its about the ame class with Jeff Rowland 312. Bel Canto, from price point of view are the best, no question here.
All The Best
The BC Ref 1000 Mk2's and JR kit have been in my home system recently, though not side by side and my notoriously fickle audio memory [all 2000 milliseconds of it] was therefore aided by written notes of observations of reproduction of reference music. In a nutshell i did find the BC more refined than the JR mono's. Both amps have remarkably quick leading edges to notes but i found the BC better at fully developing the harmonic tail [decay, sustain and ultimate release] of notes. IMHO both power amps benefit from tube pre-amplification - though that is admittedly a matter of personal taste. I can't comment on the Capri + BC overpass of the bypass :-) but if the net result sounded anything like the JRDG 500 continuum then i'd be worried that the solution was so wrapped up in the uber reality high definition means of musical delivery that it forgot the meaning of the message.
my contenders give a clue of my budget - around 2 grand for a new or used amp. from all the posts i learn that i should probably go with BC which i can probably get for 2.2 used.
DOB - i currently own the Lector Zoe - a tube pre which I really like.
Icarem, Kiwi and I are suggesting the Mk.2 version of the BC Ref 1000. The mk.1 version does not have the current rectification front end that is probably responsible for at least some of the musical subtlety of the MK.2. If the Mk.2 exceeded your budget, I believe upgrades to Mk.2 may be later requested from the factory for original models.
I have heard the Lamm ML2.1 in someone else's system. We listened for an hour and a half switching between my Playback Designs CD/SACD player and another highly rated CD/SACD player. At least I had a familiar source and I did come right home and plug the PD into my own Rowland system that night. Since it was a same-day kind of evaluation with a common source, I think my comparison has some validity.
I'll say this, anyone that would prefer the Lamm would not like the Continuum 500. They aren't even from the same planet, IMHO. The Lamm had a character that I'd call soft and artificially warm. The Continuum 500 is open, transparent, dynamic and honest, with no added euphonics.
Some people like more syrup on their pancakes. That's fine with me, just don't make me eat it.
As for the Bel Cantos, I heard them in another system and thought that they were very high potential. I haven't heard them in my own system or a system near enough to mine to say anything more than they're worth a serious listen.
I don't understand why Lamm was even brought into this thread. I can't believe that anyone preferring the Lamms would like either the Bel Cantos, Rowland or Spectron. Lamm is also at a much different price point.
Dave, you said you heard a Lamm ML2.1 amplifier. The only other reference
to Lamm in this thread was a Lamm LL2 preamp.
Why are you making a judgement about Lamm based on one session listening
to a single ended triode amplifier, particularly when it was a preamplifier that
was mentioned in this thread? You seem more reasoned than this.
To the OP's question, I have owned or auditioned Bel Canto Ref1000 and
Channel Islands D100 and D200 amps, and I wouldn't own either of them. If
your speakers have a flat impedance curve, NuForce Ref 9 V2SE would be my
choice over the other two...considering the price point.
its interesting how the call amps, class a, classab, class b and class d.
d is poor grade. why would anyone want to listen to a class d amp ?
>>d is poor grade. why would anyone want to listen to a class d amp<<
It's obvious you haven't heard some of the latest products or you simply don't hear well.
TVAD, if you have last listened to a Bel Canto Ref 1000 Mk.1, you may want to have a listen to the Mk.2. . . you may find it to be more nuanced.
Guido. I did hear the MK I. The MK II may be more nuanced, but I am no
longer searching for an amp, and therefore I have no interest in hearing one
at this time.
OP, please disregard my comment about the Bel Canto Ref1000, unless you
might be considering purchasing a used MK I version.
Grant, what amp are you currently using and why? Shoot me a quick email if you don't want to discuss it here.
Warren, I'm using Pass Labs XA-60.5. The reason is simply because they match and drive my speakers better than the other amps I tried: Bel Canto Ref1000, NuForce Ref9 V2 SE, Atma-Sphere M-60, VAC MusicBloc 160, Belles Reference 150A monoblocks.
The speaker manufacturer voices with Pass Labs, which explains the good match.
got ya. you must have been sleeping. the comment about class d was a joke. wake up and smell the coffee !