The Bel-Canto will blow away your SFCD1 anytime anywhere. Its that good. For the money it is the best DAC out there. Canadian SF gear is highly over rated. I prefer the USA made gear.
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A few days have passed and I have had a chance to listen to the Bel Canto DAC1 against my SFCD1. I expected the Bel Canto to smoke the Sonic because of what everyone was saying. That was not the case. I recently put NOS Amprex tubes in my Sonic Frontiers that made it significantly better. I can hear more in to the music with the Sonic. The imaging is better, it is richer, and draws me more to the soul of the music. The Bel Canto is great, and if I was buying today, I would take the Bel Canto because it is $2500 less and almost as good. You may hear it another way but I hear the Sonic Frontiers SFCD1 as better than the Pioneer DV525 with the Bel Canto DAC1.
I can believe it 84audio. I have often been sucked into the raves, but invariably found that the raves have to be read in the context of the price range of the product. Every time I have heard the claim "better than units ten times the price" these have turned out to be rubbish when I tried the unit. The Bel Canto sounds like a great buy - at its price - and we shouldn't be surprised, but thanks for placing the Bel Canto into appropriate context.