I was also looking for the review. When the notice of the upcoming review was removed I e-mailed Srajan to see if they were still doing the review. He replied that he has the review ready to go, he is just awaiting a fact check from Bel Canto.
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I own a DAC3 and just read the review. I agree with some of what Edgar Kramer, the reviewer, said, but not all.
I also owned a DAC2 in the past, so I can only go on memory. I also owned a Benchmark DAC1.
First off, I don't agree that the DAC2 "a large dollop of the same with a smidgen of warmth thrown and the fatter bottom end.." The DAC2 is not cut from the same cloth. Kramer claims the DAC2 "transmits nearly as much detail." No way. It is far less detailed. It bunches instruments together, which, in the end, caused its demise for me. The much smaller power supply on the DAC2 does NOT provide the bottom end Mr. Kramer claims, nor are its dynamics anywhere in the same league as the DAC3. Don't get me wrong -- I liked the DAC2, it's just that time marches on. The Benchmark had it beat in many areas, although warmth was not exactly a characteristic of the Benchmark, which had a thinner but more incisive, clearer and defined sound with a cleaner, grainfree treble.
On to the DAC3. The areas I agree with Mr. Kramer on are that the DAC3 has a wide, deep, large soundstage that clearly resolves images, with "oodles of detail", dynamics and speed. It's a very musical DAC that is easy to listen to and into. The Benchmark may still have the edge in crystalline clearness in the treble, but this is hard to say, as my DAC3 was not fully broken in when I made this comparison.
The body the DAC3 gives to the whole sonic fabric is something I've been waiting for in a moderate priced DAC. I don't know how Mr. Kramer can consider its bass lean, but I don't have Watt Puppies. The bass on my Von Schweikerts has more heft plus detail than with any other DAC I've used. I should point out, however, that I have seen the insides of another DAC3, and it had smaller transformers than mine, which might account for some differences in drive and bass, though I know Bel Canto would disagree with me, saying the tight regulation of the power supply makes it a moot point. I don't agree, but what do I know?
It is the first player/DAC that I could run direct into a power amp and live with. It sounds very much as Mr. Kramer describes: it has surprising bass, body and drive and does not collapse the soundstage, like most units do when run without a preamp. But I also agree with him that a preamp gives more body and drive, a more expansive and fleshed out soundstage. As Mr. Kramer put it, "lots more flesh... on the bones," and a more realistic spatial and physical presence. Running direct gives a bit more transparency, but at the expense of things like the full ring of cymbals, brushes and other treble information. Like smaller images (though still a good-sized soundstage) that don't 3-D as well or as large.
For someone who doesn't want to spend money for a preamp, I could see them being happy with the DAC3, and compensate for some of this with interconnects that exaggerate image size in the mids and highs, or a power amp with an overblown sound. Sounds crazy? Well, so much is about mix and match.
Is the DAC3 the greatest DAC in the world? I'm sure there are even better things out there. I haven't heard a lot of them, so I can't say. A newer Wadia direct? Possibly, or not. But plan to spend $8,000 plus. For now, the DAC3 is staying in my system.
Kevziek, I agree with you. Your take on the DAC3 and its comparison to the DAC2 is pretty much the same as mine. I definitely disagreed with Edgar Kramer that the DAC2 "a large dollop of the same with a smidgen of warmth thrown and the fatter bottom end." In my opinion there's a considerable difference between the two. The DAC2, although good, is not at all in the same league as the DAC3.
Hey I'm dealer of BC and was one of the first to play with Dac2 and Dac3 I also totaly disagree with Edgar's review
I'm a good mate of his I guess thats the way Edgar heard
it through his system I also think big contribution to his conclusions is his Supratek pre amp which I have heard in his system also the Sony transport which getting on a bit
as far as my testing me and all the regular guys that visit me could not find one area that Dac2 would come close to Dac3 though Dac2 is a very nice unit
Just wanted to let anyone interested in purchasing Bel Canto gear about the False advertising of their "no Risk" Purchase plan.
I was interested in their Dac3 as an upgrade to the Dac2 I currently own. I purchased it directly through their website to audition in my system as there are no dealers close to my home. After about 8 days I decided to send it back under their no risk plan. Well I didn't hear from them for about a week after UPS tracking said they had received the return so I emailed them. Someone from shipping called me to tell me that they don't have complete credit card numbers when an Item is purchased online so I need to give them my cc number for the refund. (I wonder why they waited for me to contact them before they decided to let me know this?) Anyway, I was informed that I would be charged a 5% restocking fee. (nothing was wrong with the unit when I sent it back) I informed their shipping person that I thought a "no risk Purchase plan" wouldn't require a 5% restocking fee. He had no reply other than to say I would have to talk to Matt(i assume their direct sales rep) about that issue. I emailed Matt over a week ago asking for some info or the contact info of their CEO to discuss this with. I have not received any reply.
Btw - on the Bel Canto website, it says:
Bel Canto Design offers a 15-day money-back return policy for all products purchased directly from us. Please note that the product must be returned in "new" condition in its original box and include all original packing material, original manuals, and any accessories that came with the item. We reserve the right to charge a 5% restocking fee. Additional fees will be charged for any damage to the equipment or loss of packing materials."
I purchased one of BelCanto's players last December and returned it within the 15 day trial period. I called them a week after it was returned and they acknowledged that they had received it and that I would receive a refund after they inspected the player. I expected to get hit with the 5% restocking fee but they have now had the player for a month and I have not been contacted and my credit card has not been refunded. I am now contesting the charge through my credit card company.
Fine, Then don't call it a no risk purchase plan. I admit it, they got me. Bury the return policy at the bottom of info after calling it a no risk purchase plan 4 times up above and hope the customer doesn't notice the 5% restocking fee until after he has ordered.
Do you think that a plan that charges a 5% restocking fee should be named a "No Risk Purchase plan"? Don't let the fact you are a bel canto dealer influence your reply.
>>Do you think that a plan that charges a 5% restocking fee should be named a "No Risk Purchase plan"? Don't let the fact you are a bel canto dealer influence your reply.<<
Yep, I agree that it shouldn't be called "No Risk". I'd call it a "30-day return policy"...
And fwiw, even as a Bel Canto dealer, I don't offer return policy to my local customers...but I insist on a free in-home demo before purchase...
Wshields: I understand your feelings about this. I purchased the player over the telephone and was not told about the restocking fee even though we discussed the option of returning the player if I was not happy with it. It was only after I received the player and decided to return it that I saw the restocking fee statement on their webpage when I was looking for information about the return process. I can live with the 5% restocking fee. What is irritating to me is that the company doesn't seem to be in any hurry to refund any of my money.
I recently just purchase the Bel Canto Dac3 and Ref1000 mono blocks for a second system to play arround with to see what type of sound I can get. I wanted to check out all the hype about "D" amps, "Ice" amps and so on. I have had the Bel Canto product in my system for two weeks now.
I also want to see if I can get away with the Dac3 eliminating a separate pre in this system.
I do have on hand from my main system a Arc Ref 3 pre and VTL 7.5 pre which I can put in later.
Other gear being used in this set-up are the Eggleston Andra 2's which replaced 2 months ago my Wilson W/P 7's which I owned for two years, prior to the Wilson's I owned the Revel Salon's for 4 years. My sources are;Audio Research 3 MK2 cd player and I also have the McIntosh 300 server (playing arround with it to see if it is any good) hooked up, ARC is hooked up via AES XLR conection and Mac coaxal RCA conection both using Stealth Sextet digital cables. Speaker cables are VD Revelation SIG.and XLR balanced interconect from DAC3 to Ref1000 mono's is Virtual Dynamics Revelation 2.0.
I read the review of Edgar Kramer, very interesting, I'll comment once my gear is broken in but there are already some interesting things going on right now. I will comment about one area that Edgar Kramer said ("lean bass")something is going on here in his system for him to make such a comment because I have not heard this in three system with Bel Canto set up within. I heard Von Schweikerts VR-9's speakers with Bel Canto Dac3 and Ref1000 hooked up and heard no "lean bass". I don't know which Von Schweikerts speakers Kevziet has but what I heard on the 9's refers similar to the bass he refered to. I have not heard "lean bass" in my curent system so Edgar Kramer's comments about this must have something to do with in his own system. Speakers maybe? I beleive he listened with Wilson W/P 6's, this could be the problem, accociated gear set up, cables or maybe something else in his system or the room.
These Bel Canto products are very interseting in deed, I never would of thought that I would be auditioning such.
What started this was that I was at a freinds, he had some amps to audition, a pair of Jeff Rolland 301's, 501's, NuForse SE 9's and Bel Ref1000's. The Rowlands are stunning in appearence, listening to the 301's I was very disappointed, 501's are better, I listened to the SE 9's and Bel Ref1000. What I heard in his system was that I prefered the Bel Ref1000's but I want to still do some further listening in my own set up before I really comment. I am going to be able to put these other amps also in my system once my system is broken in and I will comment also on them later.
My freinds system; Wilson Maxx2's,EMM Labs-CDSD SE cd player,Lamm Ref 1.2 mono blocks, Lamm pre, cables Transparent.