nuforce 9.02se/belles ref./ moscode 401hr?

nuforce 9.02se/belles ref/moscode 401hr/McIntosh 402 or 602/parasound jc-1's (concerned about the heat) as amp for my piega c-8ltd ribbon hybrid speakers. Other recommendations welcome. My budget is up to 5k used or new but prefer used and less than my upper range. My goal is to extract as much performance from the piega's as possible at this price point (top to bottom). My musical tastes are ecletic but I listen to acoustic (bluegrass and folk) nearly half the time. My room is medium sized and dedicated. Current amp is an aloia 15.01 and it sounds very, very good but I feel like there is much room for improvement. Amp has a low level hum that I can hear during quiet passages. Preamp is lector zoe with premium genelex tubes. Source is aloia cdp as transport partnered with the scott-nixon tube dac. I have used odyssey extreme monoblocs and liked them also but not as much as the aloia. In what way? I don't have the audio vocabulary to say but it just sounds better to me. All suggestions are appreciated and don't hold back. Thanks in advance.
I have used odyssey extreme monoblocs and
liked them also but not as much as the aloia. In what way? I don't have
the audio vocabulary to say but it just sounds better to me.

Twc  (Threads | Answers)

I would suggest explaining in your own words what you like better about
the Aloia 15.01. Forget audiophile speak. Do your best. Your answer will
provide important clues to which of the very different amplifiers you
might like from your list.

If you go for the NuForce 9SE, it's a very dynamic, clear, and detailed amp the way it comes... But if you want it to sound sweeter and more musical I suggest removing the top cover and snipping out the single yellow capacitor across the speaker terminals. To me, the capacitor makes the amp sound colder, brighter, and more clinical. I think it sounds quite good with the stock cap in place but it sounds so much more musically gratifying with the capacitor removed.

That said, the capacitor also blocks some RFI, so if you're using a FM tuner in close proximity to the amps, you might want to leave the capacitor in place (though the output wiring runs through a coil to reduce RFI to a large extent).
I would suggest explaining in your own words what you like better about
the Aloia 15.01. Forget audiophile speak. Do your best. Your answer will
provide important clues to which of the very different amplifiers you
might like from your list.

I love the way that this amp gets out of the way and lets the speakers utterly and completely disappear. With the right recording there is no sense of speakers in the room at all. Not just a great center image but from an area outside the speakers to everywhere in between. I also like great inner detail. I really like to hear immediacy that can make voice inflections become prominent and easy to hear, especially the way Allison Krauss makes use of her voice that you wouldn't normally hear in a std system.

What I don't like is sibalance, meaning excessive sss and ttt. If there is one thing I think the aloia could improve on it would be that music can sometimes sound a little bland. Almost a buttery sheen over the music. Very smooth but just a touch dull. I also don't like grain which can sometimes appear especially on voices.

Anybody familiar with Reference Audio Mods mod to the nuforce 9.02? Better than the 9.02SE? I am skeptical.

Thanks. Tim
Regarding the previous post, I think I should have said I love to hear the immediacy and prominent dynamic contrasts to voice inflections among other inner detail shadings. Tim
Based on your post, I believe just about any of the amps on your list would qualify to some degree. I have not heard the Belles, but the latest iteration of the 350 reference is getting glowing reviews. I own the Moscode 401HR, and have written about it extensively. It's extremely musical, and it's tonality can be changed with some easy tube rolling. It has no grain or sibilance, and simply sounds natural. I have heard an earlier iteration of the NuForce amps. Of all the amps on your list, the Ref9.02SE will likely have the last word in inner detail and resolution, but I find the sound too sterile for my taste. The Mac amps are known for their musicality and "non-audiophile" sound, and they would also be an excellent would the Parasound.

Tubes in an amplifier can bring the midrange forward and give some emphasis to vocals, etc.

My advice is to take your time and listen to as many of these as possible either through in-home auditions with money back guarantees (Moscode and NuForce), or through dealer arranged auditions.

Start with the amps you can hear and return without obligation (other than shipping charges). Eventually, one or two amplifiers will likely strike you as "right", and then it will become difficult to choose which one to buy because no amplifier is perfect, and you'll notice pluses and minuses with each.
oddly, i owned the 350 reference, the mc501s and have extensive experience w/ the JC1s.

in terms of absolute accuracy, the JC1s are the pick of the 3. in terms of what i'd own, i own the macs.

and i thought the belles sounded the best of them all.

now, if that doesn't confuse you, nothing will!

(i'll be brief. JC1s: awesome power and clarity, but heat and system matching w/ a hot treble in my WP6s precluded it. 501s: see my review on for IMO the most accurate representation of mac SS amps---they're NOT perfect, but they are good enough! and the 350 ref: great sound & quite a bargain, but build quality concerned me (bias on both channels wasn't equal, and i was told by the mfg it was unimportant?!?), and i hated the fact that it didn't have a soft start circuit, leading it to trip my circuit breaker (dedicated 20a) each time i turned it on. talk about user unfriendly!).

there isn't a bad one in the bunch, but if you plan the live with it, i would say the moscode (way way overlooked brand) or the mac for the long haul.
Thanks people. Some real good information and sound advice (pardon the pun). I may live with my current amp just a little bit longer. The moscode is so interesting. Everytime I have introduced a tube I have liked the results. The McIntosh's have a very positive reputation with piega's. I bet the others are very good also. Thanks again.
I just put the Belles 350A in my system last Friday. Problem is that I can't give a good evaluation until I buy a decent two channel pre-amp. I'm currently using the bypass mode of my Arcam AVP-700 and while it sounds good, I know there's much more. Source is Naim CD5i (one of my favorite pieces).

One thing that stands out with the Belles is bass control is as good as I've ever heard.

I first heard the Belles at a dealer hooked up to a Belles pre-amp and Naim CDP with OB power supply. The dealer (Blue Marble Audio) said his normal pre-amp was in the shop so he was using the small pre-amp. I didn't know what it was at the time, but now I think about it, I'm pretty sure he was just using a Soloist pre.

Speakers were Usher CP-8751's with the berrilium (sp?) tweeter. Every CD he put in sounded like I was hearing it for the first time. Such weight and realness from the horns. The snap or slam of the snare drum sounded as if it were gonig to leap and and hit you. Just all the little things that came through. Nothing sounded bad.

I'm not sure how one of the other amps would have done in this system, the synergy here was as good as I've heard. I do need to mention that the entire system was also wired with his own (pretty expensive) cables and they are something special too.

I don't understand how the bias does or doesn't affect the sound, so I can't comment on this. Rhyno indicated he had a problem tripping the breaker and I also read this might be an issue in the latest review of this amp. However, I have mine on a 15amp breaker and have no problem what so ever. As a matter of fact, the turn-on and off is about as quiet as any amp I've owned.

And, I have my TV and the rest of my components plugged into this same circuit as well.

For the price the Belles seems hard to beat, but I'm also a huge Odyssey fan. Although they're not on your list.
I'd opt for the Moscode. I am a fan of the old NYAL stuff that George Kaye sold in the 80's. While the build quality of the chassis of the old Mos 300 wasn't very impressive (rather resembled a collection of after thoughts) the amp itself was super. The new Moscode is in another league altogether.

hey plato, tried your mini mod on my ref 9se amps and i must say you are correct, i like the sound better with out the cap, it makes a already fine amplifier much more musical thanks mike