NuForce vs Bel Canto

Greetings Agoners!

I am interested in trying some Class D mono blocks and was wondering if anybody has done an A-B comparison between the NuForce 9 v2 SE (or any version) and the Bel Canto Ref500 or Ref1000 MK 2 series?

Thanks in advance for any input!

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I have a Spectron myself.

I've never heard the NuForce amps so I can't say anything one way or another about it.

I have heard the Bel Canto amps with the Jeff Joseph Pulsar speakers. I really liked Jeff Joseph's speakers when I've heard them in other systems.

Have you thought about a Spectron?!?!?!

Nope....I am not aware of Spectron. I'll have a look. Thanks for the input!!!

I haven't heard either the NuForce OR BC...or ANY Class D stuff for that matter. But I have read nice reviews and would love something that puts out some big sound and detail without simultaneously acting as a space heater. :-)
Please look into the Spectron:

They sell direct and have a 30 day money-back policy. It's 600 wpc @ 8 ohms and 800 wps @ 4 ohms.

Here's some reviews:,,,

I see you have a tube pre-amp.

Bel Canto mk II or m ref series are the BC products to look at for best results with a tube pre-amp. These have a 100Kohm+ custom input stages designed for best results with a tube pre-amp.

The Nuforce site indicates only 22Kohm input impedance for that model, which is a less optimal match for most tube pre-amps, at least on paper.

I can vouch for the sound quality of the BC ref1000m mono blocks I use. I went with this specific BC model in that my system benefits from more costly BC tweaks to stock IcePower Class D amps (these tweaks are not present in less expensive non ref series BC Class D amps) in their latest and greatest mkii or m ref series amps.

These are an improved power supply internally which helps with larger or more power and current hungry speaker designs and the custom higher impedance input stage for optimal results with tube pre-amps.

The beter Spectron amps are the other Class D amps that I considered with similar features that would be another option to BC ref mkii/m series amps. I have not heard these so I cannot comment though I would expect their performance to be similarly good.

Rowland makes otehr highly regarded Class D amps that I am less familiar with.
Thanks for the info Chuck!
Wyred4Sound is another good but less expensive Class D option designed for good results using tube pre-amps.
Thanks Mapman. I recall your happiness with the BC's from a comment in my virtual system. The Kora Crescendo preamp really seems to 'play nice' with everything I have tried it with so far.

I will no doubt keep the input impedance in mind as I come closer to a decision.


I would not expect a less than optimal match to sound bad. Some might even prefer the sound.

Generally a higher amp input impedance can help assure lower distortion and better dynamics, especially with tube pre-amps which tend towards higher output impedance by nature, some more than others. It can also vary by frequency in a manner taht is not reflected in published impedance specs. So its a matter of degree more so than good/bad perhaps. Also its more of an insurance policy to hedge your bet towards better results in that exact results cannot be known in advance or in lieu of an apples/apples a/b comparison.
Try the new Nuforce REF 18 amazing sounding amp.
Hello Worldcat,

What is the price of new NuForce Ref 18 amp? I believe their Ref 9SE was about $2k or so, if I am not mistaken.
What is the price of new NuForce Ref 18 amp? I believe their Ref 9SE was about $2k or so, if I am not mistaken.

Ref 9v3 = $1800 msrp each
Ref 9v3SE = $2500 msrp each
Ref 18v3 = $3800 msrp each
If NuForce REF 18 cost $7.6k per pair then I much prefer that I have: two Spectrons running as fully balanced monoblocks - also about $7.7k

Spectrons run my "Sasha" by Wilson absolutely effortessly, much better then during my audition at dealer with Pass Lab XA200.5 - extraordinary amplifier with life like sound !
Thanks yet again Mapman!


Have you listened to any other Class D amps than the Spectrons? I haven't even seen them before....and they are definitely a little more than I wanted to spend...unless of course, I find a good deal for a pair on AG. :-)
using nuforce ref 18s with my tyler d1 90db speakers and being a classic rock and roller most of the time while listening my ref 18s will help to create a wall of sound that makes those big boys disappear. along with all of the power, speed and fineness needed for my music choice. sorry but cant comment on bel canto amps. try and arrange auditions before you buy if possible. good luck with your quest.
"Have you listened to any other Class D amps than the Spectrons? "

Hello Claudle.

No, when I was shopping for new amp (I had McIntosh 2102 100wpc tube amp and I feel I need more power and finesse for my - at that time - WATT/Puppy 8) I was searching mostly among "muscle" class A amps. By chance somebody recommended Spectron and I have read very interesting professional reviews and then started the thread here, identical to your and...I end up very happy: Spectron was much better then any class A (and some tube ) amps I tried. Not to mention 2-5 times cheaper...

Later on, a few friends brought to my system their class D amps. I don;t remember any name besides Bel Canto Ref 1000 Mk2 - does not matter to me because none of them was even in the same class.

I don;t remember if there was NuForce Ref 9SE but I looked their web site: Ref 18 must have greater peak current and I would guess noise filtering then Ref9SE. How much it changed the amp overall- your guess is as good as mine

All The Best In Your Search!
Thanks to all!

I just demoed a pair of Nuforce ref9v3se and found them too cold for my taste

I have heard that the v3SE has a dryer, colder sound than the v2SE.

I do enjoy a warmer sound so was only considering a v2SE.

Any other Class D amps that you have demo'd?

Thanks for your input!
Try the NEW Ref18 Nuforce. NOT DRY OR COLD, just music. Very smooth sounding, musical and so detail.
That would be so detailed. They also will make your speakers disappear. Audition before you buy. They are in my opinion different sounding amps than the 9sev3's even though are using same v3 board.
I'll see if I can find somewhere to hear them. I am from MN originally so may visit them when I go home xmas. I bet they have a nice listening room. :-)

Cluade, I just wanted to say/add. Being a owner of the Bel Canto 1000, Spectron Musician mark ll, and the Nufoirce 9V SEs, you have before you some of the best names in Class D. I truly love and respect them all for what they do, and quite honestly and in all honesty, to say one sounds better, or is better overall is hard pressed for me. I can be sitting at home enjoying music, with any of them and get to a certain CD, and all of a sudden I get the urge to hear that CD using a one of the other models, switch them out, and just go on enjoying my music. They ALL have brought and continue to bring me quite a lot of joy musically. But if I were to let one of them go, it'd be the Spectron, and that would ONLY be to go to a higher priced model. But I only see myself parting with anyone of these when I depart this life, they are all wonderful peices ones in which one really can't go wrong if they are in sync with the rest of your gear. I write this not as an Audiophile, Tech, or any other of the nomenclatures used in this hobby to describe, just a poor guy blessed in that I am able to enjoy this wonderful pusuit of musical enjoyment. Thank you all for letting me comment, and taking the time to read my jibber.
Claud1e, I do apologise for having mispelled your name, please forgive. Also forgot to mention, and had forgot overall about my Wyred ( top model )mono blocks. Igave them to my son, which paired with a Mark Levison preamp,
ADS speakers, and Sony CDP is creates wonderfull sound.

Thanks a bunch for your post! After much reading and poking around, I had come to the realization that these 3 Amps would appeal to me in one way or another. Furthermore, that they would ALL be a good choice. So Thanks for verifying for me! :-)

I'm still sitting on the fence as I have yet to hear any of them... I'm not in a real rush at the moment so I will keep my eyes peeled when I travel and get some listening in before I buy.

Class D amps over time tend to get uninvolving and dry for my tastes. I have heard NuForce at my buddies house and he didn't keep them long. I have not heard the latest NuForce offerings. I heard Bel Canto at another buddies and liked them much better. He must have liked them because they stayed in his system for over a year.
In audio ever thing is system matching what works with your gear. Nuforce amps will tell how good ever thing up stream is. My nuforce amps are very very musical sounding and work very well with my system that is why i have stuck with them so long. The new 18's are in a whole new league than the other models. Their amps have always got my foot to tapping.
"The new 18's are in a whole new league than the other models... "

Hello Worldcat, I presume that by "other models" you mean other models of NuForce..or all other models of class D amplfifiers or other models availabele in the world, of all classes?

I am personally very glad that NuForce and Bel Canto finally realize in their latest model about the importance of increased stored energy in power supply capacitor's bank.

However, since about 2007,Spectron Musician III started to use 100 capacitors in their power supplies as well as provide optional oil and teflon capacitor board there. Their amp with this board cost $3,995 - about half or two/third then Ref 18 and Bel canto Ref 1000 Mk2 and what they doing today surely these companies will repeat in 2014 or whenever.

I prefer to stuck with Spectron - mostly for sonic reasons but innovation also plays role too. Don;t forget that their Chief, John Ulrick introduced first in the world high-fidelity audio amplifier at CES 1974

Samzx12,which class D did you own and a brief description of your system?