I wouldn't change until I heard them on my system, I think you would be disappointed.
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Yes I agree to listen yourself but strongly disagree that you might be disappointed.
That is pure speculation and a voice of inexperience speaking.
And before you go there, I don't care how many years you have in the business/hobby. That's simply a disingenuous supposition because you and the OP could have diametrically opposed listening cues, keys, and expectations.
Audiopile, you apparently have two goals in your posts. The first is to establish yourself an the all-wise audio guru. The second is to exhibit yourself as a total ----. Despite your miserable failure at the first you have succeeded at the latter beyond all expectations. You constantly harp on your experience and knowledge but if anyone else has some you dismiss it as irrelevant. OF COURSE we all have different goals and expectations, if this bars us from giving our opinion then this forum will have no posts.
Bryan, aside from their opposite prognostications, Stan and Bill are both correct. . . You may need to try out the BC Ref 1K Mk.2s side by side with your Parasound to gage if they are of your liking. I have found the BC Ref 1000 Mk2s to be extremely charming and very musical and refined amps. Here is the review I have written for Positive feedback:
I would recommend trying the Bel Canto's in your system not only because this is the only true way to decide which set of monos works best in your application but also because you would gain some genuine insight into how amplifiers of similar specifications but radically different design principals differ in sound. There is so much (probably ill informed) debate over the merits of Class D amps versus traditional Class A or A/B designs. I think a lot of folks would agree that the new series Bel Canto amps represent the best of what Class D has to offer and the JC-1's have long been considered some of the best Class A-A/B designs out there. What a great opportunity to find out for yourself what others mostly speculate about. I would say, however, that any decision you make to replace your JC-1's with the Bel Cantos should wait until you have settled on a pair of speakers. Why replace one set of monos with another when a speaker change may render your decision irrelevant?
Dodgealum brings up an excellent point.
If a speaker change is immenient, than upgrading your amplifiers now might be a mistake. (In fact, it lmost certainly would be.) Speakers, IMHO, have a bigger impact on the sonics of your system, than any other component. I think you should delay buying new amplifiers, until you have selected your new speakers, and then, and only then, start auditioning new amplifiers. It is really best to match your amplifiers to your speakers, so as to give your speakers the very best chance of sounding their best in your system.
My two cents worth.
Good Luck in your search!
PS If you are happy with the sonics of your Parasound JC-1s, (and they are excellent amps), perhaps it makes more sense to invest in a good room air conditioner? I have a similar situation with my Lamm M2.1s, and just like with my guns, you can only have them when you pry them from my cold, dead hands! ;-)
(Well, unless you're offering to let me trade up to the Lamm M2.2s! That's a another story all together!)
I agree..Speakers first/then the amps to compliment them.If your thinking of changing speakers do that first.If you choose the C4s( which I currently have) I would strongly suggest Pass labs X.5 series.I would also cross off the studio 2 on that short list..Let us know what happens,good luck and enjoy the journey
Seems to me that Ryan's immediate concern may be the amount of heat generated by the Parasound amp during summertime, rather than the sonic return on the investment of upgrading amp vs upgrading speakers. Hence his specific question about the Bel Canto class D monoblock amps.
Until Spring of 2008 I used to run high bias class A/B Rowland 7M monoblock amps. Living in Austin (TX) in a house whose energy efficiency is somewhat in between an afterthought and a pure figment of my home builder's feverish imagination, I could never listen to music between the beginning of May and the end of September as my listening loft turned into a regular sauna.
Since then I have replaced the 7M with class D amplification. I find my class D amps, including the BCs, as musically satisfying as my former 7Ms. . . and as class D amps run essentially almost cool to the touch, I can leave the system running and making music 24/7 even in the middle of Summer. . . The listening room remains (almost) livable even when outside temps surpass the 100F mark. . . . to tell the truth, the 'almost' clause is invariant as to my stereo being on or off. . . my roof insulationcirculation is that poor.
BTW, if your current or future speakers can handle a little less power than the Ref 1000 Mk.2s, you may also have a look at the Ref 500. I have heard unconfirmed reports that they may sound even sweeter than their bigger brothers.
I have the bel canto ref 1000 mkii driving a pair of dynaudio audience 82 and it is wonderful. I live in DFW and replaced my class ab amp with these. Driven at full throttle they truly run cool and offer incredible control. I urge you to try these. So many upsides it's hard to see why anyone disses this technology. This is the future especially when you get a Texas sized electric bill in the summer!!!
Review, the listed links and then go listen.
Class D amps seem very hard to make well, so most license the basic blocks and go from there. Not a bad thing if it's really good. Based on pricing, I see some really BAD stuff going on however. The advantages of the design (low cost) relative to the disadvantage (too numerous to list) aren't factored in to the amps price. The prices are well in excess of where they should be for what the product offers.
If they sounded the SAME as a comparative A/B amp, and use FAR LESS expensive materials, where's the price leverage that the size and weight brings to the table for wide-band CLASS D use? I see massive mark-ups and designs that are not comparative on an absolute sense to A/B amplifiers.
Not knowing what CLASS D is all about seems to have allowed the price to escalate to levels the technology and cost should be allied AGAINST (weight and high cost), not for.
From my perspective, the amps are, at a reasonable price, a casual listening product but not yet eclipsing even modest A/B amps in linearity and sound. Is the high price of some of these products (I could name two vendors) done just to "buy" relevance and at the same time, pad the pockets of those selling them?
CLASS D seems to work well for low frequency applications (subs) but suffer many problems with wide band amplification. I'd argue that a good CLASS B amp might be more linear even for subs. I use Velodyne DD10+ subs, so I'm not necessarily accepting CLASS D as better simply based on ownership.
Not so much has it changed. The basic ICE block (and the other two vendors products) are still the same, but with a few "added" minor tweaks. The point is, the PRICE has NOT changed and it SHOULD!
We need to bring people into the hobby and not push them away with greedy pricing by vendors. I see almost no attempt to leverage the reduced parts cost through to the consumer. BEL CANTO and Mark Levinson products are purely leveraging the name against a cheap manufacturing cost to maximize PROFIT margin. The pricing has zero concern for the consumers pocket book. These are TODAYS PRODUCTS.
Once it is priced fairly, THEN we can maybe talk about the sound. Yes, I heard a HYBRID class D power supply / Class A audio stage integrated that sounded good. It was priced WAY out of reach, too.
CLASS D is still a tricky build, though. That's why vendors license the technology. But, this should increase the QTY sold, and REDUCE prices. If anything they went up. Get rid of that expensive and heavy linear supply and what? The price stays the same or goes up?
FWIW, I thought the Bel Canto REF1000Ms did well in its price bracket. I compared it to Bryston Class AB gear that cost a bit more and it was not a clear win. The BC had superb bass control while the Bryston had a full midrange. I found that using an ARC tube preamp (Ref5) put the balance strongly in the Bel Canto side.
I only found a decent upgrade over the BC by going with an Electrocompaniet Nemo or Plinius SA-Reference that was well over 2x the price of the Bel Canto
Pricing out of reach? A great deal has changed and it's changing rapidly.
One of the best sounding switching amplifiers, the Hypex nCore 400 sells for less than $1200 a pair in a simple to assemble kit form.
The switching module and the power supply are in house Hypex manufactured. Or you can spend 10K for the assembled and more powerful Mola-Mola in nice casework.
The affordable Channel Island line is using the Hypex uCd modules as is Rouge in their hybrid. Higher end Devialet and MBL are selling their own in house switching designs. Many of the older marks such as Rowland, PS Audio, NuForce, Spectron, and others have been steadily upgrading.
The very large Harmon/Levinson mono's are a whopping $53k but their build looks very expensive.
At this point the ICE modules being used are extremely modified. The off the shelf products have been surpassed in quality some time ago.
That's a wide spectrum of quit new class D designs with one of the best sounding examples at a very affordable price.
Two products aren't a market. I listened to the Devialet unit and it was indeed very open and precise, but with a restricted sound stage. When the music opens up, it didn't. The MOON A/B unit was tremendously more dynamic and thus, much more musical, not to mention much richer in texture.
A/B amps have been around since 1967, almost 45 years, and are still improving. I really haven't seen class D get where it needs to be in the last two years. Better, yes.
I think that they can match the needs of low to mid full-range applications in performance most successfully but are still not as consistent as a high-end analog power supply at getting clean Vcc DC voltage to the AC signal path. Restricted to low frequencies in matched systems (powered subs) where they work best is a good audio nich.
My biggest complaint is the poorly market indexed pricing. Again, one or two products isn't the market, and one's that are pretty esoteric at that. The average Joe or Jane won't even register that the Hypex nCore 400 kit even exists.
Clear winners in sound? No, everyone will determine the sound that they enjoy. There will never be a winner there. I don't like the Plinius SA-103 at all for instance, but it is a good amp for a lot of people. So SOUND is NOT my point, base material cost / pass through mark-up is. Most class D amplifiers exist to substantially pad the pockets of the manufacturer's and dealers. Especially now, realistic pricing is needed to pull people into the hobby.
The plethora of class D amps is changing as manufacturers try to ride the excessive mark-up wave much more than true design improvements. Adding a few caps here or there to a D-class power supply (maybe $300.00 in parts at best) and pricing a unit at $2,000.00 is close to the 5X parts to sell ratio. $8,000.00 for a Bel Canto REF1000M II series is suspect.
Be careful out there.
To Rower, The Ref1000 m is NOT 8k per pair. They list at 6k. I bought a new pair for close to half that. Have you heard them? They sound really good. They aren't perfect but they do a lot right for the money. Your posts make you sound like a real blowhard. And you certainly don't have your facts right which doesn't make your argument any stronger.
I see this discussion has new life. I never did get the bel cantos. What I did do was buy an Innersound ref 500 amp for a great deal. It's a cool running class A/B amp that gives 500 watts into 8 ohms in a single chassis that idles cool. Exactly what I wanted so I can leave the stereo on all the time. I even bought the matching Innersound ref preamp. I spent a good deal of time comparing these to the parasound jc1s and the Ayre k1x. I had these all on hand for a few months so I really got to live with them before deciding what I liked best. I ended up keeping the full Innersound rig and selling the jc1s and k1x. The Innersound amp had a little quicker attack and punch the jc1s were a little rounded sounding still good I could live with either but the Innersound amp doesn't heat the whole room so that is important and really I like the sound of the Innersound amp better with the dynaudio C4s though the JC1s are certainly not bad. The preamp I clearly like the Innersound ref better than the Ayre k1x. Granted the price on the Innersound gear was very high when originally sold (25k for the set) I paid less than what I sold the other combo for so it was a good deal and I got what I was looking for. After hearing how good a cool running high powered solid state amp can sound I don't think the marginal improvements to big hot mono blocks will sway me. I've owned a bunch of amps VTL 450 BAT 150 SE Ayre v5xe pass labs simaudio so I've had a fair share of experience.
Adjusting for inflation the facts are correct. The sources are listed for your reference. I listened to the Devialet and this thing goes for 15K. SOUND isn't the "main" issue (although such HUGE variations in opinions of the same amp should give you pause!). My opinion, which most should care less about, is that the mids were great, but the bass and treble were pushed back. The imaging was one size too small compared to AB amplifiers, but very precise. It was a usable performance, but not to the level I'm after.
Few vendors (ANTHEM being one) can design, build, and absorb the R&D costs to market a class D pulse supply with the majority licenses a major market block and add little else. And, making one isn't the solution. It has to be good. Few engineers really understand CLASS D like they will going forward. We went to the moon, but we made a ton of mistakes along the way.
I'd love to think that in just two years a totally new technology with tremendously varied negative attributes relative to linear amps could be oh so perfect in such few design attempts. This isn't TV, we all aren't 28 year old geniuses.
I find it curious that people can decide their choices are perfection only to dump them a year or two later. Prior to the abandonment of their old technology, anybody that made comment towards it's merits on price or performance is a "blowhard". Ya, we'll learn a lot thinking like that.
The market will take from you what you allow. Get educated.
The pursuit of CLASS D amps is to achieve superior size, weight, and cost advantages over the same linear parts. It is MUCH more electrically complex, however. That complexity has been mitigated over a wide audience (for audio anyway) to leverage the R&D costs across a larger universe of users. But, the cost advantage has been absorbed by the manufacturers at this point, and not passed on to the consumer. The designs are better, but the lessons are still pages deep on this technology.
I would wait a few more years before I plunked down 8K for a CLASS D amp for hi-end audio. My opinion, lightly blown in your direction.
You can't take Devialet apart, so youre stuck with 15K. That's as simple as it gets. So for what it's worth, you pay 15K to listen to the amp, so to speak. You can't get it any other way.
I will wait a few years on pulse power supplies to mature. Early fuel injection progressed for five or more years. It's great now. Manifold injection, Port injection, multi-port spray injection and then direct. Each step was much better than the last. To think a few generations of CLASS D is "done" is probably premature. The ANTHEM may be the "newest" take on overall design.
But, new / early adopters are free to go for it. Just don't marry your decisions as "pure" and complete and slam any comments to the contrary, then dump the technology and do it over with the next best thing. After all, why did you leave your last decision if the product was "perfect"?
I'm talking about maturity, not brainless new love lust. Nothing is more perfect than the first ten minutes of a relationship. But give it awhile...
One last point, fuel injection is dirt cheap at a high comparable level of performance, too, and at every market sector...it is much more broadly distributed at the markets low-end as R&D expenses are asymptotically small. With CLASS D, that's not the case...yet. That tells you R&D is an expensive part of the equation to bring the best to you.
I think that for what it packages, the Devialet is a very impressive deal. You can even cascade two units for monoblock power.
It's a bit like the Ayon CD5S. Expensive for a CDP but considering it has a CD Pro2 and has a great tube preamp and PCM1704 quad stacked DAC, I think it's great value. Just because someone may prefer multiple boxes but if it fits your purpose, it's a great deal.
For the record,
REF1000 was what BCD released first. It was fundamentally just a B&O ASP1000 module inside a BCD box.
REF1000 Mk II was added later (also available as an upgrade for REF1000 owners). It added an input buffer and a power supply board for the ASP1000. IMHO this was a big improvement in sound quality.
Then BCD released the REF500S and REF500M (stereo and mono blocks respectively) with the third generation ICE modules. I agree the newer modules have a sweeter sound vs the older second gen ASP module in the REF1000/MkII.
The REF500M included the same input buffer and power supply board as the REF1000 MkII.
I guess at this point there was some confusion. Some customers might have been expected a REF 500 Mk II when the 500M was already enhanced the same as the REF1000 MkII.
So there was a decision to rebadge the REF1000 MkII as REF1000M to keep the branding in line with the REF500M.
There is a new BCD mono block power amp based on NuForce modules though. It is UBER expensive.
The 1000M has better headroom than the 500M. But the 500M is using a newer generation of ICE modules which I think sounds very good. My friend and I were using the same speakers (Thiel MCS1) for centre duties but he was using REF1000Ms for all front 3 speakers while I used the REF500M for centre. The MCS1 sounded less lean and clinical on my system.
Bel Canto Ref1000Ms are based on the ICEpower 1000ASP module. The Mk.2 version features an enhanced pre-power supply rectification stage that I described in the technical section of my PFO review at:
"The engineering enhancements of the REF1000 MkII over the original model are exemplified by their newly redesigned power input stages, where high-speed,
low-noise rectifiers and high-voltage film and electrolytic filter capacitors are used producing energy storage capacity of 400 Joulestwice the energy
storage capacity of the original REF1000 version. The advanced design of the new power input stages convert the 120 AC 60Hz power from the largely unavoidably
noisy public electric grid into a clean, filtered, and buffered current at approximately 305V, before feeding power to the regulated switching mode power
supply of the 1000ASP module, which is compatible with DC input voltages as high as 385V. The optimization of pre-power-supply rectification is a general
methodology that is gaining favor among several manufacturers of switching mode amplifiers, including Bel Canto, Spectron and Rowland."
The rectification stage of REF500M is similar. REF500M is based on the ICEpower 125ASX2, which is a newer module. In spite of the 125ASX being a newer module than 1000ASP, having had both of these excellent amps in my own system, in the long run I have formed the opinion that the REF1000M review unit was not only comfortably more authoritative, but was also edging REF500M in sweet and open musicality... Granted, since then both devices might have undergone silent updates, and my early observations may not reflect current production.