Used VAC Super? Moscode 401orBelles Reference 350?

I was recently at CES and i had a chance to hear the VAC phi amps and was absolutely floored from what i heard. Although i didnt get around to hearing all rooms the VAC/Wadia/Talon Thunderhawk room was amazing. There was somthing special about that set up. I'm not in the league to spend 20k on amps but if i had the money the Phi amps would certainly be on my short list and i never considered even buying a tube amp in the past. I just like the sound and character of the breath of life VAC puts out. Is anyone familiar with the sound of the VAC Super integrated compared to a new Moscode 401 or the Belles Reference 350 and even the TRL 225 D? I will be narrowing it down to these amps. One will end up in the system im going to be building.

Your feedback is highly appreciated.
Apples to oranges. So much is different between them, the least of which is their power ratings. It's a fairly big leap to assume the VAC Avatar Super sounds anything like the VAC Phi monoblocks.

The Moscode, Belles and TRL will be affected by the preamplifier used.

The speakers you intend to use will be a significant factor to the answer.

I have owned a VAC Phi 110/110 and presently own a Moscode 401HR. I've never heard a Belles 350 nor a TRL 225.

Honestly, I don't know where to begin answering your question except that I would recommend choosing your loudspeakers before your amplifier.
Well the speakers on my short list are as follows and not in any order. Would love to have the Kharma's, Magico or Talon Thunderhawks but im not ready to step that high in price.

1. Salk Veracity HT3, QW or V3

2. Audes Excellence

3. Von Schweikert VR4jr

4. Sehring 701

5. DeVore 8's or 9

6. Audio Physic
just pick one, they are all great...that said, the moscode with a nice pre is pretty special with most speakers
What pre amp and speakers did you hear the Moscode with? What do you like about the amp as far as character most? If i step up a little on the amp, i have up to 2k for a good new or used pre amp.
i had the opportunity to hear the moscode in my system using an audiolab 8000p, a c22 II mac pre and a nobus proteus(similar to a marantz 7 in character). speakers were gradient rev's and b&w 802 matrix. the sound was certainly 'sweet' and 'smooth' but not without taking care of business in the bass regions. since it is in effect a hybrid it really does fall in between your other two choices. i have always appreciated well designed hybrids. i used to own a nobis amp(cantible) which although not as powerful as the moscode had some of the same character. good front to back, but a left to right as big as sold state. certainly a bigger soundstage than my mac 275.....lush, but not excessively so. the highs were as extended as anything i've heard, but not harsh or hard with older recordings. i've also had lots of experience with belles(before, during, and after his OCM venture). Solid and neutral, but that bit of magic that can't be quantified is with the moscode in this group. if you go ss, look into mac, cj, mccormick, and plinius for the 'big' power stuff. i think you'll hear a difference. that that, the moscode is a winner.
I have the VAC Avatar Super with 4JRs which I think is a great overall combination throwing excellent soundstage width and depth. I don't have a frame of reference to the other amps you are considering but greatlt enjoy the VAC.
Thanks for the feed back all. It would be interesting to hear a used VAC Avatar Super vs the Moscode 401. Maineiac have you heard any of the new phi products from VAC? And if so, would you say the Super has the same character? Obviously there is a difference but would you say it out performs most solid state and tube amps under 5k?
To tell you the truth I bought it without ever hearing it on the recommendation of VSA who had done a lot of demos with the 4JRs and the VAC Avatar Super. They said it was a great match. I compared it against a DK MKII and Musical Fidelity A5 but nothing else. I would love to hear the other phi products. I saw the phi beta at a dealer when I was looking for a turntable last year and didn't even want to hear it for fear that my heart would lust for something that I am not likely to get for a LONG time. The choice of tubes greatly changes the sound.
I saw the phi beta at a dealer when I was looking for a turntable last year and didn't even want to hear it for fear that my heart would lust for something that I am not likely to get for a LONG time. The choice of tubes greatly changes the sound.
Maineiac (System | Threads | Answers)
My experience with the VAC Phi 110/110 was that tube rolling did not make an appreciable difference in the sound of the amplifier, and the stock VAC tubes were my preference after having tried several well regarded 6SN7 and KT88 variants including 1969 Genelex Gold Monarch.

Perhaps tube rolling in the VAC Avatar Super has a more definite effect.
I should have followed your course of action because i did in fact hear the Phi mono blocks. And unless i mortgage my home or hit the six numbers..i wont have one anytime soon.
I have the VAC Musicblocs. The owner and designer at VAC, Kevin Hayes, told me that the VAC Avatar Super and my Musicblocs have virtually the same circuitry. I much preferred the VAC factory tubes to many different( some expensive NOS) tubes. So consider that if you go with the VAC Super integrated. By the way, I'm very content with my VAC Musicblocs. When the budget allows, I hope to upgrade in the VAC line.
Chaz 801, Keep in mind that Kevin has indicated that he may build another version of the AVATAR integrated amp. I think it will be near $10K, but I can't remember if that figure came from him or from someone in an online forum. It might be worth talking to Kevin to see what the status is on that project. Also, maybe try to find someone using one that lives near you for an audition.
Thanks Maineiac
I have talked to kevin also and he did mention great things ahead for the new avatar. He wasnt sure when exactly it would be introduced. He mentioned if all goes well, it could be near Q4 of this year. I will be patient and keep my eyes opened for a used avatar super. I have to buy a complete system from the ground up and my budget for everything is 10k to 15k tops.

Jaybo..i want to look at different pre amps too. Lets say i went with a moscode which is 1k more than the belles reference. I have aprox 2k+ left over for the pre. I have considered looking at different tube or ss pre amps. I also want to consider a placette passive pre amp to start to see how it would sound. Are their any pre amps new or used i should consider for the $$$ i should listen to?
FWIW, I use a Lamm LL2 Deluxe with my Moscode 401HR. I can also suggest a First Sound Presence Deluxe II, which I have also owned and is outstanding in it's own right. Different flavors, with the First Sound being the more neutral of the two. Both can be found around $2500 used.

The Moscode has high input gain, so you do not need a preamp with high output gain. The Placette would work just fine.

As I say, FWIW...
Awsome Tvad
This is great info that im looking for. I want to try the placette passive because it sounds like a fun product to try. Do you have any experience with it? I will most definetly look into the Lamm ive heard several good things about that manufacture. What do you like most Lamm LL2 or First Sound Presence Deluxe II? And can you describe the difference? I mentioned before im looking to get as close to transparent, 3d, deep & wide, extended high's and mids with air around each instrument with good balance with out it being to harsh.
The First Sound Presence Deluxe II created the largest and deepest image I have heard in my system. However, it was also a bit too bright in the highs for my taste, although I never heard the First Sound combined with the Moscode. I was using a VAC Phi 110/110 at the time. I suspect the highs might have been sweeter with the Moscode as I now have it configured with Mullard 6922 and 12AU7 tubes. I wish I had tried Mullard 6922 tubes in the First Sound, but I never did.

The Lamm LL2 is the preamp I kept, and I did hear it with both the VAC and the Moscode. It makes music. Pure and simple. The image is not quite as large or as wide as the one created by the First Sound, but the Lamm makes you forget about analyzing the system, and it allows you to enjoy the music (as does the Moscode). After having gone through a period of uber resolution during which I was constantly obsessed about the system's sound, I am now instead enjoying listening to music, and for me that's what it's about.

I've never heard the Placette as far as I know. I seem to recall that perhaps Moscode used a Placette at an audio show I attended. I was not thrilled with the sound of the Moscode room at that show, but I heard enough potential to encourage me to give the Moscode a home audition after which I purchased the amp.
Tvad - in which positions do you have the 6922 and the 12AU7 in the Moscode?
Art, I use 12AU7 in the outer positions, and I use RCA 6CG7 in the inner positions in the Moscode. I use a mix of 6922 and 12AU7 in the Lamm LL2 preamp. Sorry, I reread my earlier post and it is confusing. I wrote it too quickly.
Thanks G! You using the clear top rca?
Cleartop, black plate, top getter RCA.