Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grand + Bel Canto C5i vs..

I just acquired a new closeout set of Vienna Mozart Grands in the black piano finish. I have heard these speakers numerous times at various store settings and love the open, sweet, encompassing, not fatiguing sound. I am looking for an integrated amp + DAC either combined or seperate that will be a good match for my speakers.

I will be using this mostly for stereo audio and occasional home theater. I listen to a mixture of Jazz, Pop and Tecnno (Minimal and Ambient House). I plan to listen to mostly iTunes acquired high quality MP3s or streaming internet through an optical connection of an airport express.

I am seriously thinking about getting a Bel Canto c5i. Its a new high current integrated amp + good DAC for $2000 new. Does anyone know if this is a good combo match for my speakers? I don't mind getting an integrated amp and a seperate DAC used on Audiogon. My budget is $2000 for an int amp + DAC. Suggestion/feedback/your 2 cents are welcome. Thank you!
I'm sorry I can't help with amp advice, but since your Mozarts are new, just thought I'd pass this along. A few years ago, on (I think) the Audio Asylum forum, a Vienna rep said that to achieve intended performance, the Mozarts MUST be filled with sand. He said listening to them without the sand filling is not listening to the speaker as it was designed to be heard. Just FWIW. Hope you enjoy them!
Thanks for the heads up Bob! I read many users fill sand into their Vienna Bach Grands (lighter brother of the Mozarts). I'll definitely consider adding some although I have no idea how to do this... Maybe on another forum somewhere.
Hi, the bel canto is being released as we speak. I pre ordered mine a couple of weeks ago and will probably receive it on friday or next monday. I'll use it with a pair of dynaudio x 12. Hopefully out will be a god combination...
Hi, Sorry I can't really comment on your Mozart Grands and Bel Canto C5i question, but I know that Bel Canto has been making great Class D amps for years now. Hope that combo will be a great one.

When I saw the C5i info online, I was very excited. I wll soon sell my new Bel Canto REF 500S and DAC3 and purchase the C5i. Just waiting for Jajur's input when he gets his new C5i.
Thanks for the input guys!

Just ordered the C5i this week as well. Although slightly afraid it will not provide enough dampening factor to drive dynamic sound of my Vienna's. Will let you know how it sounds when I get mine.

Different topic but does anyone have any recommendations for budget/quality speaker cables?
Paul Spietz' Anti cables - give them a try.
AudioQuest Type 4, $197.00 8 ft new.
Hi everyone,
I received the Bel Canto C5i on Monday and I have been testing it ever since. I can't still draw any conclusions, but so far I'm happy with it.
My system is the following: Squeezebox Touch/PC -> Bel Canto C5i -> Dynaudio X12
I first tried it with USB and found the sound surprisingly good considering it was a long crappy USB cable connected to my 6 year old Fujitsu Laptop. To be honest, I think it's a miracle that it can sound so good under such circumtances.
Then I tried it with the Touch and found the sound to be even better. Not sure if the soundstage is smaller, but it's a bit less fatiguing to listen to and no harsh at all.
I have 2 concerns though:
- Power: the X12 play very loud, but I push the C5i to 85/90 fairly easily (hardly go further than that). At that volume, either the system is distorting a little bit or it's simply too loud to enjoy. Unfortunately I can't compare with any other amp.
- Headphone Output: more quiet than using speakers. I use a pair of Sennheiser HD570 (old model) headphones which are 64ohm rated. 85/90 is the minimum for listening to these headphones. If I were to use something like the HD650, I'm not sure they would play loud enough.

I'll let you know how the system evolves in the next few days.
Thanks for the update Jajur! I still haven't received mine yet. Glad to hear your happy with it so far.
Thank you for the update Jajur. Based on what I've read from computer audiophile and this forum, I have decided to put my DAC3 for sale and ordered the new C5i today. I hope to receive the package within two weeks. I am keeping the Bel Canto REF 500s power amp for now for future use.

1. I hope I'm not too late. Sand or fill is not recommended for the Grand line of speakers. Sand or fill was recommended for the prior line -- prior to the "Grand" line. This line had no specific moniker such as the "Grand." They were just called Vienna Acoustics Mozart speakers, etc. Although, to differentiate the 2 lines, this series is sometimes now referred to as the "Classic" line, i.e. Vienna Acoustics Mozart Classic.

2. I see you purchased your integrated amp. For future reference, the Primare products are supposed to match well with the Viennas.

3. Here is a link to a Vienna Acoustics owners thread.

Hope this helps.
Thanks so much for that information and for correcting my initial post. I just did some searching of Audio Asylum, where Patrick Butler of Vienna first posted about the need for sand filling. I see that he made those posts before the Grand series was introduced. (Man, time flies!) From your link, I see that the same Patric Butler says sand filling is not even an option on the Mozart or Bach Grands. I apologize for spreading outdated information! (And it's interesting to see that the Grand line is soon to be updated!). Thanks so much.
Hi Everyone,

I receive the C5i two days after I made the order online. I was very shocked!

I have been listening the Bel Canto C5i now for about 5 hours and I am very happy with it. The more I listen the more I enjoy it. The quality appears better than my DAC3 IMO. My setup is very simple. I replaced my Wadia 170i with a Cambridge iD100 Docking System for my Ipod Touch/Iphone which I also purchased new with the C51. The iD100 has USB, Toslink, SPDIF RCA and AES/EBU XLR outputs. I am using a Cardas RCA or Wireworld SuperNova6 digital cables and noticed that the Cardas sounds better and louder than the SuperNova 6. The Definitive Tech Bipolar speakers sounds surprisingly great considering they're too old for the C5i. The DAC of the C5i perhaps an upgrade to the DAC3 I currently own (for sale). It has a very nice blend of detail and more refined IMO. Overall, it is an amazing unit with fine imaging and wide soundstage.

Now, since this is under speaker forums, I need some help finding a good speakers for the C5i. I would appreciate your inputs and recommendations. My room is 11x11 and 9 ft. ceiling heights. I listen to lots of new age acoustics, ambient, soft jazz, pops and classical. I have no plans of using a SUB. My budget is no more than $1200.00. Here are some choices I have.

First Choice: Vandersteen 1Cs
Second: Dynaudio DM 3/7 (it's more than $1200 but sounds great).
Third: Dynaudio Xcite 12
Fourth: Totem Mite, Rainmaker, Dreamcatcher
Fifth: Silverline Minuets

Please help and thanks in advance.
Rod, thanks for your review. I don't want to hijack this thread so I'll keep it short, but if you feel inclined to give a more thorough review of the C5i as time goes by, I'd like to hear your thoughts. I'm REALLY considering buying this thing although it's too expensive for me. My speakers are more dated than yours (Snell E/III's), so I'm also curious what others have to say in this regard (older speakers with this newfangled integrated).

Let us know what you ultimately decide upon. FWIW, I thought the Vandersteen 1C to be an interesting option considering their age.
Hi Rodm3878,
I'm glad to hear you are so happy with the Bel Canto C5i. For the record, I also have the C5i connected to a pair of Dynaudios X12. My source is a Logitech Touch and what I have found is that the DAC inside the Touch is almost (if not completely) as good as the one inside the C5i, which was a surprise to me. Perhaps the Dyns can't show the difference between them???

Anyway, appart from that, I'm very happy with the combination C5i/X12. If I had the chance, I'd have probably tried the Dyn X16 for some extra bass/fuller body sound, but they are also more expensive. The Dynaudios DM3/7 will probably have more bass than the X12, but the tweeter is definitely worse (I think that's probably the best part of the X12). Can't really say anything about your other options, sorry.

Just received my Bel Canto C5i and spent most of the day listening and so far it far exceeds my expectations. I've heard my speakers Vienna Mozart Grands powered by a Peachtree Nova and McIntosh MC2102 in two different store settings. I must say it is definitely closer to the McIntosh in sound staging, tonality, clarity, dynamics and authority. Bright highs and colorful mid range with natural and surprisingly deep bass. My listening space is not ideal;- a loft with 18 foot ceilings about 14x20 foot room.

Electronic House and Hip Hop music even played remarkably well with my Mozarts which are known more for classical and Jazz music which performed beautifully. Some of the songs I auditioned included Belfast(Penguins and Cats)-Katie Melua, Walk on the Wild Side-Lou Reed and Somewhere over the Rainbow-Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. I had a big smile on my face after each song.

This is of course my first impression and may change after initial break in time of 48-72 hours on the Bel Canto and 100 hours on my Viennas which are new as well. IMHO, I would recommend these speakers for the Bel Canto. I will definitely write more in the following weeks and would be happy to contribute more to this entry but I have an early morning conference call and have spent the entire evening reveling in my newly complete system. Thanks for everyone that provided advice. I look forward to contributing more to the thread in the near future!
Rodm3878 - Are their any regrets with the Cambridge iD100? Do you have any issues using your iPhone with this? What about streaming Pandora, etc? I am having a frustrating time with streaming audio via Airplay consistently from iPhone 4 to my Apple TV (which has digital outputs to the C5i).

Btw, If you are interested in the Vienna Mozart- I think they fit your style, Jazz,etc. There are a few used ones on Audiogon at your prices range. Check it out.
Hi everyone.

Thanks a lot! I live in Kauai, HI and there are no high end audio dealers here, so I must depend on your opinions and inputs. Appreciated! In fact, I've been listening to some speakers on "You Tube" lately, and honestly, there were few that gave me goose bumps. For example, Dynaudio had an ad for their new DM 3/7 ($1995/pair). Wow, I could buy that, but it's above my budget and probably too big in my room 11x11x9. Then comes the X12's and and DM 2/6. I think these two were my favorites. The X12's paired with Rotel Integrated amp really played very nice with lots of musicality and the DM 2/6 was wonderful with piano music. Some were crappy but I enjoyed the Dynaudios and Totem Mites.

Lajollabiker: So far, my iD100 is wonderful and I like it more than my Wadia 170i. No regrets as yet! Both my iPhone 4 and iPod touch works well with the iD100. One issue I had with my touch and Wadia 170i was, the iPod kept shutting down while streaming music from Pandora. I called Apple 3-4 times and discussed the issue and they said to plug it into the computer and restore it. This problem continued several times for about 4 months; but, one day the problem went away. The Mozarts, probably too big for my room, but I will look into it. Thanks!

Jajur: Based on your inputs re: the X12's, I think they are the ones to get.

Another question, does anyone heard of ERA D4s? Do they really give excellent bass without using a SUB? Hmmmm! Underwood HiFi is selling them for $399. Sounds good though. I would appreciate if anyone could give their inputs. If not, hope to find one on You Tube.

Hey Guys,

I hooked up my two channel set up to my home theater and I realized it would be nice to get a sub. My budget is about $600 used maybe higher if the model was really impressive. I'm looking for a sub that can add the boom in movies and also extend the lower parts of bass in music without distorting the mid-range from my speakers. I have heard good things about the Rel R series with sub-bass systems. Is there any other bass / sub system you can recommend for me?

Any further ruminations on the Bel Canto C5i? I'm thinking of taking the plunge and getting one, and would welcome some more insight after you've lived with it for a while.

I'd be switching from a Rogue tube pre and amp, but I'm a little worried I'd be missing the warmth.

I'm pretty happy with mine. Here's a video of my Vienna's hooked up to my Bel Canto C5i.

The amp in the C5i, while rated at 65 watts x 2 into 8 Ohms in reality has 30 amps peak current output! (The previous unit while having more watts only had a 12 amp peak current capability.) Plus, the C5i’s amp is stable to 3 Ohms! Good Stuff!
Keep in mind the acoustics in this room are terrible. Its a loft with 17 foot ceilings!
Thanks a lot for the feedback

I actually just auditioned one. I only heard loss files from my laptop via USB, and it sounded pretty good, although I understand Bel Canto recommends that lossless be heard through the S/PDIF to get full resolution. Bass/lower-midrange and detail seem to be strong suits, but the high-mids/treble (females voices, horns, particularly) seemed slightly shrill at times, but I'm not sure if it's the USB or that the unit needs to be broken in more, or what. What are your observations here?

Also, I would really like to hear vinyl since the shop didn't have any turntables ready to audition with it. Any thoughts on the phono section?
Regarding the Bel Canto C5i... you can tell from reading this thread there are no raves about this product, and it seems those who purchased are struggling to find positives and justify the purchase.

Looking at the inside pics, it may well be the DAC stage is quality, but the amplification is a stock standard ICEpower ClassD module, and at the the cheap end of that range.
Maybe, but I think this is one of the biggest issues in audio today. No raves equal a not so great or average product? Most of the ones that do rave about something end up being the most fickle and sell it on after a few months anyway.

I find the C5i to be an interesting product, not sure on the pricing just yet as far as value overall, but I could see it filling the needs of quite a few people that want a simple, no-nonsense approach and have relatively sensitive speakers. I know it is making me think a little about simplifying!

Guess I should get out and take a listen to one of these soon. Enjoy the music! Tim
The Bel Canto won me over when I was comparing them to the Peachtree iNova. The speakers used at Stereoexchange of NYC were B&W monitors (can't recall model). Between the amps, the c5i had tighter lows & the top wasn't tinny.
Straight out of the box they sounded good, paired with my ProAc Studio 100. This pairing has worked for me so far. The c5i is straight forward, no glow lights, no motorized dial, plastic remote. The headphone section drives my Grados easily, the speaker outputs automatically mute when a pair of cans are detected. Thats a plus. Also, there's no hiss from the amp. It is absolutely quiet. They run cool to the touch, I've not powered them down since I got them! The only downside to this pairing is that it is unforgiving to less than stellar recordings. But then, these could be attributed to the speakers. I'm still running the amp & speakers in, hopefully they age gracefully.
Anyone know of any Bel Canto dealers worth reaching to?