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Bel Canto Designs-- Available

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:16 am
by fld





Prices to follow, here's whats expected to arrive soon:

e One Digital to Analog Conv. Dac 3

e One Pre-amplifier Pre3

e One Stereo Amplifier S300

e One Monoblock Amplifier REF 1000

e One integrated amplifier / USB

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:33 am
by fld

REF1000 Mono Audio Power Amplifier

The audio amplifier is the engine of the audio system. It must provide the power to drive the loudspeaker motor. The amplifier has huge power gain: from micro-watts of input power to 100’s of watts of output power the audio amplifier must do its job with ease and competence.

Key issues that must be addressed in a high performance audio amplifier are:

Power supply design defines the performance limit of the amplifier, fully regulated power supplies provide the standard for fidelity.
True balanced operation improves the signal fidelity under load.
Balanced input insures that the large output/input power ratio does not corrupt the input signal fidelity.
Low output stage impedance, especially at low frequencies, insures maximum control of the loudspeaker driver.
Comprehensive protection circuit that is outside the signal path is critical to protecting both the amplifier and loudspeaker.
A short, simple, signal path with a minimum of output devices leads to a better audio performance.
All of the Bel Canto e.One amplifiers are designed to optimize performance of all of these criteria. The REF1000 represents the summit of audio amplifier performance with over 1000 watts of low-distortion, wide-band power available, fully regulated switching power supply, true balanced operation, 2 ohm drive and 120dB of dynamic range capability. Your audio system performance will reach extreme levels with the REF1000.

With REF1000s in your system it will sound like you are connected directly to the music source, the loudspeaker and amplifier effectively disappear in the large and compelling sonic picture. Fidelity and signal clarity is unmatched from the lowest audio frequencies through to the sweetest high frequencies. The utter mid-range clarity especially allows the music to communicate as never before.

Discover what this remarkable amplifier technology can do for your audio system.

500watts @ 8 ohms; 1000 watts @ 4 ohms

Reviews & comments:

The REF1000's..."easily handle all the basic requirements of a high-end power amplifier. They are smooth and refined. They are transparent to the source in a way that makes them appropriate as listening devices as well as reviewers' tools. They also deliver lots of current and they exude the kind of bold muscularity that you'd expect from amplifiers equipped to deliver 1000 watts into 4 ohms. Additionally, they deliver the tonal saturation you just may have to experience to appreciate."

Stacked up to my reference Bryston 4B SST ($2995), a tried-and-true conventional solid-state amplifier, the Bel Canto Reference 1000s showed a completely different side to non-tube musical reproduction. Both amps handled the frequency extremes with aplomb, both offered excellent control over my Magnepan speakers, and both ran cool and quiet. But that’s where the similarities ended. The REF1000s tended to set the music behind the plane of the speakers, inviting me to step into the soundstage for a more intimate, involving musical event. The Bryston amp, on the other hand, was more forward -- placing the sound even with the plane.

The Bel Canto amps also emphasized the leading edge of each transient, rather than the harmonic envelope that follows. Not that they skimp on the harmonics, mind you; it’s just that you’ll notice the leading edge more. This made the REF1000s great for fast-paced music. The Bryston amp was a bit more even-handed in its way with transients and harmonic information. The REF1000s made the Bryston sound more warm and fuzzy -- well, at least as much as any solid-state amp can be described that way. The REF1000s seemed to offer a greater sense of unlimited power than the 4B SST -- though the difference in real terms was not great. While the REF1000 is a 500-watt amp (into 8 ohms) and the Bryston has "only" 300, I'm sure I didn't use those extra 200 watts very often.

S300i integrated amp with USB input

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:42 am
by fld
Image ... review.pdf

The S300iu raises performance expectations for an integrated audio amplifier. The S300iu integrates a high performance preamplifier with 300 Watts of dual mono balanced power capability per channel. It utilizes the same amplifier and power supply technology as the S300 to deliver remarkable fidelity and power for any system. The dual mono regulated switching supplies provide unprecedented performance in a compact package. Comprehensive parallel protection circuitry for over-current and thermal overload protects your investment while staying completely out of the signal path.

The high performance preamplifier uses the latest digitally controlled analog volume control and sealed relay switching to provide a transparent signal path for up to 4 analog inputs, including a USB Digital Audio converter and record and main preamp outputs. The USB DAC allows you to create a high performance audio playback system using your computer as the audio source. This will optimize playback of either compressed audio files, uncompressed audio files, and CD playback from your computer drive. This option opens up a new world of audio experience.

Bel Canto’s new single-knob user interface completes this easy to use package with a rotary control and switch integrated to provide volume control, input selection through one soft-touch control or from an IR remote.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:44 am
by AudioAmp
HANEP! NICE :) gwapo

Bel Canto Dac 3 /Preamplifier with USB input

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:55 am
by fld


e.One Dac3 DAC/Preamplifier with Ultra-Clock™ Technology

The Dac3 fulfills the original promise of digital music reproduction. It surpasses previous expectations of digital music quality. This performance results from a unique combination of design techniques, new technologies and the superb stability of our new Ultra-Clock: making the Dac3 a one of a kind product in the market.

The surpassing musical performance rests on the solid foundation of the Ultra-Clock™, a clock with performance found previously only from separate Master Clock products. The Ultra-Clock™ provides jitter performance 50x better than other clocks. Specifications of 1 picoseconds RMS and frequency accuracy of 0.0001% define new benchmarks in clock stability. This Ultra-Clock™ allows the Dac3 to reproduce music with new levels dynamic expression and accuracy of timbre. Your music communicates as never before, recalling the best of analog music reproduction, without the limitations of either analog or other digital technologies. The Ultra-Clock™ works in concert with every detail of the Dac3’s design to achieve a new level of musical realism:

Digital input isolation and switching
Multi-Stage Jitter rejection
Linear Phase Digital filters
Low noise Digital to Analog conversion
Class A Analog output stage Current to Voltage conversion and analog filtering
Class A Analog output buffer to drive the preamplifier or amplifier stage
The Dac3 has been optimized to provide the highest level of performance for all of these critical functions. It can provide digital preamplifier as well as D/A conversion and bridge from traditional CD or DVD player sources and from the isolated USB input for computer music playback sources. The Dac3 has 5 digital inputs:

AES with transformer coupled input for high common-mode noise rejection in professional environments.
Transformer isolated SPDIF RCA input.
Transformer Isolated SPDIF BNC input.
Wide bandwidth TOSLINK input for versatile interface to consumer grade equipment.
USB input with galvanic isolation for optimized connection to a computer based music source with ground and power isolation between the computer platform and the audio system.
All digital input sources experience 2 jitter rejection stages, one analog PLL stage at the SPDIF input and a second digital PLL stage at the Sample Rate conversion/filter stage. The new algorithm’s 170 dB of digital dynamic range insures a totally transparent conversion to 24/192 data rate for the final DAC processing. The Ultra-Clock™ used for the D/A conversion is located at the output of the sample rate conversion stage. The USB input goes through a 3rd de-jitter stage to insure optimum playback from computer based sources.

The PCM1792 dual-differential multi-bit delta-sigma DAC circuit achieves remarkable analog performance. The 4.5VRMS true balanced XLR outputs provide nearly 130dB of dynamic range. The noise floor of this DAC/processor is so low and so clean that the Dac3 is optimally used as a complete DAC/Preamplifier with a digital level control. Because of dither applied to the 24bit word there is no loss of effective resolution. The application of optimized dither insures that the analog output noise floor maintains a clean sound, devoid of any a-musical tones or artifacts. In a system with digital sources the Dac3 can provide an optimum solution with the addition of one of the Bel Canto e.One amplifier products, eliminating the analog preamplifier.

Dac3 Design Features:

Ultra-wideband, Class A biased, true balanced output buffer stage with selected audio grade resistors
Ultra-wideband, Class A biased, I/V conversion stage with selected audio grade resistors and capacitors with a single pole RC filter
100 dB of digital level control in accurate 0.5 dB steps
Dual low noise toroid power transformers for digital and analog stages
10 power regulation stages with ultra-wideband, low noise audio stage regulation
4-layer board design for optimized ground, signal and power routing
Extremely short analog signal path with no switch contacts
DC coupled design with no signal path capacitors
The Dac3 transcends the expected performance from all of your digital audio sources. Providing the functionality of 3 separate audio products: DAC, Master Clock, Preamplifier in one product. The Dac3 provides value rivaled only by its performance.

Hear it today and rediscover your music library.

One of my favorite TV commercials (and there aren’t that many) is about a man who casually talks about all of the luxuries that he has in his life; the big house, the expensive car, and membership at the local country club. And after asking us viewers to guess how he’s able to afford all these things, he looks into the camera with a smile that barely masks his horrific reality and declares: “I’m in debt up to my eyeballs!”

I doubt this is the spending behavior of tried and true audiophiles but sometimes when I see the price tags on some of the gear out there, I can’t help but think that even the most, well-heeled of audiophiles could be sent spiraling toward financial instability. But I just think about that commercial, chuckle a little and continue on about the business of listening to “reasonably” priced setups that have great sound. Fortunately, audiophiles who are not interested in a session with their local credit counselor can enjoy sensibly priced, beautifully built, and thoughtfully designed audio products from Bel Canto Design.

John Stronczer, the chief designer, founder and president of the company, believes that he should design some of the best sounding music reproduction products that he can and offer his products to the consumer at competitive prices. One of those products - the Bel Canto PRe3 preamp - fits right in with that philosophy. Bel Canto Design has been around for a number of years now and is widely recognized as one of the best run manufacturers of high-end audio components. So I’ll skip the formalities and get on with this discussion about their latest preamp.

Little Dynamo
The PRe3 preamplifier is a solid-state design that retails for $1,995 and is somewhat small in appearance at 8.5 inches wide, 12 inches deep and 3 inches high. It is cleverly designed and fits in the same case as the company’s popular e.One Ref 1000 mono amps. At only 13 pounds it doesn’t weigh very much and everything from circuit boards to power supply is under one chassis. The faceplate is made of silver brushed aluminum and engraved with the ‘Bel Canto’ insignia, as are all current Bel Canto products. The faceplate is attached to a black aluminum case. This is the epitome of understated elegance.

There are not a lot of switches, buttons or knobs to play with on the front panel except for one nicely sized rotary knob. This knob is somewhat simple to use and very unique in that it controls everything: standby mode, source selection, and volume control. The PRe3 uses a digital display and comes standard with a relatively easy to use remote that controls the aforementioned functions but also has a mute button. Later this summer a new remote control will be available so that the entire Bel Canto Design system can be controlled by a universal remote. There are no hardware changes that are required to facilitate the upgrade but a simple change to the preamp’s software is necessary. Also included with the new upgraded remote is the ability to turn off the display on the PRe3 because current generation units do not have a dimmer switch so it stays illuminated once it’s on.

I found it interesting that the PRe3 has a green display especially since blue is the new “in” color. So I asked Mr. Stronczer why he decided on green and he said that for him it was easier to see. He also began to get Meta-Bio-Physical on me by also telling me that, “green is the easiest color for the eye to register. Something to do with evolution and chlorophyll in the environment.” Jokingly, I responded that my ancestors must have been closer to the ocean than the forest because I have a preference for a soft blue.

The PRe3 is a fully balanced design with one set of balanced inputs and one set of balanced outputs. It also has a number of single-ended (RCA) jacks including a main out, tape out, and five sets of RCA inputs, with input number five specifically designed for home theatre bypass. Adhering to the less-is-more approach, the good folks at Bel Canto Design purposely left out a power switch for the PRe3, so when you plug it in the preamp stays powered up.

The design goal for the PRe3 calls for a shortened signal path and the use of high quality passive and active components to minimize the effects of signal and power supply noise. The engineering staff also tries to reduce impedance, keep things simple, and feels that overall, their components should get out of the way of the music. As Martha Stewart would say, “that’s a good thing.”

The review system
The PRe3 isn’t the only high-performance product in the Bel Canto Design stable. The company has a number of power amps including the highly acclaimed, top-of-the-line e.One Ref 1000 monoblock amplifiers. The Ref 1000s are class-D amplifiers and use the Bang & Olufsen developed ICEpower 1000 ASP platform. I have reviewed class-D components in the past and enjoy the numerous merits that allow for a very musical presentation without having to deal with excessive heat, rising electricity bills, or large weighty components.

In case you haven’t had a chance to hear or read about the Ref 1000s ($3,995) these amplifiers are very musical, with extended frequency extremes, and outstanding dynamics. I was able to secure a pair to hook up to the PRe3 courtesy of fellow Stereotimer Bill Wells.

I primarily used Bel Cantos excellent CD-1 CD player for this review. The unit has the familiar looks of the other Bel Canto components but is larger at 18 inches wide. The CD-1 will soon be replaced by a newer model that is supposed to be housed in the same chassis as the PRe3 and Ref1000’s. Sonically it is a very transparent piece that got out of the way of the music and let me just tap my feet, snap my fingers and enjoy my music collection.

I connected all of the Bel Canto gear together with Acoustic Zen Absolute balanced cabling. After a marginal break-in period I was ready to get down to business.

Tune In
Like most solid-state electronics, the Bel Canto Design components benefit greatly from being left on continuously. And since it is a balanced design, I found that the amp to preamp to source connection sounded optimum when using the XLR inputs and outputs.

While playing a number of familiar selections, the first thing that I found noteworthy is that the PRe3 excelled dynamically. I find that dynamics are not just the ability to transition from soft to loud passages or how hard you feel the whack from a bass drum but how well the music is conveyed. Not that the PRe3 doesn’t perform excellently in these areas because it does, but it’s the essence of how well you can feel the emotions and sentiments from the maestros and what they are trying to propose. No doubt with this preamp you can.

With the PRe3 in the mix the instrumentals that I chose allowed the musicians to communicate with plenty of pizzazz and the singers sang with natural flow. Vocalists have warmth and presence and many times during my listening sessions I could really follow where they were going because the PRe3 does an excellent job of letting me hear exactly what they are saying and not feeling embarrassed later when I read the credits and find out that I substituted the wrong letter for a word which gave the song a totally different meaning.

The PRe3 is a very musical preamp that is well balanced with strong bass and a top end that has excellent clarity and transparency. But what is so outstanding is the way that the music comes at you with wonderful pace and timing that I likened to the sounds and the experiences that I’ve had at the Green Mill, the quintessential Chicago jazz club where I can hear Patricia Barber or Kurt Elling on Monday or Wednesday nights for five dollars when they are not out on the road touring. The PRe3 doesn’t over romanticize or soften things up. It doesn’t provide you with so many details that you’ll keep reaching for more recordings as though you’re on a musical treasure hunt trying to unearth lost details, but instead allows you to hear the music with a lyrical vibe and musical vigor that I found similar to the attack and dynamics associated with the real thing.

A good example of the PRe3’s dynamic prowess is on the outstanding jazz CD, James Carter Live at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge [Warner Brothers Records 48449-2]. James Carter is recognized as one of the “young guns” who plays a mean saxophone, whether it’s avant-garde or straight-head jazz. His blistering sound, wide open notes, and fast paced style are unleashed on two of my favorites, “Soul Street” and “Foot Pattin’”. On both cuts Carter's able to fully unwind and express himself, and the PRe3 didn’t do anything on these selections to alter or diminish his tremendous youthful energy. The PRe3 is so transparent that it allowed Carter - whether on tenor or baritone sax - to reveal his tremendous power and talent with exceptional technical expertise and manual dexterity. It transformed what was already an impressive performance into a “Kodak moment” … in the music realm.

Another fabulous saxophonist, but molded from slightly older clay, is relished patriarch and tenor sax man Arnette Cobb. He really gets down on “The EELY One” on Blow Arnette, Blow [Prestige OJCCD 794-2 P-7151]. Joining him on this lively blues tune is equally accomplished tenor Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis. There are not too many saxophone players that can play with the intensity and fervor of Cobb, but “Lockjaw” can hold his own. Accentuating the positive, Strethen Davis plays a mean organ and when he joins the two tenors, it is like the musical equivalent of a prized middle weight fight. This is a “battle royale” of two accomplished tenors that play with a bold, brazen, rustic sound and when channeled through the circuitry of the PRe3 the musicians seemed to come to life with an abundance of finesse and excitement.

The PRe3 also does vocals exceptionally well, and listening to pianist and songstress Jeanne Newhall on her latest release, Wild Blue [Blix Street G2-10086] is a shining moment. This is a CD about love and relationships and the PRe3 is just as adept at allowing the emotional content and intimate delicacy of songs to shine through. Jeanne Newhall has a passionate voice and all of her tender moments and romantic overtures on the piano kept me fixated during the performance from start to finish.

Yet with all of the romanticism and dynamics, the PRe3 is also capable of extracting micro details from recordings. The PRe3 is extremely quiet and allowed me to detect the sound of an unfamiliar percussion instrument on track six, “This Kind of Life.” After hitting the repeat button on the CD player numerous times I finally realized that I would be better off looking at the CD cover to find out what kind of mystery instrument this might be. So I looked on the inside cover and I found out that Brad Dutz, the percussionist was using obsidian rock chimes. Obsidian rock chimes or wind chimes are made from obsidian, a volcanic rock. I’ve been to hundreds of live events and I can’t recall ever seeing or hearing a volcanic rock chime. I guess it’s time to schedule a trip to Hawaii.

Simply Marvelous
The Bel Canto Design PRe3 dispels the myth that you “have to pay to play” or spend big to have a great sound. With a good front end, quality loudspeakers, and equally encompassing power source, the PRe3 will do a great job of revealing the input signal without any additional coloration.

The PRe3’s signature qualities are its midrange presence along with a wonderful detailed presentation at both ends of the musical spectrum. The PRe3 did a great job of giving me a chance to hear minute details and intricate nuances, but is also provided me with a very musical presentation that filled my listening room with wonderful sonic memories. I found that with this preamp in the equation I had a great tool to evaluate other pieces of equipment, but it is also a great addition to plug into the system and sit back and enjoy the music for hours on end without getting absorbed with what the preamp is or isn’t doing. But then again, that is what the design staff at Bel Canto strives to accomplish, to “get out of the way of the music…”

The Bel Canto Design PRe3 preamp is a marvelous feat of engineering at a price that will fit most audiophiles’ budget. As a matter of fact, since I didn’t have to take out a second mortgage to afford it and didn’t end up with debt up to my eyeballs I decided to purchase the demo unit to use as my reference preamplifier. I am also so overjoyed by the musical performance of the PRe3 that I feel compelled to recognize it for our publication’s highest accolade, the Most Wanted Component Award!


Single Ended RCA Input Pairs:5
Balanced Input Pairs:1
Single Ended REC Output Pair: 1
Single Ended Output Pair:1
Balanced Output Pair:1
Bandwidth: 0Hz-200KHz >600 ohms balanced
THD+N: <0.001%, 2VRMS, 1KHz, >600 ohms balanced
IMD (CCIF): <0.001%, 2VRMS, 1KHz, >600 ohms balanced
Output Noise: <15uVRMS A-weighted 10Hz-20KHz at unity gain
Channel Separation: >100dB to 20Khz
Voltage Gain: up to 20dB
Max Output Level: 9.5V RMS
Dynamic Range: 120dB
Power: 12W
Size: 8.5”x3”x12”, 216mmx76x305mm (WxHxD)
Weight: 10lbs - 4Kg

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:18 pm
by JackD201
Congratulations Ferds!!!!

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:35 pm
by fld
JackD201 wrote:Congratulations Ferds!!!!

thanks jack!!

Review of Bel Canto Dac 3

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:31 am
by fld
Bel Canto DAC3 review (compared with my beloved Bel Canto DAC2)

Well, it all started when I took the plunge into PC Audio, after realizing that the PC Transport I setup (Low Latency Linux OS w/ FLAC lossless music archives) beat the pants off my Musical Fidelity A3 CD Transport connected to a Bel Canto DAC2. Not only was I in the market for a new cd player at the time, I read up on the USB method of connecting computer audio to a digital connection, and then connecting that to a DAC. As it turns out, not only did the CD Transport behave more as it should, but the PC setup also benefited tremendously with the addition/upgrade to the Bel Canto DAC3.

I really have enjoyed the Bel Canto DAC2 for quite a number of years (about 5+ years or so). Since upgrading my system over time I have begun piece by piece to identify undesirable elements in the system as time passed. While that could mean changing cables or adding good power cords helped improve the sound, doing so brought out the "flaws" in the sound. Being on a quest for "neutrality" I found that the CD Player sounded muddy and that the DAC2 sounded a "bit" on the warm side. After looking around I settled on the Bel Canto DAC3 as a "common sense" upgrade to the Bel Canto DAC2. Bel Canto is a company I respected for a long time due to their excellent products I have experienced and used in the past. I like their attention to detail and performance as much as I like their semi affordable range of equipment. The layman can easily buy one or two Bel Canto components and still have money to spend on music.

Now on to the performance of the DAC3.

I noticed an immediate improvement in the sound. It was indeed exactly as described elsewhere. It's neutral, I did not detect any hint of "warmth" as I have had with the DAC2. Also as the cd transport connected to the DAC3 via SPDIF I noticed more traction so to speak with the compact disk. It was almost like adding a good turntable mat to a record. The compact disk sound was "tighter" and the instruments and vocalists separated themselves into separate entities, there was no more "smearing" and definitely no more muddy sounds coming from the unit. I believe that the Bel Canto Reference Ultra Clock in the DAC3 had something to do with this.

The DAC3 is easy to listen to, I am not fatigued by the sound and I certainly don't get sick of listening to the stereo. On the first day out of the box I spent about 6 hours through the night listening to the setup and over time it has improved substantially. The USB connection is fantastic, and it allows the convenience of hooking up a laptop directly to the DAC3 and playing music on demand. Building playlists gives me the ability to stay in one spot to avoid getting up and constantly changing the disk every hour or so. Absolutely wonderful in convenience and also in sound quality. I look at USB connections now in DACs as a must have added value as the market goes from digital disk to high quality music files of the same nature.

The smooth neutral sound was what I was after, I have found it precisely in the DAC3.

Bel Canto DAC3

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 6:42 am
by Tubedude
Looking forward to hearing this baby in the near future. :D
Well done, Fld!

June 2008 stocks bel canto

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:51 pm
by fld
Bel Canto Amps in stock:

Dac 3


Ref 1000 monoblocks power amp

S300 stereo power amp (SOLD)

CD-2 Top loading cd player/transport/Pre-amp

S300i Dual mono integrated amplifier

For details, pls check out at the Bel canto website:

For inquiries, pls contact Ferdie at 0918-937-6470


PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:12 pm
by docbebot
Hi Ferdie,

Congrats again for bringing in bel canto to our neck of the woods.

I'm interested in the integrated amplifier. I hope you can PM me the price for that.



bel canto amp

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:23 pm
by docbebot
Forgot to include my cell 09192837318


Re: Bel Canto Designs-- Available

PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 10:43 pm
by conspicuous
hi ferdie, do you still carry the bel canto s300i integrated amp? kindly pm me your price if you do. thanks a lot. :)

Re: Bel Canto Designs-- Available

PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 6:08 am
by fld
conspicuous wrote:hi ferdie, do you still carry the bel canto s300i integrated amp? kindly pm me your price if you do. thanks a lot. :)

Hello sir,

sent you PM. thanks.