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  1. #1
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    bel canto ref s500

    • Finally managed to get one of these bel canto s500 , used to have ref 1000 many years ago . also got my second pre 3 vbs as I really like their smooth sound , fine control and soundstaging . been having some really good results with a ghent audio diy asx 50 pair of monoblocks so decided to try the s500
    • this is from a review by someone else :
    • The photo shows the clean inter layout of the S500 with its ICEpower modules and accompanying proprietary input conditioning boards. Bel Canto’s modular design with quick connect twisted wiring harnesses are of optimal lengths and strategically placed to minimize any induced noise, distortion or crosstalk; and it looks good too. The high quality rear panel connectors and switches also lend themselves well to gear in this price range. I was most impressed by the fit and finish of the cabinet. The abundant use of allen head screws and threaded inserts in place of the usual self-tapping screws was a pleasant surprise as was the 0.10″ extra heavy gage (12) metal cabinet. The solid 0.50″ thick face plate and heavy black textured finish gave the unit an elegant look and quality finished feel. The sturdy cabinet construction contributes significantly to the S500 total 15 pound. weight.
    • Bel-Canto-S500-4-tn by , on Flickr
    • Design: Two-Channel Power Amplifier
    • Dual 125ASX2 ICEpower Modules
    • Power Output: 200 Watts x 2 into 8 Ohms
    • Speaker connections: 1-set WBT 5-way Safety Binding Posts
    • Inputs: Both Balanced (XLR) and Un-balanced (RCA)
    • Weight: 15 pounds
    • Dimensions: 3.5″ H x 8.5″ Wx 12″ D

    https://hometheaterhifi.com/reviews/...wer-amplifier/

    so will let it settle in with my horns and will report back , anyone else use one ?

    1]bel canto pre 3 vbs ice power amps . rotel cd , modright modded jolida dac 2] tannoy eaton legacy 2]bel canto pre 3vbs BC ref 500s black ice modded dac , marantz sa8005, reference fidelity impulse Ta`us horns

  2. #2
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    I would absolutely love to hear the Bel Canto Black and model below. It’s supposed to be wonderful. If I’m not mistaken, the one you just bought is awesome too.
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  3. #3
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    thanks , yes it has an excellent sweet sound but still lot lots of snap and verve . real toe tapper . these bel canto products tend to last a long time . i am using it with the pre 3 vbs which i prefer to bel canto`s ideas of using a dac . very organic sound , in fact now got 2 pre 3 vbs preamps in use . I was a bit nervous about putting a class d on the impulse horns after last weeks beautiful silbatone , but i need not have worried . its not as good as the silbatone of course but then it cost a great deal less !!

    P1060998 by , on Flickr

    P1060997 by , on Flickr

    P1060943 by , on Flickr
    1]bel canto pre 3 vbs ice power amps . rotel cd , modright modded jolida dac 2] tannoy eaton legacy 2]bel canto pre 3vbs BC ref 500s black ice modded dac , marantz sa8005, reference fidelity impulse Ta`us horns

  4. #4
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    I just purchased a slightly used REF500S. It is still a current model and Bel Canto lists it as 250 WPC into 8 ohm and 500 WPC into 4 ohm. I am thinking it should do a real nice job with my Maggie's!
    Amps: Hattor Passive Pre, Hattor Tube Active Stage, Bel Canto REF500S, T+A AMP 8, McIntosh MC754, Bryston BHA-1
    Vinyl: Rega RP8 w/Rega Neo PSU, Rega Ania Pro, Moon 310LP, Hexmat Yellow Bird, Record Doctor VI
    Digital: Falcon Northwest PC Server, T+A DAC 8 DSD, W4S Recovery, Roon & HQPlayer
    Transducers: Magnepan MG .7's w/Magna Riser Stands, Rythmik L12's (x2), B&W MM-1's, Abyss Diana Phi's
    Other: McIntosh MR7083, Oppo BDP105, AudioQuest Niagara 1000

  5. #5
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    NCore or IcePower based?
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  6. #6
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    The REF500S is Icepower based. The REF600M and higher are all based on Ncore.

    Sent from my LM-G710 using Tapatalk
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  7. #7
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    I am looking forward to the amp arriving. In the Maggie's forums they were talking about Magnepan designing and testing with Bel Cantos amps. They very much recommended Bel Cantos and had nice things to say about this model. I also believe I got an exceptionally good deal, so was worth trying it.

    So I will have three different type of amps and decide what I like best. I may keep them all, we will see. I believe I will keep the McIntosh though; for nostalgia if nothing else. It really is a smooth sweet sounding little amp. The T+A is great and we will see how the Bel Cantos works with the Maggie's.
    Amps: Hattor Passive Pre, Hattor Tube Active Stage, Bel Canto REF500S, T+A AMP 8, McIntosh MC754, Bryston BHA-1
    Vinyl: Rega RP8 w/Rega Neo PSU, Rega Ania Pro, Moon 310LP, Hexmat Yellow Bird, Record Doctor VI
    Digital: Falcon Northwest PC Server, T+A DAC 8 DSD, W4S Recovery, Roon & HQPlayer
    Transducers: Magnepan MG .7's w/Magna Riser Stands, Rythmik L12's (x2), B&W MM-1's, Abyss Diana Phi's
    Other: McIntosh MR7083, Oppo BDP105, AudioQuest Niagara 1000

  8. #8
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    Yes, it is true that the REF500S uses Ice Power... however unlike many other companies they do not simply use the B&O chip and call it a day. They heavily modify the amplifier to make it something better.

    "Bel Canto doesn’t merely slap a B&O power module into an enclosure and call it a day; they use the B&O circuit as a starting point for the Ref 500. Bel Canto changed all the key pieces around the ICE® power amplifier modules. They began with a new input stage. Bel Canto’s circuitry increases the common mode rejection and raises the input impedance from 10k ohms to 100k ohms per side. This improves the measured signal to noise and distortion at higher frequencies. This input stage uses only top-shelf components such as Caddock resistors, solid electrolytic ultra-low ESR decoupling capacitors, and low noise regulated power supplies.


    The Ref 500 also has a proprietary power supply designed specifically for the latest ICE® modules. Bel Canto’s circuit doubles the storage capacity over the stock circuit. Power rectification filters are added in front of the ICE® module’s own internal power supply to pre-regulate it. The Bel Canto power supply delivers lower noise, reduced sensitivity to power line effects, and better power delivery than an ordinary supply. According to Stronzer, the high-speed rectifiers in the power supply, “Have a big effect…they changed the sound more than I’d expected. I like to measure what I design, and then I listen to the results. In this case the sonic changes were greater than what I assumed from the measurements.”

    The Ref 500’s case looks and feels like a fine piece of industrial art. Its ½” thick faceplate surrounds a perfectly beveled oval cutout with a single blue LED that glows softly when the unit is on. The cabinet itself has a black crinkle-coat finish. On the rear, the Ref 500 sports a pair of gold-plated WBT speaker terminals and inputs of either a single-ended RCA or balanced XLR input. It comes with a heavy-duty IEC AC power cable, but will also accept any premium AC cable."


    The next model up cost over twice the price. Yes it would be lovely to purchase an E1X, but $6000 was not in the cards currently, but getting something with more power for my Maggie's was a desired outcome...
    Amps: Hattor Passive Pre, Hattor Tube Active Stage, Bel Canto REF500S, T+A AMP 8, McIntosh MC754, Bryston BHA-1
    Vinyl: Rega RP8 w/Rega Neo PSU, Rega Ania Pro, Moon 310LP, Hexmat Yellow Bird, Record Doctor VI
    Digital: Falcon Northwest PC Server, T+A DAC 8 DSD, W4S Recovery, Roon & HQPlayer
    Transducers: Magnepan MG .7's w/Magna Riser Stands, Rythmik L12's (x2), B&W MM-1's, Abyss Diana Phi's
    Other: McIntosh MR7083, Oppo BDP105, AudioQuest Niagara 1000

  9. #9
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    Agree Randy. The same applies to their Ncore implementations. They are not standard at all.
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  10. #10
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    Listening to the amp now... Low volume for now (wife in bed). So not really checking it out yet but I can definitely tell it has a ton more power with the Maggie's. At low levels it does sound very good though. I believe better than other Class D Amps I have owned. We will see when I can really listen to it!
    Amps: Hattor Passive Pre, Hattor Tube Active Stage, Bel Canto REF500S, T+A AMP 8, McIntosh MC754, Bryston BHA-1
    Vinyl: Rega RP8 w/Rega Neo PSU, Rega Ania Pro, Moon 310LP, Hexmat Yellow Bird, Record Doctor VI
    Digital: Falcon Northwest PC Server, T+A DAC 8 DSD, W4S Recovery, Roon & HQPlayer
    Transducers: Magnepan MG .7's w/Magna Riser Stands, Rythmik L12's (x2), B&W MM-1's, Abyss Diana Phi's
    Other: McIntosh MR7083, Oppo BDP105, AudioQuest Niagara 1000

  11. #11
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    I have been listening to the Bel Canto amplifier the past couple of evenings. It is surprising to me. I have had a few different Class D amplifiers previously and none gave me any warm and fuzzies... they sounded good, there were just something lacking. Well I can definitely say the Bel Canto is different. So far I am hearing a very musical and inviting sounding amplifier. The Magnepan speakers are very much liking the amp.

  12. #12
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    Glad to hear the Bel Canto is matching well for you. Bel Canto does Class D very well. They've been at it for a very long time. Their newer Ncore based products definitely go further. I use the Bel Canto Black EX integrated in my system and absolutely love it.
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  13. #13
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    I would love to step up to the E1X at some point. I think I have become a Magnepan fan; so even though I believe the T+A is a fantastic amplifier I feel the Bel Canto probably is a better match. Probably going to be putting the T+A up for sale...

  14. #14
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    Congratulations Randy. I’ve always been a Magnepan and panel speaker guy. So happy for you.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

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  15. #15
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    Cool Randy. Glad its working out. Bel Canto when the class D amps is concerned usually takes someone else's amp design like ICE and Ncore technology and puts their proprietary modifications on it and usually its a stellar sounding piece of gear when they are done. I can only image how their Black series sounds. Unfortunately the only dealer within 350 miles of me is in Clearwater Fl.
    Chris

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  16. #16
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    Quote Originally Posted by CPP View Post
    Unfortunately the only dealer within 350 miles of me is in Clearwater Fl.
    I have no dealers close to me on anything .... my only options on pretty much anything I want has to be arrange remotely (i.e. Phone and/or Internet). The Black series must be amazing, but definitely way out of my budget .
    Amps: Hattor Passive Pre, Hattor Tube Active Stage, Bel Canto REF500S, T+A AMP 8, McIntosh MC754, Bryston BHA-1
    Vinyl: Rega RP8 w/Rega Neo PSU, Rega Ania Pro, Moon 310LP, Hexmat Yellow Bird, Record Doctor VI
    Digital: Falcon Northwest PC Server, T+A DAC 8 DSD, W4S Recovery, Roon & HQPlayer
    Transducers: Magnepan MG .7's w/Magna Riser Stands, Rythmik L12's (x2), B&W MM-1's, Abyss Diana Phi's
    Other: McIntosh MR7083, Oppo BDP105, AudioQuest Niagara 1000

  17. #17
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    I have no dealers close to me on anything .... my only options on pretty much anything I want has to be arrange remotely (i.e. Phone and/or Internet). The Black series must be amazing, but definitely way out of my budget .
    Same here, but I sure would like to hear it.
    Chris

    (2 Chl): Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE Lumin D1, VPI Classic 1, Manley Chinook, Dynavector DV20x2L.exaSound e32 mk11, Marantz SA11S2. ( computer) Win7, Synology DS413 NAS ,Vincent SP-331MKII , Quicksilver LS,Vapor Audio Breeze, Rythmik F12se. Cables: Acoustic Zen, DL Labs, Blue Jean.. ,Bryston BCD-1,, OPPO 105, Timbernation Rack, Metrum Onyx, Bifrost 2, Orchid DAC, Bryston BHA-1

  18. #18
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    Quote Originally Posted by CPP View Post
    Same here, but I sure would like to hear it.
    Hehe... I would like to hear it in my system .... but I think the 1EX would be about the best that my system could realize the difference with.
    Amps: Hattor Passive Pre, Hattor Tube Active Stage, Bel Canto REF500S, T+A AMP 8, McIntosh MC754, Bryston BHA-1
    Vinyl: Rega RP8 w/Rega Neo PSU, Rega Ania Pro, Moon 310LP, Hexmat Yellow Bird, Record Doctor VI
    Digital: Falcon Northwest PC Server, T+A DAC 8 DSD, W4S Recovery, Roon & HQPlayer
    Transducers: Magnepan MG .7's w/Magna Riser Stands, Rythmik L12's (x2), B&W MM-1's, Abyss Diana Phi's
    Other: McIntosh MR7083, Oppo BDP105, AudioQuest Niagara 1000

  19. #19
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    Re: bel canto ref s500

    I'll have an e1X amp coming in on trade in the next week as the customer is moving one series up to the Black EX amp. I have a guy interested already, but he might not follow through. Nice piece and got a great review from Stereophile recently. The customer's wife thought he was crazy as she said it's the best his system ever sounded, but he decided to jump up one more level.
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