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noahbickart
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Bel Canto DAC

EL notes that the Bel Canto DAC has analog inputs, but seems not to have used them at all! Now given the fact that EL did use the box as a combination Pre-amp/DAC, why didn't he use the analog inputs at all? Most of us have either a Turntable/ Phono Pre-amp or a SACD player.

If I were shopping for a box that works as an analog pre-amp, I'd like the review to tell me how it performs as such. Can we get a follow up?

Erick Lichte
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The simple answer

Hey Noah,

 

The simple answer is that I do not have a turntable.  All of my music comes from CD's or my laptop these days.  I also wished I could have explored the analog inputs but at least we made sure that JA measured them.

 

Since my review was submitted, I heard the DAC3.5VB at a local store in Minneapolis hooked up to the Clearaudio Concept (reviewed by Michael Fremer in this months issue), Audio Research amplification and the new Maggie 3.7's.  The whole system sounded great in a demo room not normally known for good sound and I ended up spending the better part of an afternoon listening to this system.  I'd say the analog inputs sound very much like the digital - very open, neutral, and wide soundstage.

 

Hope that helps a little! 

noahbickart
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Even the analogue outputs of

Even the analogue outputs of a CD player (or other DAC) you know well (compared with the same data through the DAC portion of the unit) would have sufficed!

My point is simply that those analogue inputs seem to be a crucial part of the design of the unit (e.g. obviating the need for a line level "preamp"). Such a design decision *has* to be treated in a Stereophile review.

-Noah

Erick Lichte
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I agree

I completely see your point and will make sure ALL avenues of a product's features are reviewed in the future. 

 

It's time for me to get a turntable!

noahbickart
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Thanks! Please know that in

Thanks! Please know that in general I have enjoyed your reviews- this one included. And no, you don't need a turntable. I think it is good that Stereophile has a digital only reviewer- I bet a significant portion of the readership is that way these days.

 

-Noah

Erick Lichte
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Yeah, but...

Yeah, but turntables are cool.  I wanna be cool. 

I just need to come up with the cha-ching to get an analog rig that I'll like.  Unfortunately in the last four months I bought a new water heater, fridge, oven, microwave, front door and am redoing two bathrooms.  My turntable fund got totally slashed.  In fact I also wanted to buy the Plinius SA-103, but just couldn't make it work financially.  I packed the Plinius up today and it is sitting on my porch awaiting pickup while I sit inside and cry about its departure.

Thanks for the positive vibes on my reviews.  Always nice to hear that people get where I'm coming from.  There are some interesting reviews on the horizon as well, so stay tuned!

granosalis
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I'm not sure if it is good or

I'm not sure if it is good or bad, but I agree with Erick, the analog input of 3.5VB sounds more or less like the digital one. Using my acoustic solid turntable with Bel Canto Phono3VB the soundstage was even bigger than the CD2. But I'm not sure this is the right way to listen to analog source. Vinyl lovers will not be completely satisfied about this setup and, by the way, I think an analog preamplifier (tube rulez) is must if you are searching for fuller, life like and natural sound.

Erick Lichte
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Following up

FYI, I will include a bit of a followup on the Bel Canto DAC 5.5 VB's analog input in an upcoming review.  I'll actually be comparing the analog inputs on the Centrance DAC mini to the Bel Canto 3.5VB, fed by the impressive DCS Debussy.  This should give some context to the analog inputs.  The Debussy is no turntable, but should be neutral enough a source to allow me to hear this accurately.

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