Bel Canto SET 80 monoblock power amplifier System
I majored with the Wilson Audio WITT Series II loudspeakers for this review, supplementing that diet with Quad ESL-63s and Spendor SP2-2s. Some experimentation with a Sunfire subwoofer provided light entertainment. On the power amplifier side, comparisons were made easy with the help of a Krell FPB 600, and pairs of Cary CAD-805C, Conrad-Johnson (ultralinear mode) Premier Eight A, and Unison 845 monoblocks.
Preamplifiers ranged from a Krell KPS-20i/l CD player used direct (balanced and unbalanced) to Audio Synthesis passives and, at the top of the tree, Conrad-Johnson's ART preamplifier, which is uniquely suited to drive the Bel Cantos with its ultrashort-path, zero-feedback SE configuration. Other signal sources included a Linn LP12/Naim ARO/van den Hul Grasshopper IV GLA, with a C-J Premier Fifteen phono preamp. Other signals emanated from the reference Krell KPS-20i/l, the dCS Elgar (direct-coupled), and the fine Wadia 860 CD player.
Cables included appropriate choices of van den Hul Carbon and Carbon hybrids, plus Siltech Silver.—Martin Colloms