Bel Canto REF600M Monoblocks

Whatever I mock, I become. Before I started prattling for Stereophile, I thought all class-D amplifiers were…well, "Not class-A amplifiers." And then I reviewed the hybrid tube/class-D Rogue Sphinx integrated ($1495). And then I borrowed a Bel Canto REF500S ($2595). And I came away praising the beauty of both amplifiers' voices. And it was just today when I discovered the physical and sonic beauties of Bel Canto's REF600M monoblock ($4990/pair), which Kalman Rubinson reviewed in the September 2016 issue.

What's not to like about this amplifier?

It looks pro-school Paul Newman racing-driver cool, especially in black. It puts out 300W into 8 ohms and 600W into 4 ohms, and can deliver a peak output current of 27A. Did I mention each amp weighs only 15.4 pounds? (I could carry both channels home on the subway.) Did I mention that it can play music poetically, drive difficult loudspeaker loads, and read the newspaper at the same time? Did you hear me reveal that the Bel Canto REF600Ms are the stars of a new television series: Class-D is the new class-A? (Sorry, I didn't think you were listening.)

The photo shows the REF600M monos flanking Bel Canto’s DAC 1.7 Control Preamp ($1495), with its 24-bit digital volume control and a ¼” output jack for its high-current headphone driver.