Bel Canto SET 80 monoblock power amplifier System

Sidebar 2: 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

Bel Canto Design
212 Third Avenue N., Suite 446
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 317-4550