Author Topic: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier  (Read 15977 times)

Offline hometheaterdoc

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Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« on: November 05, 2009, 07:16:46 AM »
Received last night, opened up the boxes, plugged 'em up, set Foobar on repeat playlist and left them.  After 12 hours of break in,  I"ll sum it up for me so far:

*FREAKIN'* *STUPID* *GOOD*  !!!!

Shane Sangster
Used to be Night & Day Audio.......

Offline mboldda1

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2009, 09:25:45 AM »
how does the 22a compare to the 21a with auricaps in price and sound?
i own the 21a with auricap, is there a trade up program?

PICTURES!!
« Last Edit: November 05, 2009, 09:33:57 AM by mboldda1 »
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Offline Carlman

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2009, 11:09:26 AM »
I'd be interested to hear 'em... the 21a with Auricaps is no slouch! :)
I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline hometheaterdoc

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2009, 06:14:38 PM »
The new 22A is $2495.00 MSRP as of this typing.  The new Ref 150A is $2295.00 MSRP. 

To my knowledge there is no manufacturer sponsored trade in program.  I'm not sure if Dave has thought that far ahead.  These pieces were to go in for pro photography to be put on the website very soon.  I'll take some shots of the units this weekend.  My cameras are not here today.  I like the look of it moreso than the 21A.  The front faceplate is very similar to the current statement line preamps. 

I can't tell you yet how the 22A compares directly to the 21A as any comments would be solely based off memory and would be in the context of Carl's system versus my 2 channel system..... which are very different both in equipment and in room acoustics.  When it gets more time on it, I'll swap the stock Sovtek 12AU7 for some NOS tubes and I may explore swapping the 6 caps in it to something else.  The cap thing will be much further down the road.  I'm sure we'll do a head to head with Carl's 21A at some point as soon as it breaks in...

Right now I've been listening with stock cord and Sovtek 12AU7s.... Soundstaging and imaging is amazing.  Bass is perfect on the Harbeth Monitor 40.1s... Not the visceral grip, incredible foundation and bloom of the Monads.  But rather it is ultra clean, very good pitch, and tight tight tight.  I know it is going to get better with a better cord and some NOS tubes....  it isn't the Oracle/Butler Monad combination by any stretch of the imagination.  but what it does, it does extremely well and in some ways better than that combination.  I'm really enjoying it so far....  It doesn't tip over to the side of too neutral and lean like I've heard with a couple other Belles pieces.  It's got a great balance right now that's infinitely listenable.  If I could find more than a few minutes at a time to sit and really listen, I might be better able to put some stuff into words.  In time, in time..... besides, it's still breaking in and i was warned about a long break in time with these pieces.  So I'll give it a few hundred hours before I draw any definitive conclusions.  But right now it's impressing me and surprising me as much as the YBA 2 delta amp did...  and that's saying a lot....

Shane Sangster
Used to be Night & Day Audio.......

Offline hometheaterdoc

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier - pictures added!!
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2009, 01:06:43 PM »
Here you go.  You can also see them under my gallery.... click on the camera icon under my name to the left....  They don't fit properly in this post and it makes you scroll.  Sorry!

As expected, the sound of the system went up quite a number of notches by swapping in NOS tubes and putting a good power cord on the 22A preamp.  I've been digging ditches all weekend so haven't had much of a chance to listen... but what I've done has convinced me that in many ways, the Harbeth Monitor 40.1s have never sounded as good as they do with these pieces attached.  Infinitely listenable and truly out of control imaging and soundstaging.  If someone is looking to do a world class system and doesn't want to spend the kind of prices for the Oracel DAC1000 and Butler Monads, this is a very good alternative for significantly less money. 








« Last Edit: November 08, 2009, 01:09:52 PM by hometheaterdoc »
Shane Sangster
Used to be Night & Day Audio.......

Bigfish8

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2009, 03:51:56 PM »
Shane:

It is a great looking piece! 

Ken

Offline mboldda1

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2009, 04:10:22 PM »
shane, what tubes did you roll in?
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Offline hometheaterdoc

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2009, 04:30:55 PM »
RCA black plate 5963s... a not very well matched pair at all I got in a bundle of 8 tubes from an ebay auction.  I think I paid $48 for the whole lot of 8 5963s...  I liked this pair with some others in the VT-01 when it was here.  Given that they were cheap, I wanted to give them a whirl in this unit while it is breaking in 24/7... ideally I'd leave the sovteks in there.  But this gives me a chance to listen to a better tube during break-in and saves the really expensive tubes for later...
Shane Sangster
Used to be Night & Day Audio.......

Ecramer

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2009, 07:16:38 PM »
Now that's a nice looking Pre. and the price won't give you sticker shock either. Im waiting for some more info on the sound

Ed

Offline bmr3hc

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2009, 07:52:33 PM »
A very good looking piece indeed. Put me down for a listen/comparison to my CJ, after it has made the rounds.

Henry
"If music be the food of love, play on."  Shakespeare

Offline hometheaterdoc

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2009, 01:01:53 PM »
I'm planning to do a get together to let folks have a listen.  I was thinking Saturday, November 21st.  Anyone interested?  I'm not sure I will have the Usher Mini 2s back by then (or a new pair fully broken in).  If I do, we could swap between those and the Harbeth Monitor 40.1s to hear a different perspective.

This would be a basic listening session get together with minimal gear swapping.  Just the speakers and maybe an amp if folks want to try something different.  Volume level will be kept more under control than last time.  We got a little loud for these old ears last time...

Shane Sangster
Used to be Night & Day Audio.......

Offline bpape

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2009, 01:06:57 PM »
Wow.  :shock:  That's kind of a night and day thing between Usher monitors and Harbeth 40.1's.  Great thing to be able to do when comparing electronics and see how everything matches up.

Bryan
I am serious... and don't call me Shirley

Offline hometheaterdoc

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2009, 01:28:47 PM »
yup... the floorstanding Mini 2s are a *very* different animal than the Harbeth "bookshelf if you can call it that" 40.1s.  That was on purpose so I could get the best of both worlds depending on my mood.  They'll be in the same room together and I'll just swap them out depending on what I want to listen to at any one time.  I'm looking forward to it....
Shane Sangster
Used to be Night & Day Audio.......

Offline mboldda1

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2009, 09:28:03 AM »
updates :drool:
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Offline richidoo

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Re: Belles new 22A tube preamp and new Ref 150A amplifier
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2009, 11:47:21 AM »
g2g today Marvin, I'm sure there'll be lots of Belles gossip tomorrow.