FS: Bel Canto DAC3.5VBmk2 + VBS1 modified - SOLD

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hifinutt
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Re: FS: Bel Canto DAC3.5VBmk2 + VBS1 modified [BLACK] £1545

Postby hifinutt » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:05 pm

some more thoughts from a previous review from caine

Certainly had no plans of changing electronics within the system for a while. However the opportunity to home demo a dCS Debussy came about and I must admit I got quite excited by the idea. Other than a few brief listens to various dCS dac's at shows over the last couple of years, this is the first time to get a long term listen to the dCS character.

The DAC's:
Bel Canto DAC3.5VB mkII with modded VBS1 (cabled with Coherent 4D DC-ref).
dCS Debussy
Esoteric D-05 (significantly modified).

The Sources:
Bel Canto CD2 with modded VBS1 (Coherent 5D AES & BC VB-Ref cables).
SBT stage 2 modded with Fidelity Audio Ultra Linear PSU (Coherent 7D co-ax cable).
Acer N282 (run off isotek); run only into dCS to appreciate any differences between sp/dif and usb.

Obviously the DAC3.5VB mk.II is my current dac, and a very good dac it is indeed. Hence the benchmark. I managed to listen to the dCS Debussy for a few weeks and became very familiar with what it produces. Lastly the Esoteric has been on a lengthy home demo.

Music: Jon Hopkins Breath This Air (Immunity); Kings of Convenience Riot on an Empty Street (Declaration of Dependence); Radiohead Weird Fishes (In Rainbows); Dire Straits Once upon a time in the West (Alchemy Remastered); Drake We'll be fine; Gregory Porter Musical Genocide.

The immediate difference that came through was the space of the mids and high's. The system was impressive with voices and space around musicians, instruments and background noise such as clapping on live recordings. The dCS introduced a considerably larger soundstage than I've heard on my system, with what I can only describe as a rich crystal clear vocal. Timing was excellent with the Debussy however it was not all the way of the dCS over the Bel Canto, which also enjoyed decent timing sound not quite as open in the mid/highs and lacked the sparkle in the upper notes however meatier in the upper bass and more articulate control of the lower bass for which to my mind offered a more balanced presentation across the freq spectrum. I suppose what I am getting at is the Debussy's soundstage and upper freq. sparkle is absolutely amazing; however this seems to come at the cost of a thinness in the midrange that suits a richer presentation such as my Marantz; though I do have issues with note decay and bass which are not as good as the Bel Canto. However on a first listening basis I think the dCS is the more exciting DAC than the bel canto DAC3.5VB Mk.2 but after 30 minutes I found myself tiring of the seemingly amazing upper frequencies and not so good bass. The dCS offers far more inputs including asynchronous USB, single AES or dual channel AES and word clock input amongst the other standard inputs expected. However longterm for its balance throughout the audio band,[b] I prefer the DAC3.5VB mk.II; which with the modded VBS1 and 4D umbilical cord is still a £5K dac. No dac was head and shoulders above each other just a different sonic presentation.[/b]

I received the Esoteric D-05 for demo unannounced from Coherent. It's primary input is a dual channel AES with ext word clock; this unit also fully supports DSD. Taking this player further its been seriously modified (approx £4K of mods). Like the DAC3.5 it does not support USB natively. Hence that's a plus point to the dCS if asynchronous USB is a requirement. From a functional standpoint the Esoteric leaves both the dCS and Bel Canto standing; as you can really get in control of the DAC from NOS, 2F, 4F, DSD and a whole myriad of selectivity.

Sound wise I was taken aback with the directness of the sound with the Esoteric D-05; it really stood out with it's leading edge and trailing decay of guitar's and drums, with instruments and vocals sounding utterly authentic oozing absurd amounts of texturing and a linearity which seemed to project thru the wall perceptionally. The dynamic drive was intoxicating and the timing cohesive. Close possibly equal to the dCS's sparkling soundstage, though more texturing however the dCS sounded a slight bit more natural with higher frequencies to my ears and the D-05 maybe not quite as good; however the midrange was more grungy and realistic and it bettered the Bel Canto's lower mid's and bass. In the first week or so my better half however had problems with the D-05 suggesting that the midrange was problematic and not as clean as either the DAC3.5VB mkII or the Debussy when playing music from CD; and that the bass was overpowering with certain recordings. Turned out that I needed to put the AES into XLR1 input, as opposed to XLR2 is purely for the dual channel XLR inputs. Mightily impressive dac. I can't see the next stepping stone dac wise other than possibly a TAD C2000; but I don't have a spare £20K so that ain't happening.

In conclusion all the dac's are very good, however value for money the DAC3.5VB mk.2 seems to to be the obvious choice though for out and out performance the D-05 is in a league of its own.
1]bc pre 3 vbs
msb s200 power amp
/vbs1 FM1 tuner
onkyo sacd , tannoy eaton legacy 2] schiit freya , firebottle hybrid monos , bc 3.5vbs, marantz sa8005 , reference fidelity impulse ta`us horns

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Re: FS: Bel Canto DAC3.5VBmk2 + VBS1 modified

Postby caine » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:54 pm

That's a blast from the past. I would stand behind that, adding the TAD betters the Esoteric DAC & CDP; though Mr.C reckons the SACD on the Esoteric is better than the TAD.
Last edited by caine on Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
SBT (mod) >7d coax> TAD D1000 mk.2 >5d> Belles LA01 (gen2) >5d> Marantz MA9S2 >4d> Vivid Audio B1
Townshend rack/platforms, Coherent interconnects, DIY mains. Room Conditioning.

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Re: FS: Bel Canto DAC3.5VBmk2 + VBS1 modified [BLACK] £1545

Postby caine » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:00 pm

Seems lots of interest for the vbs1, none for the dac. Even got one guy asking to part ex his vbs1 for my modded VBS1. Why would i ever do that?

Will leave both for sale until i buy a pair of speakers be it active or passive.

Ashame really the dac is stunningly good compared to any sub 3k dac currently for sale except no usb (bar the dddic). The chap that bought the CD2 bought himself a dac2.7 for the usb; i thought you twit the dac3.5vbmk2 would bury it. We all learn from our mistakes...
SBT (mod) >7d coax> TAD D1000 mk.2 >5d> Belles LA01 (gen2) >5d> Marantz MA9S2 >4d> Vivid Audio B1
Townshend rack/platforms, Coherent interconnects, DIY mains. Room Conditioning.

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Re: FS: Bel Canto DAC3.5VBmk2 + VBS1 modified [BLACK] £1545

Postby hifinutt » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:37 pm

i think some folks are put off by the lack of usb but i am playing my computer through the 3.5 vbs with excellent sound using that small 26 quid converter

its a superb dac but sadly the market is awash with them , but not so much volume controlled which is what i like as sometimes i have kit that has no remote and its great to have the control on the dac

just keep bumping it on hi fi for sale every 2 weeks
1]bc pre 3 vbs
msb s200 power amp
/vbs1 FM1 tuner
onkyo sacd , tannoy eaton legacy 2] schiit freya , firebottle hybrid monos , bc 3.5vbs, marantz sa8005 , reference fidelity impulse ta`us horns

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Re: FS: Bel Canto DAC3.5VBmk2 + VBS1 modified [BLACK] £1545

Postby hifinutt » Tue May 08, 2018 7:36 pm

now i don`t know if this is sold or not

some nce pics here

https://hifiwigwam.com/megastore/produc ... ower-cord/

i am using this dac as a pre today with some massive speakers and some valve hybrids monoblocks . normally i don`t like it as a pre amp but this combo is rather good . in fact it would probably blow you away if you heard it !!!!!

someone buy this dac
1]bc pre 3 vbs
msb s200 power amp
/vbs1 FM1 tuner
onkyo sacd , tannoy eaton legacy 2] schiit freya , firebottle hybrid monos , bc 3.5vbs, marantz sa8005 , reference fidelity impulse ta`us horns

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Re: FS: Bel Canto DAC3.5VBmk2 + VBS1 modified [BLACK] £1495

Postby caine » Mon May 14, 2018 7:36 pm

Price drop. £1495 wanting to move them on.
Last edited by caine on Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SBT (mod) >7d coax> TAD D1000 mk.2 >5d> Belles LA01 (gen2) >5d> Marantz MA9S2 >4d> Vivid Audio B1
Townshend rack/platforms, Coherent interconnects, DIY mains. Room Conditioning.

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Re: FS: Bel Canto DAC3.5VBmk2 + VBS1 modified [BLACK]

Postby caine » Wed May 16, 2018 8:05 pm

No longer for sale. Now part of my office system. Got to order balanced cables then this will be the front end to my new active speakers on route. Looking forward to hearing everything connected.
Last edited by caine on Thu May 17, 2018 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SBT (mod) >7d coax> TAD D1000 mk.2 >5d> Belles LA01 (gen2) >5d> Marantz MA9S2 >4d> Vivid Audio B1
Townshend rack/platforms, Coherent interconnects, DIY mains. Room Conditioning.

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Re: FS: Bel Canto DAC3.5VBmk2 + VBS1 modified [BLACK] £1445

Postby hifinutt » Thu May 17, 2018 4:20 am

be interested how you get on using them as front end for active speakers , i tried it again recently as a pre but it does not quite have the imaging or organic sound of a good pre amp . it may be a bit clinical but keep us posted . don`t forget to take them off sale on the wam megastore if you can
1]bc pre 3 vbs
msb s200 power amp
/vbs1 FM1 tuner
onkyo sacd , tannoy eaton legacy 2] schiit freya , firebottle hybrid monos , bc 3.5vbs, marantz sa8005 , reference fidelity impulse ta`us horns

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Re: FS: Bel Canto DAC3.5VBmk2 + VBS1 modified [BLACK] £1495

Postby caine » Thu May 17, 2018 1:26 pm

Will do (only had my ipad and not worth trying to edit things with it). I ran a pair of active speakers for a couple of years from a DAC1.5 w/LNS1 and sounded pretty good. I'm not straying to far. Gone for a pair of Dynaudio LYD7 actives with built in DSP room correction. Hunting a pair of stands down; and need to get home later and check if I've got any balanced cables. Probably clear my ears out a bit; but nice getting a contrasting sound.
Last edited by caine on Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SBT (mod) >7d coax> TAD D1000 mk.2 >5d> Belles LA01 (gen2) >5d> Marantz MA9S2 >4d> Vivid Audio B1
Townshend rack/platforms, Coherent interconnects, DIY mains. Room Conditioning.

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Re: FS: Bel Canto DAC3.5VBmk2 + VBS1 modified [BLACK] Keeping...

Postby hifinutt » Fri May 18, 2018 3:09 pm

keep us posted on how you get on
1]bc pre 3 vbs
msb s200 power amp
/vbs1 FM1 tuner
onkyo sacd , tannoy eaton legacy 2] schiit freya , firebottle hybrid monos , bc 3.5vbs, marantz sa8005 , reference fidelity impulse ta`us horns

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Re: FS: Bel Canto DAC3.5VBmk2 + VBS1 modified [BLACK] Keeping...

Postby caine » Wed May 30, 2018 9:39 pm

Funny how things pan out. The BC gear is awaiting payment, the LYD7 are on their way back and even sold the VB-ref cable from the VBS-CD2.

Still keen on owning the LS50W at some point. Though need to concentrate on sorting out my AV system.

As an aside bought a XTZ room analyzer pro 2 to gain a thorough understanding of the acoustics of my listening room
SBT (mod) >7d coax> TAD D1000 mk.2 >5d> Belles LA01 (gen2) >5d> Marantz MA9S2 >4d> Vivid Audio B1
Townshend rack/platforms, Coherent interconnects, DIY mains. Room Conditioning.

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Re: FS: Bel Canto DAC3.5VBmk2 + VBS1 modified SOLD

Postby caine » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:42 pm

Sold
SBT (mod) >7d coax> TAD D1000 mk.2 >5d> Belles LA01 (gen2) >5d> Marantz MA9S2 >4d> Vivid Audio B1
Townshend rack/platforms, Coherent interconnects, DIY mains. Room Conditioning.