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Belles Aria or Krell S-3001

Discussion in 'New Gear - Performance' started by 2channel*, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    559
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    I heard the Belles Aria integrated (not with my speakers) and really liked it. Like is not equal to love; but close and I bet it sounds better with my speakers. I'm seriously considering buying it from a brick & mortar; although it's about twice my original budget at $1,900 (+7% in NJ). No returns but I bet that's negotiable.

    I see a Krell S-300i posted for $1,200, no tax, probably $75 shipping. It has balance control. My left ear sometimes goes dim.

    Large room, 3-way towers (Canton), my taste is neutral to bright with lotsa nuance (microdynamics?) and a big, distinct stage. Digital and vinyl. I don't really believe it matters what kind of music I listen to; but the answer is everything anyway.

    Your informed opinion is welcome. You have no liability. No lectures about 'whatever sounds better to you', please. ;^)

    PS. I'm really impatient.
     
  2. thymanst

    thymanst Minnesota morning Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,350
    Location:
    naples,florida
    I've heard the Krell several times and it punches above sts weight class - great Krell bass and will drive most any speaker
     
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  3. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    559
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Thanks, thymanst!
    That's Krell 1; Belles 0 so far. Keep 'em coming.
     
  4. ilusndweller

    ilusndweller Super Member

    Messages:
    4,620
    My friend who I got into stereos (sold him his first system, an adcom 535 and psb alphas 20 years ago) really likes his 300i.
     
  5. nyhifihead

    nyhifihead Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    594
    Location:
    long island NY
    go the with krell, they drive all speakers effortlessly
     
    stish likes this.
  6. crouse

    crouse Poorly known member Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,424
    Location:
    Jackson, Ms.
    I haven't heard your two choices, but I have the same issue with my left ear. I find that I often use the balance control to even out the sound. In fact, I would not buy a pre-amp or integrated without a balance control.
     
  7. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    559
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    That's Krell 4, Belles 0!
    Has anyone heard the Belles?
     
  8. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    559
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    I fear you are right. I tried headphones tonight and the left ear was really off.
     
  9. JohnMichael

    JohnMichael Super Member

    Messages:
    1,176
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    I have enjoyed my Krell S-300i for about 7 years. It drives any speaker I own. Not bright but detailed and good soundstaging. I have never tired of this integrated amp as I have lesser amps in the past. I bought this as my last int. amp and it will be. Currently driving Mobile Fidelity OML 1's which can be tough for lesser amps.
     
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  10. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    559
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Thanks, JM. That's Krell 5; Belles 0 - but no one who's heard the Belles.
    I've eliminated it because of the no balance/bad ear issue.
    I asked if I could audition a Krell KAV-300 on sale nearby. No reply.
    So how about Krell S-300i vs. Primare I32?
     
  11. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    559
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    So, the gentleman selling the KAV-300 did reply after a while, but by that time I had succumbed to the allure of the Primare. Holy Schiit! I am so happy and so are my Canton Ergo 1002DCs. It's hard to describe what I'm hearing. The best I can do is that it's like going from a painting to a diorama. I am also hearing subtle bass lines that I didn't know were even there. I can't play my recordings fast enough.
     
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  12. WhiteSE

    WhiteSE Is Lute Gluten Free?? Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,726
    Location:
    North Bergen, NJ
    Primare makes good Schiit!
     
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  13. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    559
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Can there be such a thing as too vivid? Or more realistic than the real thing?
     
  14. MarZutra

    MarZutra Super Member

    Messages:
    4,191
    Location:
    New Scotland, Canada
    If I'm not mistaken Ds suggested a pair of the Belles MA500 monos to me a while back. I've heard the Belles and they are very nice amps. If I'm not mistaken, I believe they aren't quite as known or have the same regard as the Krell however I'd put them on solid footing. If I'm not mistaken you can get a nice Belles amp for under 5 bills. Of course the more power the more money. I've never heard their integrateds....
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  15. tube-it

    tube-it Tubes and Tubes Subscriber

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    Rochester
    I've owned the Belles A150 and the 400 and liked them very much. I'm in rochester so Belles is a local manufacturer and I may be biased but I always regard these amps as top performers that tend to fly under the radar. I good friend of mine just got the Aria and we have been putting though it paces for the last month or so. He is running it on a pair of Klipsch RF-7s with an Oppo Sonica and a Technics SL-1700/Shure V15-III with a Jico stylus as the sources. This amp truly impresses. It's probably one of the most honest sounding integrated amps I've heard. While the older Belles tend to be on the warm side, akin to Mcintosh, this is more on the neutral side of warm, warmish without being dark, if that makes any sense. Bass hits harder than a 75 watt amp should and the highs are clear without having that typical solid state sizzle. I have not heard the Krell so I cannot compare but I believe the Belles is an instant classic. What speakers are you going to pair with?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
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  16. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    559
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    To whom is the question addressed?
     
  17. seminole54

    seminole54 AK Member Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,128
    Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
    The OP has already made his purchase decision so it is a mute point but Belles and Krell have nothing in common sound signature wise. If the British sound of Primare works for him than Krell has nothing in common with it either. The ability of Krell to "drive anything" is kind of irrelevant if you already own the speakers you like and they are not a difficult load. If you decide to change speakers and then need to find a compatible amp that is just a fact of life. One amp is not the right one for every speaker. My experience with Krell was hearing them in front of B&W and Wilson and it was run you out of the room aggresive with both. The Belles amps are far more neutral and adaptable to differently voiced speakers. I have owned a Belles 150A Hot Rod since 1999 and it has done admirable duty at times with over a dozen different speakers. While not the ideal choice with all it was not offensive with any. Like Odyssey great under the radar match with Vandersteen.
     
    2channel* likes this.
  18. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    Well, it depends on the B&W's. The new D3 line are just phenomenal and outclass the previous D2's in every way. There has only been one set of Wilson's I have heard that makes me understand why Wilson has it's reputation. Both brands are hard to place in a room. I can't stand Vandy's at all and I did own a pair of 2ce's. They were just wooly, thumpy boxes to me. There are way better speakers out there for the same price.
     

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