Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?

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gryphongryph

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Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« on: 20 Jan 2019, 06:09 pm »
Hi, I am new to this forum, have been looking for a new pre/amp or intergrated amp for a while, will be used with a Primare Dac 30 and Graham Audio LS 5/9 speakers, lately I have had my eye on a demo Belles sa100 for half price and maybe a Don Sachs 2 preamp, but how would the set-400 compare to the Belles amp ?
And would either be a good match with the D Sachs 2 pre ?

Thanks

marvda1

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Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #1 on: 21 Jan 2019, 02:16 pm »
would you go to a ford truck forum and ask which is better, a ford or chevy?

avahifi

Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #2 on: 21 Jan 2019, 03:24 pm »
I have not heard a Belles amp in years so can't make any comparison.

However, you might like to read the review linked below.  Note that the reviewer liked the amp so much that he purchased it for his own use.

Note too that The Absolute Sound was impressed with the SET 120 review in their January issue.  It is the same as the SET 400, just lower power.

The SET 400 has separate regulated power supplies for each channel and even the output transistors are regulated.  Almost nobody else does this and none at our prices.

I might note that the Belles amplifier is less than half the power and over twice as expensive as the Vision SET 400.  Our long history is dedicated to building very high value equipment at very rational prices

Frank

http://www.audiophilia.com/reviews/2018/9/13/the-van-alstine-vision-set-400-stereo-amplifier

gryphongryph

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Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #3 on: 21 Jan 2019, 04:53 pm »
would you go to a ford truck forum and ask which is better, a ford or chevy?
This was ment as a friendly question, but to answer your question, yes, if if expected to be in a friendly forum, I would probably ask that question, as I have heard either, I was hoping some of the forum members would have a opinion about both amps, and when I asked which one is better, I meant in relation to my system, not as an individual peace!

gryphongryph

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Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #4 on: 21 Jan 2019, 05:16 pm »
I have not heard a Belles amp in years so can't make any comparison.

However, you might like to read the review linked below.  Note that the reviewer liked the amp so much that he purchased it for his own use.

Note too that The Absolute Sound was impressed with the SET 120 review in their January issue.  It is the same as the SET 400, just lower power.

The SET 400 has separate regulated power supplies for each channel and even the output transistors are regulated.  Almost nobody else does this and none at our prices.

I might note that the Belles amplifier is less than half the power and over twice as expensive as the Vision SET 400.  Our long history is dedicated to building very high value equipment at very rational prices

Frank

http://www.audiophilia.com/reviews/2018/9/13/the-van-alstine-vision-set-400-stereo-amplifier
Thanks Frank for replying.
I have no doubt that your amps are of good quality, unfortunately the review that you are linking too does not help me much as I don’t know the reviewer or his equipment.
Can I ask what you think about the synergy between BBC speakers and your amps ?
And as I am living in Faroe Islands, how would you say the quality is, can I expect many years of trouble free use, and if needed, could the amp be serviced here by a technician ?

The sound I like is smoothness and beautiful tone and timbre, detail, but not for detail sake, but more as a part of the hole sound image, a nice drive/rhythm is a big plus.
I really dislike thin sounding and piercing highs!, also find that often very powerful amps have problems conveying the inner detail and feelings of music, they are often more about brute force. I like to play on low volume late at night, so ideally a amp that has the resolution to convey the music without having to always turn it up would be a big plus.

I often listen for hours at a time, and therefore want a non fatigued system that I can enjoy, hopefully for many years to come.





I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #5 on: 21 Jan 2019, 08:13 pm »
I reviewed the SET 400 on this forum for Frank.  The preamp used was my BAT VK51se and a Luxman DA-06 DAC with Magnepan 1.6 speakers.  The SET 400 is not thin or bright sounding.  It's strength is the mid range.   It has a beautiful full, rich mid range.  Highs are smooth without glare or harshness.  There is good detail and it sounds good at low volumes.  The amp leans a bit to the warmer side, so no worries about brightness but that all depends upon system matching so YMMV.  And  I am like you, I don't like bright sound or a thin mid range.

Franks gear is built to last.  I own one of his preamps and DAC's  and I have a few friends that own his R series amps and tube preamps.  The amp held its own with my Pass X250 amp.

I don't know how the SET will compare to that model of Belles amp but I have a friend with a Belles Hot Rod 150a amp and it can't hold a candle to the SET 400.

Hope this helps,

Larry
« Last Edit: 21 Jan 2019, 09:30 pm by I.Greyhound Fan »

gryphongryph

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Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #6 on: 21 Jan 2019, 08:20 pm »
I reviewed the SET 400 on this forum for Frank.  The preamp used my BAT VK51se and a Luxman DA-06 DAC with Magnepan 1.6 speakers.  The SET 400 is not thin or bright sounding.  It's strength is the mid range.   It has a beautiful full, rich mid range.  Highs are smooth without glare or harshness.  There is good detail and it sounds good at low volumes.  The amp leans a bit to the warmer side, so no worries about brightness but that all depends upon system matching so YMMV.  And  I am like you, I don't like bright sound or a thin mid range.

Franks gear is built to last.  I own one of his preamps and DAC's  and I have a few friends that own his R series amps and tube preamps.  The amp held its own with my Pass X250 amp.

I don't know how the SET will compare to that model of Belles amp but I have a friend with a Belles Hot Rd
150a amp and it can't hold a candle to the SET 400.


Hope this helps,

Larry

Thanks Larry, very helpful. Is the amp quiet in operation?

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #7 on: 21 Jan 2019, 09:32 pm »
Thanks Larry, very helpful. Is the amp quiet in operation?


Yes it is quiet.

JackD

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Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #8 on: 22 Jan 2019, 03:48 am »
Since Frank offers the 30 day trial easy enough to find out how it sounds in your system.

gryphongryph

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Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #9 on: 22 Jan 2019, 07:35 am »
Since Frank offers the 30 day trial easy enough to find out how it sounds in your system.
I live in the Faroe Islands, situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, not even sure if Frank would ship that far ;-)

ASCTLC

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Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #10 on: 22 Jan 2019, 01:41 pm »
The beauty of Franks stuff is it doesn't sound "budget".  There's a good reason AVA equipment wins awards and it's not simply directed at the value of it. 

It's common enough to find cheap equipment that sounds good for that cheap price, but it's an entirely different thing to get astounding equipment for such a small price (relatively speaking).

The reviewers of Franks level of equipment approach with an evaluation on performance merits first, then relate the cost.  If you read carefully to interpret reviews of Franks equipment they don't conclude: "You get X performance for the price.", they conclude: "...and you only pay $ for that performance!". 

I learned at a young age that "I can't afford cheap shit!", I'll always take the lowest line of a great mfrs equipment over top of the line of a cheap mfrs equipment any day of the week.

Preamp: Insight+
Amp: Synergy 450
DAC: Schiit: Gungnir
Speakers: Legacy Audio Signature SE

Edit to add: I don't know the Belles equipment but can only comment on the falicy of looking at the price of AVA equipment and thinking it foretells of a matching low(er) quality performance.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #11 on: 22 Jan 2019, 04:07 pm »
I live in the Faroe Islands, situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, not even sure if Frank would ship that far ;-)


I believe that Frank  will ship world wide. 

Wow, the Faroe Islands!  I  saw a show about the food there.  You are supposed to have great seafood.

gryphongryph

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Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #12 on: 22 Jan 2019, 04:50 pm »
Love our food, but some of it is probably an acquired taste for many foreigners  :lol:

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #13 on: 22 Jan 2019, 10:27 pm »
Love our food, but some of it is probably an acquired taste for many foreigners  :lol:

I am a foodie a would love the Faroe Island Langoustines.  I would not care for some of the fermented meats and seafood though.

By the way, if you are really interested in the SET 400, give Frank a call. 

Larry



gryphongryph

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Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #14 on: 22 Jan 2019, 11:45 pm »
Yeah, that’s one idea, maybe the set 400 would pair well with Don Sachs 2 preamp and my speakers ! Ohh Larry, our fermented food is our best food  :P :lol: :lol: :lol:

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #15 on: 23 Jan 2019, 12:32 am »
Yeah, that’s one idea, maybe the set 400 would pair well with Don Sachs 2 preamp and my speakers ! Ohh Larry, our fermented food is our best food  :P :lol: :lol: :lol:

I don't know how well it would pair with a DS 2 preamp, it is always  a crap shoot when pairing different gear.   I too have been considering a Don Sachs pre with all the bells and whistles to replace my BAT.  I figure that if I don't like it, I can flip it.

I"ll take the fresh caught seafood and lamb but you can keep the stinky stuff.

Pryso

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Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #16 on: 23 Jan 2019, 05:50 pm »
gryphongryph,

Did you discuss amp matching with Don when you ordered your DS 2?  He can recommend best value to match with the impedance of any amp.  That of course means electrical match.  Individual preferences for sonics will still have at least an equal influence.

I've had a DS 2 for nearly two years and consider it the best line stage/preamp I've owned in nearly 5 decades in this hobby.

ASCTLC

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Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #17 on: 23 Jan 2019, 08:55 pm »
Good suggestion Pryso.  I was waffling between tube or solid state power so I called Legacy for amp type suggestion and they said solid state for sure with the Signature SEs.  If I recall correctly, it was that the Signature SEs performed better with the higher damping factor of a typical solid state amp vs tubed.

Made my decision that much more clear so I didn't torture myself wondering if I amped the best.

avahifi

Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #18 on: 23 Jan 2019, 09:18 pm »
The Vision SET 400 has a 1 meg ohm input impedance so it is a really easy load for any preamplifier to drive.  Voltage gain is 25, pretty much industry standard.

Frank

gryphongryph

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Re: Set 400 v Belles SA-100 which is better?
« Reply #19 on: 23 Jan 2019, 11:07 pm »
gryphongryph,

Did you discuss amp matching with Don when you ordered your DS 2?  He can recommend best value to match with the impedance of any amp.  That of course means electrical match.  Individual preferences for sonics will still have at least an equal influence.

I've had a DS 2 for nearly two years and consider it the best line stage/preamp I've owned in nearly 5 decades in this hobby.
I mentioned Belles SA-100 to Don, he said electrically there should be no problem, we did not talk about the 400.