Sorry, no turn table. All digital.
Tried a set of Bel Canto Ref 1000 monoblocks last night, which are said to have a tube-like smoothness (minus the richness of tubes), and in short, I heard no appreciable reduction in grain / edge. I'm starting to think that modern high-end speakers with all of their advanced driver tech (Beryllium, Titanium, Carbon Fiber, Nomex, etc) are just so revealing of all of the recorded detail, that they simply show too much. Kinda like watching porn in HD. There are some details that you just don't need to / want to see.
I have to say that comparing the Bel Canto's to my Lexicon was a bit of a mindf**k. I would switch to the BC's and initially think there were all these improvements to the sound (probably because I expected them to sound better), but then when I would switch back to the Lex, it sounded just as good in those areas. That, and the longer I listened to either amp, the more apparent the shortcomings of the sound became.
Hearing it seems, is a moving target. For instance, to keep things fair and consistent, I kept the volume at one level. Anytime I would switch between amps, there was a period of adjustment needed to get used to volume level again. It always seemed too loud and aggressive at first, which gave a poor impression of each amp at the start. Then, there is this short period after the ears adjust where things sound pretty good, followed by a settling in to the sound and an uncovering of all of its flaws. And then there is the affect of my expectations overlaid on top of my auditioning as well. I wanted / expected the BC's to sound better and they did for a while, but then as I switched back to the Lex's they now sounded as good / bad in the same areas as the BCs. I also noticed that certain sounds would bother me at random moments despite no change in amp or song. Initially this made me think that one amp was better than the other in a particular area, but then I would listen again and that same sound was no longer an issue. Blargh!
This is amp #2 (the first was Parasound Halo) that has failed to make any meaningful change to the sound quality, good or bad.
I'll spend a little more time with the Bel Canto's over the next couple of weeks to see if anything changes for the better or worse, but I have to say, if I can't get things to sound better than they have for the past 8 months and 4 sets of speakers later, I may just throw in the towel on the high-end of this hobby. I'm not having much fun and it's costing me a fortune. I won't stop listening to music or watching movies, but I may get away from super hi-tech and go back to soft domes and poly or paper cones.