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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone play with digital amps featuring B&O's largest ICEpower modules ?

These deliver 500 watts into 8 ohms, and 1000 watts into 4 ohms.


Jef Rowland has the 501 monos, and Bel Canto have the Ref1000 monos.

These monos only weigh about +/-15 lbs, which is mostly the casework.


- Andy
 

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I'm using the Bel Canto ref1000's in one of my systems. Definitely a significant step up from the smaller S300 stereo amp.


(disclaimer: I'm a Bel Canto dealer)...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I picked up a used pair of Ref1000 and M300 this weekend, and am really impressed with the Ref1000.

As a bonus they are rather inexpensive, even brand new, as BC gear seems to be discounted more.

I have always found the BC amps to be very quiet, with great imaging & depth.


The smaller M300 are definitely brighter, lacking "body", and weaker bass control.


I am curious as to comments of the Rowland 501 vs BC Ref1000, and against some better SS amps.


- Andy
 

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my Evolution Acoustics MM3 speakers use the Big ICE amps for the two 15" subwoofers in each speaker. my previous speakers, the VR9SE's, also used a 1000 watt digital amp in each speaker for it's 15" sub. the bass performance of the VR9's is spectacular......the MM3's are even better overall.......a singular experience for me.


both the VR9SE and MM3 take the signal from the high level input (from the main system amps) at the speaker terminal. as the digital amps have an amazing linearity in the low bass region and are basically without a particular character they seem to adapt the character of the main system amps. this allows the system amp to be less stressed but optimizes coherence. i consider this whole speaker design approach to be state of the art.


i have also listened to a few of the digital amps on whole systems including the Rowland.


overall; my conclusion about the Big ICE amp is that it is an excellent amplifier at it's price point; but not quite at the top level of amplification (compared to many $10k and above amps i have heard). the mids and highs of the ICE amps lack that last level of tonal and textural naturalness. they are simply more 'there' and remind you that it is reproduced sound. understand that this is just in comparison to the very best most expensive amplifiers.


OTOH i think that as a deep bass amplifier in a properly executed speaker design it is unrivaled.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Lammer /forum/post/0


I picked up a used pair of Ref1000 and M300 this weekend, and am really impressed with the Ref1000.

As a bonus they are rather inexpensive, even brand new, as BC gear seems to be discounted more.

I have always found the BC amps to be very quiet, with great imaging & depth.


The smaller M300 are definitely brighter, lacking "body", and weaker bass control.


I am curious as to comments of the Rowland 501 vs BC Ref1000, and against some better SS amps.


- Andy


One thing that I have found with Class D amps is that they are FAR more sensitive to the likes of power conditioners and power cords than pretty much any other kind of amp I've tried. Not sure why that is, but for people who aren't believers in these things, a Class D amp might just change your mind.


I've not compared the JRDG 501 v.s the BC ref1000, but I did get an opportunity to do a 15 minute compare between the JRDG 102 vs. the BC S300. Different shades of the same color, with the BC providing slightly more defined bass and the JRDG with more refinement in the high frequencies.


I like the ref1000's (and other Class D amps) for the money and for the conveniences (size, no overheating, etc). But I still find the likes of the $10K+ amp to perform to my liking (better?) without question. Have not spent enough time with the JRDG 501 to judge, nor with the Kharma Class D amps (which I have been told are outrageously good) or Edge amps (also have been told are good)...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Lammer /forum/post/0


What $10K+ solid state amps have you guys prefered over the big ICE ?

... without getting too ridiculously crazy in pricing -> no $20K amps please



- Andy

I was able to do brief comparisons with a Pass Labs X350.5 and a Jeff Rowland Model 12. Also compared it to a Blue Circle hybrid amp (BC206) and preferred these all to the ref1000's (the BC206 is my main reference amp).


...and yes, there were some comparison done with some >$20K amps, too (Vitus, Karan), but there was no comparison as the ref1000's were clearly outclassed by those...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike lavigne /forum/post/0



overall; my conclusion about the Big ICE amp is that it is an excellent amplifier at it's price point; but not quite at the top level of amplification (compared to many $10k and above amps i have heard). the mids and highs of the ICE amps lack that last level of tonal and textural naturalness. they are simply more 'there' and remind you that it is reproduced sound. understand that this is just in comparison to the very best most expensive amplifiers.


OTOH i think that as a deep bass amplifier in a properly executed speaker design it is unrivaled.


My (limited) expereince with Class D amplifiers parallels Mike's... I would add to that that they are not quite "there" yet compared to the better amplifers... out there even some costing much less than 10K.... The Class D I have heard do not have the last word in midrange and up articulation. They do a good job in the bass however but I have found them lacking that last once of refinement I have enjoyed in amps such as Burmester, Krell, Plinius , Edge , Spectral and others in the bass... This with speakers without amplified woofers...
 

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I sold my 33H after I bought a pair of Acoustic Reality eAR1001 (originally planned to use them for my surround).


But like Mike pointed out. ICEpower is a steal imo. Even though I am now using a darTZeel, I plan to use a digital crossover to drive my Wilson Benesch Torus with the ICEPower amps.
 

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So how do these Ref1000s compare to something like the Cary CAD500 MB or the SimAudio W-7M?


Quote:
I sold my 33H after I bought a pair of Acoustic Reality eAR1001 (originally planned to use them for my surround).

The Levinson 33H? So you're saying the eAR1001 are better than the 33H but not as good as the darTZeel? What speakers do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Ref1000 have better imaging & depth and bass control, compared to my Sim Audio Titan-7.

This is driving PSB Platinum T6 speakers -> nothing too exotic.

The Titan-7 is more-or-less 3.5 W-5's under one roof -> same amp circuit AFAIK.

I have not had any of the newer Sim amps with their latest "Lynx" amp circuits.


I am waiting for acquire a 2nd pair of M300 to tri-amp my Waveform Mach 17's.

The Ref1000 for bass (

- Andy
 

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It's even more important with class D amps to say what speakers you listened with. Let's just say that my experience owning JRDG 201s doesn't match the TAS review at all. That might be because my Piega P10s have a pretty darn flat impendance curve, especially in the treble -- which is where you may see interaction with the amp's low-pass filter(s).


Drew Dean
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioArchitect /forum/post/0


Im in San Diego and considering carrying some Bel Canto product. What speakers do you carry?

My primary line is Focus Audio. I also carry Aurum Cantus and the Acoustic Zen Adagios. Have used the Bel Canto stuff with all of the above with good results...


PM or email me if you've got more questions regarding my business...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephan /forum/post/0


The Levinson 33H? So you're saying the eAR1001 are better than the 33H but not as good as the darTZeel? What speakers do you have?

I am not making any claim.


I had the Revel Salon, and I personally prefer the eAR1001 with the Salon then the 33H.


I now have the Magico Mini. I prefer the darTZeel NHB-108 with the Magico then the eAR1001.


I am now using one of my eAR1001 to drive my Wilson Benesch Torus via TacT 2.2XP Digital Crossover. Just set it up. Will report when I have more figured out.


ws
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Phil, you ever have anyone get the Ref1000 mod'd ?

( or any other digital amp for that matter )


I am very nearby Chris Johnson ( former Sonic Frontiers honcho ) and his The Parts Connexion.

They offer mods for the Ref1000, and lots of other gear.

There are lots of other mod'ers around the USA too.

In my tweaking history, if there is one thing that is responsive to a variety of tweaks, it is digital gear.


I would like an upper-end stereo or mono pair in the $4K-$6K range ( used )

Debating between getting my Ref1000 mod'd or a pair demo Innersound iPower 750 monos.

( I also happen to luuuv the Innersound styling -> I know its Coda inside )


- Andy
 
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