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any love for Belles Aria - this side of the pond ?

Discussion in 'audio' started by wpm, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. wpm

    wpm pfm Member


    been running with the Naim Nait 5i-2 for about 5 years now and am considering a change.

    Nothing is wrong with the sound at the moment but i guess i want to look at a different amplifier now.

    The source is a Philips CD 750 / Philips CD 960 and A Lenco L75 ( under construction ) and Akai AP D30 with a MP30 cart

    The source will remain where they are and so will the speakers - Merlin TSM Black Magic

    In theory if i could consider

    naim SN2
    Sonneteer Alabaster
    Exposure 3010 S2D
    Rega Elicit R
    Dayens Ecstacy 3

    and i see a new amplifier

    David Belles Aria Integrated ( lists at USD 2000 )

    any of you heard the David Belles Aria ?

    Smoother , fuller sounding amps will be nice for my speakers and me.

    100W of SS Amplification is the max my speakers can take

    I will try and audition as many as i can but the Dayens and Belles are not available for audition here.

  2. drummerman

    drummerman pfm Member

    Yes, the amplifier was used at the Bristol Show with Quadral floor standers. One of the better systems imho. Rich/full sounding with good punch.

    I can't tell you which component was mostly responsible for the sound signature but there was good synergy.

    Another amplifier that made warm, powerful music was Astin Trew's AT2-2100. It's designed to sound 'valve like' but with 100watt/side.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
    wpm likes this.
  3. wpm

    wpm pfm Member


    thank you.

    I suspect the David Belles range would not be so much on the radar in UK but i have been told its a good amp for the money and quite a smooth extended sound instead of being very analytical

    but yes - its hard to say which component in the chain was responsible for the sound you heard unless a hom,e demo is possible

    i am hoping a few more members will chip in.

    The astin trew does not mention the amplifier you listed on its website - is this a new amp ? any idea on the price range ?

  4. drummerman

    drummerman pfm Member

    Hi WPM

    Yes, the AT amp is the latest integrated for the manufacturer. If I remember correctly it retails for just under £2000.
  5. mikemusic

    mikemusic pfm Member

    I have Belles Pre and Mono blocks.
    Very good and I hear the Integrated is also very good
  6. pjdowns

    pjdowns Living the Hifi dream

    The Belles Aria is said to be rather good. I am planning on hearing one in my system and compare it to my existing Exposure pre and power. I suspect the Belles will be quite a big jump up having heard a few other of their amps.
  7. wpm

    wpm pfm Member

    Dear mikemusic

    which pre and power of Belles do you have ?

    I am looking for a serious jump from the Naim nait 5i-2

    Hello pjdowns

    when you do the comparo - do pen down your observations. which speakers do you use ?
  8. pjdowns

    pjdowns Living the Hifi dream

    Hi wpm,

    My Exposures are a significant upgrade on the Naim amp you have and as I’ve said I’d expect the Belles Aria to be quite a bit better than the Exposure’s.

    I use Focal Electra 1028 Be speakers which can sound a bit overly bright with the Exposure’s, which is one of the reasons I’m keen to hear the Belles.

    Happy to share my findings when I hear one.
    wpm likes this.
  9. mikemusic

    mikemusic pfm Member

    I have
    Belles VT-01 MK II Pre Amp
    Belles MB200 Mono Power Amps

    The Belles will be a huge jump up from the Nait 5 and the top piece of kit in the system
    wpm likes this.
  10. lidsmoes

    lidsmoes pfm Member

    I heard the Aria two years ago at a hifi show in Copenhagen in a system where the other components were Much more expensive. It sounded very good and I had the amp on loan for a home demo.
    I was impressed with the sound - especially with the rich fluid midrange. I ended up with another amp, but still remember the Belles fondly. has a demo silver Aria for sale at a good price.

    Best regards Lars
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
    wpm likes this.
  11. wpm

    wpm pfm Member


    i do not have budget for the statement series of David Belles but am just looking at the Belles Aria integrated amp 75W so i dont know of the 75W of Belles is a qualitative jump from the 50W Naim nait 5i-2 which has its own personality.

    plus my speakers seem to like smooth extended sound rather that the neutral / analytical kind of sound..

    I have an excellent phono stage and i will mostly not use the on board phono stage of any amp i may get.

    The other option i am looking at is the Exposure 3010s2D ( w/o DAC and w/o phono ) or a Sonneteer Alabaster

  12. wpm

    wpm pfm Member

    Thanks Lars

    helps to know that the Belles Aria leaves a favorable impression..

    which speakers was it driving at your home ?

  13. mikemusic

    mikemusic pfm Member

    I don't bet but .. I bet the Belles outperfoms the Nait 5i.
    Good you are happy with your phono stage.
    Cannot comment on Exposure or Sonneteer.

    Have a word with Tony at Coherent on the Belles.
    PM CoherentSystems here on PFM. I imagine he knows all the makes. Speak to a dealer with Sonneteer and Exposure and you should have your answer/s
    wpm likes this.
  14. lidsmoes

    lidsmoes pfm Member

    wpm likes this.
  15. datay

    datay pfm Member

    I was going to suggest speaking to Tony, if you are anywhere in the Home Counties are possibly further afield he may be able to demo the Aria, and I think, pretty sure he used to deal with Sonnetteer.

    I have had the Belles 150Av2 for six years, finally got the Pre A22 from Elite Audio last week and it is the best sound I've had out of the power amp, as you'd expect with the match. I'd imagine the Aria will do something just as lovely and right-sounding, although I hadn't really heard of it until now.
  16. drummerman

    drummerman pfm Member

  17. Yomanze

    Yomanze pfm Member

    Interesting, as I would not consider the 3010 series to be bright, if anything the darker side of neutral. Those Focals are definitely explicit on the top end though.
  18. pjdowns

    pjdowns Living the Hifi dream

    I use Exposure XVII and Exposure XVIII amps, not the 3010 series.
  19. wpm

    wpm pfm Member

    Appreciate your responses.

    Thank you - i will write to Tony.

    TONY - if you are reading this thread - please chip in.

    I live far away from all of you though.

    I live in Mumbai, India

    I have no problems getting a belles amp from NY - that can be arranged .

    Exposure has a local dealer here 1.5 hours flying time + 1.5 hours drive away

    Most Indian dealer do not offer home demos and even if they do they condition their offers on purchase instantly if you like it.

    That's why all this fluttering about from me.

    I know - audition is the best bet

    I also know that my Merlin TSM Black magic speakers will stay with me. There is no changing them till i run them down.

    But the contra position to auditioning is that i never auditioned my naim nait 5i-2 nor the Merlin TSM Black magic speakers too and they go well together - IMO atleast.

    Even if i audition at the dealers - i would never be able to figure out the contribution of individual components to the sound i will hear.

    Thats why i think its better to ask fellow journeymen and take a calculated guess and pull the trigger

    I liked the Belles Aria in terms of its focus on being just am amp with a phono stage rather than venturing into digital domain and the amps i have listed earlier all fulfill this criteria.

    I liked the Sonneteer Alabaster too - i have heard it but at a dealers place and i knopw the sound is different from the naim nait 5i-2. I would have preferred a touch more headroom which the belles aria claims at 125W at 4 ohm.

    I had the Rega Elicit R for home demo but i did not like the relays switching for inputs ( toggling ) - i thought it was rather clumsy.

    My speakers dont dip to that low impedance. they lowest impedance is 6 ohm at the minimum.

    My budget is 2500 USD - the lesser the better obviously.

    I feel like asking Mr Belles to drop the phono from his amp and give me 15W more power . head room.

    My phono stage is a lehmann Audio SE2 PWX and its very good. The cart is a Nagaoka MP30.

    I liked the Primaluna but they are Chinese made and i prefer not to go to them. ( i dont want to start a new topic here :) ) Besides i am not ready for tube amps yet.

    do keep chatting..

    appreciate all your time and inputs..

    Best regards
  20. wpm

    wpm pfm Member

    Thank you all for your inputs.

    Its nice to interact this way and clear the head.

    I hope to update this thread at a later date once my purchase is done.

    I have narrowed down to 2 choices now.

    pjdowns likes this.

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