Brand new sealed box DAC3.7, VBL1 linear power supply (both with silver face plates) and REF VB cable. This is not an upgraded DAC3.5VB or 3.5VB MK2 with the older switching power supply. Most of the units I've seen for sale are, and don't perform or sound the way an actual DAC3.7 with the new linear power supply designed specifically for it does.
Bel Canto DAC 3.7 VB Specifications
Maximum Data Input Rate
24bit Data at 192KS/s: AES XLR, SPDIF BNC/RCA, ST Fiber, TOSLINK
Master Clock Jitter: 70 femtoseconds RMS, 100Hz-1MHz
Analog 24/192 DAC Section:
Maximum Output: 5.5 Vrms balanced XLR, 2.5 Vrms RCA
Output Impedance: 200 ohms balanced XLR, 100 ohms RCA
Frequency Response: 20 Hz-20 KHz, +/- 0.25dB
THD+N: <0.0015%, 5.5Vrms balanced out, 1KHz
Output Noise: 3uVrms A-weighted 20Hz-20KHz
Dynamic Range: 126dB A-weighted 20Hz-20KHz
Analog 24/192 ADC Section:
Maximum Input: 2.5 Vrms RCA
Input Impedance: 12K ohms RCA
THD+N: 0.003%, 2.5Vrms in, 1KHz
Dynamic Range: 110dB, A-weighted 20Hz-20KHz
Power Usage On: 8W
Power Usage Off: 0.0W
Power Requirement: 12VDC
Dimensions: 8.5" W x 12.5" D x 3.5" H (216 mm x 318 mm x 88 mm)
Weight: 14lbs. (6.5 kg)
Maximum Output: 12VDC at 0.8A
Output Voltage: 12VDC +/- 5%
Output Voltage Noise: <27 Microvolts RMS, un-weighted 0 Hz-100 KHz
Power Usage On: 10W typical
Power Usage Off: 0.0W
Power Requirement: 12VDC
Dimensions: 8.5" W x 12.5" D x x 3.5" H (216 mm x 318 mm x 88 mm)
Weight: 13lbs. (6.5 kg)
Bel Canto Design is currently on a roll with its emerging product line of newly developed electronics – specifically digital components and amplifiers. The products covered in this particular review focus on the updated digital products that are born of the company’s continued innovation and implementation of leading-edge technological advancements. My interest (and excitement) for having the opportunity to audition and evaluate these newer components was due in large part to the fact that I already had, in my reference system, the respective predecessor products of each of these three devices from Bel Canto. As such – my familiarity with their overall sound would provide me with a baseline of understanding as to what the sonic (and operational) differences were with the newer products.
While both the DAC and external battery supply unit (i.e., VBL) are designed to operate as a pair, the newly developed REFStream unit (i.e., asynchronous Ethernet renderer) can be used independently and in any system. Specifically, the primary benefit of this newer unit vs. the company’s REFLink (i.e., USB converter) is an improved process for digital streaming specifically by addressing various inherent limitations in the USB streaming process. According to John Stronczer, Bel Canto’s President/Chief Designer and technical guru, there are numerous benefits embedded in these newer designs due to trickle down technology from the company’s highly acclaimed flagship electronics, known as the Black System. Stronczer further stated that Bel Canto’s overall approach is focused on incorporating the very best of what’s possible in digital reproduction/playback, throughout its product line, and at varying price points for greater consumer accessibility.
By providing a true upscale, flagship product, such as the Black system, Bel Canto Design has stepped up its game by introducing an innovative design that excels in overall music reproduction and in terms of electronics is a serious contender for best of the best. Impressively, the company has made a sincere effort to hold the line on pricing for many of its’ newer digital products with essentially minimal or no increase in cost from their preceding products. In fact, in one instance, the redesign of the Virtual Battery Supply (VBS1) to the newer Virtual Batter Linear (VBL), the company was able to lower the price and at the same time improve the performance. That’s what I consider a definite “win-win” approach, and a blessing for potential users.
Bel Canto eOne DAC3.7.jpg
INITIAL AUDITIONING & PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT
Once these newer products were in my possession – my level of excitement was quite high to get started. Initially I focused primarily on switching out my existing digital system including the Bel Canto DAC 3.5 MKII and Virtual Battery Supply (i.e., VBS1). This allowed me to do a quick initial comparison with the newer products even though I wasn’t expecting to do any sort of serious assessment due to the lack of burn-in time for the newer components.
First up I swapped out the external battery supply VBS1 for the newer VBL. Much to my surprise, with the newer VBL installed, there was an immediate and quite noticeable impact. The effect of the newer technology was clearly obvious and anything but subtle. At a macro level, the sound stage took on a more open and engulfing perspective with an overall clearer, cleaner presentation. So far – so good. Next, I replaced the DAC 3.5 MKII with the newer DAC3.7. Again, without any burn-in time on the newer unit, there were observable differences. However, this time it wasn’t quite so easy to say everything was noticeable improved. Through the newer DAC, the sound was smoother, more relaxed and with a more natural sonic quality. Additionally, there was a slightly improved organic feel to the music with enhanced body to each note. Dynamic energy also came forth a bit more clearly as well. For the most part, any preconceived notion that I had about how much difference these two units might provide was actually exceeded and my level of enthusiasm had definitely increased.
However, knowing that both units lacked any burn-in time, I followed the typical approach I use for new products such and left both components powering up with music signal running continuous. According to Stronczer – with these units, it’s actually more about thermo-conditioning of the circuits and he suggested simply leaving them powered up continuously. He further advised that it would require approximately 3 to 4 days for the DAC to fully settle in. However I’m the kind of person who sometimes finds it challenging to lay down a bottle of really good wine that might need a year or two before it’s ready for consumption. As such – I let these new components settle in for about 24-36 hours before coming back for an observation. At that point – I was instantly better able to capture the essence of the newer DAC’s sonic performance and was able to very much enjoy listening to music even without full break-in. After about a full week of continuously being powered up and with music signal running through this unit, it became quite evident that the newer DAC 3.7 and companion VBL were a significant improvement over my previous units.