Because the two products are conceptually similar, I also compared the amplifier sections of the S300iU and the Peachtree Nova and found the Bel Canto was hands down the superior performer. Good though the Nova is, the S300iU’s amp section was audibly cleaner, quieter, more powerful, and capable of resolving finer levels of sonic details.
First, the Bel Canto S300iU is a compact lion-hearted integrated amplifier that can stand tall beside just about anything I’ve heard in its price class. The Bel Canto’s built-in USB DAC is also very good, though perhaps not quite as good as its terrific amplifier section. Nevertheless, the USB DAC gives the S300iU an extra dimension, making it a very serious, plug-and-play front end for use with computer- or server-based audio systems.
Bel Canto Design S300iU Integrated Amplifier/USB DAC
Power output: 150Wpc @ 8 ohms
Inputs: Four stereo analog (one with “home-theater” bypass), one digital audio (USB)
DAC upsampling: 24-bit/96kHz
Outputs: Preamp out, record out
Dimensions: 3" x 8.5" x 13.5"
Weight: 12 lbs.
Bel Canto Design
Musical Fidelity kW 500 integrated amplifier and kW SACD player, Chordette Gem Bluetooth decoder/USB DAC, Peachtree Audio Nova integrated amplifier/USB DAC, Usher Audio Mini Dancer Two and Magneplanar Magnepan MG1.6QR loudspeakers, Furutech cables (signal, speaker, coaxial and USB digital audio), PS Audio power conditioners and power cords, Solid Tech Reference Rack-of-Silence, RPG and Auralex room treatments