Belles Greatest Integrated ever! The Virtuoso

Just before the Holiday's, I noticed on several authorized Belles websites, that certain separates went out of production which is a pattern that would indicate new products are forthcoming, and sure enough a new Integrated popped up on the Belles website last week, which appears to be his greatest integrated amp to date. The Virtuoso,
putting out over 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms, HT bypass, Processor loop, MM & MC phono stage, and power meters on the front panel. The unit will be released in March at a price tag of $6495. Given David Belles reputation during the past 30 years, who has always been at the top of his game as perhaps the best solid state engineer designer ever in the states, since musicality has always been his first order of business, it wouldn't surprise me at all that the Virtuoso will fly out the door and winds up on the back order list. Its a real looker.
Very handsome unit. Well done David! Its what we've been waiting for.
The venerable, one and only JohnnyR at Audio Connection played the Belles Aria integrated amp for me with Vandersteen Treo CT speakers and... A. My jaw dropped B. I went into an audiophile trance, so immersed was I in the music C. I Bought the Aria on the spot, convinced that I could do no better at anywhere near the price D. Repeat A&B every time I listen to this amazing amplifier, which I’ve been doing for over a year, not with the Treo’s, but a pair of the more affordable, yet massive bang for buck Vandersteen 1Ci’s. The sound is so balanced, so harmonious and so pristine, with bass that is palpable and never fatiguing. Based on the pure joy I’ve experienced listening to the Aria, I can only imagine how prolific a performer the Virtuoso is. It wouldn’t surprise me if it ends up embarrassing the esoteric, far more costly status symbol brands.
I don’t know of another brand that punches so far above its weight as does Belles. It’s obscene what some of these companies charge for their audio products. Dave Belles provides an alternative to the brands that cater to the 1%, and it’s nice to see that someone in this industry has a conscience and gives a damn about music lovers with limited funds. In the meantime, the Aria is everything I could want and the music has never sounded more natural, more vibrant or more pleasurable. "How the hell does he do it?" is a recurring question I ask myself all the time!

This is my experience, and I know everybody hears differently and has their own preferences. The Belles (Power Modules) brand flies way below the radar, and Dave Belles likes it that way, I suspect. He may not be a household name, but the man is a true icon in the world of audio whose products compete with, and in many cases surpass far more expensive stuff. Ignore the Belles brand at your own risk; buying the Aria was the best audio decision I have ever made.
@2chfreak.......great post.  I’ve had both the Soloist 1 and the Aria.  The Aria has more natural soul.  Thanks.....
carmenc - I'm new to this forum, and between you, audiozen, and of course JohnnyR, not to mention others... I'm feeling less alone in my appreciation for Belles. Like so many other things in life, people tend to ignore true quality, and too easily give in to the hype, to glitzy advertising and all the other nonsense that attempts to sway us from our own intuition, our gut feeling. It's easy to get caught up in the exclusivity and status of many of these audio products, but there is not necessarily a correlation between price and quality/ performance. Those 3 page, glossier than polyurathane ads in the audio rags cost a ton, and I personally prefer manufacturers who put the money into the product. Trust your ears is the best advice I've heard so far.
Belles and Vandersteen are just two examples; there are countless others for sure. "If you build it, and build it really well, they will come" type of approach, to paraphrase the old adage. Nothing beats word of mouth promotion and enthusiasm, and if I buy your product and it mesmerises and delights me and literally makes a powerful emotional connection with me than just as sure as hell I'm going to acknowledge the fact with gratitude and admiration. Music is a big deal, in my opinion the most powerful form of communication and entertainment there is, and to have it rendered and interpreted as beautifully and accurately as possible is one of life's great pleasures. Millions of people seemingly don't care, which bewilders me but different strokes for different folks, as they say. This is and always will be a niche interest, hobby, whatever you want to call it. Too many people have no idea what good music is, and really have no idea what good audio is all about. I love this stuff, and have for as long as I can remember. 

Been reading your comments, carmenc, and really enjoy your insight and perspective. Listening to others opinions is where it's at, and this should be a fun endeavor. Everybody's input is valuable, whether I agree or not. 
2chfreak..I second carmenc's opinion that your post is great. You nailed it in spades. And your absolutely correct that millions don't care about music anymore. There are many audiophiles that buy high end gear just for show, on a endless carousel buying and selling constantly. A former audiophile friend of mine, who I no longer deal with, always has an average of $40K worth of gear in his rec room. He has never owned more than twenty CD's and has never heard of Bob Dylan or Joan Baez. A  percentage of Gon member's are in the same camp. Buy just for show. I just don't get it. They would be better off investing in a car collection or coin collection.
audiozen - thank you audiozen (and carmenc) for the kind words. I've been all over this forum in the short time I've been registered, and I feel like a kid in a candy shop! In most cases I would be suffering from information overload, but this audio topic I find fascinating... have always been intrigued by it and I have never been able to shake the bug. Not that I want to! People can watch reality tv, play video games, or grow progressively more stupid while worshiping their smart phones; I'm perfectly content to chill out while listening to my music, basking in the splendor of it all. 

We "musicphiles" - I really like that term so much more than "audiophiles" - know deep down that our lust for fine audio is not just a vanity production. Maybe for some audiophiles it is, but getting lost in the music and forgetting about the electronics and cables and speakers is the end game unless you are a showoff trying to impress people with your processions. Like $40k look what I have guy.
 My main form of entertainment is listening to my 2 channel stereo, and since I upgraded the whole thing in the past couple of years I am enjoying it more than ever. I wanted to take the sound to the next level, and the Belles Aria with the Vandersteen 1's rescued me from languishing in mid fi limbo.
I remember the Sansui AU series, really nice cosmetics and from the era when amps and receivers actually had style. Having a good sound system was what many people aspired towards back then, but those days are over. Now it's about mobility, convenience, portability and listening in private with ear buds and the almighty phone. People probably think that moving up to an Echo with Alexa is entering the realm of hi end. It might be as close to hi end as they will ever get, and that is sad.

 I had some Advents too for a couple of years... all the rage for a while. Yeah, the 70's and 80's, when hifi shops were ubiquitous. For you kids, that means they were all over the place. Google it.
I met Dave Belles a couple of times last year, and he is an incredible guy. 
I had heard about the Belles brand for years, but never knew very much about it. I had about 2k to spend on an amp, and I saw a tiny ad for the Belles Aria in the back of one of the magazines. The HiFI Choice review was stellar, and I drove 3+ hours to Audio Connection in NJ. JohnnyR played some cool tunes, and it was a done deal. It takes me 15 minutes to pick out a head of lettuce; this decision took 15 seconds.
 I share your enthusiasm for Belles, to say the least. After reading a hundred reviews, and driving myself crazy, I finally ditched the reviews and let my ears be the final arbiter, for the amp and speakers. The Rutan factor didn't hurt either. He really tells it like it is, and he has an affable way about him that puts you at ease, making the decision process anxiety free. 
I think that with the new Aria line, and with the soon to be released Virtuoso, Dave Belles is going to make a lot of people think twice before they fork over that big, fat money clip. The quote attributed to Leonardo da Vince... "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" sums up Dave Belles to a tee. In an industry that more than ever caters to the wealthy and privileged, Dave Belles has decided to take a different approach. Namely, produce "music first" audio products of superior quality, price them fairly, derive immense satisfaction knowing that you made many people happy, and stay honest and humble and true to your vision no matter what the other guys are doing. This makes him an icon in my opinion. I feel very lucky that I discovered Belles, and it will take an awful lot of convincing to persuade me to switch to another brand after this massive an upgrade and the value proposition that it represents. I don't think you can do better for the money. I might be wrong, but my ears tell me I'm not!