Forte 4A vs. Belles 350A vs. Belles 350A Reference

So I'm thinking about a changing my power amp. I'm looking at the three amps mentioned in the title. For those with knowledge of these amps would you go with the Nelson Pass Forte or the David Belles 350A or 350A reference. I appreciate all feedback. My system is irrelevant to the conversation. I'm looking for feedback from those who have owned these amps and are familiar with them. Thanks!


The Belles 350A Reference is one of the best amps, (top 10) that I have ever owned and I've owned a BUNCH of amps.

The Forte is a great little amp, but not in the same league.

@falconquest if you are looking at the Forte’ Audio amps, its helpful to decide a few things up front. Do you want the true Class-A 50w version for pure audio bliss at the cost of some added heat, (voltage down, bias up!) or do you want/need the higher power Class AB version Forte’ like the Belles 350s?. These two versions will sound different. This can be speaker and volume listening level dependent too, and how large of a room you are listening in matters too.

While I admire the Belles amps, personally I run a fully refreshed and upgraded Forte’ Audio, changed over to true Class A 50w. Mine is no longer 200w Class AB. Included upgrades to the Main power caps, bridge rectifiers, binding posts, all changed out. Is all direct soldered, spades eliminated in key places. Really takes this amp to an entirely different music and enjoyment level. Holds its own with many amps out there at 4x the price and more, easily.

The refresh and upgrades, a must imo at this age. Put a nice preamp in front of it, and wallah. Sounds very nice. It puts my mono tube amps to question some times, sort of.. A unique sound for sure once upgraded appropriately configured. Four Qs for you:

  • What speakers (model) are you using with this future amp?
  • How big is the room?
  • What preamp are you planning to drive it with?
  • Do you listen at low or loud volume levels, normally?


 I had a Forte 4A for many years. It's a lot more powerful than the specs indicate. I hooked up the amp w/a pair of Thiel 2.3 floor standing speakers and it smoothed out the top end of the speakers but still had plenty of detail. Only drawback the amp uses IGBT transistors which are no longer in production. Also the people that designed the 4A are the current owners at CODA. The 5.5 50 wpc Class A amp is very similar to the old Forte. You might want to check it out.