Belles grew up on a cattle ranch in The Lone Star State and says her early travel memories consisted of road trips through the US. She decided to take up journalism in university and her love for leading people on a journey through words encouraged her to develop her skills in sales and marketing.
Her quest to see the world was soon made a reality as she started on what would eventually become a year journey. Piled into the back seat alongside my older sister, we would drive for nearly a day just to get out of Texas. But I remember waking to find us in the Colorado Rocky Mountains or the Grand Canyon and being mystified by its beauty and lack of wide-open skies.
The best, though, was when we drove through big cities. I would eventually make it to all of them. I know that you started off as a journalism student. What has your journey been like since then?
It was my first glimpse at the business of publishing, and having that knowledge combined with a writing background has served me well in various roles over the years. It was while living in Seattle that I came across this company called API, courtesy of a friend whose husband worked there. By then I had the travel bug and she knew I was always saving to travel somewhere. I began my career at an interesting time. Inthe online travel agencies had just entered the marketplace. Those two things in concert permanently altered the travel landscape, both for the industry as well as for consumers, and the effects are still felt today.
It was during the global financial crisis when we started seeing the pendulum swing the other way, with travel becoming more about personal growth, family time and togetherness, particularly at the top end of the market. Soon, sales of luxury experiences were outpacing luxury goods, and it was then that the power of human connection really took hold. Not many industries can point to that level of growth.
How many people get to say they landed their dream job? I was incredibly fortunate to have come into this company at the right time, where I could grow along with it and, at the same time, work with and learn from some of the most passionate, dedicated and knowledgeable professionals in the business.
The entire Virtuoso network is committed to excellence, which pushes me to be better just to continue earning my place among them. With the world of travel becoming more accessible than ever, many people think hiring a travel advisor is no longer necessary. What are some of the benefits that customers experience when working with Virtuoso?
Advisors provide advice, access, advocacy and accountability — a combination that is impossible to replicate online or through any other booking channel.
And while you can go to destination or niche specialists for individual trips, there is great value in working with a single travel advisor who becomes a specialist in you; someone who learns your likes and dislikes, your travel preferences and budget threshold. If this advisor is part of a larger network, such as Virtuoso, then they have all the resources needed to create bespoke trips all over the world.
Our travel agency members, and we have more than 30 of them in the U. The average traveller spends 8.
Advisors take the guesswork out of decisions, ensure travellers are poised to get the most of their experience and add a layer of protection in case anything goes wrong during the trip.Discussion in ' Audio Hardware ' started by UlisesJul 21, Log in or Sign up. Steve Hoffman Music Forums. Location: Denver, CO.
When an A21 came up for sale, I purchased it and gave it a try in my bedroom system. It is my particular dream or curse to want great sound throughout the house. To this end, I run four systems at the moment: a vintage one on the main floor, another one in my den, family room that is mostly for two-channel but doubles for movies and streaming TV shows, and a smaller footprint systems in my home office I work from home and bedroom.
Vinyl is my preferred medium, but I also have my cd collection ripped to a NAS and run Roon and Tidal to all of the above systems. My bedroom is my favorite place to listen to music, but I most often listen in my home office. Enter the A21 Signature. While the A21 was initially promising, with a bewitching tone on stripped-down music, it failed with more propulsive and complex material—a symptom I diagnosed to it having insufficient power for the somewhat inefficient Harbeths.
In the A21 thread, Art ended up trading in his A21 and keeping a Belles Aria, which got me very interested in the Aria. After the experience of the noisy Creek, I was also very drawn to descriptions of how quiet it was. After trying to find one used for a month, I bit the bullet and bought a new one through Audio Connection that was shipped to me directly from the Belles factory.
Art and others have talked about the Belles break-in time and how it needs hours to come into its own. So after a lot of missed connections, have the P3ESRs finally found their match? In a word, yes. I am thrilled with this amp and its performance. In the beginning, I found the bass a bit overbearing and voices somewhat recessed, but as the amp began to break-in everything balanced out. There is a thrilling clarity with this amp that holds everything in balance without muddying other parts of the experience.
I started to notice this quality elsewhere as well, and I came to regard the Aria as capable of both muscular power and delicate nuance, often simultaneously if the recording called for it. Listening to it one night, I thrilled to the existence of all of these elements at once firmly placed in a nice, wide soundstage.
On more delicate material, however, like the Eno ambient albums or ECM offerings I often listen to at night, the amp excels at capturing quiet nuances. This, I decided, is where the magic is with this amp in combination with the P3ESRs: precision and humanity combining to deliver a profound emotional experience.
Instead of selling the A21, I made the mistake of trying it with my office system with my Proac Tablette 10s, where it has proved a much better match. Truth is, I would be happy with either. If I had a vinyl source in there the devil on my shoulder whispers about a technics gr I wonder how it would sound. It was still good, but a little less clean and precise, with the bass rumble overwhelming other parts of the track. The Aria is a stellar piece of gear and a great value for the money.
There is basically one professional review out there of the amp. Glad I did.MB: Women may make up about half the global population, but they account for 80 percent of the spend on travel. They also have a large sphere of influence over friends and extended family members. Women travelling with their families are looking for hotels and resorts that will cater to their children.
Make their kids happy, and they will return again and again. I say this as someone with first-hand experience, as I prepare to make my fourth spring break trip to Acqualina Resort in Florida. My kids are superstars there, and the staff bend over backwards to make sure of it. I can relax with my husband, knowing our children are having a great time doing things that interest them, and then come back together as a family without the constant demands of life tugging at us.
Plus, this resort, like many others, has ensured the accommodations are family-sized: villas, suites, connecting rooms. Travelling solo is a different matter.
Misty Belles of Virtuoso: ‘Travel makes people come alive’
More than 42 percent of Virtuoso travel advisors report seeing a rise in women-only travel. Europe seems to be the biggest draw, with the majority heading to Italy, France and Spain; however, Mexico, India and Australia are also appealing to women looking for someplace farther-flung.
Cultural excursions are the biggest draw for female travellers and as such, hotels that are close to attractions and that provide a strong sense of place are the most sought-after by this group. Travel is transformational and the best hotels are finding ways to provide those experiences that leave travellers changed for the better.
Hotels offer another level of assurance that someone is looking out for you. When I stayed by myself in Rome, the front desk knew and gave me the option of checking in my key as I left each day. That would help them know when I had returned. Some might find that intrusive; I found it reassuring.
The reason they knew I was travelling alone is that my own travel advisor had alerted them. My advisor checked in with me throughout the stay, arranged female guides who matched my pace and personality, and generally made sure I felt like someone had my back and my itinerary as I explored a new destination. Login or Register. Your cart is currently empty.Good, solid, straightforward amplifier with a performance that is fundamentally musical.Ronaldinho Gaucho ● Moments Impossible To Forget
It has a variable quality when played with some high-end speakers, but there's no denying that you get a lot of bang for your buck. Belles came like a bolt out of the blue!
Sharing the same UK distributor as Cabasse speakers, the arrival of its IA integrated amplifier prompted three nagging questions: Just who is Belles, what credibility does the company have in the high-end amplifier stakes and is the IA an amplifier that can be taken seriously alongside a plethora of better-established companies, such as Naim? The parent company trades under the banner Power Modules inc. Belles is the product name of their pre, power and integrated amplifiers, the test subject here being in effect a synthesis of the technology of two existing models, the LA preamp and the MB monoblocks.
Convection cooling uses the fine-pitched heat exchanger fins that cover the two side panels, with the cooling capacity probably more than is strictly needed in most situations as the amplifier runs fairly cool, even under sustained drive. There is nothing special about the standard of fit and finish, but it is more than adequate. The amplifier is well built internally and uses good-quality components; an ALPs volume control for example, but the signal is piped from the back of the amp to the potentiometer and back again afterwards, which is not an ideal arrangement.
A long-spindle volume pot would have been a better arrangement. By any standards, the IA is a no-nonsense amplifier. It's a dense, heavy lump and is unexpectedly compact. It is far less bulky, however, than many otherwise similarly designed audiophile amplifiers. The outer structure is fabricated from aluminium panels, the thick front panel having bevelled edges and a cut-away central feature, which together count as one of the only concessions to style. The unit sits on Stillpoint feet and a palm-size, full-function remote control covering power, mute, input selection and volume is also included.
The minimalist theme continues. There are just four identical line inputs, a preamplifier output, but no tape circuit, no headphone socket and less surprisingly no phono input.
Internally, the circuit is entirely discrete, with no integrated opamps. A preamplifier level output, however, is provided, which means that the unit could be used with a separate power amplifier, though given that the power amp is without doubt the strongest part of the package, this may turn out to have limited application in practice.
The main output consist of a single set of good-quality 4mm binding posts. Mains power switching, sequential input selection and full mute are available from spring-loaded front panel switches. The only other front panel furniture is the rotary volume control, plus the LED input and mute status telltales.
It all makes for a simple and very matter of fact package. For an amplifier with no discernible pedigree on this side of the Atlantic, the Belles gives a great account of itself as a bold, well controlled and dynamic amplifier. Generally it doesn't have a strong voice of its own, which is a good thing, of course, and in many comparisons its boldness and raw power should stand it in very good stead.
The fact that it's a high-power amp is not the issue here, but the manner in which it delivers power is. It almost sounds as though it is enthusiastic about getting involved; it also avoids the flatness and congestion that characterises some second-ranking amplifiers. This doesn't mean it is beyond criticism. Both have a level of sophistication that ultimately eludes the Belles and this is particularly true of the Esoteric, which has a polish and finesse that is quite out of the ordinary, but is what you'd expect given the price differential.
The Denon ran the Belles much closer. Of the two, the American amplifier is clearly much more powerful and ultimately the Denon has a mild, but characteristic colouration which the Belles lacks. But the Belles can sound slightly grainy and gruff, though it is far from being overtly harsh or aggressive. Just the opposite, in fact. And despite its overall liveliness, the IA has an almost mild-mannered demeanour through the midband, albeit with a trace of something slightly closer to the knuckles at the high-frequency end of the spectrum.
The bass is audibly completely unobstructed and the Belles is open and generous and never constrained or lacking in drive. On the whole, the IA is comfortable driving most of the loudspeakers we had access to — from the diminutive Eclipse TD Mk2 to the large and unusually complex Opera Malebran, which from first appearances looks like an amplifier-breaker if ever there was one.
But for reasons it's hard to put a finger on, the Belles IA is not altogether comfortable driving the Martin Logan CLX at high levels, perhaps because it can't handle the unusual electrical loading these speakers impose towards the upper frequency limits. It's not that the Belles can't cope, or that it sounds distorted, it just sounds slightly out of sorts. This is a loudspeaker that demands a certain kind of sympathetic synergy and an amplifier with a more graceful and atmospheric quality.Digital is King.
Digital is everywhere. Digital is the future. There is only one problem. Humans don't understand digital. We don't experience the world in ones and zeros. She has the final say before an audio performance can be enjoyed by humans. To experience the Queen in all her glory, you need the Belles Virtuoso integrated amplifier.
The Virtuoso has over watts of clean power per channel into eight Ohms. It uses a dual mono power supply to isolate power between each channel.
Belles Soloist Series 3 Preamp & Soloist 5 Amplifier
Listening options include a monitoring loop so processors or tape recorder can be inserted into the listening chain. A home theater bypass loop lets you access the Virtuoso's power amplifier directly, bypassing the preamplifier section. A complete phono preamplifier accommodating both high level moving magnet and low level moving coil cartridges is included to further enhance your analog listening enjoyment.
This makes the Virtuoso a perfect choice for audio enthusiasts looking for great sound but don't want to give up the flexibility of a feature rich component. A five year product warranty is our guarantee that your Belles Virtuoso Integrated Amplifier will provide you with years of analog listening enjoyment. Audition the Virtuoso to experience the Queen, to experience analog, to experience music.
Digital is the future There is only one problem.Discussion in ' Audio Hardware ' started by ThoustonJan 9, Log in or Sign up. Steve Hoffman Music Forums. Location: Mattoon, IL. I own several balanced and single ended cables, so they will not be included in the price. My room is 12x22x8 with some room treatment for high frequencies. ThoustonJan 9, Location: Oregon, USA. Don't know if it is best. But, I really like my preamp and amp combo.
I have Marantz AV and 3 Parasound a My room is similar in width and length, but at twice the height. Sound great to me playing stereo with all channel stereo mode with 4. Location: Atlanta, GA. I have lusted after a Coda system for years. CODA Products. Location: Colorado. I'm curious why you rule out class D.
Location: Twin Cities, MN. Dougr33Jan 10, Shiver likes this. Does Ayre have something that meets the reqs? Cyclone RangerJan 10, Location: U.
Maybe start with an amp and use your Yamaha's preamp for a while. I did that recently and got good results. The amp was a bit too analytical for my preferences, but it did improve the sound in some respects. The Yamahas have very respectable preamp sections. The meters also work when running as a preamp.
I'd be tempted to give these monoblocks a try: Odyssey Audio: Stratos Mono amplifiers.Corporate Membership. SME membership. Individual membership. Ambassadors Membership. Misty Belles, MD, Global Public Relations of luxury travel network Virtuoso talks to Lysanne Currie about confidence, passion for her industry and smart remote working.
For someone whose business is travel, her own career has appropriately taken her all over the US; from the Midwest, to Seattle and yes the Big Apple, before ending up living and working in Washington, D. Moving to Seattle, she joined an advertising company that placed articles in performing arts magazines. I felt like it could have been much more supportive of its artistic community. It changes the dynamic of the conversation.
Following five years with the hotel department, I moved to PR and never looked back. That has been my truest passion. API became Virtuoso inand with the company starting to expand into other markets while building a consumer brand, Belles found herself working ever more closely with the PR department.
She also told him she wanted him to move her to New York.
Best $5000. Integrated amp or Pre amp/Amp combo
I love that no matter where I go, people want to talk to me about my job. But mine happens to be a role where I have a little bit more autonomy. That autonomy stretches to family, too. Being family-owned, Virtuoso really understands the value of it, she says. I can start before they wake up in the morning and get them ready for school and out the door. She still travels a lot, and is looking forward to the ultimate trip — space tourism: Virtuoso has had a relationship with Virgin Galactic since Do you know someone in the travel industry who deserves recognition?
Nominate them for the everywoman in travel awards. Skip to main content. Search form. Login FAQs. Twitter Linked in Facebook.