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Bel Canto distill Black Series essence into ACI 600 integrated

  • The Munich High-End Show this year once again reaffirmed its status as the number one hifi show in the world. One German distributor I spoke to no longer exhibits because he sees the event as having lost its German flavour, overwhelmed by a more powerful (read: international) all spice.

    ‘International’ sees the vast majority of exhibitors, press and attendees arrive from overseas. ‘Overseas’ means long haul flights. ‘Long haul flights’ means jet-lag.

    One such sufferer was Bel Canto Design President Michael McCormick who did his level best to talk through some of the features of the company’s new super-integrated, the ACI 600.

    The A in ACI is the most technically potent of the three – a front foot reminder that all digital inputs, from Ethernet to S/PDIF to USB, are asynchronously clocked.

    bel_canto_aci600_1

    The ‘C’ refers to Control. Digital domain signal handling means Bel Canto are able to apply their ‘bass management system’, ‘Tilt control’ EQ (borrowed from Quad) and subwoofer crossover point via XMOS-powered DSP.

    More on this in the video interview with McCormick below.

    ‘I’ = integrated. A distillation of the company’s Black Series three box-er (US$50,0000) that rolls up Roon Ready streamer, MQA-capable DAC, MM/MC phono stage, line level inputs, dedicated headphone amplifier and loudspeaker amplifier into one chassis.

    The ‘600’ refers to wpc output power into 4 Ohms. Into 8 Ohms we get 300wpc. A pair of custom nCore 500 modules from Hypex handles loudspeaker drive. Hook up comes via WBT’s NextGen binding posts.

    Specification promised include 0.0005% distortion and 127dB of dynamic range.

    The price though – it isn’t for feint of wallet: US$25,000. As McCormick admits, “It’s a big number”.

    The ACI 600 is the costliest super-integrated we’ve seen to date (by far!) but it also shows us that even the high/er end players see the potential in boiling multi-box setups down to one.

    Further information: Bel Canto Design


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    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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