All-In-One Bel Canto eX1 Takes Care of Analog, High-Res Digital, and Streaming: U.S.A.-Made Integrated Amplifier Exemplifies Convenience, Plays with Reference-Grade Fidelity
Hassle-free convenience, analog and digital accessibility, near-limitless flexibility, wireless streaming, a built-in preamplifier and robust 180Wpc power amplifier, and reference-grade sonics: They're all part and parcel with the Roon-ready Bel Canto e1X Integrated amplifier. And did we mention this piece fits practically anywhere and doesn't require a friend to move around? Simply hook up your speakers and any source components, and you're good to go with a unit committed to engaging fidelity and optimal purity.
Featuring trickle-down technology from the company's flagship Black Series, e1X Integrated fully decodes MQA, supports up to DSD128 (via DoP) and 24-bit/384kHz (via Ethernet), and offers DLNA control via a free app. TIDAL, Qobuz, your own library, and other streaming services are just a touch away. A full suite of digital inputs – Toslink, AES, S/PDIF, USB-A – automatically give you up to 24-bit/192kHz as well as DSD64. An onboard MM/MC phono preamplifier, headphone amplifier, and subwoofer output confirm e1X is ready to handle nearly any system configuration while affording you a plethora of listening options.
Based around Bel Canto's High Dynamic Resolution HDR-II core and high-speed Asynchronous Multi-Input Processor (AMiP) platform, e1X Integrated augments such reference-grade versatility with strikingly warm, dynamic, edge-free sound. The U.S.A.-made component extends the Minnesota-based manufacturer's reputation for crafting audiophile gear whose performance, features, and ability belie its compact footprint. Software-controlled trim, bass equalization, and subwoofer filter management also come standard.
Equally important, e1X Integrated arrives set up for modern needs and contemporary living. It's equally at home in spacious areas or tight confines, dedicated listening rooms or multi-purpose living spaces. Housed in a constrained-layer damped chassis replete with high-grade aluminum and simple, elegant digital display, this all-in-one entertainment hub that will take your music-enjoyment experiences to a higher plane. 100% Music Direct Guaranteed.
"The E1X is the least expensive and most fully featured of all the components in Bel Canto's Black line, and in every respect Bel Canto's best value. It's a high-performance piece of kit that delivers sonics on a par with a combination of reference components at double the cost."
– Steven Stone, The Absolute Sound, 2020 Product of the Year Award
"The Bel Canto e1X offers everything necessary to make your loudspeakers sing: power, authority, dynamics, and impressive midrange clarity. The NCore class-D design borrows heavily from the nearly-double-the-price Black Series. The near-Technicolor musicality of the e1X showed that the apple didn't fall very far from a very good tree."
– Tom Gibbs, Stereophile, 2020 Editors' Choice Award
Asynchronous Multi-Input Processor Platform
Bel Canto's AMiP (Asynchronous Multi-Input Processor) Platform manages all the inputs of e1X. It is a powerful custom asynchronous core with six processor units that consist of two 32-bit XMOS general purpose processors, two 32-bit ARM processors units, and two dedicated audio processors. These together handle the Ethernet interface that works with Roon Ready and DLNA servers, USB-A host streaming input, a USB2-24/384 input, legacy digital SPDIF/AES/TOS inputs, and analog line-level and phono inputs. The AMiP platform handles DSD and MQA processes and Bel Canto's custom Time Optimized Filter with integer upsampling. There is a high-performance MM/MC programmable phono stage and two line-level inputs that feed a high dynamic range 24/192 ADC into the processor core. Dual free running Ultra-Low Phase Noise Master Clocks direct all the digital processing and strip any incoming jitter from external digital input streams. There is a 32-bit ARM core processor that handles the user interface and coordination of the AMiP Platform.
AMiP platform feeds Bel Canto's HDR-II DAC core running on a dedicated power supply through a custom digital interface. This is where volume control is performed using 32-bit math. The HDR-II core achieves 126dB of dynamic range, higher than any analog volume control could achieve for completely transparent volume control function. The HDR-II also has an asynchronous interface with a free running ultra-low-phase-noise master clock positioned adjacent to the DACs. It includes a 64-bit dedicated audio DSP to provide completely transparent bass management, sophisticated tilt and bass EQ functions, and allows Bel Canto to fine tune things like the RIAA response in the phono section. There is a secondary DAC (112dB dynamic range) that drives the line output and provides headphone and subwoofer output capability with bass management features.
Bel Canto's High Dynamic Resolution-II (HDR-II) core is a highly refined DAC rendering high levels of definition and musicality. It is the culmination of more than 20 years of audio DAC design evolution. With the HDR-II Core, the company has improved the dynamic range, analog output stage design, and digital filters while reducing spurious signal generation and jitter related errors. The new HDR-II Core has demonstrated that we can increase the resolution of musical detail, and improve listenability and perceived quality of the recorded music. This is in contrast where "transparent" and "revealing" often mean "bright." The HDR-II Core presents the original music with high levels of clarity and emotion. The HDR-II Core starts with a deliberate and careful choice of DAC technology. This choice defines the ultimate achievable performance and is defined by several key specifications. Bel Canto chooses the most refined CMOS digital to analog processor to provide superior dynamic range through extremely low noise, distortion and jitter sensitivity. The analog output section takes best advantage of the underlying CMOS technology to achieve the highest levels of analog purity and uncompromised performance. This Advanced Segment Technology DAC combines both multi-bit and multi-bit delta-sigma technology to deliver superb performance with a dynamic range of 132dB and transparent linear-phase digital filters. The CMOS analog conversion operates in a constant voltage, Class A differential current mode for minimal distortion and best analog performance.
Digital Done Right
The HDR-II Core digital design starts with ultra-low-phase-noise master clocks. These superior clocks are free running and fed from dedicated ultra-low-noise analog power supply regulators. There are two stages of asynchronous interfacing to ensure that the final DAC output is jitter free and independent from any noise on the incoming digital signals. Custom MQA-based digital filters define an optimized impulse response from all sources, MQA, PCM, analog, and DSD. Custom digital filters are designed to largely mimic the time domain response of an audio signal traveling through 10 meters of air. This superior time domain response insures the best sonic performance for all signals reproduced by HDR-II Core DAC technology. MQA, PCM, analog, and DSD all approach the impulse response resulting from travel through 10 meters of air, retaining the critical time relationships in the original music.
Pure Class A Differential Analog Output
A critical advantage of HDR-II Core architecture is how the Class A differential current mode output from the DAC operates in concert with custom balanced analog section to best preserve the original dynamics of the recording. The large constant-bias differential currents impose pure Class A operation to every part of the analog output stages, every precision resistor, film capacitor, and amplification device is biased with constant current and voltage. This constant bias keeps all components in thermal stasis and insures that all the original signal dynamics are retained. Through careful parts choices, architectural considerations and design details, refined over numerous generations, Bel Canto's HDR-II Core has been optimized to render pure, dynamic analog signal quality from all music sources.
Advanced Phono Architecture
Dual-stage phono architecture consists of an ultra-low noise input RIAA amplifier with precision filter components and fixed 40dB gain. This is followed by a digitally controlled analog variable gain stage to adapt the RIAA gain for a broad range of MM and MC cartridges. Input loading is controlled from the menu so that you can load your MC cartridge with the optimum impedance. This new phono architecture is optimized for accurate, low noise RIAA filter operation and compatibility with many cartridges.
The Headphone output is driven from a dedicated 112dB dynamic range DAC through a high-current output buffer stage. It can drive 32-ohm phones to high level and provide excellent headphone sonic detail and performance.
Bass management functions include independent selection of a second-order Butterworth low-pass and high-pass filter set. The main speakers can be run full range or rolled off below frequencies from 40 to 120Hz. The subwoofer low pass can be set for full range or frequencies from 40 to 120Hz. This approach drives maximum flexibility to optimize the integration of a subwoofer. There is also +/-6dB of gain trim range on the subwoofer output.
There are two line level analog inputs that provide 110dB of dynamic range and can be used for legacy analog sources such as tape, tuner, or a home-theater bypass where the volume level would be set to a high setting (84.0) on the ACI 600 and volume is controlled through the home theater processor. These inputs enhance the ability to integrate the E1X DAC into many different systems with many different signal sources.