In Barn for Review: Bel Canto E1X Integrated Amplifier

The Bel Canto E1X Integrated Amplifier combines a DAC, streamer, and phono stage with a 180Watt Stereo amplifier in a single, sleek, black chassis. All in oneness.

The E1X is a direct decedent of Bel Canto’s pricier Black components, and in this case trickle down actually works as we’re talking about one sophisticated machine.

photo credit: Bel Canto

From the company:

Our new AMiP (Asynchronous Multi-Input Processor) Platform manages all the inputs of the E1X Integrated amplifier. It is a powerful custom asynchronous core with 6 processor units that consist of: 2-32 bit XMOS general purpose processors, 2-32 bit ARM processors units as well as 2-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 our custom Time Optimized Filter with integer up-sampling. There is a high-performance MM/MC programmable phono stage and 2-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.

The AMiP platform feeds our 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 Digital to Analog Converters. It includes a 64-bit dedicated audio Digital Signal Processor to provide completely transparent Bass Management, sophisticated Tilt and Bass EQ functions, and allows us 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.

To reiterate, every input, which include MM/MC phono, 2x line level RCA, and a host of digital inputs (AES, Coax, Toslink, USB, Ethernet) are asynchronously re-clocked into the fully balanced advanced segment DAC measuring below 0.001% distortion and 126dB of dynamic range. The USB input can handle PCM resolutions up to 24-bit/384kHz, MQA, and DSD128 (DoP), Ethernet and AES max out at 24-bit/192kHz and DSD64 while still supporting MQA, while AES and S/PDIF drop MQA and DSD support. There’s also a Subwoofer output and a pair of WBT Nextgen speaker binding posts.

The E1X is Roon Ready and the volume can be controlled with the front dial, the included IR remote, or via Bel Canto’s SEEK app for iOS. The front display is fully customizable and a 1/4″ headphone jack completes the E1X’s spartan brushed black aluminum-wrapped looks. Stealthy.

There’s a lot more to be said about the Bel Canto E1X and I plan to say it all in the review proper. Stay tuned.


Bel Canto E1X Integrated Amplifier
Price: $8000

E1X Integrated Specifications

Maximum Data Input Rates:

24bit Data to 192ks/s: AES, SPDIF, TOSLINK
24bit Data to 192ks/s, MQA, and DSD64: 10/100 Ethernet
24bits to 384ks/s, MQA, and DSD64/128 (DoP): USB2 Audio

Low Level Outputs:

Line Level Analog: 4.5Vrms with Bass Management
Headphone: 4.5Vrms maximum, 32ohm minimum load

MM/MC Input:

Input Sensitivity: MM: 2.5mV to 5mV; MC: 0.25mV to 0.5mV
Input Load: MM: 47K ohms; MC: 50, 100, 500, 1000
RIAA Accuracy: +/- 0.25dB, 50Hz-15kHz
THD+N: <0.01% 1kHz A-Weighted SNR: >70dB A-Weighted

Line Inputs:

Maximum Input: 2.2 Vrms RCA
Input Impedance: 10k ohms RCA
THD+N: 0.003%, 1kHz
Dynamic Range: 110dB, A-weighted 20Hz-20kHz

Loudspeaker Output:

Maximum Power Output: 250W-4ohm, 180W-8ohm
Minimum Load: 2 ohms
Peak Output Current: 18 amperes
Frequency Response: -3 dB 0.5Hz-50kHz, all loads
Output connections: 2-pair WBT Nextgen binding posts

Performance:

Dynamic Range: 125dB A-weighted
THD+N: <0.001% 1W, 1kHz, 4 ohms
IMD (CCIF): <0.001%, 1W, 18.5:19.5kHz 1:1, 4 ohms

General:

Power Usage On: 40W
Power Usage Off: 0W
Internally Set Operating Voltages: 100-120VAC, 220-240VAC 50/60 Hz
Dimensions: 17.75 W x 15.75 D x 3.25 H inches, 451 x 400 x 83 mm
Weight: 15lbs (6.8 kg)