Oh ho! This was an eye-catching room. I don’t know about you, but I associate Bel Canto with wee little attractive silver boxes, not with the dead sexy, completely black triumvirate ruling the equipment rack here at RMAF.
Bel Canto is debuting Black, their new flagship line. The boxes consist of the ASCI Asynchronous Stream Controller and two MPSI Mono PowerStream components ($50,000 for the set/$20k for the ASCI, $15k for each of the two PowerStreams). In conventional terms, you could call the ASCI the “preamp” and the MPSIs the “amps,” but there is a lot more going on here than that. Analog and digital goes into the ASCI, where it is reclocked, and then output via 24bit/192kHz sampling over fiber interconnects to the MPSI with their decoders and custom NCore amplification.
At least, that’s my limited understanding. I could have been told, “This makes things sound good with MAGIC” and I probably would have said, “Okay! We’ll go with that!” Because yes, it sounds very, very good. Notes emerge from an utterly silent background, and the TAD CR-1 speakers ($40k w/stands) were powered with ease, fullness, and clarity. This is definitely an exciting step for Bel Canto.