Welcome to Black by Bel Canto, the Ultimate Amplification System.
Black is like no other audio system in the world. It communicates the musical experience completely, staying true to the recorded event and conveying the passion the artist intended. Achieving this level of detailed playback required rethinking the way signal travels through the many stages of the electronics system. This was the challenge behind Black and the reason we took a different approach, designing a 3 chassis integrated hybrid system.
Beautifully constructed from solid high grade billet aluminum, the modern look and feel of Black connects to all sources offering the highest level of flexibility and ease of use. Black creates an authentically present and naturally dimensional musical experience that will captivate you.
Our integrated hybrid approach has 2 distinct functions. First, the ASC1 (Asynchronous System Controller) isolates noise and sends a pure optical digital audio signal to each MPS1 mono block without loss or degradation. Second, each MPS1 receives the digital signal from the ASC1, re-clocks the data, converts the signal to analog (Mono DAC) and amplifies the signal (Mono Amplifier).
There are many unique advantages to the Black system architecture. Critical to its performance is the proximity of the DAC to the amplifier, set only 3cm apart and isolated within the MPS1. This eliminates the need for added I/O circuitry, preserves signal accuracy and creates a more synergistic system. BLACK is a radical approach to integration, combining the best analog, digital, optical and mechanical elements to achieve the best playback possible.
BLACK System Architecture
BLACK is comprised of 3 critical elements working together:
The Asynchronous System Controller – ASC1
Mono DAC/Power Amplifiers – MPS1 (x2)
High Speed Optical Interconnects
The BLACK system architecture incorporates numerous Bel Canto developed electronic and mechanical design solutions aimed at preserving the delicate audio signals. Digital processing and asynchronous interfaces driven from our Ultra Low Noise Master Clock circuitry ensures external noise from sources cannot corrupt, modify or color the original signal. Bel Canto’s ST fiber interconnect electrically isolates the ASC1 from the rest of the system, preventing random external noise from impacting sensitive analog stages in the MPS1 mono blocks. This eliminates ground loops and electrical noise pickup from environmental RF noise sources ranging from WiFi, Bluetooth, computers, cell phones or any other noise sources. Black is void of extraneous electrical noise; you only hear the music.
ASC1 – Asynchronous Stream Controller
The ASC1 is the heart of the BLACK system. The ASC1 is not a digital to analog converter; it is a Master Clock/Controller and the only one of its kind. It could be described as the digital preamplifier, with analog and digital inputs and digital output. The easy to read programmable display allows you to select the best view or turn it completely off.
The volume control and input selector is controlled from the multi-function rotating wheel on the top of the ASC1, you can also use the IR custom remote control, or your iPhone/iPad and the custom iOS app. The master control is always ready to adjust volume, press it once and rotate to enter input, or press and hold to enter the menu, where you can set the system up that best meets your needs.
The ASC1 is an all-digital asynchronous controller with galvanic isolated inputs that eliminate the potential for noise to corrupt the fine audio signal from digital, networked and analog sources. The ASC1’s 64 bit DSP processor core controls system function, 32-bit volume and custom FIR Filters retains the highest level of accuracy. And at the heart of the ASC1 is the custom ULN Master clock circuit, ultra-low phase noise clocks with independent power supplies measure below 40 Femtoseconds, keeping phase noise and jitter to extremely low levels, ensuring pure sonic performance.
The ASC1 handles all audio inputs, ranging from a networked audio UPnP Ethernet, USB2, a suite of SPDIF/AES digital inputs and an Analog line input that is digitized with a high performance 24/192 ADC 2cm from the input connector. All DSP based control and filter functions are contained within the ASC1 with each FIR filter allowing you to set the tonal balance that best meets your personal preference. Just as a high performance analog preamplifier is critical to the performance of a traditional audio system the ASC1 is critical to the superior musical performance of the BLACK system making sure the signal is ready for digital optical transmission to the MPS1 monoblocks.
MPS1 – Mono PowerStream
The MPS1 is a unique monoblock design with Ultra low noise Clocking, Digital to Analog conversion, Bel Canto’s class A amplifier stages, and custom 1200 Watt Power Buffer in an optimized environment.
The digital signal from the ASC1 is asynchronously re-timed before conversion in the advanced segment fully balanced mono DAC, that combines the best of Multi-Bit and delta sigma technologies measuring below 0.0005% distortion and 130dB of dynamic range. The high current output from the DAC is coupled directly into the I/V stage and within 3 cm into Bel Canto custom amplification.
The buffer stage is a discrete, low gain, low noise buffer that can drive 40A peaks into a 2-ohm load. It adds virtually no noise or distortion to the voltage amplifier output resulting in an extremely transparent audio power stage using only 4 high current output MOSFET power devices operating in an efficient self-oscillating analog switching architecture adding neither coloration nor distortion. The chassis design isolates these critical analog stages within a controlled, optimized environment, ensuring maximum performance under real-world system conditions.
The BLACK system achieves a greater level of resolution by creating a greater synergy between technologies eliminating potential signal loss, so you hear everything as it was originally recorded in incredible detail, speed and musicality.
The Ingenuity of Black by Bel Canto
Black is a highly-optimized audio system that communicates the most subtle detail in a recording. Black has the synergy of integration and the optimization of separates, creating one system to bring out the clarity and naturalness in music. Designed and manufactured by Bel Canto in Minneapolis Minnesota, the Black system delivers an unparalleled level of sonic realism. We invite you to take a look inside.
The Technology of Black
The Black system architecture incorporates the most advanced digital and analog audio technologies and a series of unique electronic and mechanical design solutions aimed at preserving the delicate audio signals. Black’s bold design isolates source and DSP processing in the ASC1, creating an ideal signal transfer to the MPS1 monoblocks where digital conversion and amplification takes place in an optimized environment. Each innovation in Black adds up to create an audible experience that is simply remarkable.
Bel Canto’s Ultra-Low Noise (ULN) Masterclock Circuitry
The mission of Black’s ULN Masterclock circuitry is to flawlessly re-time the digital audio signal, removing any jitter related digital noise before being sent to the MPS1s for final conversion to analog. In order to take full advantage of 35 Femtosecond clocks great care is taken in the physical layout of each technology that plays a critical role in overall signal performance. Each input is extremely close in proximity to the DSP core, Masterclock and power devices creating very short signal paths to the output, and maintaining the ultimate signal integrity.
Bel Canto’s ULN Masterclocks circuit push the limits of low phase noise and jitter. Our research has shown that lowering the noise levels well beyond previous limits provides the absolute transparency and musicality that defines the true potential of digital audio. The phase noise levels of our ULN Clocks are below 35 Femtoseconds from 100Hz to 1MHz, with a clock noise floor of -170dB we are virtually equivalent to the noise floor of 24 bit PCM audio limit. While difficult to measure, the sonic superiority of our ULN Master Clocks is easily heard.
High Speed 64 bit Modular Audio Processor Core
The ASC1’s 64 bit Digital Signal Processor Core provides complete control over all signal processing functions with optimal control of volume, balance, input selection, custom FIR filters, and all asynchronous interfaces without computational compromise. Using a powerful dedicated signal processor provides the most versatile and accurate way to handle system functions.
Custom Asynchronous Interfaces
Asynchronous Interfaces are used on all of ASC1 Controller inputs. This allows the ULN Masterlock to strip any jitter and noise from the digital signal before it is sent to the MPS1 monoblocks. Black uses dedicated asynchronous processors for the USB2.0, Ethernet UPnP/DLNA, and unique asynchronous circuitry for the AES/SPDIF/ST Fiber and TOSLINK inputs to ensure optimum performance from all inputs.
Proprietary FIR Filters
Bel Canto FIR filters provide subtle sound contours for a truly natural sound quality. This is critical for 16/44.1 CD playback. CD playback is remarkably engaging and competes with any high resolution source when played through the Black system.
There are 3 selectable custom filters that allow the listener to control playback to their tastes, using last octave roll-off to create a more natural decay. These subtle filters adjust the shape of the waveform to more accurately mimic the natural sonic structure of music. Black is designed to bring recordings to life, the design process being constantly informed by regular experience with live music.
Filter 1: minimum phase filter- flat to 20Khz with minimal pre-ringing
Filter 2: minimum phase filter- -3dB at 20Khz with less pre-ringing
Filter 3: minimum phase filter- -9dB at 20Khz with least pre-ringing
High Performance Asynchronous Audio Renderer
Black also provides the best possible Networked audio experience.
Black’s unique UPnP/DLNA Ethernet Interface is a superior Asynchronous implementation, receiving the critical audio clocks derived from the Bel Canto ULN Masterclock circuit. This ensures the best sound quality from a Networked Audio System. The custom software is running on a powerful Analog Devices Blackfin processor that provides a reliable interface without the use of internal computers. The IP addressable input is easy to setup and seamlessly decodes DSD and PCM to 24/192 for the highest quality audio streaming.
StreamLink High Speed Glass Fiber Interconnects
The Black system uses a unique ST glass fiber interface between the ASC1 and the MPS1 monoblocks, completely eliminating any electrical connection between the front end sources and the sensitive analog processing. This high-speed, no-loss, no-noise signal transfer is non-interactive and completely eliminates ground loops and noise artifacts that can occur in cables and I/O circuitry. This provides maximum flexibility for component placement. Whether the cable is 1 meter or 1000 meters, there is no signal degradation. The StreamLink digital connection is the perfect path from the ASC1 to the MPS1 monoblocks.
True High Dynamic Range to the Speaker
The MPS1 monoblocks are highly integrated mono DACs and amplifiers creating the ideal digital conversion and the shortest analog path to the loudspeaker maintaining true high dynamic range.
We achieve this with the following:
Asynchronous Interface with Bel Canto Ultra-Low Phase Noise (ULN) Masterclock
Custom Bel Canto Discrete Analog Stages
Ultra-Low Distortion High Drive 250mA Gain Stage
Ultra-Low Noise High Speed Current to Voltage Stage
No Capacitors in the signal path
Ultra-Low Noise, Ultra-Low Distortion Bel Canto Custom nCore Power Buffer Stage
128dB Dynamic Range, <0.001% Distortion
Asynchronous Interface and ULN Masterclock
Each MPS1 monoblock has a final asynchronous interface with its own ULN Masterclock located adjacent to the DAC. This ensures that the DAC Masterclock maintains its pristine quality. No clock noise means no analog signal compromise.
Bel Canto Discrete Analog Stages
Bel Canto High Speed Discrete Analog conversion stages convert the current output from the dual mono DACs. This stage is optimized for low distortion and noise. Each of these stages is fully balanced with the finest custom bulk metal foil resistors. Our Discrete analog stages provide highly dynamic music playback.
Custom Discrete NCORE Power Stage
The final stage before the loudspeaker output is a custom fully discrete NCORE low-gain power buffer built to Bel Canto specifications. This delivers up to 1200 watts into the speaker without adding noise or distortion.
This stage can deliver 40 amps peak. Black’s high purity, vibration isolated WBT NextGen speaker connectors complete the delivery of pristine audio to the Black’s loudspeaker output.
Solid Billet, Constrained-Layer Chassis
Vibration and energy control is always a concern with high performance audio. Black’s solid billet high-grade aluminum chassis with constrained layer damping design coverts energy into heat, dissipating it into the aluminum body while maintaining a constant internal temperature optimal for the high precision clocks and devices within. This unique design maintains low noise within the audio playback environment. The custom adjustable Delrin isolation/mounting feet provide optimum stability and low energy transfer.
Optimized AC Power Pre-conditioner
AC power noise could easily compromise an audio system. We designed Black with AC power pre-conditioning circuitry that delivers clean, high-energy DC power to the main power supply circuitry. The main supply provides a higher level of conditioning and isolation from home electrical noise. High energy storage, low noise, and high isolation from AC effects means Black can achieve the best performance under various power conditions.
Interface – Remote, Control Wheel, iOS
The Black System can be controlled by the ASC1’s multi-function control wheel on top of the chassis. This allows you to control volume and input as well as access the programmable menu. You can also use the custom metal IR remote for full system control, or use the iOS downloadable app for a visual display on your phone or tablet with full system control. This is ideal for controlling your system without line of sight.
Maximum Data Input Rates:
24bit Data at 192KS/s: AES XLR, SPDIF 1/2, ST Fiber, TOSLINK 24bits at 384KS/s and DSD64: UPnP/DLNA Ethernet ULN Master Clock Phase Noise: <40femtoSeconds RMS, 100Hz-1Mhz
FIR Filter Options:
Filter OFF: Standard Linear Phase Filter 1: Minimum Phase Apodizing Flat to 20Khz Filter 2: Minimum Phase Apodizing -3dB at 20Khz Filter 3: Minimum Phase Apodizing -9dB at 20Khz
Maximum Input: 2.5 Vrms RCA Input Impedance: 12K ohms RCA THD+N: 0.003%, 2.5Vrms in, 1KHz Dynamic Range: 106dB, A-weighted 20Hz-20KHz
Control Interfaces: IR, Rotary Encoder, RF Power Usage On: 8W Power Usage Off: 0.0W Power Requirement: 100-120VAC, 220-240VAC 50/60 Hz Dimensions: 19″ W x 12″ D x 3.8″ H (483 mm x 305 mm x 97 mm) Weight: 40lbs. (18.2 kg)
Maximum Power Output: 1200W-2ohm, 600W-4ohm, 300W-8ohm Minimum Load: 2 ohms Peak Output Current: 40 amperes Frequency Response: -3 dB 0Hz-50KHz, all loads Output connections: 1-pair WBT Nextgen 5-way binding posts
Input Connections: Stream ST Fiber or Analog balanced XLR Dynamic Range Stream Input: 128dB Dynamic Range Analog Inputs: 108 dB Balanced input impedance: 20Kohms Analog Input Voltage gain: 21 dB Analog Input Voltage for Max Output: 5 Vrms
THD+N: <0.001% 1W, 1KHz, 4 ohms IMD (CCIF): <0.001%, 1W, 18.5:19.5KHz 1:1, 4 ohms
Power Usage On: 37W Standby Power Usage: 0.4W Internally Set Operating Voltages: 100-120VAC, 220-240VAC 50/60 Hz Dimensions: 19″ W x 14″ D x 3.8″ H (483 mm x 356 mm x 97 mm) Weight: 45lbs. (20.5 kg)
Features and specifications are subject to improvements and changes without prior notice.