Bel Canto says that its new ACI 600 is ‘the ultimate integrated amplifier’, but it’s not. That is, it’s not an integrated amplifier… it’s actually a DAC, a streamer, a pre-amplifier, a power amplifier, plus a headphone amplifier, all in the one compact chassis.

As with most Bel Canto products, the model number hints at the ACI 600’s rated power output, which is 600-watts per channel continuous into 4Ω and 300-watts per channel continuous into 8Ω, so it’s likely using the same output stage as the REF 600M, which is reviewed in Australian Hi-Fi Magazine Mar/Apr 2016. ‘The ACI 600 is designed to manage the complexity of all audio source and control functions with ease and efficiency,’ says Boris Granovsky, of Absolute Hi End, which distributes Bel Canto in Australia. ‘All functions can be controlled from the top-mounted control dial, the custom infra-red remote or from your iPhone or iPad. The fully programmable display is easy to read and shows system status, source, volume level, all programming functions and serves as the streaming display for metadata.

The ACI 600 has two line-level analogue inputs (capable of being gain-matched), plus a phono input capable of handling both moving-magnet (2.5mV to 5mV) and moving-coil (0.25mV to 0.5mV) cartridges. It has two coaxial digital inputs, an optical digital input, an AES digital input, a USB input and an Ethernet connection. All inputs are asynchronously re-clocked into the fully balanced advanced-segment DAC that Bel Canto says has less than 0.0005% distortion and 127dB of dynamic range. ‘By stripping away the source clock and using Bel Canto’s custom ULN master clock circuitry, Bel Canto has been able to significantly reduce both jitter and distortion, preserving the delicate audio signals from all sources,’ Granovsky told Australian Hi-Fi Magazine.

Bel Canto’s proprietary asynchronous Ethernet supports high resolution files up to 24-bits at 384kS/s and DSD256 in a NAS (networked attached storage) environment or subscription streaming service. All digital inputs operate at 24/192 except the asynchronous USB2.0 connection, which is compatible with any PCM source up to 24/348 and DSD256.

The ACI has a line output that can be used to drive a powered subwoofer, plus there’s a rear- mounted headphone jack whose output stage can drive headphones with impedances as low as 32Ω. It also has an optical digital output, which Bel Canto says allows you to ‘expand your integrated into monoblocs, while completely eliminating ground loops and noise artefacts and providing maximum flexibility for component placement due to the lack of signal degradation in fibre-optic cables. Absolute HiEnd says it's expecting its first shipment to arrive early April, and predicts that the RRP will be $37,500 based on current exhange rates.

For further information, please contact Absolute HiEnd