Bel Canto e1X power amplifier Review

June 11, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“And the e1X exerted a level of control over the Maggies that I’d never before experienced. Magneplanars—especially the smaller ones—are notorious for exhibiting some degree of mid-bass panel flap: Magneplanar bass panels are riveted at a number of points to control excessive panel flexure, which also restricts the panel’s free movement when relatively strong bass content is present. Lesser amplifiers will allow enough panel movement to cause a relatively loud “thunk” around the rivet location; I’ve heard this countless times with almost every pair of Maggies I’ve ever owned—and it can be particularly obvious with plucked acoustic bass content. (Think: Jimmy Garrison’s powerful acoustic bass solo on “Lonnie’s Lament” from John Coltrane’s classic Crescent [16/44.1 FLAC, Impulse 1764902].) No matter how close to or beyond reference levels I pushed the e1X-driven LRSs, they responded with absolute authority and zero driver-induced distortion.

The Bel Canto e1X was undoubtedly also the quietest amplifier I’ve ever had in my system. With the LRS speakers being so very inefficient, you generally need to really crank the volume knob to get to SPLs approaching normal levels. Full-blown orchestral passages from sources with tremendous dynamic range require an even further twist; it’s not unusual for the volume on my PS Audio preamp to reach 80 or 85 on a scale that maxes at 100. With every other amp I’ve used in my system, I could always hear some residual noise in the background, even with the most well-engineered recordings. Not so with the e1X—nothing, not a peep: It was absolutely, perfectly, completely silent.”

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