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Review B.M.C. Audio Ultradac

Pros

  • Delicious dac
  • Excellent volume control
  • Excellent headphone amplifier
  • Price/quality ratio
  • Build

Cons

  • Love it or hate it design
  • Limited number of inputs
  • Price: € 3198

    Build quality
    Usability
    Sound
    Price
    BMC Audio Ultradac

    Intro

    Until recently we had only received sporadic news about B.M.C. Audio but that’s about to change. There are of course countless hifi brands on the market, too many if you ask us, and of course one person can not know them all. But B.M.C. Audio is one worth discovering. It’s not a company that releases new products every year or sets up large marketing campaigns. No, they just believe in their own abilities and their own implementations and that seems like the best way to work in the long run.

    B.M.C. Audio, from Berlin, was founded in 2009. So it is a relatively young company. The owner is Carlos Candeias who, together with his team, designs everything from amplification to streaming. Mr. Candeias is a musician himself and has been in the business for almost half a century. He refines his designs year after year without forgetting his roots. After a few mails back and forth, with extensive explanations on some technical specs, we noticed a high involvement of and passion for the profession. Today we’re looking at the B.M.C. Audio Ultradac, a beautiful d/a converter with a special volume control and a fully balanced headphone amplifier. Let’s check it out!

    Construction and appearance

    The B.M.C. Audio Ultradac looks different to say the least and if we think about it we think that’s a good thing. When you go shopping in this price range you want something unique, something special, something that suits your specific taste. Do we like it? No, not really. But that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is that we acknowledge how solidly this apparatus is and how high the craftsmanship is that was used. The rest of the range at B.M.C. Audio also has a specific look that you either like or don’t. In any case, it is not a ‘middle of the road’ and safe design. And honestly: now that the Ultradac is in the listening room for a few months, we have to admit that we like it better and better. Except for those golden accents… 

    At the front in the middle we see a kind of porthole that serves as an OLED screen. The volume of both the preamplifier and the headphone amplifier can be clearly read in white. On either side of this screen you have the buttons for the volume control and buttons for muting the sound. On the far left we see the on/off button and a button to select the input. On the far right both a 6.3mm single-ended and 5-pin balanced headphone output. Not bad! A simple, but well functioning remote control is included as standard. Optionally a metal version is available.

    At the back we see 4 inputs: 1x toslink, 1x coax, 1x aes/ebu and 1x usb-b. Just enough, but sufficient for most users we believe. In addition, there is the special optical B.M.C.-link to guarantee an optimal connection within the chain. There are single-ended and balanced outputs and on the far right there is the connection for the powercord. The Ultradac is built around an ESS Sabre chip and before you stop reading: what B.M.C. Audio has done with this chip is world class!

    Abbreviations

    More and more d/a converters control the volume but only a few do so without loss of information. Our Sonnet Morpheus does this beautifully but B.M.C. also developed a similar application. One that uses the so-called Digital Intelligent Gain Management (DIGM) where the volume is calibrated via the gain to work almost lossless.

    To avoid distortion and noise B.M.C. Audio has developed the Load Effect Free (LEF) technology that is very linear and eliminates as much unwanted jitter as possible. If you stay within the B.M.C. universe you also get the exclusive Current Injection (CI) implementation which works via a ‘no feedback’ principle and should provide a perfect link between the different products. You can see it’s a real lettersoup of abbreviations, but one that is well seasoned and tastes delicious!

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