Be (B) My (M) Component (C)
With fast ongoing technical and production improvements in the past few years, the sound and build quality of digital audio components has taken a large step forward. These improvements not only cover the state-of-the-art, but advances have also trickled down to include moderately priced models as well. Thanks Reaganomics, not! One case in point is the B.M.C. PureDAC. B.M.C. products are generally considered to be in the upper echelon of high end audio, and while the company’s retail prices are generally above what the average audiophile can afford, the PureDAC’s $1,790 msrp is well within reach of almost anyone who is serious about a quality audio component. The PureDAC is currently the company’s lowest price component, and is the first of several less expensive planned products as counterpoint to their reference level models.
What does the acronym B.M.C mean? Blue Mountain College? Boston Medical Center? Business Machines Company? Yes, all of the aforementioned are real entities, but in this case the initials stand for Balanced Music Concept. Balanced Music Concept is the brainchild of Carlos Candeias. Mr. Candeias is the offspring of Spanish and Portuguese parents, and was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. Though B.M.C. began in 2009 which makes the company a relative newcomer to high end audio, Mr. Candeias has been actively involved in audio since his student days. All the company’s products are designed in Germany and built in China. He resides in China and operates his own factory. While the company purchases some parts from outside sources, parts which are not available elsewhere are designed and manufactured in-house.
Despite the model name, the PureDAC is more than that; it is also a balanced/single-ended headphone amplifier and balanced/single-ended line pre-amplifier. This concept appeals to me, since I’m always searching for extra value products for my readers as well as for myself. Think of it this way, one gets a three-in-one component for the price of one. What? You already have a preamplifier and you don’t listen with headphones? Well, how about thinking outside the box! The PureDAC can serve as a backup preamp or you may prefer its sound over your existing unit. And you may decide to use a headphone setup at a later date; perhaps to drown out your significant other’s snoring or appease your neighbor’s incessant noise complaints about your audio system. Mr. Candeias certainly thinks outside the box by incorporating innovation in all his components. B.M.C.’s propriety Digital Intelligent Gain Management (DIGM) is one such innovation. Owners of a B.M.C. amplifier can take advantage of the company’s “current injection technology” offered in the PureDAC which provides a link for direct connection with the company’s amplifiers and active loudspeakers. Readers who wish to learn more about these innovations and others should visit the company website.
Art for music’s sake
When I first laid my eyes on the PureDAC I admired its simple elegance, and was struck by its sensuous form. In my opinion, if there was a beauty contest for audio components, any of the B.M.C. products would be one of the favorites to win. For readers who might think it is too industrial looking, perhaps it could be a contestant in the all-socialist beauty pageant! Love those knee-high slush boots comrades! Finished in an extruded matte aluminum enclosure, it has both rectangular and curved surfaces. The design pays attention to detail, for example: two rows of twenty equidistant spaced air vent slots on the top panel. I had the unit on continuously for about two weeks during the burning-in process and after all that time the PureDAC was barely warm to the touch, so maybe forty air vent slots is overkill but they do add to the overall attractive appearance. My favorite features are the separate VOLUME and MUTE controls on the front panel for the DAC/preamp and headphone sections. According to the specifications found on the company website, “the [line] volume position 59 represents a DAC standard output level.” Who am I to argue? So 59 is the level I used for all recordings when paired with my Rogue Super Magnum preamp. When I briefly used the PureDAC as a preamp without the Rogue in the chain, I settled on a volume level from 48-54 depending on the recording. For headphone use, I usually listened with the volume set from 42 to 48, which I found ideal with my Sony MDR-7506 cans. Readers should experiment since each headphone has a different sensitivity level. I make a suggestion to start listening at a much lower volume and increase incrementally until one becomes uncomfortable or their ears start hurting. Readers have been warned!
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