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B.M.C. AMP C1 Stereo Integrated Amplifier Preview




  • Product Name: AMP C1
  • Manufacturer: B.M.C. Audio
  • Distributor: Aaudio imports
  • Review Date: May 16, 2011 11:55
  • MSRP: $7990
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting

Natural distortion-free circuit concept in consistent format:
2 x 200 watts on 8 Ohm
2 x 350 watts on 4 Ohm

Powerfully supplied by a fully stabilized network with:
2kW ring-core transformer.

Frequency Response:
20Hz - 20kHz

2Hz - 180kHz

S/N Ratio:
103db ~ 125db


Damping Factor:

2 balanced XLR
3 unbalanced RCA

Input Impedance:
50k Ohm to ground
100k Ohm differential at XLR

Input Sensitivity:
Max. 750mV RCA
Max. 1.5V XLR

Volume Adjustment:
DIGM in 66 precise 1db increments

Speaker Output:
1 stereo pair with gold plated binding posts

17.1 x 15.9 x 5.9 (WxDxH)

88 lbs.

B.M.C. or Balanced Music Concept is a German company that has released a new integrated amplifier that they don't want you to think of as an integrated amp. Instead, they want you think of it as a two channel amplifier with variable amplification and inputs choices. Which pretty much defines an integrated amp. Just glancing at the front of the C1 (integrated) Amp will tip you off that it is an audiophile product. The lack of controls other than a couple of knobs, analogue power meters, and a "high tech" two-digit LED readout are sure giveaways. Honestly, we're pretty impressed that they took their name so seriously - you could cut the C1 Amp in half and shove it against a mirror and it'd look the same.

B.M.C has a few design "concepts":

  • No Inflated Retail
  • High Value for Money
  • Most Models Upgradeable
  • Innovative Designs Serving Music
  • Benefits in Sound by Technology with BMC sets

While the first two may have more than one Audioholic choking on their Folgers Crystals, we can't argue with the second two (we suppose if you are serving an audiophile community known for trying to find new places to shove tubes, the first (third in the list) is desirable and music looks like it could use a refill so some serving is in order), the last is a little unclear. We're thinking it is a poor translation that originally meant "If you pair our gear, you'll realize sonic benefits." Plus, they'll look cool together. They left that one out, but perhaps that is just understood.


The Amplifier C1 has a very unique looking design if you've never seen a Marantz amp (which we're sure Marantz aped from someone else). The fins on the top (presumably used for passive cooling and to add weight) are distinctive and seem to sway toward the corners. There is a knob (or maybe a large button, we're not sure) on the left for power, one on the right for volume, a button on the left labeled "Dim" (probably to lower the output of the front display), and a button on the right for switching inputs. Overall, a very clean and distinctive look, something that audiophiles are often looking for in an audio product.

But that's not all. The BMC Amplifier C1 sports a cool running and silent operation design. The specification sheet indicates a "Massive" build quality which seems to translate into "Heavy" as the 17.1" x 15.9" x 5.9" (WxDxH) tips the scales at a staggering 88lbs. It has a balanced design from input to output and a DIGM volume system. DIGM (Digital Intelligent Gain Management) is a volume and amplification control that recalibrates the gain without dividing and downgrading the input signal. According to BMC, the DIGM is what replaces but pre-amp in the C1. Whatever you think about that, the most controversial BMC claim is about feedback: According to B.M.C., the C1 doesn't use any feedback in the signal path. What they most likely mean is that there is no global feedback from input to output. A properly designed feedback circuit is essential to any decent amplifier design.  Feedback improves gain and frequency response linearity while it also reduces sensitivity to parameter variations due to manufacturing or environment.  It always raises our eyebrows when an esoteric amplifier manufacturer claims to NOT employ any amplifier feedback into their design.  It's almost like a car manufacturer claiming they don't use rotors or brake calipers for any of the wheels.  Sure the car may go faster due to less frictional losses, but how useful is that when you actually want to stop the vehicle?

The Amp C1 delivers 200 watts into 8ohms, 350 watts into 4ohms using a 2-kilowatt toroid transformer. There are two balanced and three unbalanced inputs. Again BMC lives up to their name looking at the back of the C1. All the inputs on the left side in the picture above are for the right channel, the left side for the right. This means that for each of the inputs, the cables have to reach to both sides of the amp. Add to that, the inputs are a mirror image meaning that for the RCAs on the bottom it reads RCA1, RCA2, RCA3, then the power cord, RCA3, RCA2, RCA1. That's right, for RCA 1, you'll be plugging your gear in on the far sides of the C1. The XLR inputs are the same. Not the most intuitive design. There are matching gold plated binding posts for speaker connections.

What really drew our attention in the press release was not the technology, some of which is very impressive, or the design, which is at times striking, at others baffling, but the language. Try this on for size: "Apparent contradictions disappear, and listeners experience only the unbridled power and finest details of the music. Tranquility unites with dynamics, dissolution with warmth." Umm...what? We don't see this as a knock against the company as much as it is against the consumer who read about all the technology and said, "Hmm...but if only there were some flowery language that said nothing but made it seem like this 88lbs piece of aluminum was really a magic box full of fairies and the dreams of little girls, I'd totally buy it."


While an Audioholic might not think $8k for an integrated amp in denial about the integrated part is worth it, for an audiophile, it is practically an impulse buy. The B.M.C. Amp C1 is certainly balanced - sometimes to a fault. While some of the  claims made about the C1 are dubious, it looks to have some rather solid engineering behind it. While we wouldn't mind getting one on the test bench, we're pretty sure after this first look, it ain't happening. So, like you, we'll have to wait until some other reviewer gets it and proclaims it as the latest in an endless string of gear that made everything before it sound "thin" and "not at all chocolatey."

For more information, please visit www.aaudioimports.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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