Joined: 27 Oct 2003 Posts: 385 Location: Amherst, Massachusetts
Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:01 pm Post subject: Now that the formal Spiel on the BC 001i is up....
Here's my initial report, adapted from my website:
My first impression of the 002i was that it has a beautiful sound, more noticeably beautiful than its big brother, the 022I. It is less robust, lighter, which creates a sense of greater subtlety, more delicacy. It is a trifle (pleasantly) indulgent. There is plenty of body to the sound when it’s called for — left hand of piano suddenly coming in alongside a cello. But body and weight are not the chief impression we get. What we hear first is beauty. This amp feels more like a cousin of the NSL than a younger brother of an 022I.
Blue Circle has also made available as an add-on option an external power supply called the EPS. With the power supply hooked up to the 002I, the augmented amp sounds firmer, more forceful, vigorous, faster, firmer, more energetic, and tighter, with more evident control. Edges are clearer & better defined, the overall presentation has a sharper focus. Without the EPS, the 002I is a bit softer, ‘romantic,’ easeful. With the EPS, beauty is no longer the amp’s most conspicuous quality…or rather the beauty has more backbone.
Some will find the 002i with the EPS the perfect blend of beauty and strength. There will be others, no doubt, who start out with the 002I alone and find they don't like the added forcefulness and clearer focus introduced by the EPS, who may prefer the stand alone amp’s slight softness. Some may like the stand alone on some recordings, the full boat on others!
With the EPS, the 002I becomes more interesting competition for the 022i: in a direct comparison, the O22i is a slightly but noticeably warmer, weightier, and richer sounding amp with more prominent bass; the 002i is lighter, more immediate, and slightly clearer through the midrange than its more powerful sibling. The two amps, 022i and 002i/with EPS have different fortés and provide an interesting choice, being just $500 apart. I will be interested to see how people make that choice. Again, the 002i feels more like a relative of the NSL than the 022i.
This report is based on two weeks of listening now, maybe 75 hours on JMR Abscissa Jubilees (4 ohms, 89.5 dB) and Cantabile Jubilees (4 ohms, 91 dB). I would say, while both sound fine, the Cantabiles are the O02i’s more natural mates: the 002i’s slight romanticism finds speakers of the same persuasion. With the EPS, the Cantabiles’ presentation becomes more commanding, taking on some of the personality of the Abscissas, while yielding none of its own.
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