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" This relatively moderately priced phono preamp had one of the purest, most artifact-free sounds I've heard at any price. It obliterated the tube/transistor divide by producing liquidity and harmonic richness along with warmth, speed, drive, three-dimensionality, and pitch-"black" backgrounds.
B.M.C.'s Phono MCCI is exceptional, and easily among the best MC phono preamps at any price. Its sound was startingly good, and in some ways seemed to surpass that of virtually every other phono preamp I've heard, especially in terms of transparency, and of not imposing its own strong character, or any character, on the music." Michael Fremer
I normally don't tend to put a whole lot of stock in reviews. In my defense though, I already owned the MCCI before Fremer reviewed it. But those are nonetheless strong words coming from someone who has obviously far wider than average breadth of experience with other designs. And to give credit where credit is due, the MCCI is a direct evolution of the 2CI that Carlos Candeias designed for Aqvox, Fremer's review of which really turned me on to the idea of current-mode MC amplification in the first place.
Before we get into the why and how on the MCCI, a couple quick housekeeping things off the top:
* I am the original owner and this MCCI is in absolutely flawless condition. I can't find a single scratch, scrape, scuff, ding, dent or otherwise, and it has operated without so much as a single hiccup.
* I do have the original factory double box to get it safely to its new owner, as well as the owner's manual and stock IEC power cord.
* obviously this listing is ONLY for the MCCI. The Palmer 'table in one of the pictures is NOT part of this sale and will be listed separately.
While the B.M.C. emphatically isn't for everyone, it's a VERY clever and well executed solution that, within certain limitations (more on those in a moment), can provide stunning performance on a level way, way beyond its punching weight. Here's what you need to know:
* the MCCI is MC only and incompatible with MMs.
* current loading of moving coil input - all moving coils are innately balanced floating-ground generators and CAN be configured for balanced XLR termination. In the case of the MCCI, they HAVE to be. It doesn't even offer an RCA unbalanced input. There's a very good reason for that though. When using the XLR balanced input on the MCCI, the MC is current loaded. This means the voltage from the cartridge is not being amplified like traditional phono stages. That has the effect of both totally eliminating the need to vary input impedance, capacitance, etc., as well as offering an extraordinarily low noise circuit featuring a 3 ohm input impedance (i.e. almost a short circuit)! There is no need to damp the cartridge's ultrasonic resonance with energy robbing resistors in parallel with the input, which has a profound impact on the sound. The MCCI has an arresting see-through quality that allows even the subtlest dynamic and tonal nuances of your records to come through, while completely sidestepping the usual metallic zing that all but the very best MCs typically add to the proceedings. On well recorded music, it's an intensely musical result with huge swagger and transient snap. Once you've heard it in comparison to conventional voltage amplification, it's seriously addicting. However, there are no free rides and the MCCI does very little to help lesser records. And as alluded above, there are some limitations with respect to partnering cartridges. On the plus side, it tends to let less expensive MCs sound MUCH closer to their costlier counterparts (seriously, you should hear what this can do with something like a Shelter 501mkIII). On the other hand though, the MCCI gives its best only with MCs that have a low internal impedance. Regardless of B.M.C.'s claims for broader compatibility, I would strongly urge 20 ohms or less (all else being equal, lower is better), or you risk diminished bass response. Several of the Dynavectors are good choices, as well as many, many others.
* two very short, discrete Class A gain stages with zero-feedback - no ICs or op-amps in the signal path. Realized with high quality passive parts that don't compromise the gains achieved from current loading, including inductance free polystyrene capacitors, 0.5% tolerance thin film metal resistors, copper plated iron shielding, etc.
* offers internally selectable standard RIAA equalization or Neumann corrected, gain (low/high/very high), subsonic filter, and several adjustments for bass response. Note: it's one of those components where I hope you have cause to get inside to adjust something, because the construction is otherworldly. Getting into it is like opening a vault... rigid, dense, & precise. This is how high-end components are SUPPOSED to be!
If you have an accommodating low impedance MC, the current mode amplification in the B.M.C. is a different game played by different rules and the result is nothing less than compelling in the context of a fully balanced system. As I said at the very top, I won't profess that I think it's the "best". I will say I haven't heard anything else anywhere near the price that will touch it, as long as you attend well to the matching needs and carefully dial in VTA, etc. For someone with the right system context, it can be a game changing, musically thrilling addition.
Asking $2200 + shipping/PayPal (if applicable). I will accept a check, with sufficient time to clear, or PayPal at buyers expense. Am also willing to meet half way to deliver within a reasonable radius of Columbus, OH, although I have all of the original factory cartons and packing to ship within the continental U.S. and would be totally confident in it arriving safely. Buyer responsible for shipping cost. I also have a wealth of seller feedback on Audiogon (user ID = Markraile).
This ad was originally posted on US Audio Mart.