The system consists of three dense, almost identically sized cases of black-anodized aluminum. One, the ASC2 Asynchronous Stream Controller, is what in a conventional system would be called a "preamplifier." The other two, a pair of MPS1 Mono PowerStreams, would in a conventional system be called "monoblock power amplifiers."
However, the Black does not comprise conventional components. The ASC2 accepts AES, two S/PDIF, two ST, and TosLink digital audio inputs. It also includes an Ethernet UPnp/DLNA Media Renderer Input and a USB Type 2 audio input. There's also a stereo analog input (RCAs) that can be used for a surround processor, a conventional preamplifier, or even, the brochure assures, a phono preamp. A high-performance A/D converter chip, located within 2cm of the analog input, converts the analog signal to 24-bit/192kHz digital.
The ASC2 outputs the incoming digital signal at the latter's native resolution via a pair of StreamLink glass optical ST jacks. A pair of XLR AES digital jacks can drive a digital subwoofer or an outboard DAC. Bel Canto supplies lengths of fiber-optic cable to connect to the MPS1 inputs, a hefty remote control of milled and black-anodized aluminum, and an iPhone/iPad app through which everything can be wirelessly controlled via Bluetooth.
The ASC2's digital inputs are isolated from chassis ground and the Ultra-Low-Noise (ULN) master clocks retime inputs, stripping out noise and jitter. You can choose among three Custom Time Correct impulse response, apodizing digital reconstruction filters, which will be most critical for CDs and CD-resolution files, or you can use the default FIR filter. A custom 32/64-bit DSP processor operating at 500MHz controls a 32-bit volume/balance control, the Asynchronous digital interface, the filters, and the generation of the Black's digital output, wherein the output is retimed using a high-speed memory chip coupled directly to the ULN master clocks.
The MPS1 monoblock has both balanced analog and ST-optical digital inputs. The latter can be assigned to either left or right channel data and asynchronously retimes the digital signal with the ULN master clock located in close proximity to the DAC. According to Bel Canto, the ULN master clock, located adjacent to the DAC, produces fewer than 35 femtoseconds of phase noise, which produces an analog signal of "utmost purity," free from "digital" noise.