To eventually pass on slightly used and discounted, a shop demonstrator obviously packs greater prospects in bitter black than grumpy green. Just so I secretly thought that Mr. Cargill had missed the Hollyhead ferry when his loaner showed up in blacked-out burglar chic. I subtracted a few more points for mechanical noise. Perreaux's prodigious donut was a bit of a humdinger. Bonus points came for rounded heatsinks not even your worst enemy could cut himself on if threatened. Arteries carrying high current to the twinned binding posts follow the over-spec mantra. Even the included IR wand was bigger and more buttoned up than anticipated. Due to current shipping safety, no batteries were installed or included. Slightly misjudged on the wand's layout are the ±volume and mute buttons. Being the most used functions post setup, they deserve to be more prominent.

Hover mouse for enlarger function.

Knowing that real men don't read instructions, none of those came with either. But the multi-layer menu exploits the five hard buttons below it so cleverly that you won't need any. One tree saved from paper pulping. Peruse the adjustments to set DSD for 47, 50, 60 or 70kHz roll-off; PCM to the usual ESS options; phono gain to 40/60dB MM/MC; the display's contrast, letter size, time out, volume in % or dB; headphone gain for 8-250Ω or 250-600Ω and class A on demand or always on; balance offset for any input up to -40dB in 0.5dB steps. In fact most adjustments can be made specific to each input. This includes different Sabre filters on coax 1 and 2, different start-up volumes and more. Disabling inputs down to just those we actually use is another very welcome feature. Renaming inputs has access to capital letters, numbers and various punctuation characters scrolled then set with the volume knob. The 'separates' option breaks the connection between the 300iX's pre and power-amp stage. This allows for the insertion of a 'black' box like an active filter, EQ or room correction device; or to use the 300iX as a fixed-gain power amp. As we learn from Perreaux engineer Nick Sargeant, then "gain is just a little higher. The input sensitivity for analog inputs 2 through 5 is 1.7Vrms for 28.7dB of voltage gain. The main-in sensitivity is 1.75Vrms to represent 28.9dB of voltage gain with 300 watts into 8Ω." Next we see the fully loaded triple stack of DAC board, DAC holder and phono module installed. This trim level confirms in the display right at boot-up.

Here comes a partial…

… view on an inner cheek.

Back on the outside, this collage gives you an idea of menu structure and nav style either via the front-panel controls or remote control.

Clocking miles in our 2-channel video system, the ~98dB Druid VI demanded a whopping -13dB setting for normal small-room SPL on DVD recorded with greater dynamic range to push the dialogue down in level. At first that suggested less gain than a 350-watt shopper might expect. Digging back into the menu showed max volume set to 0.00dB. But the 300iX had another 12dB of voltage gain in the bank. I just needed to bump up my credit rating.

Parents will appreciate this feature to avoid their kids hosting home-alone rave parties. Just lock the volume control to a safe limit then hope that your offspring won't crack the code. If they do, pray for your diamond tweeters. The 300iX has the headroom to test them.

In use it quickly boots up from standby then sets itself to the last-used input and programmed start volume. Any level change reverts display mode briefly to just show volume in the largest possible letters. Individual taps on the ± remote buttons will advance in 0.5dB increments, a prolonged hold advances very quickly. All of it is superbly dialed and without any fuff. That includes Bluetooth defeat until we select the BT input. Graciously the 300iX does not pollute our environs with constant micro waves for more ultrasonic smog as does BT-capable gear from iFi; as did my Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe until I physically broke off its transmitter from the motherboard.

When we're not using Bluetooth signal, a hifi component's BT receiver has no legitimate business for being live. Perreaux get it. New Zealand for clean air ambassadors!