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Electrocompaniet ECC-1 CD Player | Mackenzie Hi Fi

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Home > CD & Universal Players > Electrocompaniet
TAS2010-EDITORS-CHOICEECC-1-Productoftheyear2008-2009
 

Modern production technology has been utilized to keep the manufacturing cost at a minimum and give a performance that will rival the best. The latest 24bit/192kHz DAC from Cirrus Logic, together with a precision fully balanced analogue output stage operating in class A, sets the basis for a detailed, delicate and dynamic sound. A damping platform based on the EMC1 UP anti-vibration system has been developed to create the best possible working conditions for the laser pick-up.

The ECC 1 features both balanced and single-ended outputs and a coaxial digital output. The analogue output filter is optimized to reduce the phase shift at higher frequencies, thereby leaving the high frequency music information intact.

Modern production technology has been utilized to keep the manufacturing cost at a minimum and give a performance that will rival the best.

The latest 24bit/192kHz DAC from Cirrus Logic, together with a precision fully balanced analogue output stage operating in class A, sets the basis for a detailed, delicate and dynamic sound. A damping platform based on the EMC1 UP anti-vibration system has been developed to create the best possible working conditions for the laser pick-up.  

The ECC 1 features both balanced and single-ended outputs, and a coaxial digital output.  The analogue output filter is optimized to reduce the phase shift at higher frequencies, thereby leaving the high frequency music information intact. 

TNT Audio - Maarten Van Casteren - ECC-1 Product review

I immediately noticed the difference with my reference player, the Astin Trew 3500, when I started listening to the ECC-1. I have to add that the At3500 was equipped with the rather good EAT valve. The Astin Trew is warm, slightly soft and very refined. The Electrocompaniet is more energetic, with a bigger and more powerful sound. This is a very articulate player with loads of detail and a lot of punch. 'Thwack' might be the official audiophile word, but I wouldn't dare use it as a non-native. It is also quite precise, with excellent focus and tight bass. I tried the single ended outputs first, but noticed a slight improvement when I switched to the balanced inputs on my Django preamp. The sound became a bit more substantial and refined. I stayed with the balanced connection for the rest of the review period.

Further comparisons with the Astin Trew player did show that the Electrocompaniet doesn't really have that much more detail. The difference is mostly in the presentation. The ECC-1 is more vibrant and dynamic, but the Astin Trew can seem a bit more refined and tonally richer in the midrange. The At3500's top end is very sweet and makes the ECC-1 sound slightly 'digital' in comparison. But in the end it is more a case of different than better. I didn't really develop a strong preference during the review period. This was one of these occasions where I just seemed to prefer whatever player I happened to be listening to. Switching from one to the other almost always brought out the qualities of the new player, without making the previous one look bad. With the Electrocompaniet I enjoyed the wider sound stage, the bolder presentation and the stronger, more propulsive drive. With the Astin Trew I enjoyed its warmer, more comfortable sound, the deeper soundstage and its silky top end. Is it a coincidence that one uses a valve and the other transistors? I guess not.

The trademark quality of the ECC-1 is the rock solid physicality it brings to the music. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, as this is an upsampling player. With my At3500 I can actually switch upsampling off, and this results in a more solid and weightier presentation. For that reason I have it switched off all the time. I blamed upsampling, but quite clearly it doesn't have to be this way as the Electrocompaniet even upsamples to 192 kHz, while the At3500 only does 96 kHz. Even stranger is the fact that the ECC-1 is the player showing the most digital edge. Upsampling is supposed to solve this, but the At3500 in non-upsampling mode is silky sweet, while the Electrocompaniet still has a hint of harshness in the top end. Mind you, it isn't more than a hint, and the more engaging sound of the ECC-1 more than compensates for this. I suppose it is very difficult to create such a strong sound without also exposing some problems. The Astin Trew's solution for this is a slightly softer sound overall, which isn't to everyone's liking either. As compromises go, both these players are excellent solutions and equally impressive.

Conclusion

This is a great player that will work well in most systems, but will be at its best when used with its balanced outputs. It has a personality that is more 'transistor-like' when compared to my more 'valve-like' Astin Trew player. The sound is very solid and substantial. It throws a wide sound stage with excellent focus and is very engaging and energetic. The flipside of that is a slight lack of refinement, relative to the At3500, but not to the extend that this could ever be seen as a problem. Highly recommended.

 

TAS2010-EDITORS-CHOICEECC-1-Productoftheyear2008-2009

Technical Data Conditions
No. of channels 2
Video No
Output impedance 100 ohm
Output level Unbalanced 2.3Vrms
Output level Balanced 4.6Vrms
Noise floor 20 - 20 kHz < - 130 dB
Frequency deviation 20 - 20 kHz < 0.05 dB
Channel separation > 110 dB
THD + N 20 - 20 kHz < 0.002%
IMD TBD
Digital/Analog Conversion 24 bit, 192 kHz
Dynamic Range 120 dB
Compatible formats CD-R, CD-RW, MP3-CD, CD, MP3-DVD, WMA-CD
Dimensions W x D x H 483 x 385 x 105 mm
Weight 9 kg
Power consumption No load or signal 35 W
Audio Outputs 1 x 2 ch balanced line out (XLR)
1 x 2 ch unbalanced phono
Digital Outputs 75 ohm S/PDIF RCA

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