A friend of mine lent me one of these to try for a while, I don't get all the crazy reviews, I have a pioneer pd95 used as a transport and a u.o5 dac pre, it's far more accurate and transparent than the electro, all very odd! I kept it in my system for months, mediocre at best was my end thoughts when my mate heard the two together he agreed, so we pulled it apart, wow!! No wonder it's not that good, a Philips transport on top of a block of steel, to give the unit a weighty feel, or an isolation system if you believe the hype, a Wolfson dac, a basic power supply, and load of fresh air, gutted for my friend, he got stitched again
I bought the EMC 1 UP to make it my last CD-player buy. And it will be. I just love to listen to music on it. Just bought the Kate Bush, 50 words for Snow and it is beautiful to listen to. And when I put on Nazarthes Hair of the Dog, I know that I will never sell this unit.
I bought ELECTROCOMPANIET EMC1 cd player new new at LinkAudio, Spain, in August 2001. I paid a bit less than 2500 $. It came with a 96/24 DAC. At that time I owned Dynaudio Contour 1.8 loudspeakers, an integrated German Restek Challenger amp and the biggest integrated Sony ES amp, (I used to compare both amps from time to time). I quickly trade restekfor a chic Gryphon Callisto 2200 integrated amp and a pair of classical Dynaudio Confidence 5 loudspekers (oh, my God!). I then improved a lot cables (gryphon + siltech), getting a much rewarding sound that I have enjoyed very much during 8 years, hearing all kind of music, (in a small room, alas!) coming from the EMC1 and also from analogue sources (Linn LP12 sondek with a decent Benz MC cartridge+Benz phono preamp and a top sony ES cassette desk). It must be pointed out that both Callisto and EMC 1 came down after their first year; being under guarantee, so they were repaired free by their Spanish distributors, sarte and lyric, returning in better shape. A year ago i bought ELECTROCOMPANIET ECD1 DAC and it has improved exponentially image, body tridimensinality an detail, being connected to the EMC 1 thru a cheapo AES/EBU German cable! Further, I got a second hand pair of ProAc Response 1SC monitors. With chamber music, folk, jazz, flamenco, and light rock, the EMC1+ECD 1+gryphon+Proac combo makes you reach heavens, no less. For hard or symphonic rock, big orchestral music opera etc, I switch my Little Big Proac's for my beloved pair of Dynaudio confidence 5's and I'm in heaven too..
So, reluctantly I decided to share my modest experience with people who could read this review, looking for a sincere (subjective?) advice
The EMC 1+ ECD 1 is a killing combination, able to place you in face of any kind of musicians, playng for you, if you close your eyes. They are cheap, compared to other hi-end stuff. Moreover, wisely combined with a decent amp (I own also a cheap but truly marvelous Pioneer A9 amp, which cannot drive the Dynaudio's but makes fly these ProAc's; it sings harmonically with ELECTROCOMPANIET). On the other hand, I think that two different sets of loudspeakers is a good solution if you get tired of one alone.
Other digital stuff experinced (not much really): tabu and mikado from gryphon, concret from restek, medium-end stuff from pioneer, denon, yamaha, musical fidelity, densen, arcam, cambridge and the marvelous opera consonance cd player
Wow! What an outstanding CD player. Right out of the box not even broken in, the EMC-1 UP SE defines what a reference player should do, great detail, sound staging, imaging, with a sense of ease about it that is..., dare I say, analog. This has to be one of the more musical players that is out there. WIth SACD all but dead, where it never really impressed me, and DVD-A, though outstanding, never really taking off, I didn't see a real need paying for a technology that I do not use. I have listened to several players to include: Mark Levinson model 37 transport and Dodson 218 DAC, Gamut CD-1, EAR acute tubed CD player, Arcam CD-192, Alpha 9, and both CD-33 and CD36, to name a few off the top of my head, and while thay are all good what stands out is the Electrocompaniet EMC-1 UP SE with the spider clamp. For better overall balance, detail, and the shear enjoyment lto isten to hours on end, I have to say I am glad I bought the EMC-1 UP SE. This player digs deeper into the music than the others while at the same time being very musical with little to no digital artifacts. They only other consideration would be the EAR acute. I do have to say that is a great player with its tubed output stage and Tim D'Paravinchi magic fingers upon what starts out as a basic Arcam player. Between the aCute and EMC-1 it is a close contest. However, I still have to go with the EMC-1 due to in my humble opinon it digs deeper into the recording on the disc--it is one of the best. Oh, one last comment. If you have an EMC-1 and you are not using the spider clamp, give Alan a call at Jasonscottdistributing it really makes a difference especially with the bass production of the unit---much deeper and more pronounced!