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Electrocompaniet EC 4.8 preamplifier

03.07.2015..
Electrocompaniet EC 4.8
..

For over thirty years, the brand Electrocompaniet means big power amplifiers, which sound is appreciated by many users.

Many and prestigious are the international awards and the reviews that attest the success and the appreciation of the products of the Scandinavian company.

 

Since 1999, Electrocompaniet has been famous for the reference CD player - the EMC 1 – and the integrated amplifier, the ECI-1.

The Electrocompaniet EC 4.8 preamplifier makes part of the Classic line, between the less expensive Prelude Line and the DP Line, the top line. The Norwegian company states for the EC 4.8 exceptional performances, great resolution, excellent control and a punctual musical outcome.

 

Designed with a dual-mono circuitry, fully balanced from input to output, the EC 4.8 has been realized with two separate mono preamplifying boards, each one with its own power supply. Being fully dual-mono, there are also the XLR balanced inputs and outputs, so no doubts about the accuracy of the design. The apparatus is solid and elegant with the black-golden contrast. It can be used with the included IR remote control or, as an option, together with the RF based on the ECT 2 remote control. The EC4.8 has the new SPAC network for safety control of the connected power amplifiers.

 

The manufacturing quality shows itself in the “full dual-mono” solution, the two toroidal transformers, the two separate boards and the excellent capacitors Elna. The layout is made with care. The input connections have a 47 Kohms impedance with a 100 ohms output, hence suitable for almost any power amps. The gain is 6 dB and it has an excellent S/N ratio, besides a very low distortion rate.

 

The Electrocompaniet EC 4.8 has on the rear panel five line inputs: three unbalanced and two balanced. The outputs are two but only the balanced one allows the control of the volume. The unbalanced output, indicated as Record Out, is only for the signal at fixed volume and has been created for the recordings. I think that such kind of apparatus needs at least another pair of output balanced or unbalanced connectors to send the signal to a couple of power amps, in case of bi-amplification. Besides, always on the back panel, there is a data port to update the firmware.

Probably, the aim of the company is to make an apparatus almost exclusively balanced to have the best synergy with the Electrocompaniet power amps.

 

On the front panel stands out the blue small display indicating the source and the volume level when switched on. Besides, there are four golden buttons to use instead of the remote control to change volume and sources. Well, Electrocompaniet’s charm renovates with the chromatic balance black, golden and blue.

 

Listening experience

I personally know Electrocompaniet’s products because I owned, some time ago, an ECI-1 integrated amplifier. I kept it for almost a year, and I can say that it was very agreeable, sweet, and harmonious, although with not a lot of dynamics.

I have also listened to the AW400 power amps at Roberto Rocchi’s home. The impression has been positive since their character was strong, clear and “terribly” dynamic. I think about that, and my conclusion is: has the setting-out of the company totally changed? I wait to test other integrated or power amps and I’ll let you know.

 

Back to our EC 4.8 preamplifier. The first listening test has let me doubted and disappointed. Notwithstanding a ten hours run-in, I could not get its characteristics. Sometimes it was slow, dark and too composed. At the same time, though, the instruments were more rounded than with my reference preamp, the Bryston BP25. In any case, the presence of the Electrocompaniet’s apparatus in the system can be noticed. Of course, I could not say that it is transparent. On the contrary, it is rather characterized.

 

During the time I have to admit that things have changed, and a lot! The scene has widened up and everything is properly dimensioned. The airiness of the music has appeared like a magic. Also the microdynamic in many passages of In the Flash by Pink Floyd has surprised me. Maybe my doubts are about to being wiped out?

The EC 4.8 has begun to give to my music a beautiful image. The percussions are stable in the soundstage and are very close to reality. In some passages I would have prefer more “reactivity”, though. In the end, I think that the machine is not very fast but it is very precise. The image is well defined but enough airy and the music is harmonious and enjoyable.

 

The full dual-mono realization helps the channel separation and sometimes the apparatus seemed so clear to make appear the most hidden instruments of the soundstage, to testify a top sound image.

 

From time to time, it seems like having in my system a tube gear for the warmth it gives back. However, I cannot say that the outcome is sugary or without any dynamics. The mid range is natural and bodied. The voices are timbrically correct. The match with my monoblocks with a decise and open character has been happy. I suggest the match with open and vigorous machines, rather than dark and compassed ones.

 

After few days of listening tests with tracks that I know very well, my good sensations have strengthen. Also the classic or symphonic music has given to me a positive emotion. I would say enjoyable listening moments.

 

Thinking of the price of the object, I must say that is a very good purchase. For sure, the match with the Electrocompaniet’s power amps is the best solution. In any case, you have to value with care the affinity with your system, in order to get the more balanced sound possible.

 

In my case, the EC4.8 has been tested in my system and I have been able to highlight only the differences with my reference preamp. I’d say less “reactive” and “airy” but more precise and harmonious.

 

 

Summarizing…

Rate: not very fast, but discretely dynamic.

Soundstage: great!

Manufacture: impeccable! Full dual mono and well-finished inside.

Timbric: very characterized, mostly on the mid frequency spectrum.

Price/quality ratio: great!

 


Official technical specifications

Input impedance balanced (fixed): 47Kohm

Output impedance: 100ohm

Input level (Single ended): >15 Vp-p

Input level (balanced): >30 Vp-p

Max output level (Single ended): >15 Vp-p

Max output level (Balanced) : 30 Vp-p

Gain: - 111dB to +6dB

Noise Floor: <-130dB (@ 0dB gain)

Frequency response: 0.5 - 200.000Hz

Channel Separation: > 120dB

THD + N:<0.002%

Power consumption (no load or signal):30 W

 

Official Italian dealer: to Il Tempio Esoterico website

Official current price in Italy: 4,450.00 EUR

Associated equipment: to Roberto "The pacific" Fugito’s system

All measurements are made at 120V / 240V //50Hz / 60Hz

 

 
by Roberto Fugito
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