Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Trying not to...but thinking about the Electrocompaniet ECD-1...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Trying not to...but thinking about the Electrocompaniet ECD-1...

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Well as I fall deeper and deeper into the headfi curse, I realize that I want a new DAC. My current setup is as follows:

M-audio Audiophile USB -> MisterX PPA v2.0 -> Grado RS-1. Seeing as how my source costs almost 4 times less than anything else in my system, it's a bit of a mismatch.

So I decided to start looking at new sources. I checked into the storm, the Challen Islands, Bel Canto, Lavry, Benchmark, all the usual suspects. But each one has pros and cons, and if I drop big money on a source, I want it to end source upgraditis...forever.

One day I stumbled upon a dac that looked absolutley stunning - as in the prettiest peice of audio equipment I've ever seen. I researched the electrocompaniet ecd-1 and discovered it was a true balanced design (for the future), with excellent connectivity options. And oh yeah, it had great sound too. The only problem is it's $2000.

Now I am considering buying one used, but to say the least, I'm a bit leery of dropping $1100 on something I can't hear first. In your opinions, would it honestly make a huge difference in the sound of my rig? Is it top-tier enough that I could use it with balanced RS-1 out of a balanced singlepower in the future?

I've heard all of the arguments about source first and everything, but my experience with sources is severley limited. So, assuming you were in my position, would you do it?

Thanks,

-Jon
post #2 of 29
First of all, everything you've listed (Lavry, Bel-Canto, Benchmark, ECD-1), will blow away the M-Audio soundcard, but I think you already know that

But would I do it without listening to it first? That's a tricky question. I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed coming from a M-Audio soundcard, but you have to think about the future and component synergy. Let's say you upgrade your amp in the future (which you already plan on doing), then you might find that the amp and the source may not be an ideal match. Or, if you happen to hear other sources in the future and find that you like another source more, then that's also another problem.

So my suggestion is to hear all possible choices first, or at least as many of them as you can manage. Go call up some dealers, arrange a demo, or go to meets to compare. Or if you really really can't demo first, then buy something with a decent re-sale value, so if you do realize you can do better in the future, at least you won't lose that much money.

And yes, I am a believer in source-first, because like they say: garbage in, garbage out. The most revealing, transparent amp and transducer will give you exactly what a crappy source is capable of: crap.
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Yeah I figured spending 15 times the price of the M-audio would improve the sound somewhat.

Anyway, I would really love to audition but the problems are multi-fold

1. Electrocompaniet has one US based dealer, and he is in Pennsylvania.
2. The ECD-1 is quite rare, I would wager that it is not at the majority of the meets.
3. I can only attend local meets due to school.

I wonder if I paid shipping both ways if someone would let me try theirs....doubtful, but still...
post #4 of 29
Are you sure you want to remain a computer-as-source person? I used to be, very strongly, but now I've switched to standalone disc players. Why? All the issues with jitter, SPDIF, etc. aren't really there with a dedicated CDP, and there are more disc-based options in the higher end. Also, there's something a little extra to physically handling a CD (Slappa cases are great for this, with their album art/liner note holders), kind of the kick people get out of vinyl. If you're trying to completely settle here, consider all possibilities. Electrocompaniet makes a beautiful CDP... .

PS: Where are you located? Voodoochile has an ECD-1, and it was at the Boston meet this past weekend.
post #5 of 29
@OP:

Yeah, those are some obstacles, but my best suggestion is to contact the US Electrocompaniet dealer and see if you can arrange some sort of in-home audition, for example, you can ask if you can put down some sort of payment and try the thing at your place. Or like you said, ask someone here if you can borrow it and put down some sort of collateral.
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mateo05
Are you sure you want to remain a computer-as-source person? I used to be, very strongly, but now I've switched to standalone disc players. Why? All the issues with jitter, SPDIF, etc. aren't really there with a dedicated CDP, and there are more disc-based options in the higher end. Also, there's something a little extra to physically handling a CD (Slappa cases are great for this, with their album art/liner note holders), kind of the kick people get out of vinyl. If you're trying to completely settle here, consider all possibilities. Electrocompaniet makes a beautiful CDP... .
I'm 99.99% sure. Going to CD would be nice, but realistically I can't do that until I'm out of college due to space and money. Dorm rooms are small, and my collection of reference quality CD's is even smaller! On the other hand, my lossless collection is of good size. I think I can eliminate jitter (or at least come close) by slaving the ECD-1 to an emu 0404 with the clock sync daughter card too. I'm a computer guy at heart anyway, that's my other hobby that vies with audio. Electrocompaniet's CDP is drop dead stunning though.

Quote:
PS: Where are you located? Voodoochile has an ECD-1, and it was at the Boston meet this past weekend.
Are you serious? That's only a couple hours frome me (Connecticut). Can't believe I missed it. Perhaps I should hang out in the meets section of the forum more often!
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Computerpro3
I'm 99.99% sure. Going to CD would be nice, but realistically I can't do that until I'm out of college due to space and money. Dorm rooms are small, and my collection of reference quality CD's is even smaller! On the other hand, my lossless collection is of good size. I think I can eliminate jitter (or at least come close) by slaving the ECD-1 to an emu 0404 with the clock sync daughter card too. I'm a computer guy at heart anyway, that's my other hobby that vies with audio. Electrocompaniet's CDP is drop dead stunning though.



Are you serious? That's only a couple hours frome me (Connecticut). Can't believe I missed it. Perhaps I should hang out in the meets section of the forum more often!
Where in CT? I'm from Meriden...just curious.

I'm a computer guy too (or at least I used to be, I've been drifting a LOT from the OC scene recently), and in college too, and so I fell right into your place. A good Slappa CD case (I love these things and will plug them whenever I can ) and a relatively cheap Target open-air bookshelf has/will take care of all the college space issues with my setup. I'm just throwing the idea out there because if you told me 6 months ago I'd be doing this I'd tell you you were crazy, but I am...so things can happen.

I also didn't know you could slave the ECD-1...
post #8 of 29
ECD-1 is a nice DAC, but there are certainly many legitimate alternatives in that $2000 price range. Depending on your tastes, there may even be legimate alternatives to ECD-1 in the <$1000 range.

ECD-1 has a very airy, grainless, "fresh" presentation with great soundstaging, so if that's what you like, go for it.

People who are more into deep, bold tone with tons of texture and more "earthy" presentation, may prefer some of the other non-upsampling type of DAC's.
post #9 of 29
I have the ECD-1 in my system and absolutely love it. I bought it used, for around $1100, and was not able to listen to it first either, but took the risk anyway based on what I had read about it. In its stock form, I found it much more enjoyable to listen to than the Bel Canto DAC 2 (better detail and significantly improved dynamics), and the Meridian 588, as well as several other pretty decent sources. I eventually ended up getting it modified by Steve Nugent, which improved it even more.

IMO, it is a real deal at $1100 or so if you can find one in good condition. If you didn't like it, you could probably sell it for that or close to it, but I suspect you would like it.

P.S. I think Jon L's comments are pretty much spot on in terms of the "presentation" issue.
post #10 of 29
With that rig I'd be looking for a tube based DAC. The Tri-Vista 21 is awesome in that respect and readily available for $1200USD. Don't like it, just toss it back up on AudioGon.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilS
I have the ECD-1 in my system and absolutely love it. I bought it used, for around $1100, and was not able to listen to it first either, but took the risk anyway based on what I had read about it.
I was going to mention the same thing. If you watch audiogon carefully, you should be able to pick up a used ECD-1 for quite a bit less than $2K. I was about to buy one myself, but (like mateo05), I finally got fed up with all the jitter issues associated with computers-as-source and went with a standalone CDP. And haven't regretted the decision one bit.
post #12 of 29

ecd-1

I would rather get a benchmark.
post #13 of 29
I would also recommend a used Benchmark DAC1 for your first DAC. My reasons are:

1. It's cheap (around $700 used) and readily available on Audiogon.

2. It will be easy to sell if you decide that you want to upgrade to something else later.

3. It deals with jitter very well, which is definitely an issue with a computer as your source.

4. It's flexible (balanced out and/or RCA out, two headphone outputs, the usual input types).

5. It sounds great and fits almost anywhere due to its small size.
post #14 of 29

benchmark vs ecd-1

MY friend has heard both and he said the he will pay at most $100 more than the benchmark for the ecd 1s looks.
post #15 of 29
I've heard em, and the ECD-1 Is my dream DAC. Having an ECI-3 integrated from same said company I took an ECD-1 home for a weekend and it's just orgasmic. I enjoyed it more then any other DAC to date. I don't enjoy it quite as much as the ECC (cdplayer) but then it's also not $10000AU

IMHO I'd accept nothing less.

BUT considering the state of sound I would NEVER have considered it if I didn't hear it first. There are a lot of DACs out there, none look as good as the ECD but then if you can audition them then it's a step in the right direction. Audio is waaaay to individual to trust what anyone says, including me.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Trying not to...but thinking about the Electrocompaniet ECD-1...