• 09-30-2009, 09:01 PM
    Mr Peabody
    First impressions of the ERC-1
    Coincidently, I was just curious as to when to expect the ERC since I ordered it Saturday, so this morning I checked Fedex's website and saw it would be delivered today, I go upstairs to leave for work and guess who rings the door bell. I haven't spent much time with the machine but had to make time to hook it up. I can't remember when a product has had me so curious.

    I know now why everyone mentions look and build. The only other brand I've owned to provide an aluminum remote was Primare. The unit was boxed first class, double boxed, then the unit was tucked between two custom foam pieces with carboard shell. It has the weight and feel of a high end machine, including detachable power cord.

    For a quick listen I put it in the main rack with my CJ gear. It wasn't my T+A but let me tell you the ERC was not embarrassed. I hate to compare to a $3k machine but what the heck. The ERC-1 held it's own and better than any player at it's price should. My T+A had more bass response and tonal quality, richer. After a couple discs back and forth I just threw in a couple discs I was very familiar with and quit going back and forth. It soon became apparent the ERC is in fact a good player. It won't be for every one as it lacks emotion, I can't say it any other way. For instance, there's a song on the Paula Cole CD I really like but when playng it through the ERC I didn't get the same feeling for the song. However, the Paula Cole is a HDCD and I wonder if any other players I had before truly played the HDCD track because the ERC had a bit different interpretation and unloaded a lot of detail. In fact, the ERC was detailed on everything I played so far, it just lacked the micro and macro aspects, for instance, on acoustic guitar the tones and variations between strings wasn't as apparent as on the more expensive machine. I've heard Eric Clapton, Slow Hand on so many high end systems I had to throw it in. On Wonderful Tonight the ERC had the female singers right where they were supposed to be, off to the left at times, off to the right at times and most importantly, spaced away from Clapton's voice. On All The Way the ERC even revealed Clapton's slight slurr in spots of his vocals, like he let the word slide between his teeth. Now on Old Frisco there should have been like an emphasis on the bass string where the pluck sort of gave it a prolonged sound, kind of tubby, it's that type of detail the ERC lacked which led me to say it lacks emotion. I liked how the ERC sort of has a live sound to it, the snare and certain other areas seem to be emphasized more. The ERC-1 excels in a couple areas, the sound stage is huge and envelopes the room, even more so than my T+A, It also has an effortless presentation, notes are quick, vocals are nice and airy with no restraint what so ever.

    If I was handed this unit and told nothing about it my thought after a short visit with it is that it's a high end unit with it's own presentation or style. I personally would say the ERC is on the analytical side of neutral but the sound stage is good enough it could still captivate the other side. Also, if one holds to break in for electronics these thoughts are based on right out of the box.

    Tomorrow I will hook it to my Krell amp via XLR, do some comparing against the CJ DAC and see how the ERC does at high volume. This weekend I will do some listening with my X-can and headphones and still want to borrow a c545 for a comparison.

    RR-6, I know you're going to read this :) I'd like to know what those on the other forums were trashing about the ERC. I can perhaps point out differences and personal preference but I found nothing that would warrant "trashing".
  • 09-30-2009, 10:05 PM
    Rudy Gireyev
    Thanks Mr. P for the initial impressions. Looks like you have quite a fun toy to play around with. :) I'm looking forward to more thorough impressions/reviews. And don't forget to tell us the setup, like the connects used and the DACs and such.

    Everything I've read so far on Emotiva is leading me to believe that one gets a lot for her/his money with their equipment. Incidentally, I saw you mention XPA1s and wondered if you got a chance to read the review section of their board for the XPA1 reviews. Some very interesting stuff there.

    Rudy
  • 10-01-2009, 12:06 AM
    harley .guy07
    Sounds good. I was wondering how this player would do since it is priced at a lower point than most. but it sounds like you get a good taste of the high end for you dollar. If it compares to a 3k unit with out many faults then thats a good thing. keep us posted when you get a chance to really put it to the test.
  • 10-01-2009, 05:01 AM
    Mr Peabody
    For this initial listen I just kept the volume the same on my preamp and unplugged my Siltech cables from one unit to the other. Interesting the cables are at least 3/4 the cost of the ERC-1.

    Tonight I will connect it to a Krell 500i using Transparent XLR cables. I have an older Conrad Johnson DAC-3 to use for comparison. For direct between the two I will just use single ended connection with BlueJeans LC RCA cables. I will probably experiment with a couple different cables with the X-can.

    Whether I keep the ERC will depend on the results of comparing it to the NAD c545, and more importantly, some extended listening to see if I find the presentation will engage me in the music. We are told as audio enthusiasts what we should look for but when it comes down to it, it's what you enjoy in the listening experience. If it's a certain coloration or warmth etc.. No matter what some one else thinks, we the listener have to enjoy it. Playing a couple familiar discs on the ERC gives me a bit of concern it may be too sterile to my liking and that's through CJ gear. It will be very interesting to hear what type of synergy the ERC might have with Krell. If by chance I decide not to keep the ERC it would be due to pure taste and not to any lack of performance, I have respect for the ERC-1's performance. I may have to compromise some where too in order to find something close to what I want in this price.
  • 10-01-2009, 05:20 AM
    kexodusc
    Hmm...Mr. P, that's a very promising review.

    I have to admit, I'm very skeptical of this player myself - I can see it competing with the $500-$600 Yamahas, Deonons, Marantz of the world but I was curious about how it might perform against some of the lower end players from the likes of Arcam, NAD, Rotel, etc...I'm a bit surprised you're saying it's not completely embarassed by that nice T+A unit you have, so it certainly sounds like an option for noobies on a budget or people looking for respectable 2nd system gear?

    I have an aging Arcam CD72 from around 2002 or so which was a very respectable $800 player when I bought it, but quite honestly I find it matched in performance by entry-level gear today - the trickling down of better DAC's and the reduced cost of those technologies makes it an unfair fight, but it is what it is. I actually use my M-Audio sound card in an old computer now, but it's an eyesore and my wife is nagging me to use a CD player or something.

    I will follow this thread closely...could be an option for my 2nd system....

    Agree with your comments on presentation - I'm not a huge fan of "warm sounding" gear myself, and I seem to be in the vast minority among my circle of friends - a constant source of frustration for me. But in the end you're the guy that has to listen to it all the time.
  • 10-01-2009, 11:10 AM
    blackraven
    Thanks for the review Mr. P, I'm looking forward to further comments. It sounds like the ERC may be the budget palyer I'm looking for to use in my 2nd system.
  • 10-01-2009, 08:27 PM
    Mr Peabody
    With the honesty of the Krell and playing the ERC against the romanticized sounding CJ my first impressions are holding pretty well for the ERC.

    ERC strengths; low noise, large sound stage with plenty of air between instruments, will let you hear the material on the disc, very quick.

    What I consider weaknesses; bass could be stronger, for instance, on drum rolls you hear the tom toms but it's like you just hear the head not the full body of the drum and it just lacks that bottom end fill, this could be a trade off to increased audibility of certain detail. Similar to what Arcam and Cambridge did on more entry players. Although the ERC is quick it lacks a sense of rhythm. I also personally find a lack of tonal character, you'd have to hear it I guess to understand what I mean but as I posted in my first post it lacks the tonal cues that tell you a B3 is a B3, for example. You'll hear the organ but it will sound generic or sterile.

    The CJ DAC I have is solid state and probably from era 98 or so, this and the ERC were quite contrast of each other, I tried to do comparisons and it was almost like listening to two different versions of a song.

    I sent an email to ask further on the XLR outputs and whether they feel the ERC has a break in period. I personally have not noticed dramatic improvements in electronics over time from out of the box.
  • 10-02-2009, 08:06 AM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Tomorrow I will hook it to my Krell amp via XLR, do some comparing against the CJ DAC and see how the ERC does at high volume.

    Interesting. I find a player / DAC's performance at low levels to be more demanding. How well does it track wide dynamic range material down to the floor? Apparently, It uses the same OPA2134 op amps for the output stage found in my GamuT. One aspect that I don't like about it is its low 1 volt output. It is the high 4 V output of the CD-1 that allows me to drive the amps directly using no preamp to great benefit in resolution and image width.

    rw
  • 10-02-2009, 03:59 PM
    Mr Peabody
    The reason I say high volumes is because I would be listening while working out and that is usually the end result. I need to dig into some more CD's this weekend. When I played Paula Cole the bass went down pretty low and maintained control but the bass response is not what's emphasized by the ERC. To be fair though I should reserve some opinion until after comparing to comparable priced players. So far everything I have is more expensive.
  • 10-03-2009, 06:20 PM
    Mr Peabody
    OK, apparently, the ERC does require a few discs to go through before breaking in. I let it repeat a few last night and this morning. Now the tonal irregularities I was hearing are pretty much gone and the bass although still tight has improved. The ERC is not bass heavy but it's solid and controlled. I wish I had waited to post my earlier thoughts but I guess it shows the process, or progress. Even the pace is not as rigid.

    PAY ATTENTION, Roadrunner will laugh his butt off. The ERC-1 is scary good, it comes amazingly close to my reference player. I believe the reviews I thought to be "wild" were probably closer to true than those who couldn't hear the difference between the ERC and a DVD player. That's ridiculous, the huge sound stage alone would be enough to make a difference and I can't believe any DVD player would be as good as the ERC.

    I borrowed the NAD 545. At the time I had the ERC in the system with the Krell 500i, so I popped the 545 in for a listen. Immediately, I knew there was no contest, the ERC had more detail and the 545's sound stage was compressed in comparison. The 545 has a more analog sound and very strong bass for a player in that price. In fact, the bass is so heavy the 545 seemed a bit out of balance. I wanted to get the closest comparison i could, so to be fair I unhooked the XLR's from the ERC and hooked it up in place of the 545 to the BJC RCA's. Much to my surprise the RCA's to me sounded better. The ERC had better tonal quality that way. So that could be due to the ERC not being truly balanced, I've yet to receive an answer on that, or Emo and Transparent aren't good together.

    So I took both the boys back in to play with the CJ. My CJ was more forgiving of the 545 than the Krell, or, the Siltech cables made the difference, but it still couldn't match the ERC, by a lot. So I sat back and listened to a couple tracks on the ERC-1, some Joe Bonomasa and Chicago. I am not exaggerating when I say I would not have a problem using the ERC-1 as a main player if I didn't have the T+A. The T+A outclasses the ERC in bass response, tonal quality and some refinement, but if I was buying and testing the two, for the price difference I'm almost certain I'd take the ERC. Believe me when I say the ERC is more in the league with the high end than it is with players in it's price. The others in it's price don't stand a chance. I don't know how a player can be this good for $399.00 but if Emo keeps it up and the word gets out I'm sure the impact will shake things up.

    You guys talking about buying an ERC-1 for your second system may be pretty damn surprised at which one ends up in the second system. I do hope some one else follows through to buy one so I can see what you think.

    What to expect: The ERC-1has the largest sound stage of any player I've ever heard, the bass is solid and well defined but not over emphasized, excellent detail, plenty of air around instruments, and a very quiet background.

    Just side notes, I'm not a big fan of slot loading, it just doesn't seem like a natural movement of your hand and you have to be more careful not to touch the surface of the disc but after doing it some you get used to it and the mechanism seems to work very well. You just have to wait a minute when turning on out of stand by, you can't just hit the button and start shoving. I like the stand by button under the slot, the face has a clean and ergonomic lay out.
  • 10-04-2009, 04:31 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Mr.P, I must admit I didn't think you were going to come back with such a glowing review. With that kind of performance from a budget player, I may have to consider buying one also. Do you know if this has fully balanced outputs?:thumbsup:
  • 10-04-2009, 09:40 AM
    Mr Peabody
    I doubt the XLR's are truly balanced and the fact the RCA's sounded better enforces that guess but I am still waiting to hear from Emo. This past weekend and some of the week was the Rocky Mountain Audio show which has really become the one to be at. So I'm sure I'll get a reply when they get home.

    One correction, the ERC-1 is priced like a budget player but it definitely is not a budget performer. I didn't expect what I got in the ERC-1 either. Out of the box I could tell it was more than it's price suggested but I am picky, the tone and seemingly robotic pace gave me concern. After about 6 hours of break in the brashness of tone went away and the pace fell into stride. The ERC-1 is still neutral, meaning I wouldn't call it warm or overly analytical. I mean it has a lot of detail but it is able to deliver it without any offense. I sure didn't expect to like this machine as well as I do, nor did I expect it to just kill the 545. Especially after seeing all the glowing reviews of the c545. I really think if some of you guys try the ERC-1 you will be finding yourselves with a new reference in your main system. And, with all that performance we get a unit that feels like it does, excellent built, a slab of aluminum remote and 5 year warranty, makes this the apitomy of "no brainer".

    One other note, and I'm not sure why, but the ERC-1 performs rather well with BJC cables. I'd have to do some more listening keeping everything the same except cables to say no benefit could be had from better but the BJC worked great between the ERC and Krell integrated.
  • 10-04-2009, 10:26 AM
    RoadRunner6
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Roadrunner will laugh his butt off.

    :biggrin5: :biggrin5: :biggrin5: :biggrin5: :biggrin5: :biggrin5: :biggrin5: :biggrin5: :biggrin5: :biggrin5:
  • 10-04-2009, 11:37 AM
    winston
    ......AR.....POLITICS.........
    YES MR. Peabody" may i say i am proud of you for giving such a HONEST and OPTMISTIC REVIEW OF THE ERC-1 after putting it through that incredible signature you have..... ANALYTICAL- you mention. can i add AIRY & BALANCE in the $400 range.

    (that was to get you to smile") and i see RR6 is all smiles' the bottom line is it's a nice sounding unit and beautiful too.
  • 10-04-2009, 12:03 PM
    LeRoy
    Thanks for the insight Mr. Peabody
    Well, after having the M.F. in house for 4 days now and getting acclimated to the unit in the Belles system...I knew the the NAD 545 was already beat down. Just a couple of hours ago I spun a disc on it and man did it sound really dull in comparison to the M.F.

    You're right, it's hard to believe anyone would have endorsed the 545 so highly. :out:

    Good job with post.

    LeRoy
  • 10-04-2009, 12:57 PM
    Mr Peabody
    Thanks for compliments.

    Winston, you have an ERC? What equipment follow it? It is airy.

    LeRoy, I wouldn't say the 545 is a bad player, except in comparison to the ERC. Listening to it though does make it seem like you miss a lot of detail but I think NAD is keeping with a certain sound. The 545 definitely has a nice pace and big bass slam. Keep in mind the MF rig retailed for about $2k, so let's hope it out classed the 545 by some :)

    I'm in negotiations with Frenchmon to get together and listen to some machines. He has his new X-ray and I have the ERC. I'll have to return the NAD on Tuesday so it won't be around but I already know, and as you stated, it wouldn't have made much difference.
  • 10-04-2009, 03:18 PM
    blackraven
    I would love to see a head to head review of the ERC-1 and a Cambridge Audio 740c/840c. Both the Cambridge units have great detail and air. I've been thinking about buying another 840c, used or a 740c for my second system.
  • 10-04-2009, 03:27 PM
    frenchmon
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Thanks for compliments.

    Winston, you have an ERC? What equipment follow it? It is airy.

    LeRoy, I wouldn't say the 545 is a bad player, except in comparison to the ERC. Listening to it though does make it seem like you miss a lot of detail but I think NAD is keeping with a certain sound. The 545 definitely has a nice pace and big bass slam. Keep in mind the MF rig retailed for about $2k, so let's hope it out classed the 545 by some :)

    I'm in negotiations with Frenchmon to get together and listen to some machines. He has his new X-ray and I have the ERC. I'll have to return the NAD on Tuesday so it won't be around but I already know, and as you stated, it wouldn't have made much difference.

    Well I do have a thirty day window to return the Musical Fidelity. It has already out classed the the Rotel which is not a bad player. So after we have the shoot out between the Musical Fidelity and the Emo, I'll have the last player standing. I was thinking of returning the MF, because of the looks, but the way it sounds at this discounted price point, I would have to spend more on a player that sounds as good. But if the Emo beats the MF down, I'll have to send the MF back. See you next week Mr P.


    frenchmon
  • 10-04-2009, 03:32 PM
    blackraven
    Frenchmon, how much does the MF cost for a frame of reference to the ERC-1
  • 10-04-2009, 03:33 PM
    Mr Peabody
    Blackraven you've heard the 840, buy an ERC. If you don't think it is as good you can always return it. Emo, close your ears, Emo may have done a disservice to themselves by charging too low of a price. People have to get past the price tag and accept the ERC-1 is a hell of a CD player.
  • 10-04-2009, 03:37 PM
    blackraven
    Mr. P, I've thought about buying the ERC-1 and just might. Your review is great. Its nice to see a reputable review like yours comparing it directly to a high end CDP.

    And by the way. True XLR does not always sound better.
  • 10-04-2009, 03:39 PM
    Mr Peabody
    Frenchmon, sounds like fun. Don't send the MF back for looks, it's all about the sound. I'm looking forward to hearing it.
  • 10-04-2009, 03:45 PM
    frenchmon
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by blackraven
    Frenchmon, how much does the MF cost for a frame of reference to the ERC-1

    It only cost $799.00
  • 10-04-2009, 03:48 PM
    frenchmon
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Frenchmon, sounds like fun. Don't send the MF back for looks, it's all about the sound. I'm looking forward to hearing it.

    Yes you're right. The looks are starting to grow on me.
  • 10-04-2009, 03:52 PM
    blackraven
    You want to complain about looks. You should see my plain jane Van Alstine gear. Its a throw back to the 60's and 70's. Definitely not for someone wanting flash. But it keeps the cost down is what Frank VA says.