The new stereo integrated amplifier in the EC Classic Line, the Electrocompaniet ECI 6 MKII Fully Balanced Integrated Amplifier, represents the basis, an impeccable solution, which however deliberately concentrates on the essentials and fortunately has a modular design. The stereo integrated amplifier can be upgraded with a streamer and DAC to become the new Electrocompaniet ECI 6 DX MKII Integrated Amplifier.
What we sufficiently call high-end hi-fi is not only in a completely different league than normal consumer electronics in terms of sound quality, but most of the time such solutions are also characterized by an immense stability of value over many years. This is of course first and foremost due to the fact that proven experts in this field take a completely different approach to the design of a product. Here everything is trimmed to quality. But this also means planning for the future and, for example, using a modular concept to enable future expansions from the outset.
This is also the attitude of the renowned Norwegian high-end forge Electrocompaniet AS, and has been for decades. The latest products of the so-called EC Classic Line, such as the new Electrocompaniet ECI 6 MKII Fully Balanced Integrated Amplifier, show that this design philosophy is still held high today. This solution is a rock-solid stereo integrated amplifier in the best sense of the word, which concentrates on the essentials. Everything is designed in such a way that the amplifier is able to fulfil its original task at the highest possible level. The result is an impeccable “basic equipment” with which one has probably provided for many requirements anyway, no more, no less.
However, those who really want “more”, i.e. who cannot find what they need with the analog inputs of the Electrocompaniet ECI 6 MKII Fully Balanced Integrated Amplifier alone, can also have “more”. This is ensured by a modular concept in the design, whereby the “full configuration” in the form of the new Electrocompaniet ECI 6 DX MKII Integrated Amplifier is also directly available.
The Norwegians speak of the new Electrocompaniet ECI 6 DX MKII Integrated Amplifier as a true multi-function amplifier and are absolutely right with this characterization. The heart of this amplifier is, of course, a rock-solid, balanced stereo integrated amplifier, which, however, in addition to purely analog inputs, also has an integrated D/A converter and thus appropriate interfaces. As if that were not enough, the new Electrocompaniet ECI 6 DX MKII Integrated Amplifier is also equipped with an integrated streaming client, so that this flexible solution meets almost all the requirements of a modern high-end hi-fi system.
As already mentioned, the basis of the Electrocompaniet ECI 6 DX MKII Integrated Amplifier is of course the ECI 6 MKII Fully Balanced Integrated Amplifier, in fact it is the “same” product, but here the intended modular design is also used to the full. So where the little brother has an empty slot at the rear, there is an additional board with DAC and streamer.
The new Electrocompaniet ECI 6 DX MKII Integrated Amplifier thus also has a fully balanced design, whereby the input stage is discretely designed in Class A without feedback. In the output stage, on the other hand, a moderate amount of local feedback is used, whereby great care was taken to achieve the right balance of controlled yet powerful bass reproduction, detailed open mid-range and a detailed, warm image in the upper frequency range.
As with its little brother, four analogue inputs are initially available, three designed as unbalanced RCA jack pairs, one balanced in the form of XLR connectors. In addition to the obligatory solid screw terminals for connecting the speakers, a pre-out is also available, one unbalanced as a pair of RCA sockets, the other balanced in XLR. Trigger connections and an RS232 interface are also found on the rear panel.
Two times 125 Watt at speaker systems with an impedance of 8 Ohm are supplied by the amplifier, at an impedance of only 4 Ohm two times 200 Watt are already available, and at an impedance of only 2 Ohm two times 370 Watt are available.
So much for the “basis”, but then there is the “digital board”, and this brings with it a streaming client that offers an impressive variety of functions.
Not only is it a dlna-certified UPnP streaming client, which can thus access its own content in the network, it also supports Apple AirPlay, thus combining the high-end hi-fi system in the listening room with other consumer solutions in the entire household. It also provides direct access to a wide range of online services, including Spotify including the obligatory Spotify Connect, Qobuz or TIDAL, and Internet radio is also available.
Of course, all this is controlled particularly conveniently via App, the EC Play App, which is available for Apple iOS and Google Android. In addition, this streaming solution also offers the possibility to be controlled solely via web interface and thus via any web browser.
The integration into the network can be done either via WiFi or simply via cable, whereby WiFi relies on a module according to IEEE 802.11ac with MIMO, and “Cable” on Gigabit Ethernet to guarantee flawless performance with high data rates.
If you want to stream music outside of a network infrastructure, you can of course also do this via Bluetooth. In this way, smartphones and tablets can literally be used as sources at the push of a button.
The signal processing supports data in Linear PCM format with up to 24 bits and 192 kHz, as well as content in DSD, although this is also open to other external sources. For this purpose, the new Electrocompaniet ECI 6 DX MKII offers two coaxial and also two optical S/PDIF interfaces, and a USB port for direct connection to a PC or Mac is also available.
Finally, it should not be forgotten to mention that the new Electrocompaniet ECI 6 DX MKII Integrated Amplifier, compared to its predecessor, not only features the improvements inside such as an even more sophisticated preamp module and an even more powerful power supply, but also the new design line of the EC Classic Line. It also includes a matching infrared remote control, which provides simple yet convenient control away from the app.
The elegant black housing with a fine front made of Plexiglas has to be 470 mm wide, 420 mm deep and 128 mm high and weighs 20.5 kg.
The new Electrocompaniet ECI 6 DX MKII Integrated Amplifier is already available from specialist dealers, although you have to budget for € 6,823 for this one.
Getting to the point
The new Electrocompaniet ECI 6 MKII Fully Balanced Integrated Amplifier is based on the extremely successful Electrocompaniet ECI 5 MKII, but for further improvements an even more sophisticated preamplifier module was used, in addition an even more powerful power supply is used, and of course it features the current design line of the EC Classic Line, the manufacturer promises.