Electrocompaniet EMC-1: let's talk?

"The history of the player is:
24/96 (original)
24/192 (upgraded DAC)
24/192 UP (upgraded DAC plus various internal component upgrades).

The "SE" and "MKII" designations refer to the 24/192 UP and 24/192 players. Neither of these are actually official names given by Electrocompaniet. Someone (dealer or customer) referred to the EMC-1 players as "SE" and "MKII" some months back and the names just kinda' stuck."
The above from the horse's mouth, an authorized dealer. After having gone through hell selling my Dodson 217 MK II D, competing w/guys mistakenly advertising their units w/out mentioning they were upgraded and not the latest model, I'm a bit sensitive to mis-categorizations, no matter how innocent. (Anyone playing these games should be pilloried in front of an array of Bose speakers).
I don't know if this helps, but mine states on the back, EMC1-UP.
It's not too hard. The new DAC (UPCC-1) was put into production in late spring of 2001, having the so-called "UP-DAC" (for upsampled DAC), and going from $4k to $5k. These units came to be known here as the MkII. For awhile in Europe you could buy BOTH 24/96 and 24/192, the latter more expensive, of course. I believe that in August 2002 all production of these EMC-1 have the latest analogue upgrades...with the accompanying price rise from $5k to $5500 here in the US. List price in Europe used to be about
$2200 ($4khere) up to Spring 2001 (when I got my 24/192).
Now it's about $3k ($5500 here). I'm about to get my 24/192 modded with the analogue "UP"-grade soon...anyone tell me if it TRULY sounds better? How? Thanks.
Subaru guy: thanks for the further clarification. Regards.
Hey, I don't appreciate being called a horse ;-) In all seriousness, Jayme has a VERY valid concern. A customer obtaining an EMC-1 that is advertised as the latest, and is not, is a very real possibility (whether the seller does it on purpose or not is a whole other can of worms). For example, I am 100% certain that the used player currently listed on Audiogon, based on what the seller states in the ad (even though it says "UP" on the player), is NOT the latest version. The EARLIEST that the latest upgrade became available to the public was late this summer (August timeframe). As is indirectly stated above, there are some players out there WITHOUT the latest upgrade that DO have the "UP" designation, so that is no guarantee.

So, what is the best way to tell?


I can say with 100% certainty that ALL EMC-1's shipped from the distributor to dealers since at least September are the LATEST version. So if you are buying an EMC-1 from an AUTHORIZED dealer and they took shipment from the US distributor in September or later, it WILL be the most recent version of the EMC-1.

I realize this is somewhat confusing and a big pain, but I hope this helps. Please don't hesitate to let me know if anyone has any questions.

Best Regards...Mike - Father & Son Audio
How can you tell if has the upgraded 24/192 dac?
so what does that mean to someone willing to buy the emc listed. can it be upgraded and at what cost.
Streetdaddy...The easiest way is just to look at the gold plate on top of the player. It will clearly state 24/192 on the plate and there will also be a "UP" designation on the back of the player. Unfortunately, this is not a sure thing, as it is possible for a less than honest seller to somehow obtain a 24/192 designated gold plate or even the "UP" designation and place it on a player that is only 24/96. I have not heard of this happening, but just wanted to mention it as I would hate for someone to get burned.

The SURE way to tell is to remove the left side cover (if you are facing the front of the player). Look at the DAC card (located to the front of the player). The following will be easily visible on the DAC upgrade card if the unit is truly 24/192:

1) 16-24 bit upsampler
2) UPCC-1

Best Regards...Mike - Father & Son Audio
Dave1117...Yes, any older EMC-1 can be upgraded. The associated upgrade costs are as follows (retail):

24/96 -> 24/192 $1000
24/192 -> Latest Upgrade $800
24/96 -> 24/192 PLUS Latest Upgrade $1800

There are a few authorized dealers (myself included) that can do the 24/96 to 24/192 upgrade for a customer. The latest upgrade however MUST be done by the US distributor.

Best Regards...Mike - Father & Son Audio
special circle for those who purposefully mislead buyers (especially audio guys trying to "drink champagne on a beer budget". It's a jungle out there: the Dodson dac and the Merlin VSM series loudspeakers are two other products I know of (these from personal experience) whose descriptions are regularly smeared by sellers. Another current example: the Reference 3A De Capo loudspeaker. There now is a De Capo "i," though advertisers of the superceded model often leave that tidbit out.
Upgradability is a great convenience and cost-saving benefit to audio consumers, but it has become a quagmire. I know Audiogon doesn't need more rules, but one that mandates a seller to identify his product as upgraded, and not being the same as the newer, factory-produced "original," would be a good step. As usual, caveat emptor!
Jayme: I know your post is several weeks old, but I didn't see it till today and I'd like to respond. In many (but not all) cases, an "upgraded" unit is indeed absolutely identical to one that was manufactured as that particular model. Customer service folks at Audio Research (the king of the upgrade game), Mark Levinson and others will verify this and they'll tell you whether they have to make any compromises when upgrading a component.

Still, I think a prospective buyer should be told that the unit in question did not begin its life in its present form, but a lot of people have a mistaken notion that an upgraded unit is somehow not as good.
Hi "9": I believe quality itself is not the issue, but rather the age of the unit, and also disclosure integrity.
Jayme: I agree; however, I get annoyed by ads for, say, an ARC LS25MKII that say this is an "original MKII" and not "an inferior" upgraded version that really isn't a MKII. That's not only misleading, it's a plain lie and shows the person selling the unit either doesn't know better or also lacks integrity. I always disclose everything and provide a serial number so anyone interested in something I'm selling can call the manufacturer.
It seems to me that an "upgraded" rather than factory MKII or whatever, would in some ways be preferable, having been back to the factory where in all probability, any problems would have taken care of.
See the thread: HELP Electrocompaniet Stole Christmas for more info.
EC received my wire payment for the EMC-1 MKII "UP" mod parts kit and instructions and says they sent the kit today. Yippee!
Wow! I read (speed read, that is) all the problems you had: it put me off EC. I also have been put off Aero because of all the chip problems. If a company makes several errors of this magnitude, I want nothing to do with them (I'll never buy Ford, Bridgestone either). I got meself a nice little Audio Note CD 3.1x: so far, so good. Not analog, of course, but is intensely enjoyable...already.
EC is a little slow but the end product is really good most of the time and unbelievable with the EMC. They wanted the money for the upgrade. I can't blame them. I paid for it with a smile on my face. Other people have to eat too.
I'm reporting here that the power supplies mod parts have arrived: 24 tiny diodes and three capacitors, for $65.
Hope they install easily. I'll have it performed by a top pro to insure success. Finally!

Send it on over (I need the practice for when I install the C4S boards in my Paramours:-).

Probably need a few bottles of Maker's Mark as well, just to keep the old hands steady.
Need I bite a bullet, too, or is Florence there to wax angelic?
Sorry if the response is not related with the above subject, but i´m new in this forum and have an urgent question.
I´ve recently bought an EMC-1 UP (¡marvelous sound!) and suddenly realized that I cannot check the remaining time for a track. I can only check the total remaining time of the entire CD.
Is this normal?
Why is not available this option from the remote control?
It sounded very strange for me.

You mean EC still hasn't "fixed" this on the newest players? This option, unbelievably, is not available on any EMC-1 CD player. I was not too thrilled when I discovered this fact after buying mine. Afterall, having never seen this option excluded, I didn't think to ask if it was included. It's the one real mistake I believe EC made when producing it. The closest the EMC-1 gets to this option is to let you view the remaining time on the "entire" CD. Even $50 players have this option! Maybe this feature is not viewed as important overseas, but in my view it's just another example of a company not understanding its global market.
Hshapiro, thanks for your quick response.
You´re right, that option still is not included in the newest players. (I bought it on December 2002) and I am writing from Spain.
I agree with you, it is incredible they have not fixed this feature yet.
Although in my opinion, is not of such importance as to make you change your buying of this superb CD player, every time I pick up my remote control to view the remaining time of a track in a 4100 playe and get nothing, I feel totally upset.
May be is a silly question cause I´m not a specialist, but Could this failure be solved through a change of hardware pieces or the remote control? or I will have to trust forever in the tracks time showed on CD covers ?
I agree that this missing feature isn't such a glaring problem that you would ask for your money back. It's just so stupid to leave out a feature that appears on almost every other player in existence! I mean, how could you not list the track time and track remaining time?? I never inquired directly to EC to see if there was some fix. They aren't very quick when responding to questions by e-mail, anyway. I guess we'll just have to trust the CD cover track times, when they are listed. But that's the real problem. On some CD's, the times are not listed, and if would be nice to see the track time on the player.
I received the "UP"grade mod parts: 24 diodes and three power supply electrolytics, and dutifully installed them in about 2 hours roundtrip.
First impressions include a fleshier, more natural soundtstage with no "edge-carving", however pleasant, that existed before. Soundstage seems a bit closer, as Celery also noted. The cost of this upgrade is in the labor installing the tiny diodes on two boards, as the parts cost is under $20 here in the US! It's amazing how a small change in these very cheap ($0.24 ea) parts can make any kind of audible difference, but I think it does.
Top octave cleanliness may be improved too, but that may be because I left my Aleph monos on for 4 days continuous because it's so cold up here in Beantown. Chivers! Ern
EC has agreed to support ALL products independent of location, but the US distributor will NOT service specifically-graymarket products from Denmark. That leaves a few owners of EMC-1 CDPs no place to turn to install the latest "UP"grade. If you're one of them RSVP. I may be able to help.... Ern