I owned an EMC 1-UP SE, and I found it sounded best, especially the size of the soundstage, when running balanced. I was not using particularly high end interconects at the time, although they sounded quite goood...Harmonic Truthlink.
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I have owned the EMC-1UP SE, however ran it with single ended interconnects. I used Synergistic Research Resolution Reference that excelled in soundstaging and dynamics, which complimented the "analog/warmer" sound of the EMC in my opinion. I too have heard it sounds best running balanced cable, however I don't have experience to compare for you.
Peter, my girlfriend has this player in her system, I think it's a wonderful sounding CDP, we tried both balanced and unbalanced IC's and did not notice a significant difference in the sonics between the two. She finally settled on Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II as the best sounding cable compared to three other highly regarded IC's. By the way, when she got the updated spider clamp to replace the standard clamp the improvement was very noticeable, greater clarity/details/tighter bass, which was a greater improvement then using balanced IC's in comparision to single ended. Hope this helps.
Johnmcalpin, I'm interested in what you heard regarding the sider clamp. I know from direct experience that it brought the performance of my girlfriend's player to a higher level, without any downside that I could hear. So, is this concern something that someone else shared with you or did you audition the clamp yourself in your system. I'll thank you in advance.
Tvad, would you be nice enough to share the following information concerning the Empirical Audio mod of your EMC1-UP SE: 1) What parts do they replace in the process.2)What is the cost for the mod.3)What sonic improvements/differences between the stock vs the mod did you experience. I'll thank you in advance.
Teajay, it's been awhile since I had the player, so I'd prefer to refer you
to the Empirical Audio website. Steve has a menu of options for the EMC
1-UP cdp. I believe my mods ran about $2400.
In general, there was increased extension, and a lower noise floor. The
Empirical Audio mod makes the EMC 1-UP very detailed, and I believe a
bit more neutral across the frequency band. IMO, the mod changes the
house sound somewhat, which is to be expected.
Teajay, I've not heard the spider clamp directly. I read about it in the EMC Web site and was curious, so I poked around.
I recall reading several comments here about it and while some said it improved things a great deal, others were not so sold. Also, an audio dealer I spoke to about the clamp cautioned me that it might not be worthwhile. At the time the clamps were sold out and I stopped thinking about it.
I have seriously considered the Empirical Audio mods after reading about Tvad's experiences.
I love the sound of my player, but a few things about its quirky operation have me troubled. Not so much that I'm thinking about a new one.
If I do mod, I will see about installing a digital input to use the onboard DAC to handle sources from a laptop.