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This review first appeared in the January 2012 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of the Electrocompaniet ECI-5 MkII in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or Electrocompaniet - Ed.

Reviewer: Markus Sauer
Source: Heed Obelisk DT CD transport and Heed Obelisk converter
Preamp: Tom Evans The Vibe+ with Pulse PSU
Power amp: Jeff Rowland 102, Symasym
Integrated amp: Octave V70SE
Loudspeakers: JBL LSR 6332, Magnat 1005
Review component retail: €3.900

Norwegian brand Electrocompaniet has been around nearly 40 years. They remain proud of their history even though by 2004 high-tech company Westcontrol took - well, control. Whilst the established industrial design continues on, the new leadership addressed technical upgrades particularly with SMD applications. That’s also the case with today’s subject, the ECI-5MkII integrated.

It’s quite chunky and with 483mm width in excess of the standard 440mm. Check that your rack can accommodate it. The scale tips at 20kg. The acrylic face plate is dominated by the so-called navigator display which confirms chosen input and various error messages should such conditions arise; and four square-en-pointe arranged control buttons on the right where left and right shuttle through inputs, up and down adjust volume.
Embedded elegantly in the central company logo via an LED that migrates in clockwise fashion around the ‘E’ is classy feedback on the volume setting. I found it a bit strange that the hue of this volume indicator—violet-blue—doesn’t match the standard blue of the navigator window. I was pleased again that volume ramped up very gingerly to afford precise adjustments at low levels. The ECI-5MkII omits balance control.

For socketry there are two XLR and four RCA inputs whose selection the display confirms with lettering sizable enough for the short-sighted to be fine at standard room distances. The two XLR inputs appear as CD and TUN for tuner, the remaining unbalanced inputs as TAP (tape), DVD, VCR and HT (home theater). Playing critic and given the use of this chip-driven dot matrix display, it would be quite easy to build in user naming of inputs. Competitors either offer unlimited alphanumerical coding or a larger choice of preprogrammed options. Then a phono stage for example can appear properly indicated rather than show up as DVD.