Electrocompaniet EMC

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From Hi-Fi World - February 2009 issue


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Power Points



With its gargantuan Nemo, Electrocompaniet is gunning for the high end monoblock power amplifier market. After a life with lower powered valve amps, Noel Keywood is in for a shock!


You didn't get one of these in your stocking at Christmas because of its size – and if it came down the chimney then you're sitting in a pile of rubble right now. Weighing 41kg (90lbs) each, we struggled to lift these power amplifiers; perhaps we have seen and lifted bigger, but not by much. Humongous power amplifiers like these usually have a suitably massive sound, and the Nemos didn't disappoint - everything about them is big, I found!

Although going under the official nomenclature of AW600, they've been given the 'Nemo' name because they're designed to drive Nautilus loudspeakers from B&W. Not that if you had a pair of these in your front room, you'd be worried about choice of speaker however, as they'll drive anything ever made - Heaven knows, they'll even get more than a squeak out of BBC LS3/5as! The AW 600 moniker gives some idea of the power these amps deliver: 600 Watts no less. Testing for power at these levels gets a little sticky but we found this is about right as a conservative figure. The output is heavily protected by a current sensing circuit to prevent the Nemo becoming an arc welder if its outputs are short circuited. There are two sets of parallel loudspeaker outputs and one balanced input, for which Electrocompaniet supply an adaptor that allows the use of an ordinary (unbalanced) phono lead.

The power switch is located in an awkward position on the rear panel, beneath the IEC terminated power lead. Claimed by Electrocompaniet to be substantially Class A, the Nemos run warm but not burning hot like 100% Class A. Switching on brings no noises other than the clatter of the protection relays. However, I did in my fiddlings with various matching components manage to touch a live signal lead accidentally and there was a fierce crack from the loudspeakers with the power of a lightning bolt!


Not only are the Nemos monstrously heavy, but they are large too (514mm wide, 288mm high and 470mm deep). Their quiescent power consumption is 230 Watts and, being Class A this changes little with an applied signal. They need ventilation of course and could not be shut away in cupboards. Electrocompaniet don't say they should be left switched on but they do specify a two hour warm up for optimum performance and, together with the awkwardly placed power switches this does suggest the Nemos be left on. They also need a seventy two hour running in period.

Build quality is good in a functional rather than lavish way. The case has black steel sleeves for protection, with a lot of venting to give warm air an exit. The front panel  comprises a thick sheet of acrylic, again black but with gold lettering, gold holding studs and a natty blue light the shape of Electrocompaniet's logo to warn the unit is on. The styling 'does the job', being suitably discreet and as unimposing as a massive lump of electronics in your listening room can be.



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