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Electrocompaniet Nemo AW 600 Mono Block Power Amplifier
Electrocompaniet Nemo (AW600)
Mono Block Power Amplifier
&
4.8 MKII Reference Preamplifer
Experience Review

Electrocompaniet 4.8 MKII Reference Preamplifier

Click an image to enlarge.

‘The Electrocompaniet Nemo (AW600) monaural power amplifier is our ultimate achievement in amplifier design and sound reproduction. How this amplifier can make your music collection live, breathe and be three-dimensionally and musically present in your listening room has to be heard to be believed.’

‘It really sets a standard for reproduction of music.’

‘That is how good it is.
Now, find a chance to hear it for yourself!’

Electrocompaniet

Leading on from my last experience review regarding the ‘boxing up’ and moving on from the Musical Fidelity M8s 700m monoblocs,the Electrocompaniet Nemo (AW600) Mono Blocks and 4.8 MKII Reference Preamplifier were speedily redirected by Electrocompaniet (thank you) from their original destination and delivered kerbside to my South London abode on a sturdy pallet. (Yes I did say kerbside). Unfortunately UK delivery driver service was not on offer as the driver pointed towards the mountainous 4cm high kerb and drove off quicker than a London parking attendant can issue a ticket. I was left to carry these carefully boxed 41kg hi-fi monoliths from the roadside into my listening room. No need for a gym visit on that day!

I developed a healthy respect for Electrocompaniet after a brief encounter and even briefer listening session to one of their earlier integrated amplifiers at the 2007 London Sound & Vision Show. Back then I was not only impressed with what I heard from one of their integrated amplifiers, I was also impressed with the attitude and manner of the Electrocompaniet representative. I promised to revisit Electrocompaniet that year, but life got in the way.

Thirteen years later, Electrocompaniet came to the rescue when my search for compatible amplification to drive my MartinLogan Scenario electrostatic speakers led me to their door, and their Nemo (AW600) Mono Blocks, 4.8 MKII Reference Preamplifier being delivered ‘kerbside.’

Listening

Keith Jarret - Tribute

Once I regained my strength, unpacked and marveled at the sleek exteriors, I began making notes regarding my listening experience while the components were running in (bad habit). It took approximately two weeks for these components to reach their full potential.

The Electrocompaniet Nemo (AW600) Mono Blocks combined with the 4.8 MKII Reference Preamplifier provided a relaxed and warm (almost valve like presentation) to my ears. I have heard some music lovers describe the Nemo presentation as slightly dark in tonality? The Nemo (AW600) and Reference Preamplifer combination also provided a very good level of grip and control of instruments across the soundstage (especially the mid and lower octaves). Of course, I would expect nothing less from hi-fi components at this level (and price). However this very good level of grip and control did appear to come at a price. I noticed I was not waving my arms in a crazy mimicking fashion, or maneuvering my foot to engage my invisible kick drum pedal when listening to Jack Dejohnette’s ferocious drum solos on Keith Jarrett’s “Tribute” vinyl album. For some reason my usual emotional engagement with this recording (and musicians) just did not happen this time around. I also noticed the soundstage was ‘very nice,’ but I really wanted to feel a greater sense of pinpoint precession (curved panel permitting) within the soundstage. I was used to Dejohnette’s drum licks dancing sprightly across the whole soundstage between the speakers (all the way to the very edge of the mylar panels) with my previous amplification. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the tonal accuracy (all be it with a slightly warmer presentation) and I appreciated the ease at which the music was delivered, but I felt that ‘tight grip’ on instrumentation was just a tad too tight for my liking.

Midway through this listening experience I upgraded my beloved MartinLogan Scenario electrostatic speakers to the MartinLogan Impression ESL11a electrostatic speakers.
A huge thank you to Soundcraft HI-FI in kent for their super old school five star service
and speedy delivery.

The above speaker upgrade did not change my thoughts in respect of what I was hearing. My twenty year experience with my Scenario’s was a reliable and trusted twenty years. (Panel replacements permitting)! The newer, higher spec ESL11a’s do have the benefit of incorporating ARC (Anthem Room Correction) or MartinLogan PBK (Perfect Bass Kit). Once I was confident I had the speaker placement and angles correct, I concentrated on implementing this software and carried out room correction. I continued listening and reveled again in the superb mid – bass control, however, this time I specifically focused on the renowned MartinLogan ESL three dimensionality. Thankfully this trait was evident with the Nemo (AW600) Mono Blocks (and even deeper with my new ES11a’s as it should be) but I still yearned for that pinpoint precision within the soundstage.

Open invitation?

Marcus Cliffe - Heard

As with most listening experience demonstrations, I normally invited various musicians and other music lovers to sit in and share their thoughts on new components, or cables. Due to the current lockdown situation, such open invitations were not permitted. However, thanks to a recent photographic order of a very special ‘guitar amplifier’, I was able to share a socially distanced Nemo (AW600) & Martinlogan experience with one multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer ‘Marcus Cliffe.’ Marcus brought his beloved Telecaster guitar (possible jam session afterwards) as well as a few of his own recordings on CD,“Heard” by Marcus Cliffe and “The Snow In The Street” by Lucinda Drayton & Marcus Cliffe. I always commended Marcus for the stunningly natural quality of his own recordings, so this was an opportunity for us both to indulge and explore.

Though Marcus had already experienced Quad electrostatic speakers, this was his introduction to The MartinLogan Experience…
and he loved it!

“…There is just a naturalness about the sound source..!
“… They are very well balanced…”
“…These speakers are beautifully open and fill the room with sound…”

Marcus clearly enjoyed the overall listening experience. When asked to describe his experience in respect of the Nemo (AW600) presentation (considering other home amplification he has heard previously) he described the presentation as “polite” and continued to explain the word “polite” was not a negative by any stretch of the imagination. We continued to draw comparisons to what ‘he’ would personally expect to hear in his studio and concluded ‘his’ expectation would 'be different.'

Conclusion

It was a relief to be able to sit back and fully absorb all that the Electrocompaniet (AW600) Mono Blocks had to offer my electrostatic speakers without fear of dynamic loss. I was assured by Electrocompaniet that the Nemo (AW600) Mono Blocks would do the job, and they were right.

With the Electrocompaniet (AW600) Mono Blocks and 4.8 MKII Reference Preamplifier in-line, my musical experience was less of the ‘live concert performance feel’ (that I was used to with my previous Musical Fidelity M8 500s, or M8s 700m monoblocs when they functioned normally) but more akin to a very pleasant slightly analytical experience. Now, I am not suggesting the Electrocompaniet experience is one of immense analytical detail, however, I felt less emotionally connected to my favorite recordings overall. It is also important to highlight that my analytical conclusion is not a criticism in any way. This might be exactly what you are looking for?

I spent over three very enjoyable weeks with the Electrocompaniet Nemo (AW600) Mono Blocks and EC 4.8 MKII Reference Preamplifier. However, I decided not to keep these beautifully designed components, but, I do strongly recommend you take them for a test listen yourself (if you can lift them). Especially if you are looking for amplification that will drive your MartinLogan electrostatic speakers with ease!

Electrocompaniet Nemo (AW600) Mono Block Power Amplifier £7499.00
Electrocompaniet 4.8 MKII Reference Preamplifier £3499.00

Electrocompaniet Nemo (AW600) Mono Bloc Power Amplifier specifications
Please visit Electrocompaniet website for full specifications

Rated output power
8 ohms 600 W
4 ohms Input 1200 W
Power consumption (no load or signal) 230 W

The NEMO is DC coupled from input to output
Dimensions
Width 465 mm / 18.3 inches
Depth 450 mm / 17.7 inches
Height 288 mm / 11.3 inches
Weight 41 kg. / 90.2 lbs.

Complete system details & configuration

Turntable
AMG Viella V12 turntable with AMG Teatro MC & AMG reference tonearm cable
Phono stage & interconnect cables. Whest PS.40RDT Special Edition phono stage
with Kimber Select KS-1116 XLR interconnect cable

CD player
Musical Fidelity A3 CD player (internally upgraded)
Van Den Hul The Second Analogue Interconnect cables

Amplification
Electrocompaniet Nemo (AW600) Mono Blocks and 4.8 MKII Reference Preamplifier
Luminist Revision Poseidon XLR balanced cables

Speakers

MartinLogan Scenaro & MartinLogan Impression ES11a hybrid electrostatic speakers with Kimber 12TC speaker cable

Table
Quadraspire Q4 EVO turntable wall bracket. Quadraspire Q4 EVO 4 tier shelf

Power & mains cables
Russ Andrews BMU 3000 for preamplifer, CD player & phonostage
Powerkord 300 mains cables for BMU, amplifiers & preamplifier

Robin Francis
© Michael Valentine Studio
October - November 2020

Further
Recommended
Viewing

Use the links below to read the Muscial Fidelity M8s 700m monobloc power amplifier Exerience 2,
or the Muscial Fidelity M8s 700m monobloc power amplifier Exerience 1...

Musical Fidelity M8s 700m monobloc power amplifier Experience Review 2 (click to go to this page) Musical Fidelity M8s 700m monobloc power amplifier Experience Review 2 (click to go to this page)

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