Halcro is best known for their reference series amplifiers, which start at $20,000 and are regarded by many reviewers to be among the finest amplifiers in the world. Halcro then branched out into multi-channel audio with their SSP line of processors and MC line of multi-channel amplifiers. Now they have brought forth the EC800 DVD player as a source component. AT $3,990, the EC800 is not cheap, but it is substantially less expensive than some high-end DVD players, such as those from Meridian, Classe' and Krell.
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The EC800's industrial styling clearly compliments that of the SSP surround sound processors and MC amplifiers, with vertical column protruding from the left side of the front panel and capped with an oval reminiscent of the vertical legs of Halcro's reference amplifiers. The EC800 can play DVDs, CDs, SACDs and a variety of other discs. Outputs include HDMI 1.1, S-video, composite video, 5.1 unbalanced analog audio, stereo unbalanced, coaxial and optical digital audio inputs. The unit also features RS-232c, IR inputs, trigger input and an Ethernet connection for firmware updates. The large display window shows the usual track and time information, as well as titles. The EC800 can output video in 480i, 480p, 576p, 720p and 1080i. The DACs are high-quality 12-bit/108MHv for video and 24-bit/192kHz for audio. The analog audio circuits feature Halcro's Super-Definition circuitry.
The EC800's video performance with a 480i HDMI signal equaled or exceeded that of any other DVD player I can recall. The Halcro never hiccupped on any disc, even those scratched and dirty Netflix discs that caused problems in many of my other likewise pricey audiophile disc players. When listening to compact discs, I used the unbalanced stereo outputs, preferring them to the digital audio conversion (D to A) found inside most processors. As a CD player, the EC800 was extremely good, even when compared to players made with the sole goal of reproducing music from a CD without any worry about video or HDMI. With SACDs and the 5.1 analog outputs, the sound quality was likewise excellent. While SACD might be a truly dead audio format, there are still some important discs at the highest level of resolution on SACD and, if you want to hear your system at its best, you need a player like the Halcro EC800.
Read more about the high points and low points of the EC800 on Page 2.