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Engstrom Sound from Sweden - the Pinnacle of Scandinavian School



  • Marvel,

    what is the slope of the low pass filter?

  • Jeff

    I am using BES filter with low pass set to 55hz, high pass off.  
  • The Arne by Engstrom in my humble opinion is probably the Best Buy amplifier ever. When price is taken into account, this amp is the champion. 
  • edited February 2020
    Arne is one of my most beloved amps by Engström. Today, I changed all the tubes to Engström Zirconium 300B Tubes. It is the statement amp for AE Sheung Wan over a year driving the Cessaro Firebird into every moment of astonishment. Wow, the upgrade is substantial.  Will report more as they age. 
  • edited January 2021
    This first pair of “ERIC ENCORE” in the world arrived at Divin Lab.  This is the ultimate statement amplifier from Engstrom Sound based in Sweden. This artisanal creation is engineered/crafted by Lars Engstrom/Timo Engstrom. 
    The ENCORE utilises a pair of 845 tube per channel generating 70 watt of Class A power alongside new circuitry and components achieving much lower noise floor than previous generation. The filament voltage of 845 tube is 32 watt, compared with 10 watt from T100 tube, thereby releasing much more transient power.
    The tonal orientation of ERIC ENCORE is akin to Lars 300B push pull Type 2 mono amplifier. It perfectly blends the mesmerising tonal purity of 300B with the explosive dynamics of 845. 
    Audio Connoseuir looking for very fine tube amplifier knows well Engstrom is the real deal representing the pinnacle of the Scandinavian School.  

  • The almighty Eric Encore 

  • edited July 2021

    2021 is certainly a year of commemoration for Engstrom & Engstrom.  This Swedish Hi End brand founded by Dr Lars and Timo delivered 2 ground breaking products: The cost-no-object Eric Encore monoblock power amp, and the Monica MkIII preamp.  My maiden experience with Engstrom electronics was in 2014 pairing the Monica Mk1 with the Lars Type 2 300B mono block amplifiers.  

    Monica Mk3 was finally delivered several weeks ago after relentless researches and field works done in the past few years.  Aesthetically, the new preamp has 2 separate knobs controlling the input selection and volume, which differs from the previous co-axial knob controlling both functions.  It is still a 2-chassis design with the power and control circuits housed in one box and the audio inputs/outputs in another.  This intelligent design isolates the control circuits from noises induced by AC power.

    If the chassis configuration is the same, what are the changes inside? I was told it is a total revamp with a mandate striving for a statement like Eric Encore. 

    The Scandinavian scent from the Monica/Eric combo chills me with immediate musicality.  This balanced tube preamp has a very refreshing sound delivering crystal clear piano percussion alongside snappy transient attacks through the Gobel Marquis. My favourite piano recording is Maria Joao Pires Mozart piano sonata. Her crispy notes strike me with intimacy and virtues as though she plays solely for me.  Contrasting the cello performance between Shafran and Rostropovich on Schubert Arpeggione has never been so apparent. I can distinctively tell the minute differences on the subtleties, twists, pacing and energy placements.  Aida conducted by Karajan sparkled with textural details, harmonic patterns, and dimensionality of concert hall.  

    The recording of Rodrigo Gabriela - Live in Japan, and Dua Lipa’s Levitating, thrill me to the hair buds because of tremendous rhythmic dexterity and dynamic contrast.

    Timo, you visited my home system several years ago.  I was deeply impressed by your humbleness in accepting my feedbacks on the previous version of Monica.  Today, I am even more impressed by a promised delivery exceeding much of my expectation.  Not only does it deliver an unprecedented silence and resolution relative to its ancestor, it compares favourably to other super preamps such as Zanden Chukoh and Robert Koda K15EX.

    My salute to Dr Lars and your good self.


  • The comments on MONICA and ERIC Encore made by Marvel makes us very glad and encourage us to continue our R&D. 
    AE are a great driving force for Engström when we strive to reach our pinnacle of achievement. 
    We miss HK a lot in this strange time of lock down. I long and look forward to visit again. 
    In the meantime we continue to do our best to deliver our music machines to you. 
    May passion rule the world.  
  • edited December 2022
    Resolution of Time: LARS by Engstrom and Engstrom
    The arrival of the beautiful LARS in piano white triggered me to re-read my own review of it written in March 2014.  Even after 8 years, my conclusion is the same: LARS remains as the champion of all 300B push pull amplifier.  There will always be new winners however the vigor of past champions. But LARS passes the test of time. 

    And I finally understand why. It is because Mr Lars Engstrom has always been singing in a choir since his childhood until now. He understands music. Technical knowledge acquired during his professional years specialising in railway signal processing system was subsequently applied to audio electronics design.  The knowhow serves as the means to an end.  The merits of LARS stems from his comprehension of music. And the elegant aesthetic design of the amplifier by Timo Engström radiates the unspoken aura of purity.

    AE picks products by person whom dictates the soul of the electronics. Mr. Lars Engstrom is a calm man.  There is not a single question he answers without facts. There are no inflation of pros and deflation of cons when I questioned him about the amplifier many moons ago.  I still remember vividly his timid elation when I made the final decision to bring Engstrom and Engstrom on board in 2013.  Without Engstrom, I probably may never be able to develop a friendship with superstar Aaron Kwok, after he decided to bring Engstrom’s flagship amplifier Eric Encore home after 2 hours of auditioning at AE Central Showroom in Jan 2021.

    Eric Encore - flagship amplifier of Engstrom and Engstrom 
    The design thesis of Mr. Lars’ focuses on “authentication of tonality”. It is important to differentiate amongst neutrality, musicality and tonal authenticity. Neutrality assumes everything from the recordings is favourably reproduced with nothing being added and subtracted. Neutrality is thus a window. And I attribute it to the speakers that determine almost the entirety.  The presence of such window, however, does not guarantee musicality immediately.  If the recording standard and the rest of the hardwares are not up to the standard, we are not able to consume musicality however authentic the tonal colour could the amplifier reproduce.  
    Tonal authenticity is one of the many elements of musicality, which is also a multivariate function of transient resolution, control of energy, spatial resolution, and many more other factors. This is the philosophy that I had harnessed from managing three mega systems in the past 3 years. 

    Cessaro Carmen at AE Singapore 
    I remember vividly the tremendous performance of Lars amplifier driving the Cessaro Carmen speakers with a built in active woofer (the speaker that is showcasing in AE Singapore main room now) with vinyl as source revealing layers after layers of tonal structure down to the microscopic stratum. Macro-dynamics of symphonic recordings are articulated with punch, slam and energy with control. The performing orchestra is always encapsulated in a spherical “space”. There is no inflation of airiness. Yet the decaying tones of harmonics can always be traced and never mixes up with hall ambience. The bass tails are just so well naturally decayed with continuity. The transient of Spanish guitar is lightning fast. The textural resolution down to the resonances of the guitar body alongside each different string is kaleidoscopic. 
    The spatial resolution of the recording venue is faithfully reproduced with right proportion (some degree of subjectivity here). Some of the live recordings on vinyl can really generate a “spherical” space in the showroom engulfing me within.  As far as piano playback is concerned, each single key on the piano from the highest pitch notes all the way to the lowest registers on the left hand are always delivered with palpable clarity.  The communications between left hand and right hand revealed the soul of the pianist.  

    This amp is EGO-LESS. It is the first 300B tube amplifier that completely disappears into music. The opulence of tonal color is solely determined by the recording.
    In a few occasions, the “resolution of time” is truly felt. This is a time machine for music.  
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