You are here

Electric & Company EC5B

Valve Compressor/Limiter By Neil Rogers
Published May 2023

Electric & Company EC5B

This boutique compressor sounds every bit as classy and characterful as it looks.

Electric & Company Audio Devices are a boutique pro‑audio manufacturer based in Austin, Texas, and they produce an intentionally limited selection of hand‑built studio equipment. Previous releases include the valve‑based EC3 preamp, which is based on the classic Ampex 351 amplifier circuit and was favourably reviewed in SOS August 2022. This time, we’ve been invited to assess their EC5B limiter, which is described by Electric & Company as a “deluxe” version of “the classic ’60s West Coast limiting amplifier circuit”, which I take to mean the Universal Audio 175B (a valve precursor to the better‑known 1176 FET).


The EC5B is a tasteful and stylish‑looking unit that gives off an air of being a classic, high‑quality piece of audio equipment — just as you would expect at this price. It features a few extra controls compared with a typical vintage‑style valve compressor, and I’ll discuss these below, but your eyes are immediately drawn to the substantial input and output knobs. That’s fitting, since these are the key controls for deciding how much gain reduction you introduce — as is typical of this style of compressor, there is no user‑adjustable threshold control.

It’s worth discussing the attack and release controls briefly, as I found these to be surprisingly flexible and influential in terms of getting the best results in use. Electric & Company describe the attack options as being potentially twice as fast as on the original 175B model: it’s capable of roughly 2ms at its fastest setting. At its fully anti‑clockwise position, the attack control doubles as a bypass for the compression circuit, allowing the EC5B to be used as a characterful line‑level amplifier. I’ll address the release control in more detail below but for now it’s worth noting that this also offers a relatively fast action, ranging from 527ms when turned fully clockwise down to 27ms at the other extreme. The large, multifunctional VU meter looks great, and the last feature to note for everyday use is an excellent addition: a side‑chain filter, which allows you to filter out low frequencies (rolling off at either 100 or 200 Hz) from the gain reduction circuit.

Electric & Company describe the ECB5 as being a combination of “tone, attitude, function and form”, and with no fewer than six different valves and three audio transformers in the signal...

You are reading one of the locked Subscribers-only articles from our latest 5 issues.

You've read 30% of this article for free, so to continue reading...

  • ✅ Log in - if you have a Subscription you bought from SOS.
  • Buy & Download this Single Article in PDF format £1.00 GBP$1.49 USD
    For less than the price of a coffee, buy now and immediately download to your computer or smartphone.
  • Buy & Download the FULL ISSUE PDF
    Our 'full SOS magazine' for smartphone/tablet/computer. More info...
  • Buy a DIGITAL subscription (or Print + Digital)
    Instantly unlock ALL premium web articles! Visit our ShopStore.

Claim your FREE 170-page digital publication
from the makers of Sound On SoundCLICK HERE