A year into the audio industry, UK brand Cranborne Audio (found by former Soundcraft personell) is back at NAMM with an ambitious product – the Camden EC2. A two-channel rackmount preamp, the EC2 implements Cranborne’s Camden 500 preamp design, Mojo analog saturation circuit, and a dual headphone mixer. Each channel features a discrete instance of the Camden preamp and Mojo circuit, which allow for two voicings – vintage British-style with the saturation engaged, or clean and natural with the circuit bypassed.
Furthermore, the preamps offer line mode for running stereo stems through them and obtaining vintage coloration. The headphone amplifiers are said to be “reference-quality” with discrete line mixers and separate CH1, CH2, and Aux Input level controls. Additionally, the Camden EC2 makes use of Cranborne’s C.A.S.T. connectivity tech which sees the internal copper wires of a regular Cat 5 cable repurposed for transporting balanced analogue audio across a network of C.A.S.T.-ready products. Analog connectivity is further ensured with balanced XLR outputs and impedance-balanced 1/4 jack outputs. There are also dedicated 1/4 Link outputs for DI functionality.
The Mojo saturation circuit has two modes of operation – Thump and Cream. Thump boosts low-end harmonics between 20Hz (and below) – 160Hz for a fuller-bodied sound. Cream adds additional harmonics across the frequency range, reduces the amplitude of fundamental frequencies, and softens transients.
The discrete headphone mixers have Aux Input jacks to connect external audio playback sources and feature a Stereo switch to let you pan channels 102 left and right in each headphone mix for stereo monitoring.
Packed tightly, the Camden EC2 proposes excellent figures in its spec sheet, approaching the theoretical limits of noise, distortion, and linearity in analogue equipment. It reads like a textbook on upper echelon audio engineering and is worth examining if you are into the nitty-gritty of figures and percentages.
Overall, the Camden EC2 seems like a well thought-out product that embodies the concept of approaching vintage sound and topology from a modern perspective. Cranborne isn’t talking prices right now, but there’s plenty of information (including performance graphs) on the Camden EC2 product page.