Ferrum Erco 2nd Generation Review

Ferrum Erco 2 from the front

Ferrum burst onto the audio scene back in 2020 and have released a slate of well-regarded audiophile gear ever since. This includes products like Hypsos, Wandalla, OOR, and Erco (pronounced Ertso). Now, they’ve released the Erco Second Generation, a DAC/Amp that looks to provide top of the line performance and a smaller cost. The Erco Second Gen looks to enhance its sound to get even closer to their flagship Wandalla DAC. Just the fact that they’re even mentioning Erco 2nd Generation in the same sentence as Wandalla should be enough to get an audiophile excited. So let’s cut the gabbing and jump right on in.

What’s in the Box:

  • Erco 2nd Generation DAC/Amp
  • Power supply
  • USB C to USB A cable
  • Quick Start Guide

Ferrum Erco 2 Logo


The Erco 2nd Gen features similar design principles as Ferrum’s other products. Billed as “Desktop High-End” by the Polish audio company, the Erco 2nd Gen is compact but well built. Ferrum implemented a metal chassis with two knobs on the front. One for switching inputs and another for switching gain. There’s also a nice, big volume pot as well as 1/4 inch single ended and 4.4mm balanced output. Also notable about the front are its indicator light which signals what type of file you’re playing and the Ferrum logo, which also lights up. There is a dial on the back for adjusting its brightness. 

Also on the back are analog inputs, both RCA and balanced XLR. There’s also an RCA analog input as well as optical, coaxial, and USB-C inputs. Plus, there is a bypass switch which disables the in-built potentiometer if you want to use the Erco 2 as a preamp for powered speakers or if you’d prefer to change volume at the source level. 

Finally there’s a DC input for the stock power supply, as well as a proprietary power port meant to be used with Ferrum’s own power supply unit, Hypsos. With this, you can also plug in a wire to trigger power through the Hypsos. 

Ferrum Erco 2 I/O on the back


The Erco 2nd Gen is a discrete/IC design amplifier that is truly balanced. Among its updates are a better performing I/V converter stage. Ferrum also claims that the Erco 2 can compete with the sound quality of their higher end WANDLA due to it bigger DAC chip and DSP engine, as well as its DDF-preferred HQ Apodizing digital filter. Maximum resolution has also been upgraded to PCM 768 kHZ and DSD512. 

Lastly, if you’re an owner of the original Erco, you can send yours in to be upgraded to the 2nd generation for $195 plus one way shipping. And if you bought your first gen Erco after July 1 2023, you can get the upgrade for free. So if you feel like you need that upgraded performance on your DAC/Amp, that could be a great option. 

Sound Impressions:

Since the Erco 2nd Gen is billed as “Desktop High-End,” I wanted to try the DAC/Amp with an assortment of high end headphones. Before I get into each pairing and the specific sound I got from each headphone, I want to give a general overview of the sound you can expect. Out of the gate, I noticed that this amp is going for great detail retrieval while staying as transparent as possible. Some amps attempt to retrieve detail through an elevated high end or other alteration to the sound signature. Meanwhile Ferrum looks to reach this level of detail while staying neutral and natural. 

I started my listening with the Abyss Diana MR, a headphone that I find to be great at retrieving detail. What I immediately learned was that this pairing made for an incredibly precise listening experience. There was a great sense of separation in the low end. On a song like “Cranes in the Sky” by Solange where bass sounds can get a bit muddy, everything sounded punchy and well-separated. The mid-range was just as detailed and dynamic. Listening to “Nantes” by Beirut, I could hear a great sense in microdynamics as the audible difference in note hits came through. The top end was nice and sparkly, but like I said, this amp doesn’t get harsh or top end heavy. It just presents the details as they are in the track. 

Then I tried the Erco 2nd Gen out with the Focal Clear Mg. This headphone is a bit easier to drive, which gave me the opportunity to listen to the low gain mode. Uniformly, this amp stage is dead quiet no matter which gain setting it’s on. With the Clear MG, the most notable difference was a bit of a punchier, more dynamic bass response.

The midrange was clear and balanced with a somewhat softer top end. At this point I started to realize that this DAC/Amp will take you as far as your headphones will allow. For example, if you have bass-heavy headphones, the Erco 2nd Gen will give you the best, most detailed bass experience you can get in this price range. Likewise, if you want a more balanced experience, this amp can do that too. It will never hold your listening experience back, but it will take you as far as you’re willing to go. 

So with that in mind, I tried the Erco 2nd Gen with one more set of headphones: the Meze Liric II. This seemed to be an interesting comparison because the Liric II has such a unique sound signature. I was curious to see how the Erco 2nd Gen would handle its quirks. The Liric II has an engaging, warm-leaning sound and the Erco 2nd Gen reproduced its sound wonderfully. Bass was impactful and detail retrieval was top notch. On a track like “Overlord” by Dirty Projectors, I could hear great separation in vocal harmonies. Likewise snare drum hits were crisp and treble was present but not grating. 

It was with the Liric II that I realized the technical performance of the Erco 2 was the real deal. Soundstage was wide and expansive, with great vertical space and depth to go with its lateral spread. Imaging is accurate, though it doesn’t quite cross into that top-of-the-line spatial separation that can be had in products that are significantly more expensive than this device. 

Overall the sound on the Erco 2nd Gen is nothing short of impressive. For the price, it’s hard to think of a similar product that can produce detail the way this can. 

Ferrum Erco 2 from an angle

Final Thoughts:

At $1795, the Ferrum Erco 2nd Gen is a really nice entry to high-end audio. With great DAC performance and a powerful amplifier stage, you can get exceptional detail from this device. I’m pleased by the natural tonality and honest reproduction of audio. If you’ve already got a library of good recordings and a great set of headphones, the Erco 2nd gen could really do wonders for your system.

You can get the Ferrum Erco 2nd Gen at Audio46.

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