C. Crane CC-EP Pro AM/FM Analog-tuned Radio
Addendum To Review For 9/10 K revised Model August 31, 2018 & July 2020
There have been several updates of the CC-EP-Pro and it has been improved over the original model. You can identify updated units it by the presence of an additional slide switch on the rear panel beneath the Ext/Int Antenna switch, and it is labelled 9K/10KHz, and the presence of a Tune LED at the right end of the dial.
Since the EP-Pro is a DSP tuned radio, that means that, unlike a true analog radio such as the original CC-EP, the EP-Pro tunes in distinct steps. The addition of the 9K/10K switch allows the radio to be used in countries where 9K spacing is used. Another improvement is that this has resulted in the elimination of the false tuning peaks on AM which I reported on in the original review and which is discussed in the Owner’s Manual. On this latest version the radio actually appears to tune in precise 10 Hz increments and there are NO false peaks between stations…if you hear a station, the radio is properly tuned. This is a major improvement.
That is all well and good, but as they say…”Wait…there’s more!”
Later, a Tune Led was added to aid tuning.
Finally, this newest version has more gain at the top end of the AM band, which means that very weak signals will come in more loudly…yet another improvement.
I’m glad to see that C. Crane is working to continually evolve and improve their products…the EP-Pro is indeed today’s Superadio and it merits your serious consideration.
Below is the original review which still holds true other than the enhancements mentioned above.
Several years ago, C. Crane landed a blockbuster with their introduction of the analog-tuned CC-EP AM/FM Radio. Selling for about half the price of their flagship CC Radio (currently the CC-3 and CC-2E) it offered overall performance very close to the best available and was simple to operate. Just like radios of old the EP featured a large slide rule dial with simple controls. But unlike many of those older portable radios, the EP offered several advantages, such as a beefy Twin Coil Antenna for top reception, a special Fine-Tuning Knob to optimize that antenna circuit for certain stations, a brightly lit dial that could be left on full time if desired even when running on batteries (a very rare feature), rich sound quality, dual AM bandwidths and top AM sensitivity. FM reception was very good but not exceptional.
But all good things come to an end and so did a critical chip without which the EP could no longer be made. But C. Crane’s founder and President Bob Crane is not one to give up so easily. Working with top designers he found a more advanced DSP chip which could be used to make a new EP…the EP Pro. The new radio looks externally like the original model, the only give-aways are a very slightly lighter color, the 9/10 KHs switch on the back and the EP Pro label on the front. But inside the EP Pro is all new…a completely different circuit design, and in the important areas of performance – AM/FM reception and sound quality, it is a definite step forward. The EP Pro is not perfect…no radio is. It has its quirks so there are a few tips and tricks you need to know in order to coax the best performance this new radio is capable of, and we’ll discuss those in detail.
The basics are mostly identical to the original CC-EP.
AM: 520 – 1710 KHz with 9/10 KHz Tuning Steps
FM: 87.5 – 108 MHz (Stereo at Earphone Out jack)
Power: 4 D cells or included AC Power Supply
5” Speaker/2 Watts Power Output
Controls: On/Off Switch, Volume & Tuning knobs, AM/FM/FM Stereo switch, Twin Coil Antenna Fine Tune knob, Light switch, Aux Antenna Switch, 9/10 KHz switch
Antennas: AM – 7.9” Twin Coil/ FM – 36” Whip
AM antenna input: Spring clips (high impedance)
FM antenna input: 75 Ohm F Connector
AM Bandwidth: Wide (Music) 6 KHz, Narrow (Voice) 2.5 KHz
Earphone & Line In Jacks: 3.5mm/1/8” Stereo
DC Input Barrel Connector 6 V Center Negative
Dimensions: 11.4″ W x 7.3″ H (8.4″ H with handle) x 2.75″ D
Weight 3.1 lbs
Performance: The word here is “improved”. The new EP Pro provides excellent AM and FM reception. On a direct comparison with my original EP the AM is slightly improved, and the FM is much improved to the point where both AM and FM now run neck and neck with my reference radios. I did several midday and night time band scans over a period of several days, logging every AM and FM signal I could receive, and in terms of sensitivity, selectivity and noise floor the EP Pro proved to be a top performer, continuing the tradition of a modern day Superadio. Sound is also satisfying for this price and size – in fact its AM sound is noticeably improved over the old model with extended high frequency response. In the Music position (Wide bandwidth AM mode) the sound is very FM-like with extended and clear high frequencies you may not be used to hearing from your favorite AM stations. Even in the Voice (Narrow bandwidth) setting, the clarity on AM is excellent.
In Use: The EP Pro is designed to be simple to operate as was the previous model. Simple controls like old-school analog radios…the only additional control is the Twin Coil Fine Tuning knob. Note: The EP-Pro has evolved into an improved version which eliminates one problem with original production units – false peaks while tuning. With the introduction of the 9/10 KHz switch, these were eliminated as the radio now tunes in precise 9 or 10Khz increments. However one idiosyncrasy remains – muting while tuning (only on AM).
This muting silences the radio when you tune at normal speed. There is no sound until you STOP tuning which means if you tune quickly across the dial you may hear nothing. The secret is to tune SLOWLY. What I found is that it is best to tune the dial to approximately the frequency I am looking for, then tune very slowly until I hear the station. This is easier to do than to describe but initially it really threw me…I thought the radio wasn’t working.
Twin Coil Fine Tune Knob: Another point worth mentioning is that it is usually worth experimenting with that Fine Tune knob to peak the signal. I often found that I could improve reception with this
control…simply leaving it in the center detent position is fine for casual use and stronger signals but for any signal that is not perfect I recommend you try that control. Sometimes the improvement will be dramatic.
AC Adapter: I initially received two radios to evaluate and it’s lucky that I did because I discovered a quality control issue with the AC power supply…the first one was noise-free as it should be but the second one was very noisy. I notified C. Crane about this and they have promised to correct the problem before the unit goes on sale. I mention this only so that if you happen to receive a noisy AC Adapter that you should notify C. Crane so they can replace it with a quiet one. (They have since assured me that noisy one was a very rare occurrence and buyers should expect theirs to be OK).
One other comment: The radio makes a popping noise when first turned on. In my use this doesn’t bother me – I hardly gave it a thought, but, for example, if the radio were on your nightstand the pop might bother a person sleeping next to you. C.Crane says they are working to resolve this issue.
Conclusion: I have reported a few quirks but I don’t want them to overshadow what I feel is overall an excellent performing radio, especially for the price. After exhaustive tests and comparisons, I can say that although the CC-EP Pro is not a true analog-tuned radio, it offers reception which is as good as it gets in this class…this and the top of the line CC-2E/CC-3 are both top tier performers. At the price of $89.99 the CC-EP Pro represents the best reception and sound available for the price…and even at double the price. It is a bargain.
Available At C. Crane – https://www.ccrane.com/item/rad_ccradio_cepro/999/ccradio-ep_pro