John Wilder at C. Crane was kind enough to exchange my second defective CCRadio-EP that came from Amazon. I have received the tested, replacement unit. My initial assessment of this one is that it is very good.
The AM reception is excellent (at least as good as the first unit I had). It easily picks up the LAX TIS station on 530 kHz, and is slightly more sensitive than my PR-D5. The twin-coil fine tuning control has a substantial effect on some signals, and its action seems more symmetrical than with the other two units.
The FM reception is not in the same league as the CCRadio-SW, but it is good (the first unit was distorted on all stations; the second unit was very insensitive, unable to pick up any but the strongest stations). One issue is that the FM tuning is pretty touchy, much more so than the AM tuning -- it requires the dexterity of a safe cracker. At least this CCRadio-EP picks up the stations I want to listen to on FM. Having a tilting and rotating FM whip antenna is useful, especially for difficult signals.
The dial calibration is good; it reads a little low on AM, but is somewhat more accurate on FM.
Cosmetically, this replacement unit looks very good. The main tuning knob turns easily, and has no play in it like the first unit did. The twin-coil fine tuning knob rubbed slightly on the case, but this was easily remedied by pulling the knob out slightly (I think the first unit had this issue as well).
If you want an inexpensive radio that is an excellent performer on AM, I can definitely recommend the CCRadio-EP. Just keep in mind the comments of others regarding the radio's performance in close proximity to AM transmitters. I live in Simi Valley, so this is not an issue for me.
For FM it's not quite as compelling, but it's certainly more than adequate enough for my purposes.
As with the two defective units, the sound quality is quite good, and the full range bass and treble controls allow reasonable tailoring of the sound. On AM, the CCR-EP sounds far better than the PR-D5 (it's not even close). I think I even prefer it over the CCRadio-SW on AM. On FM, the latter sounds better to me, as it's capable of more powerful and deeper bass.
I find that having analog tuning (continuously adjustable) is a plus for receiving AM IBOC (digital) signals like KFI. On my PR-D5 and CCRadio-SW, there is a hiss that can't be tuned out on KFI. With the CCRadio-EP, careful tuning and adjustment of the twin-coil knob can minimize the hiss.
In any case, it seems that the key to receiving a good CCRadio-EP is getting a tested unit from C. Crane.