Holy thread rivival BATMAN!
The LTD EC1000's I've played are really nice guitars. Of the 3 only 1 was not quite that great, but it was used and had old strings and in need of a proper setup. The other 2, one was new and one used but in great shape. Playability is great on the those LTD's, smoother and easier compared to most Gibson imo. The finshing on them is great, much better than what you'll find on an Epiphone, and even better than over half of the new Gibson LP's I've tried. Gibson has very hit and miss quality for the high prices. The LTD line really amazes me given the consistency of quality for their price.
I just bought an LTD Elite Eclipse 1. I went to Sweetwater in Ft. Wayne, IN and played and compared it to 2 ESP Eclipse II Standards. The LTD Elite is on par with the ESP Standards. I preferred the Elite over the Standards. It just played better, and with it's passive Duncan pup's it even sounded better. Remember the non Japanese built LTD EC's to the Elite and Standards, yes, there is a difference. The Elite and Standards sound richer, as I'm sure better wood is selected for those. But really, the LTD's are great guitars and use nearly the same hardware and electronics.
The real question is not whether there is a difference, because there is. The question is whether a $1950 Eclipse II Standard is worth that cost over an $850 EC1000 series LTD? That's 2 LTD's and change left for new pups vs 1 Standard. Hard sell there. Luckily, ESP has now lowered their pricing on the ESP E-II line, which is formerly the Standard line. So now, for the Eclipse/EC, it's $850 for an LTD or $1500 for an ESP passive pup E-II Eclipse-1 or $1700 for an EMG Eclipse-2.
The E-II's are lower cost, but that's still 2 EC's for 1 EMG E-II Eclipse 2.