Petrat

EAR-Yoshino (Esoteric Audio Research)

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I've owned quite a lot of EAR gear over the years, and rate it most highly.

To start the thread, here's the first piece I bought ... the CLEAR kit from HiFi News.

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It had a passive line section (i.e. a Blue Alps potentiometer and switch) coupled with the EAR 834P mm phonostage.

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I had many years use out of it, and then decided to upgrade it for mc use. I remember taking it to the old Kimbolton factory after Tim had told me that he could install the necessary transformers in half an hour. Upon opening it, he gave me an incredulous look and asked "what monkey built this?" ... and then promptly confiscated it for 3 hours while he completely rebuilt it to his 'factory standards'!

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So, what's your experience of the 834P phono-stage, which I believe is EAR's best seller over the years?

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From the cheapest product that EAR ever made to their top-of-the-line valve amplifier.

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I owned a pair of the 509 amplifiers for quite a few years, and found them to be extremely capable when paired with some Neat Ultimatum MFS stand-mounters in a small room system.

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I bought them used, and when I took them to EAR for a service, Tim informed me that they were 23 years old and still had the original valves. He replaced a few caps and resistors and a couple of the small signal valves, and then told me they were good to go for another 20 years! The unusual circuit / transformers and sturdy valves certainly deliver both performance (see the specs http://www.ear-yoshino.com/products.php?catId=6# ) and longevity. However, like all power amps, it's all about their synergy with the speakers, and I found that, for some reason, they weren't so satisfying when paired with my big Tannoys ... otherwise I'd still have them.

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After the CLEAR, I moved on to the 864 pre-amp, which is, I believe, essentially the 834P phono-stage and the 834L line-stage in a fancy box. It also has some XLR connectors, via transformers, which I found useful in driving a pair of ATC active speakers. The combination worked surprisingly well, with the pre-amp giving a dose of 'body' to complement the ATC's hyper detail.

However, I found the move to the 868 to be a revelation ...

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The circuitry in this is a simplified version of the 'flagship' 912, using PCC88 valves and including the big MC3 mc transformers, plus remote control ... well, volume only!

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[ATTACH]10990[/ATTACH]

Had a pair of these for some 10 years,managed to sell them for more than I paid for them.Big improvement over the AI 800 amps they replaced,ran them through Snell J's,Impulse 4's,5's and 2's,apart from some resistors that burnt out and a valve change,worked perfectly over that time.

Also had an 834P phono stage for 6 months or so,did the tube swap thing,but was never real taken with it so moved it on.

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Are those the 519s ... the studio version of the 509s? Don't see many of those, as they seem to be 'keepers' for most owners.

The ones I always coveted were the 200 watt 549s. Not sure I could lift them, though.

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Yes,they were designed for rack mounting,the picture isn't mine,but the amps look like my old ones as they have some paint missing on the top edge above the E on the RH amp.They also have the silver handles with most being black and the captive mains leads are white,as fitted by Tom Evans when he serviced them for me.

Heard the 549's with Impulse H1's many moons ago,200watts into horns :shock:,worked a treat.

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My CD player is an Acute Mk1. I tend to play mostly vinyl having a large collection amassed over many years but I could easily live with the Acute as a sole source as it's a wonderfully sounding player.

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Always loved the Acute when I've heard it at shows. Isn't there a stand-alone DAC also?

Here's another shiny thing I owned for a while ... the MC4 SUT.

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I found it to be very useful / flexible with a wide range of cartridges, with a presentation that was essentially neutral when compared to other SUTs I tried.

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I hunted around for 2 years trying to find an MC4 to no avail,eventually had to settle for a Koetsu SUT which isn't any hardship.

Have listened to Ians Acute several times and like he say's,I could live with it,but I also much prefer vinyl.

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I believe the MC3 is the exact same transformer design, but with only three primary taps 10x, 20x, 30x ... missing the 6 Ohm one.

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Just bought myself the Head TX4 by Tim de Paravicini from Jag here on the WAM - does that count?

Agrail has some superb photos so here's the link: http://www.hifiwigwam.com/showthread.php?78229-Head-TX4-MC-cartridge-step-up-transformer-SUT-By-Tim-De-Pavaricini

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Just bought myself the Head TX4 by Tim de Paravicini from Jag here on the WAM - does that count?

Oh yes ... was this the only version of the Head? Someone on the wam was using one with an Io ... may have been a special version, though.

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What is surprising is the size of of the unit compared to other SUT I've seen and the enclosure is extremely deep. My cinemag's are tiny in comparison.

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Here's my current power amp.

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Like all of TdP's products I have owned, it has proven totally reliable and sounds fantastic. Just the right blend of technical accuracy and good tone from the EL34s. Love it with my Tannoys, although it does give off quite a bit of heat.

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And finally ... a few pictures of my 859 integrated.

This is a very fine amplifier, which seems really gutsy for a mere 13 watts output.

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