EAR 834 deluxe too thin – Gold Note PH 10 as a solution?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by zeitlos, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    My current phono pre amp is the EAR 834. Until yesterday, I was in love with it ;).

    I got to hear a Keces ephono, which is only about 700 Euro here in Germany including a separate Power Unit. Compared to my EAR 834 (having Gold Lion tubes) it plays completely different. More volume/capacity, (much) more bass, you can hear the instruments a lot more etc.
    However, what is missing, the voice. The voice is a little bit in the background. That's what I like about my EAR. Still I was surprised how thin my EAR sounds compared to this preamp.

    My dealer also has the Gold Note PH 10. So maybe this is the solution? What I'm looking for is basically the combination of the EAR (voice) and Gold Note (Instruments) however, focus still on the voice.

    Anyone who had a chance to hear the Gold Note PH 10, maybe even in comparison to the EAR 834?

    Every contribution is highly appreciated! :)

    P.S. My setup: Unison Simply Two, (EAR 834 deluxe), Clearaudio Concept Dark Wood, Dynavector 10x5 NEO
     
    Echoes Myron likes this.
  2. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Fwiw I enjoy the 834p with some NOS Philips tubes and one of the stock jj still in place. I also tried my Gold Lions but did not like them at all in this application. Flat and dark sounding.

    I think it would be a shame to just toss the 834p aside without rolling some different tubes to find what you are looking for. The unit really responds to different tubes.
     
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  3. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Thank you for you reply! Hm, maybe it's really the tubes?

    I had the Heed Quasar 3 against the 834p before I bought it and they were not that different, except for the Quasar to have more bass and being deeper while the EAR featured voice and was more differentiated. This was with the old tubes.

    Then I bought the new ones. Now testing the Keces against the EAR I'm very surprised about them being that different. I have to say that I bought the EAR and shortly after changed the old tubes against the new ones (Gold Lion) since I was told that they are best.

    Can you provide me with any concrete suggestions which tubes to try in the EAR? This seems like a kind of science for me and since I'm relatively new I cannot really say where to go or which ones to buy.

    Thanks a lot for your help! I appreciate it!
     
    G B Kuipers likes this.
  4. spartree

    spartree Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    If you want a weightier sound with smooth vocals I would try some NOS Mullard CV4004 Box Plate tubes. When I put these in my old preamp to replace the stock JJ’s the change was very noticeably better. No loss of detail, but the sound got more full and 3D. Vocals became super smooth. I really like those tubes.
     
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  5. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    Did you compare the phono stages in the same system, in the same room, or with the same headphones? Did you use the same records?
     
  6. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Yes. Everything identical. Listening to them again right now. I'm really astonished to find them playing that differently. Since difference are so huge I wonder whether tubes alone will make up for the difference, epically the missing bass.
     
    4011021 likes this.
  7. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    I have no experience with tubes, but usually the phono stage makes the biggest difference in a good vinyl system.
     
  8. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Current production tubes aren't the best at anything. Get some great NOS tunes which should have a terrific impact on the sound.

    I believe the EAR 834P uses 12AX7s, correct? If so, a relatively cheap upgrade would be to get some 1950s RCA black-plated tubes. They'll definitely help in the bass department and give you a thicker warmer sound (so to speak). Also, they have a nice 3D quality to them.
     
  9. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Thanks! I will definitely give it a try. Currently I have those ones in my EAR:

    Gold Lion 12AX7 / ECC83 Genalex / Russia - Vorstufenröhren:

    I was told by my dealer that those are the best ones right now... but that seems to be not the case.


    And this is my EAR: EAR 834P Deluxe Phono Vorverstärker kaufen | Jetzt bei FONO.DE

    Still, for someone who's not familiar with all the brands, versions etc. it's hard to find a suitable 1950s RCA black-plated tube since I don't know which one might be a good choice. However, I will do my best and try to succeed.

    Thank you a lot for your assistance. I appreciate it.
     
  10. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Sounds good. For a more affordable choice, the OP could try Philips or Philips Miniwatt ecc83. Siemens ecc83 from the 1980s should be great and affordable too.
     
    Encore likes this.
  11. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Oh, rolling different tubes in the 834p can make a far greater difference than comparing entirely different preamps. For better or worse, ha ha.
     
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  12. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    So anyone who can provide me with a specific link or so that showcases a lens you would buy? :) Sorry, as I said, when I google your suggestions lots of different sites pop up with tons of further (confusing) information. Not good for a relatively newbie like me ;). More bass and a fuller sound would be the aim. Currently the voice is great but instruments are really subdued and the bass virtually non-existent! :(

    Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate it!
     
  13. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Don't trust dealers. Aside from a couple of exceptions who generously post on this forum, they're almost all dishonest to some degree. It makes sense as they want to sell what they have.

    Having said that, maybe among current production tubes, they sound good to some but the difference between current production and NOS tubes is so utterly significant that I'd strongly suggest you concentrate on getting some high-quality NOS tubes that'll give you the sound you want.

    There are a few you could look into ;

    - Telefunken smooth plates
    - RCA long black plates
    - Mullard from the Blackburn factory
    - and more...

    Each will give you a different presentation but I strongly suspect you'll enjoy them much more than you do with your current tubes.

    Here are some impressions for you to read about ; Which 12AX7 tubes for EAR 834P phono stage? | Audiogon Discussion Forum
     
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  14. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
  15. gov

    gov Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    Slightly off topic but if you like Unison gear did you look at his phono stage? Curious if you did what your thoughts were. I have a Heed Quasar 3 and I’m looking to move up.

    I’ll agree with others in tube rolling could be just the ticket and I’d do as suggested before ditching the unit. The differences between tubes is not insignificant and one of the more fun (and maddening) aspects.
     
  16. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    I have heard that the ecc83 tubes don't have to be matched for the 834P. Makes things a little easier. Search for RTF, Siemens or Philips ecc83 tubes. More reasonably priced than Mullards.
     
  17. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denmark
    I own the 834P, and I wouldn’t call it thin at all, so I would also point to the tubes. You can really tailor its sound with tube rolling. For a very balanced and really good sounding tube (i.e. not up there with the very best and most expensive but it does everything very good) that doesn’t break the bank, try this:
    NOS Tube Store: NEC 12AX7 / ECC83 Japan

    I have bought from nostubestore several times and have received excellent products and good service from Koray who runs it.
     
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  18. spartree

    spartree Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    There are some good sites in the US, but you will get hit with VAT and a trip to the customs office in Germany. eBay is always going to be a gamble unless buying from a very reputable seller who specializes in tubes. The decent vendors I have found here in Europe also happen to be based in Germany:
    Welcome to JACMUSIC
    Onlineshop Startseite Tube Amp Doctor Onlineshop

    You can contact Jacmusic directly and have a chat about what they can offer for your EAR.
     
  19. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Yes, tubes can be quite confusing. What it says on the glass isn't necessarily true. For instance, I've seen some "Made in USA" tubes that are from Holland and "Made in Holland" ones that were manufactured in the US.That's why it's important to do your research and buy from a reputed tube source who knows his stuff inside-out.

    These are part of the second line of productions for the Blackburn factory in the UK. They are essentially identical in construction but have yellow print instead of white. They are the real deal so you can buy these if you'd like to give them a try.

    That is up to your own personal tastes. Mullards have a reputation for having quite pleasant mids and a blooming bass so you'll probably end with more bass and a more organic midrange. My experience with them is they'll have a slightly rolled-off high-end. It can be pleasing if you already have a bright system that you'd like to tame a little bit but if you like to have tons of high-end because you find it "clear", that might bug you a little bit.

    Unfortunately, there's no way to know whether you'll fall in love with them unless you give them a try. Not only do we practically all have different systems but we're in different rooms and listening through different sets of ears with different tastes. You could always check to see if it's possible to do a return if you don't love them. Some sources will allow that with a restocking fee. It's better than being out 100% of the price of a set of tubes you dislike, though.

    As for matching, as @G B Kuipers mentioned, they don't need to be matched which should lower the price a bit. The only thing a mismatched set will do (assuming they all currently test at NOS ratings or thereabouts) is that each tube will likely get used up at different rates. Of course, the same thing can happen with matched sets anyway but theoretically, there's a higher chance it'll happen with a mismatched set.

    That isn't inherently a big problem. It's just that unless you have a tube tester, you won't really know which tube is at fault for not sounding right until you try a new 12AX7 into each slot, one at a time. Only then will you be able to identify the older "out of breath" tube, so to speak.

    By the way, your profile is rather empty. For instance, there's no mention of what amp you're using, etc. Filling it out might help us assist you better.
     
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  20. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denmark
    I bought the Brimar CV4004 from tangotubes: TangoTubes.com (scroll down). They have a warmer sound but otherwise with just as a big a sound as the tube I suggested from nostubestore and yet without a sense of sounding dark—somehow they manage to sound detailed AND warm, just like it’s usually said about NOS Mullards . I haven't compared them to any of those so maybe I don’t know what I’m missing but I find these Brimars excellent.
     
  21. Roycer

    Roycer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wyoming
    you might talk to @Kiko1974 he seems to know about this phono even his is clone I believe he rolls a lot of tubes..
     
  22. Andy Saunders

    Andy Saunders Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    l too can only echo these thoughts, my friend has the 834P ( original tubes) and it is one of the fullest sounding phono amps l have heard, l also used to own a EAR/Yoshino 802 pre-amp and this too was extremely full sounding.:)
     
    zeitlos likes this.
  23. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Thank you very much for all your answers. Wow, very helpful. I appreciate it. Will have to check all your advises and get back to you.

    I'm also puzzled. When I bought it, I tested it agains the Heed Quasar 3 and they sounded almost the same. Now when testing it against the Keces Ephono there seem to be "worlds" between those two models. Maybe something is wrong with the tubes? Or maybe something has got broken. Will take it to my dealer tomorrow, the one who sold me the tubes. Maybe he's got some advice. I know that the EAR doesn't offer as much bass as the Heed. However, now I'm really confused since you can sometimes hardly hear instruments like the contrabass when the Keces provides a really deep going tone.

    Normally my dealer (who doesn't offer EAR) says that those EARs are full sounding. Anyone here who had a chance to listen to the Keces? probably you can't get more for the money but still the EAR shouldn't be that much inferior in some respects (fullness etc.)
     
  24. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Sounds like one of your tubes is malfunctioning.
     
  25. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    How long ago did you buy your EAR 834P? How many hours do you use it a week? Perhaps one or more tubes have aged to the point where they need to be changed.

    Or, as @G B Kuipers pointed out, one of the tubes might be defective. Multiple tubes being defective simultaneously would be too much of a coincidence so if you have any spares lying around, you could switch them up one at a time to verify whether that is the case.
     

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