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EAR Yoshino 834L Deluxe Preamp Review

Rate this preamp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 162 60.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 59 22.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 37 13.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 10 3.7%

  • Total voters
    268

JiiPee

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True, have any double blind tests between valve and solid state amps been conducted? I wonder how open those who believe in valves are to such tests (perhaps you need a selection of people who believe they can hear the difference, and prefer the perceived difference of valves over ss)
If I remember correctly, Peter Walker of Quad fame once arranged a carefully constructed blind listening test between a tube amp and an ss amp. The panel was made from studio professionals and musicians. The conclusion was that no difference could be detected between two well-designed amplifiers regardless of the type (tube or ss), as long as the amplifiers were operated within their design parameters (i.e. not clipping).
 

Digby

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Any links or, failing that, brief summary of the results?

The conclusion was that no difference could be detected between two well-designed amplifiers regardless of the type (tube or ss), as long as the amplifiers were operated within their design parameters (i.e. not clipping).
Interesting, so the 'warmth' of tubes is, as far as that tests goes, inaudible? If we take it as the last word of the matter, then I suppose ss is superior, unless you are after an expensive radiator/stereo combo.
 

lashto

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First question is, can the distortion actually be heard? That's an important baseline before chasing emulation.
I guess you know the main 'trouble' here: John's SINAD60 is ~never the same as Mary's SINAD60. And noone can say for sure for any device unless they do a dedicated DBT. A seriously expensive proposition in this case.

OTOH, there is a well organized DBT by Archimago that seems to say "yes audible".
Tube-like distortion (i.e. H2 & H3) was added at about -75THD, a distortion level much lower and much less audible than most tube devices.
Result: it was audible .. and 'surprise', it was also preferred by most testers
 

fpitas

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Tube-like distortion (i.e. H2 & H3) was added at about -75THD
Well...some tube amps, at least. Some tested here have a spray up to high harmonics.
 

fpitas

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it was also preferred by most testers
I have to think that's entirely dependent on the music and recording. Just a guess.
 
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JiiPee

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Any links or, failing that, brief summary of the results?


Interesting, so the 'warmth' of tubes is, as far as that tests goes, inaudible? If we take it as the last word of the matter, then I suppose ss is superior, unless you are after an expensive radiator/stereo combo.
My own unscientific analysis is that price and convenience aspects favor ss technology, but on the other hand, it is possible to achieve good enough sonic performance using tube technology. If one is willing to invest a bit more money and TLC to an amplifier for aesthetical, sentimental, or whatever reasons, it does not necessarily mean compromising sound quality.
 

SIY

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Any links or, failing that, brief summary of the results?


Interesting, so the 'warmth' of tubes is, as far as that tests goes, inaudible? If we take it as the last word of the matter, then I suppose ss is superior, unless you are after an expensive radiator/stereo combo.
Frequency response differences dominate. You can go back to Lipshitz/Vanderkooy 40 years ago for early comparisons. Of course, tube amps were part of the Clark amplifier challenge. Stereophile even did one. I did one with preamps shortly after the original Lipshitz/Vanderkooy papers to prove them wrong and, unfortunately, I was the one who was wrong.:D @levimax did a power amp comparison here.
Interesting, so the 'warmth' of tubes is...
...a complete myth, unsupported by data. Amusingly, Gordon Holt used to describe the differences between tube and solid state amplification the opposite way- tube amps were "forward, bright, alive."
 

lashto

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Well...some tube amps, at least. Some tested here have a spray up to high harmonics.
my bad, guess I could have been more clear. The added HD was H2&H3 dominated, otherwise the typical tube spray in "gradually decreasing fashion". The -75dB samples were everyone's darling.
I have to think that's entirely dependent on the music and recording. Just a guess.
the 4 samples were somewhat classical-biased: classical piano piece + classical string trio + Jennifer Warnes + Hootie&Blowfish.
Generically speaking I guess you are right, the audibility/preference is a dependency-freakshow: on HD level and spectra, on music type and tester's familiarity with it, on tester's experience with HD, possibly even things like time-of-day/mood/humidity/etc..

Doesn't matter much though: a single test like that is enough to prove that statements like "distortion is always bad" are false.
Unfortunately, not even DBTs can stop people from posting that kind of "absolute distortion hate" over and over ...
 
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lashto

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SINAD is a single number taken at a single frequency, not particularly useful in this context.
.. a very nice way of saying it's useless :)

and some million$ Qs: why do so many people care so much about useless numbers? And how can we have less posts crying about invisible "tube distortion factories"?

A single tube (review) thread without factories would be quite nice...
 
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DualTriode

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Hello All,

After a point the amplifier distortion becomes academic and the speaker distortion becomes dominate.

In my experience amplitude modulation side bands (Intermodulation Distortion) are far more offensive to my ears than HD.

See the Two Tone test posted as an illustration below. The Two Tone test, one 300Hz tone and the other tone 2500Hz both played at 2.83 volts.

You can see the two test tones and stair stepping harmonics at 5k, 7.5k.

You can also see IMD side band distortion peaks at 2500Hz, 5000Hz, 7500Hz and on up the stair steps.

This is all very much audible distortion; not amplifier distortion but speaker distortion.

So as to not gore anyone's ox the speaker is a discontinued Scan Speak P17WJ-00-08 in a sealed 0.55 cubic foot enclosure.

Thanks DT

two-tone-300-2500-fft-spectrum-png.1161618


Lab grade tools: APx555, APx1701 and AP426M16 microphone
 
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amirm

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After a point the amplifier distortion becomes academic and the speaker distortion becomes dominate.
And the reverse. Push noise and hum into a speaker and you will hear it. Push the amp to clipping point and you will hear it. Screw up the frequency response and you will hear it. Distortion in speakers is also dominated in bass. Distortion in electronics can be full spectrum and heavily high frequency dominated. Again, audible.

Here is a double blind test of amps showing audible difference despite said speakers: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ts-did-show-amplifiers-to-sound-different.23/

i-NVbTMcL-XL.png


Don't go convincing yourself with paper napkin analysis.
 
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amirm

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The DUT in this thread is built to a price point with specific technology to meet a specified level of performance that is the engineering or design goal. The question to be answered with the bench test tools is: “is the design goal met”? That is engineering.

So in this case was the design met? Yes!
How do you know the design goals? Company provides no specifications. It does say this:

"Incredibly compact valve pre-amplifier for analogue line level. Using three ECC88s to create smooth sound. "

You have measurements to prove that it created "smooth sound?" Or that it is "incredibly compact?"

This is stated by one of their retailers:

"Designed by Tim de Paravicini in his usual robust style, the EAR 834L is the perfect match for any high end system, whether biased towards analogue or digital. The electronic architecture is minimalist, so that the absolute minimum sonic degradation takes place. "

Was the bolded design goal? If so, it was clearly missed by a mile.

We don't even know if the designer had any goals. For all we know, it is all based on beliefs implemented in a piece of audio gear.

As I and others have said that if they stated exactly what they built, and provide measurements of the same, there wouldn't be much uproar. Or much sale for that matter and hence the reason they don't do it.
 

lashto

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And the reverse. Push noise and hum into a speaker and you will hear it. Push the amp to clipping point and you will hear it. Screw up the frequency response and you will hear it. Distortion in speakers is also dominated in bass. Distortion in electronics can be full spectrum and heavily high frequency dominated. Again, audible.

Here is a double blind test of amps showing audible difference despite said speakers: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ts-did-show-amplifiers-to-sound-different.23/
...
What is the main difference between 'audiophiles' who yell that everything sounds different and 'engineers' who yell that everything sounds the same?
Don't know but both are same as annoying :)
 

AnalogSteph

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In my experience amplitude modulation side bands (Intermodulation Distortion) are far more offensive to my ears than HD.
Of course. It just turns out HD is generally correlated to IMD and can serve as a decent enough stand-in, especially if it's a traditional (non-PWM) amplifier with distortion that is largely constant across the band. Multitone is generally better though.
 

DualTriode

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I imagine that test was quite loud and quite irritating. :)
Yes, hearing protection is required.

You will be seeing this type of two tone test more often.

Google a couple of Purifi driver data sheets to take a look see.

Thanks DT
 

DSJR

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I had a go at the mid 80's worshipped (by UK reviewer Martin Colloms and others) ARC preamps (SP8 mainly) and even that one managed distortion in the upper 80's region, along with high output capability. I'm ignoring the subjective puff here.

The lucrative far east was the market products like this E.A.R was aimed at and now the main man has sadly passed, I suspect it'll remain a profitable niche while people still want the stuff.
 

stumat

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If I remember correctly, Peter Walker of Quad fame once arranged a carefully constructed blind listening test between a tube amp and an ss amp. The panel was made from studio professionals and musicians. The conclusion was that no difference could be detected between two well-designed amplifiers regardless of the type (tube or ss), as long as the amplifiers were operated within their design parameters (i.e. not clipping).
I've been trying to find that article for some years. I think it was in HFNRR.
 

DSJR

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I've been trying to find that article for some years. I think it was in HFNRR.
At one of the UK shows, Quad had a display with a pair of II's, a 303 and a 405-2 all wired up to some decent headphones (could have been Stax, but I'm going back forty years or more). Music was nicely recorded light stuff (nothing full on or heavy I admit) and yes, in that show dem, the three amps did all sound the same! I don't have a 405-2 here, but my rebuilt II's (one blew up so both were sympathetically restored) and good working 303 do actually 'sound' very similar indeed (no level matching, so just a subjectivist vibe). of course, a 606 family amp 'would' be better, but that's on the music I play, the power increase especially at 4 ohms the 606 and descendants amp gives over the earlier ones which safety-limit into lower impedances.

I just remember in an interview (I think reprinted in their coffee-table book) where PJW states he listebed for distortions and similar in the development of his earlier amps and fine tuned the designs to move said distortions well away from the audio band as much as possible (components were more limited back then). I also now more fully understand why the 33 preamp was so band-limited (to protect the 303 and especially their '57' speakers from damage with vinyl sources rumbling all over the place) - my 33 is 'dada' updated apart from gain changes and it's great with smaller speakers...

Trying to steer back on thread course - I remember someone commenting that the Quad 44 preamp (not sure which version as they changed/evolved a couple of times during production) actually 'sounded' very like an E.A.R. 834L... o_O
 
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