E.A.R. 534 Tube Amp ($6,400) Review on Positive Feedback

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Positive Feedback Online has reviewed the E.A.R. 534 stereo tube power amplifier ($6,400). According to reviewer Robert H. Levi:

This EL 34 loaded stereo amp runs in pure Class A 100% of the time, operates in push pull tetrode, has auto bias, and has dual volume controls. It features single ended or balanced inputs and may be switched to monoblock operation. It has 4/8 ohm taps as well. It is 100% tubes. It produces 50+ watts on demand…probably more.

Regarding the sound, Mr. Levi states:

I have auditioned EL34 tube amps for 45 years and the 534 is more musically convincing, more detailed, more harmonious, more linear, more transparent than any other design of similar ilk at any price. This is the most perfect 50 watt-er yet achieved and I’ve heard pretty close to all of them.

As is his tendency, Mr. Levi comments on the effect of accessories:

Thick or lean sounding cables will make the 534 sound thick or lean. It needs top quality isolation and support, too. By putting it on an ordinary stand with just some soft-shoes under it, it sounded rather thick and slightly tubey. With aluminum cones, it was faster and rather thin. With the Marigo feet, it was just right.

Read the entire review. Note the reviewer purchased the review sample, which is pretty rare (although reviewers talk about doing it all the time).