Esoteric Audio Research has long been considered the starting place for affordable, yet high-performance, vacuum-tubed audio electronics, and deservedly so. The 834P Phono stage (shown at left) is still our first recommendation for tubed phono sections under $2000. The 834P and its matching linestage preamplifier, the 834L (shown below) are case studies in simple, clean design and engineering: a straightforward, no-frills circuit, well-implemented, and housed in a sturdy metal box. No bells and whistles. No distractions from their purpose: better sound.
When folks are making that initial foray into high end tube gear, this is where we send them. The 834P comes in a few flavors now, with options tailored to your needs (and budget). The standard configuration ($1,695.00) is ideal for moving magnet cartridges. Should you need more gain for lower-output moving coils, however, the next model up ($1,895.00) has a simple button on the rear panel that toggles between high gain (for low-output cartridges) and less gain (for high-output cartridges).
A deluxe version of the 834P ($2,595.00) features several internal upgrades as well as a chrome faceplate (like that shown at the bottom of this page). A volume knob may also be added to any of the 834P models for further control of output. (If you already have a phono stage but need extra gain to accomodate a low-output moving coil cartridge EAR also makes the superb MC4 Step-up Transformer, shown at top right, for $2,295.00.) The 834L Linestage is another example of simple, effective design and construction. All that's present on the front panel are (from left) an input selector knob (5 line inputs as well as tape in-and-out), the tape monitor switch, a high-quality volume control, and an on-off switch. That's it. No EQ buttons, no bass booster, no remote control sensor, no tiny buttons to initiate by accident, in fact, nothing you don't need, but everything you do. In tandem with the 834P you have a full-function preamplification system that's the perfect complement to any amplifier (tubed or solid-state) and flexible enough to accomodate virtually any configuration of 2-channel sources. Along with that, the 834L has enough output to drive longer interconnects between it and an amplifier, in case your situation demands placing the amp farther away than may be otherwise ideal (this isn't the case with many lesser preamplifiers on the market). Like the 834P, the 834L is available in either standard model in plain black (as shown at right - $1,895.00) or deluxe edition with chrome faceplate and gold-finished knobs ($2,795.00). Either way - highly recommended!
EAR 834P Phono Stage (moving magnet only) in black: $1,695.00

EAR 834P Phono Stage (moving coil/moving magnet) in black: $1,895.00

EAR 834P Deluxe Phono Stage (moving coil/moving magnet) in chrome: $2,595.00

EAR 834L Linestage Preamplifier in black: $1,895.00

EAR 834L Deluxe Linestage Preamplifier in chrome: $2,795.00

EAR MC4 Step-up Transformer in chrome: $2,295.00

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