My EAR++ just arrived - first impression.
Mar 11, 2006 at 10:08 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 31

replytoken

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Posts
753
Likes
10
The post office just delivered my EAR++ Custom from Dr. Lloyd! Its certainly smaller than I expected, and thats a good thing. The build quality looks great, and Dr. Lloyd packed it well for the journey. I just hooked it up to my home system and my first impressions are very different from what I expected. My current Rega amp is a bit more restrained than my former Jolida tube amp with respect to bass and warmth, and I thought the EAR would bring back some of what I lost. Currently, its delivering a very broad soundstage and amazing vocals. The bass is there, but at this time, its also very restrained, and that could be due to the Rega since the HD-600's seemed to have it when I plugged them directly into the EAR. I know this unit can take up to 300 hours for everything to fully come together (I was warned about the very long time for the Black Gate caps to sound their best), so I will be very curious to see what changes I am able to notice over time. I would also imagine that a bit of tube rolling can tweak the sound, but I initially need some time to appreciate the amp in its stock form.

Headroom's Micro w/DM delivered pronounced bass to the Rega when I tried it out as a preamp a few months ago, but the EAR's bass is more restrained in combination with it. Its certainly raises questions about the whole concept of what is appropriate bass, and I am gaining an appreciation for just how many different ways equipment can deliver up a source.

Pairing the Rega and the EAR is kind of like fixing up your friend with that really cute person you heard so much about and just met. You may have had an idea of how things would turn out, but its really not for you to say. So, you just watch things develop and see what comes of it, knowing that you had the best of intentions when you introduced them. I was taken by surprise by the EAR, not in a bad way, just in that it sounded different than my expectations.

I'll write more later, since its almost impossible to say anything of value about how the unit sounds with my fun meter currently pegged at "11". In the mean time, the wait is over. Thank you, Dr. Lloyd!
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 10:42 AM Post #2 of 31

pageman99

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 7, 2006
Posts
607
Likes
13
I've got about 300 hours on my Ear+ HD Purist and it's still opening up. Bass as well as overall harmonics continue to get better. Richer and more resonant is the best way to describe it. Sibilance will continue to decrease for you throughout break in as well.

Used to be that a good solid state amp seemed to have tighter bass in direct comparisons. Now it's very close with the tightness, but the Purist has SS beat for detail (surprisingly!), sweetness and harmonics. This is a very pure, sweet sounding amp.

BTW tube rolling makes a huge difference in sound. The fundamental accuracy and purity always remains but the sonic character changes depending on the tube. And don't limit yourself to 5751's. I've found 12AX7's and others in the family can sound very good as well depending on what your personal favorite sonic signature is.

You're in for a treat as the sound continues to 'ripen and mature'. Have fun.
580smile.gif
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 11:40 PM Post #4 of 31

Afrikane

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 9, 2005
Posts
1,205
Likes
13
Congrats replytoken. Keep us posted as to the sonic developments. Lloyd is waiting for a shipment of pots to arrive and then my ++III will be on the way.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 11:51 PM Post #5 of 31

replytoken

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Posts
753
Likes
10
I will definitely keep you posted. I used it as a headphone amp the other night and it was quite enjoyable with my Senn HD-600's. 10 dB of gain was more than enough to drive them to a comfortable level.

I am still trying to work our a few kinks between the EAR and my speaker amplifier so that is taking up some time right now. I believe that Dr. Lloyd mentioned that he was testing out one of your units today when we exchanged messages. Have patience! I'll write more as time permits.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 12:33 PM Post #6 of 31

Voodoochile

Supafly & The Funky Pimps
Joined
Sep 13, 2002
Posts
4,882
Likes
13
It does take a while to break in, and the front tube (5751 or 12ax7) also has a fairly pronounced impact on the sound.

That said, it's a great little amp. Many people seem to assume that being a tube amp, it will have some dense, heavy sound quality to it. It is actually very fast, and has excellent detail and imaging (yeah, even with senns). I also enjoy the K701 with it. Very nice bass presentation- tight and strong, but not too far forward. It does not overpower the midrange at all, IMO.

Looking forward to hearing your further impressions after a few weeks.
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 6:16 AM Post #7 of 31

replytoken

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Posts
753
Likes
10
Well, its taken a fair amount of problem solving to isolate the initial sound problems I was having with my home rig, but Dr. Lloyd has been ever so helpful and I am now starting to enjoy my EAR++. My Rega Mira3 seems to be a bit picky about feeding a signal directly into its amp, so for the time being I have set its preamp section to unity gain and am feeding the EAR++ into a line input. Not an ideal solution, but its at least letting me start to enjoy the sound of the EAR++. I now feel I am much closer to the sound that I was missing. I still do not have enough listening time to make any useful statements, but I am happy that things are up and running. Dr. Lloyd has been fantastic in helping me troubleshoot the situation, and his customer service is second to none.
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 1:06 AM Post #8 of 31

replytoken

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Posts
753
Likes
10
I apologize to those of you who are waiting on your amps from Dr. Lloyd and were hoping to have some feedback from me about my EAR++. As you can see from above, I have been ironing out some equipment issues and I seem to have most of them resolved, with the exception of a few minor ones that I am still working on. I can say that the amp delivers as a headphone amp, and if my Rega were not so picky, I would be further along on my way to audio bliss. Needless to say, most of these problems do not seem related to the EAR++. So, I continue to work on these last issues (floor noise and a finicky signal tube).

Others will probably have their units in a day or so as I see Dr. Lloyd has shipped out a few more these last few days. And, I hope you will post your impressions. I want to write up my thoughts when I have the time and mindset to do the EAR++ justice, but for now, I can say that listening to the SACD version of Gaucho through my HD-600's the other night was very close to absolute bliss. Thanks for your patience.
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 2:38 AM Post #9 of 31

mrarroyo

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Posts
19,073
Likes
29
Quote:

Originally Posted by replytoken
I apologize to those of you who are waiting on your amps from Dr. Lloyd and were hoping to have some feedback from me about my EAR++. As you can see from above, I have been ironing out some equipment issues and I seem to have most of them resolved, with the exception of a few minor ones that I am still working on. I can say that the amp delivers as a headphone amp, and if my Rega were not so picky, I would be further along on my way to audio bliss. Needless to say, most of these problems do not seem related to the EAR++. So, I continue to work on these last issues (floor noise and a finicky signal tube).

Others will probably have their units in a day or so as I see Dr. Lloyd has shipped out a few more these last few days. And, I hope you will post your impressions. I want to write up my thoughts when I have the time and mindset to do the EAR++ justice, but for now, I can say that listening to the SACD version of Gaucho through my HD-600's the other night was very close to absolute bliss. Thanks for your patience.




I am sorry to see you are having so many issues to resolve. Rest asure that the Mapletree amp is a keeper. Good luck.
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 3:08 AM Post #10 of 31

replytoken

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Posts
753
Likes
10
It looks like almost all of the issues are on the side of my Rega amp. I want to be clear about that, and I would also like to say that Dr. Lloyd has has been of great assistance throughout this whole process. Its not that the Rega amp is not good, its just that it seems to be very sensitive when other gear is feeding directly into the amp section. When its operating as an integrated amp, it runs like a charm.
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 5:57 AM Post #11 of 31

Afrikane

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 9, 2005
Posts
1,205
Likes
13
My Ear++III is on the way, I will post a "first impressions" as soon as I can. In the mean time I hope you can sort out your Rega problem, I know it must be very frustrating.
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 4:34 PM Post #13 of 31

replytoken

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Posts
753
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by augustwest
It looks like mine is in the process of being built.

Replytoken -
So you've had yours a while now. Any thoughts on it you'd care to share? Do tell.

- augustwest



Well, I wish Rega had the same level of customer support that Dr. Lloyd provides!
evil_smiley.gif


The EAR is definitely a different tube sound than my Jolida, and I think that is a very positive quality. Although I do not have my Jolida for comparisons, I find the EAR to be very fast, and it clearly projects a much wider soundstage. Instruments are now spread across my living room as opposed to being one big lump. There is no lack of bass, and the highs seem nice and clear. Rock sounds just as good as jazz, but I have not had time to listen to many vocalists so I cannot reasonably comment on that aspect of the amp. Fit and finish are all fine, and the volume control is smooth and free from any noise. I believe that my Sovtek 5751 is a bit microphonic, so I will probably try a tube roll sooner rather than later to try and clear this up. I know this is brief, but I'll try and write more in the next day or two.
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 4:46 PM Post #15 of 31

replytoken

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Posts
753
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by augustwest
"I believe that my Sovtek 5751 is a bit microphonic"

Will you be trying some sort of "tube dampening" device to try ans fix this?

- augustwest



That was my original plan. Then, I thought that I should try another tube for awhile to see if the problem was just that one tube. I'll probably figure out a solution (or a path to a solution) soon.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top