EAR 324 Phono Preamplifier
The EAR 324 is the perfect solution for the vinyl-loving audiophile who demands the highest quality and the greatest flexibility. It features perfectly tailored inputs for both moving coil and moving magnet cartridges and offers accurate, low-noise amplification with vanishingly small signal degradation. It has long been realised that amplifying the tiny signal from phono cartridges is one of the hardest jobs in electronics. Designer Tim de Paravicini has been devising elegant and efficient solutions to the problem over several decades, and the 324 represents the summary of his thinking. A fully transistorised product, it draws heavily on his acclaimed '312 Control Centre' preamplifier in its circuitry but adds flexibility with switchable input impedance for both moving coil (MC) and moving magnet (MM) cartridges. Two separate inputs allow easy switching between two turntables (or two arms on one turntable), ideal for the serious collector who may have a separate deck and pickup for mono discs. Of those inputs, Input One is switchable for MC or MM cartridges. In MC mode, a built-in step-up transformer (the same as in the Yoshino MC3 standalone transformer) gives optimum noise performance and matches the cartridge through 4ohm, 15ohm and 40ohm windings. In MM mode, impedance is fixed. Solid state phono preamplifier. Moving magnet and moving coil inputs. Selectable loading via transformer for MC. Selectable resistive and capacitive loading for MM. Mono/stereo and polarity switches. Input Two is a specialist MM input with switchable resistance and capacitance loading to optimise response from any high quality MM cartridge. Both inputs feed into a very low noise, low distortion and high headroom amplifying stage which uses a unique RIAA equalisation scheme to optimise stability and sound quality. Balanced and unbalanced outputs with a low source impedance ensure that any line preamplifier can be comfortably driven through almost any amount of good quality cable. Gain is equivalent to 54dB at 1kHz (1.2V out for 2.5mV in, MM) but can be reduced by 6 or 12dB if needed. Absolute phase is switchable and mono operation can also be selected. With EAR/Yoshino's famed sound quality and reliability assured, the 324 is truly the phono stage of choice for the dedicated vinyl enthusiast. Positive Feedback Review of the EAR 324 by David W. RobinsonPositive Feedback Review of the EAR 324 by Greg Weaver and Robert H. LeviEAR 324 Stereophile Review ...a serious and downright scary assault on the state of the art of phono amplification. Recommended with great enthusiasm and no small amount of envy.