The EAR Yoshino - 834: The Baron Tim Rides Again
products are the stuff audio dreams are made of. Their scarcity insures that
they are more often talked about than heard, and their creator has acquired the
reputation of an iconoclastic, innovative, brilliant audio theorist/circuit
designer.... Thus, I was predisposed to think that here was something different
and special - an attitude that was reinforced by the unitís striking
appearance. I have not been disappointed, for the design has proved to be even
more distinctive than I thought it would be....
Acarian Systems Lotus speakers... the 834 was hugely powerful.... Waves of
sound poured from the speakers, filling my room. But the EAR/Lotus combination
also often had a nuanced, complex quality that struck me as at odds with the
sheer volume/power the amp displayed.... The lexicon I used throughout the
review sessions is absurdly simple: "pure," "vivid,"
"present," "presence," "gorgeous,"
"lush," "rich," "warm," "mellow." These
words appear again and again in my notes.... The EAR sound is beautiful,
powerful, and complex. But it is also dark....
This is not
to say the EAR is either old-fashioned or that it obscures detail. If time and
again I thought the sound dark, with equal frequency I remarked on the subtle
information, conveyed with clarity - sometimes with shocking brilliance.... The
EAR failed to "darken" that RCA sound, or to add warmth or body or
fullness, which a euphonic component, or one possessed of a bass heaviness
might have done.... Equally telling was the way the EAR clearly distinguished
between the LP and the CD versions of individual recordings....
also varies the listenerís perspective, depending on the source, a capability I
expect from designs that purport to perform at the limits of the audio art, but
that comes as an unanticipated treat when encountered in a small integrated
amplifier.... Such faithfulness to the source may not always be pleasing (for
example, if the engineersí mike placement was flawed, or if their fingers on
the controls were too busy), but it testifies to the sonic quality of the EAR Yoshino 834
This is a
component that will appeal to those who love the sound of music more than
ownership of components that will impress by their bulk, weight, or cost.