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  1. #1
    Wammer
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    EAR 834P Phono Stage.

    I have an EAR 834 P phonostage and would like to try and upgrade it, I have read a few posts on line about changing resistors and capacitors etc. to improve its performance, being a bit slow in the electronics side I would like to find a person who would be able to upgrade the stage for me.

    Is there anyone in or outside off the form that could be trusted with the job? I have done the valve re vamp and I am happy with the sound I have.

    Any ideas or help would be most welcome Robert.

  2. #2
    Cogito, ergo doleo. rabski's Avatar
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    Robert, some valve swaps would work wonders.

    Beyond that, you really need to get the soldering-iron out. The modifications aren't difficult, but they are time consuming and fiddly. If you're going to pay someone else to do it, it honestly isn't worthwhile. I have done most of the Thorsten modifications to my 834P, but I would conservatively reckon that was about six or seven hours work, especially with the time it takes to get the bloody case apart and back together. Figure £40-£50 an hour for a decent electonics guy/gal, plus the component costs, and you could buy a much better phono stage for the money. No matter how good, you also have to account for the fact that resale value will be little better than a standard unit at best.

    I love mine and it's performed well in comparisons. I've spent about £40 on components and £80 or so on valves so far. But I've also spent many hours of work. The standard unit is worth about £500 or so. That means well over £600 plus the labour. If you were paying for the labour, that's a total of around £1000 for a unit you could resell for about £500.

    DIY wins, paying for modifications doesn't.

    It's a shame, because a modified 834P can see off some reasonably serious opposition, but you really do need to get the gloves off and do it yourself, otherwise, just buy something better in the first place.
    I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but Iím not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant.

  3. #3
    Wammer
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    Hi Richard.

    Thanks for the advice, I have done the valves and was pleased with the results, just like always you are chasing the next upgrade I would love to do the work myself and time is not important but I am not sure my soldering skills are up to it, if I get it wrong I have a dead stage .I like valve stages but to improve on the EAR you have to spend big money and I am not sure I want to do that at the moment,though if a better unit was on offer I might consider

    Regards Robert.

  4. #4
    Cogito, ergo doleo. rabski's Avatar
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    Life doesn't come with easy answers Robert

    You would probably spend £500 getting someone to do the main Thorsten mods to the 834P. So if you do them yourself and bugger it up, you aren't actually worse off, except you don't have a working phono any more. You could get £500 or so for the unit and a grand would buy you a better stage without doubt. The point of doing the mods is that you end up with at least £1000 worth of phono stage for a whole lot less.

    A few options. If you have the time and the basic abilities, buy something cheap and tinker, then work upwards. Alternatively, use the time to earn some money and spend it on upgrades.

    It's very much a personal thing. I have been taking electronic bits apart and pissing about with them since I was old enough to wield a screwdriver. It's got me into loads of trouble, but it's also got me a pretty decent system for far less than I'd have paid otherwise. Each to thier own and if you don't want to do it, nobody will blame you in any way. There aren't enough 834Ps in the world as it is, so there's no reason to take one out of circulation.
    I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but Iím not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant.

  5. #5
    Wammer Lokes's Avatar
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    I intended to do the Thorsten mods when I owned the EAR, but decided it was far more sensible to build the revised version from scratch,
    I'll get around to building it later in the year, the other thing that appealed was the fact that I have some
    NOS E283CC valves that I'd like to try ( same construction as Telefunken 803s ) in place of the Ecc83 / E83cc

  6. #6
    Pac67
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    I'd recommend contacting Haden Boardman direct. What he doesn't know about the 834P isn't worth knowing. He can do all the mods for sensible money and is a fantastic guy to do business with. He's a former business partner of Tim De Paravicini and ex HiFi news journo and really knows his stuff.

  7. #7
    Wammer
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    Hi Paul.

    Thanks for the info, do you have a contact address for Haden Boardman or an e-mail contact?

    Regards Robert

  8. #8
    Pac67
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    I'll try and look up his email address for you Robert. Give me a day or so and I'll send you a PM

    Cheers

    Paul

  9. #9
    Wammer
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    Thanks for help and advice so far guys.

  10. #10
    Pac67
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    Just found his business email Robert. PM sent

  11. #11
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    Hi Robert,

    If it is of any help, I know of a small but very professional 2 man outfit close to where I live in Hove (I realise that's a little way from Cardiff..). They charge very little for their services and have done a great deal of work for me over the past 10 years or so, fixing and servicing pro-audio gear, from turntables and CDJs, through mixing desks to allsorts of amps (valve, solid state and class D, pre-amps/DI boxes up to 4k per channel monster power amps).

    I'm sure that if you contacted them with details of exactly what it is you need doing they will give you a very reasonable and accurate quote.

    Please contact me if you would like their details
    "The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you never know if they are genuine" -Abraham Lincoln

  12. #12
    Wammer
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    I've got a stock 834p. Think its bloomin lovely.
    But lets face it, we all like the idea of an upgrade, don't we?
    I have no idea what the 1st steps to take are. A valve swap, I guess. So can anyone whos done it tell me what going for the NOS E283cc would bring to the party? It seems like a pretty cheap way of upgrading the phono-stage, compared to selling it to buy a significantly better one.
    Matt.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by manicatel View Post
    I've got a stock 834p. Think its bloomin lovely.
    But lets face it, we all like the idea of an upgrade, don't we?
    I have no idea what the 1st steps to take are. A valve swap, I guess. So can anyone whos done it tell me what going for the NOS E283cc would bring to the party? It seems like a pretty cheap way of upgrading the phono-stage, compared to selling it to buy a significantly better one.
    Matt.

    Hi Matt I have done the valve swaps and it does make a difference, you can tune it to your tastes a little, I tried the stock valves good but missing something,I had some ECC83 Jan Philips which gave lots of bass and a very smooth sound but not much upper detail. I have settled on a Jan Raetheon Long Black plate for the input valve and Watford Valves STR Cryo's for the other two valves.

    There is lots of info out there on valve swaps if you Google it, there is also several upgrade ideas which I am interested in but I am not sure wether I am up to the task off fitting it hence my question to the forum!

    Robert.

  14. #14
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    i'm wondering if the power transformer has different taps for 110 and 220/240V so it can be easily rewired? anyone?
    Horn OK Please!

  15. #15
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    Hi All sorry for the slow reply,re EAR 834 P Phono. I was looking at getting the EAR modified but due to most contacts being busy I decided to try a last chance valve swop!! I changed the valves out for some TJ Full Music versions,I sat back and gave it a go and the stage has taken on a new lease of life.I have now put on over 50 hours with the new valves and all I can say is that it is a much better stage more open/detailed and more as I was expecting and as such have decided to leave it as it is and consider next year a new stage much higher up in spec.Many people have suggested a valve swop works with the EAR and I had tried several versions but the sound is a personal thing and as such one's idea of a good valve is anothers dislike.I would suggest if you are looking to make the EAR sound different then try the TJ's.

  16. #16
    Pac67
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    Must admit, I'm delighted with my standard 834P. I would like a little more upper sparkle as this is where it really loses out to the great phono stages (before I bought, i auditioned stages up to £3k. the mids and bass performance in my kit with the standard 834 was up to the same sort of standard I heard from many more expensive units). Often considered swapping out the valves. From those who have, is there any particular valve that retains good deep bass and sparkly highs? I have found some that do one thing well (brimars and Jan Phillips in my preamp give good low down performance but are rolled off in the highs, and Tung Sol 803s do mids and highs very well but are slightly lacking in deep bass performance) but not the other. Is it a case of Telefunkens or TJ's beat all?

  17. #17
    Super Wammer Gizza's Avatar
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    I tried Jan Philips in mine too, but settled on Mullards. I sold the stage a couple of years back and unfortunately cannot remember their characteristics other they were better all round than the Philips. Anyone else tried Mullards in the EAR that can add some comments?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pac67 View Post
    Must admit, I'm delighted with my standard 834P. I would like a little more upper sparkle as this is where it really loses out to the great phono stages (before I bought, i auditioned stages up to £3k. the mids and bass performance in my kit with the standard 834 was up to the same sort of standard I heard from many more expensive units). Often considered swapping out the valves. From those who have, is there any particular valve that retains good deep bass and sparkly highs? I have found some that do one thing well (brimars and Jan Phillips in my preamp give good low down performance but are rolled off in the highs, and Tung Sol 803s do mids and highs very well but are slightly lacking in deep bass performance) but not the other. Is it a case of Telefunkens or TJ's beat all?

  18. #18
    Cogito, ergo doleo. rabski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pac67 View Post
    Must admit, I'm delighted with my standard 834P. I would like a little more upper sparkle as this is where it really loses out to the great phono stages (before I bought, i auditioned stages up to £3k. the mids and bass performance in my kit with the standard 834 was up to the same sort of standard I heard from many more expensive units). Often considered swapping out the valves. From those who have, is there any particular valve that retains good deep bass and sparkly highs? I have found some that do one thing well (brimars and Jan Phillips in my preamp give good low down performance but are rolled off in the highs, and Tung Sol 803s do mids and highs very well but are slightly lacking in deep bass performance) but not the other. Is it a case of Telefunkens or TJ's beat all?
    There have been many posts about tube rolling the 834P, so apologies to anyone I bore by doing it again! First, a small note of caution. The heater circuit in the 834P is wired in series, so all the tubes need to have all but identical heater ratings. Most do, but there are a few oddments around so it's worth a quick check of the spec sheets.

    For the actual makes, first, if you haven't already tried it, swap V3 (the one closest to the front) for an ECC82/12AU7 instead of the standard ECC83/12AX7. To my ears (and many other peoples') it's a notable improvement, bioth in tonal quality and scale. V2 (the middle one) must stay as an ECC83/12AX7 for correct RIAA equalisation, but some people prefer a 5751 in V1 (closest to the back). It's slighly lower gain and there are some lovely ones available cheaply if you hunt around.

    I'm running mine with NOS Telefunkens throughout, with an ECC82 in V3. To my ears, these do everything you have stated. However, I came extremely close to it with JAN Philips in V1 and V2 and a Mullard CV4003 in V3. The CVs have really nice extended treble and very tight bass. Depends on the system overall though. What works for one, might not for another. As before, if you're handy with a soldering iron, even the most basic of the Thorsten mods do make a difference. Google is your friend for this.
    I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but Iím not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant.

  19. #19
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    Ear 834p

    Quote Originally Posted by Pac67 View Post
    Must admit, I'm delighted with my standard 834P. I would like a little more upper sparkle as this is where it really loses out to the great phono stages (before I bought, i auditioned stages up to £3k. the mids and bass performance in my kit with the standard 834 was up to the same sort of standard I heard from many more expensive units). Often considered swapping out the valves. From those who have, is there any particular valve that retains good deep bass and sparkly highs? I have found some that do one thing well (brimars and Jan Phillips in my preamp give good low down performance but are rolled off in the highs, and Tung Sol 803s do mids and highs very well but are slightly lacking in deep bass performance) but not the other. Is it a case of Telefunkens or TJ's beat all?
    I found with the EAR simlar to yourself, good at most things but lacking the little bit extra that you get for more money.Being on a budget like many people the EAR sounded best at my price point. I have tried many types and makes of valves but most to my taste were still lacking what I wanted, I did contact a specialist near to me who could have done the mod work for me(He was busy for 2 months at the time)but I though keep the money and buy better, looking around E-bay I found a company who sold the TJ,s Full Music for £104 for 3 inc of delivery and all balanced!I had read a review in the Hi Fi press stating how good the TJ's were so I thought at that price I would take a chance.

    I now valves can take around 50 to 100 hours to settle down but as soon as the valves were fitted it sounded right to my "ears"I have since put on over 50 hours and they seem to get better every time, the upper is well extended and you still have the mids and lows as good if not better that a standard valved EAR.I am affriad that music is such a personal thing that without hearing for yourself it will always be a guess as to what you like/think and if you look you will see many posts about the EAR on this forum with many views and ideas.

    My experience would be a compromise with valves and then save up for a much better stage(This is what I am going to do)if you fit valves the stage can be returned to standard but if you mod it you will spend a lot of money and may get less for the stage as others will be unsure as to what has been done!

  20. #20
    Pac67
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    Quote Originally Posted by rabski View Post
    There have been many posts about tube rolling the 834P, so apologies to anyone I bore by doing it again! First, a small note of caution. The heater circuit in the 834P is wired in series, so all the tubes need to have all but identical heater ratings. Most do, but there are a few oddments around so it's worth a quick check of the spec sheets.

    For the actual makes, first, if you haven't already tried it, swap V3 (the one closest to the front) for an ECC82/12AU7 instead of the standard ECC83/12AX7. To my ears (and many other peoples') it's a notable improvement, bioth in tonal quality and scale. V2 (the middle one) must stay as an ECC83/12AX7 for correct RIAA equalisation, but some people prefer a 5751 in V1 (closest to the back). It's slighly lower gain and there are some lovely ones available cheaply if you hunt around.

    I'm running mine with NOS Telefunkens throughout, with an ECC82 in V3. To my ears, these do everything you have stated. However, I came extremely close to it with JAN Philips in V1 and V2 and a Mullard CV4003 in V3. The CVs have really nice extended treble and very tight bass. Depends on the system overall though. What works for one, might not for another. As before, if you're handy with a soldering iron, even the most basic of the Thorsten mods do make a difference. Google is your friend for this.
    Thanks Richard, both for your patience in digging up what you've probably written before (!) and for the useful info. I'll give it a try but can't stretch to Telefunkens at the mo, so will hunt out some Jan Phillips instead.

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