I have my cherished EAR 868 preamp with built-in phono stage for sale. It is arguably one of the finest sounding tube preamps on the market today.
I am the first owner; bought it from an authorized dealer 2 years ago as a demo unit. I grade it 8/10 because there are some small scratches on the bottom plate from the unit being placed on some other components in the dealer's store; you do not see these unless you turn the unit upside down.
The front and top plates are flawless.
I have a quartet of almost brand new Amperex EC88 tubes installed with 15-20 hours on them and will include another lightly used set with about 200-300 hours of usage.
The reason for the sale is profound system changes, moving to all digital amplification and integration of the system into a multi-channel home theater.
My EAR is an upgraded version by the Upgrade Company which brought a dramatic improvement over the stock unit.
The modifications cost $1000 and included extensive internal shielding of the transformers, cables and circuit boards; replacement of critical parts in the signal path.
The improvements in sound quality are stunning:
1. The preamp is much more transparent, open sounding, with more spacial separation of the instruments.
2. The frequency extremes are more extended, with a crystal clear top end and tighter, more controlled bass. There is more clarity and definition in the midrange as well. My only criticism of the stock unit was a little softness in the frequency extremes, although it always sounded liquid and musical. The upgraded version retains the fluidity but extends the frequency extremes.
3. The preamp is much quieter; has a jet black background and is more reminiscent to a top notch solid state unit in this regard.
This preamp can compete with anything at any price; we did a preamp shootout a few weeks ago and it was neck to neck to the $35000 Ypsilon preamp which is Michael Fremer's reference.
I am asking $4400 and will include shipping and Paypal fees if the price is met.
Note that the unit has a $5000 world class phono stage, identical to the EAR 88 B and has $1000 worth of upgrades. The stock unit currently retails for $7300.
Pictures are to follow within 24 hours.