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The Ear Yoshino V12 Integrated amp

The Ear Yoshino V12 Amplifier Review

Review by Arjun Nair, 5th January 2024

When I got a chance to review the V12 Integrated amp I was really excited especially having only seen its pictures in shows earlier. In reality it did not disappoint and it has been a really wonderful experience.

To start with, this is an Amp whose contours ooze the sophistication of a smooth luxury sports car and sets some pretty high expectations just by its looks. The tubes look like a v6 engine setup which I am sure was the intention of the design.

With 22 valves and automobile looks, it is an intimidating amplifier and there was a sense of eager anticipation in testing it out on my system.


The Equipment used

Analogue: Garrard 401 with a SME 3010R tonearm, EMT XSD15 cartridge and Thoress Phono enhancer phono stage

Digital : Auralic Aries streamer with a Reimyo DAP 777 Dac

Speaker: Tannoy Kensington SE with the Tannoy SE-25 Super tweeter

Amplification: Linear tube Audio Mz2 Preamp and Quicksilver power amp

Room:  20 x 11 dedicated room with minimal treatment


First impressions

Despite having been run only 6 hours before I got it, the Amp did not disappoint in any way, its grip on music, the sophistication and staging in its presentation were all very impressive. Initially there was an issue of trailing bass on some Bollywood music which I put down for breaking it in.

Initially I played only through digital streaming for close to 12 hours, streaming primarily Jazz vocals and double bass. All content was from my own CDs ripped into lossless and in the Aries Mini SSD.

Once it crossed around 20 hours I got down to some serious listening. All of the below was done over 3 days on sessions lasting from 3-4 hours each.

Music played

Digital – Dave Brubeck : Time Out, Keith Jarret : Koln Concert , Laura’s Theme from Dr Zhivago, Windmills of your mind by Sting from Thomas crown affair, Jugalbandi by HP Chaurasia and Ashish Khan, Poem of Chinese Drums : Yim Hok-man

The flow and timing of music, which is really the crux of this iconic composition, during the classic “Take 5” by Brubeck was so spot on and the feeling of the drums was fully engaging. On Koln Concert one could feel and hear Keith’s involvement, via his “OOhs and AAhs “ and the attack and decay of the piano – it was wonderful to aurally behold on a large stage. Laura’s theme keeps one completely involved and enthralled during each strike of the piano key. 

Sting’s rendition of Windmills of your mind had the buttery smoothness with the deep liquid bass and inflexions in his tone in which the characteristic of Sting was blatantly apparent.

I got down to some rock with Deep Purple’s BBC recordings and the amp did not disappoint with the same control as before on songs like Highway star. A 100w+ solid state Class A would perhaps have shown much more control but that feeling of the deep bass and its rich tapestry would most probably be lost.

In Jugalbandi, the tabla, flute and sitar were all fleshed out and one could feel that quality of vibrations from the strings and the tabla as well as the richness of the masterfully rendered Bansuri.

Finally I played a Poem of Chinese drums, an album which is, you guessed it, all about drums drums and drums. That physical feel of bass, its kick in the stomach, the textural feel of the leather on the drum, all came across very palpable, reinforcing my views on the articulateness of the amp across the spectrum.

It was now time to get down to analogue! The dynamics, richness and the deep organic bass which I have come to expect from good Analogue recordings came through wonderfully.

Records played: Fleetwood Mac: Rumours 45 RPM LP, Pink Floyd: The Wall, Jazz at the Pawnshop. Bollywood: Bazaar , Parinita , Omkara, Call of the Valley (Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma) 

In summary all of the above was rendered so beautifully and with the same level of control & tonal smoothness that I heard earlier. The textures were real and rich and one can sit and listen to music for hours. 

This amp doesn’t have a “tubey” or an overly euphonic sound, but it has that “tube texture” and yes, a lot of resolution, which brings out the nuances in music. Jazz at the Pawnshop is an excellently pressed LP and the light cough and cling of glasses, which still remain in the background as they would, is so much clearer now due to the amplifier resolution.

The dialogues in Bazaar with all the nuances which Smita Patil and Supriya Pathak are so good and almost brought out the scenes to life. and “Raat humari to” in Parineeta, which is such an excellent recording, brought out all the right emotions with its rich texture.

One of my tests, which I learnt from Jim Smith’s advice had been to listen to a setup from the next room to see how real it sounds. Simply put it did.

My Tannoys are 93dB and were driven loud at 30-40% of the volume so I am sure this amp can drive speakers with medium sensitivity very well. I would love to see it drive any 15 Inch driver based speaker.

If I were to define it, I would put it as an Accuphase class A on tubes to most accurately define the sound. The same refinement, control across the spectrum and fleshed out natural sound and never running out of breath or glossing over details. Quite a few audio friends dropped in during this period and it drew the same wow’ed expression from each of them.

Finally I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Ear V12 and I do not think I can put my own amp back to listen in the near future. Thankfully I’m off for a 5 day vacation and that should get my ear grounded after the Audio high of the last 3-4 days! 

For those with the budget, the room and moderately efficient speakers of caliber, you will see this amplifier bring music to life in your room.


About the Reviewer

Arjun Nair is an audiophile having been invested in getting the best out of systems for more than 24 years now. A deep believer in searching for synergy between room, speakers and components to coax the best out of a system, he has now settled into a setup he is finally comfortable with but not yet there.

His approach is to get natural sound with focus primarily on texture and tone of music with as much of natural dynamics as possible.

Price: ₹11,00,000

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