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EAR V12 Integrated Amplifier Review

EAR V12 Integrated Amplifier Review

Resident System Details

Speakers: Von Schweikert Unifield 3, Proac Response 1SC, Proac Tablette 10 Signature, Energy
Veritas 2.2

Amplifier: YBA Passion Integrated amplifier

Source: Lumin u1 mini + Lumin U1 LPS, Merason Dac 1, Avid Ingenium Turntable


Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of hearing some two-channel gear, fewer at my home. None of them come close to one of the best EL84 pentode tube setups with 6 each side (total 12) and 10 ECC83 arranged by Tim de Paravicini’s inspired by jaguar’s V12 engine from 1992. EAR V12 is a push-pull integrated operating in triode format spitting out 50 watts per channel, with no negative feedback and less than 1% distortion in a dual mono configuration. There are 5 single ended inputs and 1 tape output along with 4 and 8 ohm speaker taps at the rear. The design not only shows the jaguar powerplant inspiration but very smartly helps with weight management and better center of gravity making the footprint extremely compact, non-intrusive when you consider everything it has going for it. This thing is pure audio jewelry and a worthy contender for the top shelf in every audiophile’s primary setup to admire endlessly alone, with family and fellow audiophiles.

Build Quality

It’s very rare to come across something that has this level of attention to detail. It’s as if every single component was given thought and effort put in, from the chrome to the wooden end caps, all very tastefully chosen and purposefully executed. The transformers themselves I understand are custom hand wound in England and built for ultra-wide bandwidth to provide extended frequency response on both ends of the spectrum (12 – 60Khz -3db). This execution feels like deliberate extravagance to display the greatness of EL84s in a no holds bar fashion.


I have always been tough on tube amps than on solid states as I expect more from them in general. None of my previous endeavors to engage an Octave, Conrad Johnson, VTL have given me success when paired with speakers like Proac Response 1sc, Proac Tablette 10 signature and Von Schweikert Unifield Model 3(mk 2) vs the solid state amps I have to my satisfaction.

Enter EAR V12

From the first note, chord I heard the sound of summit fi. The delicacy in the tone and undertones of female voices had a certain sweetness that’s unheard of. Harmonics are rich, the texture when strings were played during tracks have a beautiful reverb with a lot of micro details and yet no harshness in the high frequency region. On tracks like Duende – Bozzio Leven Stevens, When the Lights go down – Prince, Cha Cha Bonita – Charly Antolini, Little Fugue in G Minor – Bach, the amp was able to glide through soft passages smoothly with a whole lot of sugar coated sweetness and explode into passages that had a big crescendo showing it’s prowess on relentless control of diaphragm for high voltage dynamics that these tracks are known for.

And yet on the other hand, there is a timbre that’s absolutely unparallel from it’s tone and texture perspective that you get to hear from this amp on my Unifield 3 which are 90 db efficient speakers. The presentation is so airy and light footed that your speakers disappear. Its just these clouds of sounds that softly linger in the air with such beautiful texture to the notes. The mids are extremely articulate with the presentation without being too forward or recessed and holds its line where the soundstage is set by the speakers as a starting point and exceeds the boundaries of the walls behind them when the recordings have depth that could be projected. All this was in a 13 * 12 bedroom. I have to reiterate that this has one of the best mid presentations through any piece of kit I have ever experienced especially female vocals. The sighs, the breaths between words, the pauses all become part of the micro details that get presented in velvet-like sound that is impossible not to love. One aspect I found is that the bass performance is quick and articulate but maybe not as deep as some of my solid-state amps which is expected.

This is sound for connoisseurs who prefer quality over quantity, a presentation delivered delicately seemingly through a velvet glove rather than through the heavy handedness of some high current solid state amplifiers like a jackhammer that make the drivers excurse without the finesse to the tone that V12 delivers. The timbre and tonality dished out from this amp was unconditional and unwavering whether I paired this up with a Proac Tablette 10 Signature, VS, Energy Veritas 2.2 or Proac Response 1sc. I have rarely come across an amp which was as less fussy and retained its prima donna signature charm across different speakers I paired it with sources like a Lumin u1 mini + Lumin U1 LPS, Merason Dac 1, Avid Ingenium TT.

This has been the most difficult piece of kit in audio to let go off and thus I retained it as long as I could. I will always have fond memories and a new benchmark to evaluate everything against it. EAR V12 – is my new all-time favorite reference integrated amplifier!

About the Reviewer

Amit Dubey is an audiophile since 2005. Began with headphones, but he has been a 2 channel freak since 2013 and currently owns (hold your breath) six 2-channel setups at his home. He is a mini-monitor fan. He likes speakers which are compact but sounds expansive with glorious mids and highs. He also prefers to have simple setups with high quality integrated amps instead of pre-power setups. He has owned some very good integrated amps like Pass Labs Int 150, YBA Passion Integrated, Modwright KWH-225i & Gryphon Calisto. By Amit’s own confession he highly prefers solid state amplifiers with good dynamics. He likes it for the clarity and control it exerts on the speakers. This is quite understandable considering Amit’s taste in music which is heavily biased towards, classic rock, hard rock, old school metal (Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth) & Progressive Rock. On relatively sombre side he also likes Ella Fritzgerald, Tracy Chapman, Sade & Steely Dan. Basically a dynamics and clarity man with good tone is what Amit tries to achieve in his system

Price: ₹11,00,000

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