“In my experience, the TdP sound is bold, up-front, dynamic and to use modern parlance, kick ass. The sound is never shy, never lacking confidence and always close to the edge. If this combination were a car, it would be a TVR, not a Lexus. It is the kind of system which imparts excitement to almost everything…”
EAR 312 Solid State Preamplifier (w/built in Phono Stage)
Although Tim de Paravicini has been designing transistor-based circuits since the days of the very first commercial transistors, he has never before produced a solid-state amplifier under his own flag. But now, after years of breaking with everyone elses traditions, he has broken with his own and produced the 312 Control Centre, a fully-featured preamp which redefines the world of solid-state just as EAR amplifiers have done for the world of valves.
Taking into account the current growth in the number of sources in many hi-fi systems, the EAR 312 Solid State Preamplifier offers no less than eight inputs, three of which are balanced and transformer-coupled. Whats more, there are six outputs: three each balanced and unbalanced, and because they are also transformer-coupled it is perfectly possible to use both types simultaneously (for instance in multi-amped systems) without upsetting the balanced outputs. This means that six stereo power amplifiers can be driven at once. As you would expect from an EAR product, the phono input also features transformer coupling for moving coil cartridges, ensuring the lowest possible noise, and in order to ensure very high overload headroom and complete stability the RIAA equalization of the phono stage uses an inductor in a unique EAR circuit configuration. The basic amplifying circuit uses just three transistors in a single-ended configuration, a valve-like approach that harnesses the gain of the transistors in such a way as to give sound of unequalled sweetness and clarity. Complete compatibility with other equipment is achieved through the very high input and output headroom of all circuits, plus their low noise.
Again drawing on de Paravicinis expertise in the field of transformers and inductors, the power supply uses a choke input filter to give very low noise and ripple, and very low dependency on the purity of the incoming electricity supply: it also generates very low levels of interference on the household supply without requiring any additional suppression components. Simple and intuitive operation has always been a feature of EAR products, and to this end the EAR 312 Solid State Preamplifier uses a very high quality and high accuracy volume control with a conventional single-turn range, in conjunction with a unique meter-like scale which clearly indicates circuit gain. Channel balance is maintained to close tolerances right down to whisper-quiet levels.
Finally, it should be hardly necessary to mention that like all EAR products the EAR 312 Solid State Preamplifier is built to the highest standards and immaculately finished so that it looks as good as it sounds. It will set standards for a long time to come.
- Pure Class-A phono and line stage circuitry
- RIAA accuracy +/- 0.3 dB
- Frequency Response (at 1V out) of 3Hz-40kHz. -2dB
- Line Stage Sensitivity of 100mV
- Maximum Line Stage Gain of 20dB
- MM Phono Sensitivity of 3mV for 1V output
- Channel Balance is +/- 0.2 dB
- Residual Noise (with volume at minimum) -90dB
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio for phono is 68 dB (ref 2.5mV)