Above photo courtesy of Mark Erceg, Audionutz, New Zealand
“Caught myself scheming to buy” – A. Dudley, Stereophile
“It’s the best tube amp I have listened to in my system!” – R. Levi, Positive Feedback
“The EAR 890 Power Amplifier is a fine and worthy product…the more I listened, the more its general even handedness and superb midrange eventually worked on me an alluringly sensuous magic. I realized I was absolutely enjoying the music, swept along in both the thrill and the repose of its finer tones…The EAR 890 is indeed an amp for all seasons”
– Garret Hongo, Ultra Audio, July, 2010 (read the review)
“It’s the best tube amp I have listened to in my system! It is cost effective, powerful, maximally tuneful, user friendly, and you need only one chassis. It has new-think incorporated within its KT90 tube choice, and it’s seductively musical. It works with inefficient, 4-ohm speakers like the Eidolons, and will probably power anything on the planet, from horns to electrostats to multi-driver designs, with musical authority. Plus, any normal audiophile can lift it without dastardly results. I not only recommend it, I’m buying the review sample to prove to my Positive Feedback friends that I stand behind my reviews! I highly recommend the EAR 890 Power Amplifier. It is class A+ in my audiophile domain, and my new tube reference.”
“All in all, this is a great amplifier! It is extremely easy to set up and sounds good with little or no tweaking. It is about enjoying the music and not a finicky or touchy piece of gear. It is very cohesive and the tonality is excellent and very well integrated from highs to lows… Resolution and detail are excellent and they are presented in a relaxed, smooth manner. This EAR will not likely make “detail above all” types happy. The detail and nuances are there; they’re not thrown at you, but are, more appropriately, part of the music’s tapestry. Sound staging and imaging are terrific.”
“Then there are such products as the grand-looking EAR 890 Power Amplifier from Esoteric Audio Research, which had nothing of the obvious about it during its stay in my home. Voices didn’t pop out. Groove noise didn’t vanish. Textures were neither smoothed-over nor scuffed-up. Whites weren’t whiter and colors weren’t brighter, and I had to listen to it for weeks on end before it sank in just how beautifully well the 890 played music…
And, yes, the EAR 890 Power Amplifier reproduced the sense of depth and performer placement that I presume is a part of the original recording with both uncanny precision and the same sense of “rightness” with which it approached the music itself. (I could also point to how well it separated the voice sections on that Purcell LP, even going so far as to suggest some curve to the choir’s risers…)
Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about the EAR 890 Power Amplifier was that, with the exception of the Quads that I used it to drive, this was the first new audio product in a very long time that I caught myself scheming to buy.”
EAR 890 Power Amplifier
The 800 series of amplifiers from EAR has received widespread and consistent acclaim from users and reviewers the world over. However, feedback from some quarters suggested that there was a need for an amplifier with similar sonic prowess but just a little more power.
Taking as a starting point the circuits used in the 834 integrated amplifier, Tim de Paravicini has addressed that need by producing the EAR 890 Power Amplifier. Using the innovative KT90 valve from EI, he has been able to offer 70W of clean Class-A audio from the same chassis as the 834. One of the few new valve designs of the last 30 years, the KT90 draws on the strengths of the EL509 valve (as used in many EAR amplifiers) and is capable of sustained high power operation with great reliability. Two pairs per channel are hardly stressed in the EAR 890 Power Amplifier.
Features include balanced inputs (transformer-coupled) as well as unbalanced, separate level controls for each channel, and the option of flexible mono-block operation to deliver 140W into a wide range of loudspeaker loads. Build quality and finish are to EARs usual high standards, with a distinctive touch of luxury in the thick brass front panel, heavily chromed and polished to a mirror finish. Reliability is assured and there are no user adjustments.
And the sound? All the EAR trademarks are there: beautifully natural midrange and treble, superb stereo imaging, and of course extended but perfectly proportioned bass, with the extra power raising the roof even further than our earlier models.
- 70 Watts per channel stereo (it has tons of kick)
- Bridgeable to 140 Watt monoblock
- Class-A operation
- 8 x KT90 or 6550 output tubes
- XLR or RCA inputs, Balanced or unbalanced operation