Anyone familiar with the EAR 834L Preamp

I'm looking for a pre amp in the $1000 area. A suggestion was made about the EAR-834L. I can't find any reviews of the preamp. An audiophile friend tells me that it's frequently used in high end systems. Can anyone help me with this?
I have owned one for a short period of time. People and reviews say that the phono and line stage sounds good. The phono is really dark sounding and it turned me off. I tried a variety of tubes on it with on avail. Line stage is passive....nothing to shout about. Look elsewhere...not this piece!!! Save yourself the trouble.
It is an excellent piece of gear and impossible to beat for the retail asking of $1,100. Build quality is first class and by the way, the 834L does not have a phono stage.
I've used the 834P phono stage which was good but not great and didn't get my money, just my trial. The 834L is a companion model which is now out of production and has been superseded by a new all in one preamp which has had good reviews. Other sites have listed problems with the sound of the 834 series and suggested solutions using different valves. I would suggest that you go for a good sound using stock valves rather than have to tweak something you've paid good money for... Build quality is good, the sound reflects the designer's philosophy - if that's your philosophy too, go for it; if not, look further for something more neutral in presentation.
The EAR 834L is an excellent sounding piece regardless of price. I found it to be clearly superior to the Audible Illusions L1 on direct comparison and, when used with the 834P, better sounding than the Audible Illusions 3A with the gold moving coil board (which I happened to own at the time). Which 12AU7s used in the line stage make a great deal of difference...NOS RCAs sound quite good as well as many others. The phono stage sounds best with EI tubes but these are difficult to locate post NATO. The new Sovtek 12AX7s work well also. Listen to these pieces before you buy anything in this price range. Good Luck!