Currently any EAR is not a good value and can easily be bettered by many amps. EAR is a quality product, just not a good value new, now.
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Unless you buy a used EAR that was purchased at a much lower price than current pricing and the seller does artifically inflate the "original" price based on today's pricing - an approach that I think is close to fraudalent, though it is perfectly ok to say the model is now selling for $xyz new. Otherwise, Tiger is right about most any European piece of equipment bought today with our shrinking dollar.
I own an EAR 890 which is the best sounding amp I've owned. It retailed for $5,500.00 when I bought it, now goes for $7,500.00. However, to my ears, it beats the Air Tight I had before which was $8,500.00. How much do we value music making?
From what I've heard, the 534 is on the warm, soft side of things while I've found the 890 to be musically neutral.
I haven't heard the EAR 534, but the ASL AQ 1008 sounds sweet to my ears driving a pair of Alon Model V's. The only thing I wish it had was triode mode, but the EAR doesn't have this either. They both have a push-pull design, but the ASL has twice the power. If you own the ASL, I suggest hanging on to it. -Mark