EAR 834p Deluxe version or Audio Research Ph-5

I know the ARC phono pre-amp is 500.00 more. Do you think it is worth the extra money? Or do you think I should buy the 834p and put the savings into a better phono cartridge.
For the love of music you could not go wrong with the EAR 834P. It has the musicality of well... real live acoustic music. I have not heard an ARC that compares. This little phono amp has excellent pin point sound staging and superb detail while not sounding analytical what so ever. Tim de Paravacini (EAR designer) has a product line that IMHO has the magic. It is colored though in its presentation but, I like its color. Not to mention, it's a bargain at this price point and you would be hard pressed to match its value with something else. If this is the one you opt for, you will not be disappointed. Happy listening!
I have heard the EAR and I really like it. I have talked to 2 Audio Research dealers and they both tell me the Ph-5 is better than the Rhea at twice the price. I'm just so curious about it. I wish I could find a dealer that handles both, but as far as I know there isn't such a dealer in the states. Thanks for your comments on the EAR.
Dear Taters: These phonopreamps are of different design.
The PH5 is an active high gain phono stage and the EAR is a low gain phono stage that uses a pasive step-up transformer for increment the gain. This SUT is an additional stage that do a severe degradation to the signal that comes from the cartridge: it put several veils to the sound.

My advise is that is better if you go for a staright forward handle of the signal like the PH5.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thanks Raul, Two totally different opinions stated. No wonder audiophiles are so wacky!
Taters, Funny that you would mention Rhea as I own one, along with its twin the Calypso linestage. Truth is they are not cheap yet the sound I get from the pair rivals anything I have heard including the top of the Aesthetix line (i.e. Callisto/Io Signature) for the money. I have not heard the Ph-5 in a head to head with the Aesthetix gear but from my recollection of the ARC these dealers are doing just that... dealing (or blowing smoke) but, you should listen for yourself. As for what Rauliruegas commented about the technical aspects of the transformer leaves me somewhat baffled in that, "several layers of vailing" was not evident in my listening experience what so ever, your trading some of the characteristic high current of a moving coil for voltage gain through the transformer and keeping the noise levels down compared to an additional tube stage. Sounds like a good trade off to me. I don't pretend to really understand amplifier design configurations so... besides it all comes down to the "EARS" and listening in the end. True enough, the 834P is a modest 20db gain stage so logic would have it that there is some limit on cartridge choices. Whatever, there are plenty of beautiful cartridges at the mid to high moving coil output range that are consistent with the investment of this phono amp or even say a Lyra at twice the Ears price would perform exceptionally IMHO. Cheers!
****I have talked to 2 Audio Research dealers and they both tell me the Ph-5 is better than the Rhea at twice the price.****

That's shocking!! Would you expect anything else from an ARC dealer or any dealer for that matter? Start ignoring them when they begin talking and listen for yourself. I owned a Rhea and I'll tell you it's a helluva phono stage. With a little tube rolling you can really step up the performance. Have fun.
Taters, I have the PH5 at home at the moment. It is very nice, musical, has that tube bloom and quite transparent and able to drive my low output dyna XV-1 with minimimal noise.
I had the Aesthetix rhea at home last mnth for a week. It was more clinical than the PH5, not as musical, was more transparent however at higher volumes had signficantly more tube rush which at this price is unacceptable.
I even like the PH5 better than the Manley steelhead in my system - manley was too forward and a little hifi sounding.
It looks like having a jfet at the first gain b4 the tube gain stage is a great way of getting that tube sound without the normal tube rush. quite bizzare as I have never liked ARC products but the PH5 is a peach.

BTW, the sutherland phd is out of this world as far as being quiet and transparent, just does not seem to boogie enuf for me in the macrodynamics - opinions may differ for someone else. Since you are in the US you might like to try the 30 day demo you get from acoustic sounds.

Finally the ear834 - I have not heard it but Ken kessler reviewer from hi fi news in the UK owns the 834P and just bought the PH5 and feels the PH5 is significantly better and a natural upgrade from the ear834P.

cheers good luck, plenty of good sounding phono stages around at reasonable prices, but try and get a demo at home as they will all sound different in different systems.
Don't forget that the EAR can be easily modified, transforming its perfomance from mediocre to world-class! Do a search in this forum for more info.