EAR 868

Hi, anyone own or have experience with this preamp? I did a search and saw some comments on the 868 from last year, but they weren't detailed. What are its strengths and weaknesses? How do they compare other preamps in this range? Reliability? Do RCA and XLR connections sound similar? The only thing I don't like is the motorized Alps pot in this preamp - I've had bad experiences with these ubiquitous Alps pot, sound quality differs depending on the volume level. I'm considering it for my audio system that I'm building from ground up.
You might want to compare these two, close in price and quality-
The EAR however probably bests it by a little