EAR 868 vs VTL 5.5 II

Hi there ! i am inclined to purchase the ear 868 preamp w phonostage at $7k which i tried w my set up and i am just wandering if anyone have compared the VTL 5.5 II w phonostage against ear 868 w phono.

Any comments & suggestions are greatly appreciated.

My Set up are

Turntable : Michell ORBE/SME V arm / Ortofon Cadenza Black
Speaker : Anthony Gallo 3.1
Pre Amp : VTL 5.5 series 1 w/out phono - im using DIY
phono preamp ( fair enough but not very good )
Amp : Musical Fidelity 550k supercharger as main amp
Wires : Acoustic Zen Satori - spkr cables
Acoustic Zen Krakatoa - Power chords
XLO Signature - Interconnect
Van Del Hul - SME V built in Tonearm Cable

I too am interested in the response to this post; I was planning on evaluating the EAR 868 without phone vs the VTL 6.5 without phone...I'm seeing more used EAR gear now posted; but don't know much about the sound and quality..any people with experience; I'd welcome your opinions...
Thanks for your interest Mribob.

I think VTL 5.5 is the counterpart of this ear 868 coz of the same pricing at $ 5,295. I think VTL 6.5 will be better and more costly.

Anyaway i look forward to your opinion after you have evaluated those two wonderful stuff.

I've heard the 868 with phono. What it gives you is involvement, clear presentation of the artist and good tonal balance. Surprisingly for a tube, it has a fast transient and good dynamics. The it's a transformer coupled circuit. The phono section is very flexible using 4, 6, 40 ohms loading that will mate with various cartridges.
Thanks for your comment Analog_soul.

I agree with your observation with ear 868 and it also
has texture of live performance sound than my previous VTL 5.5 series 1 but with outboard phonostage.

I havent compared it with VTL 5.5 II w phono for closer comparison.
To : Analog_soul

I sincerely ask your comments on my listed audio gears above to which is the weakest link or the item i should upgrade first after the ear 868.

The Gallo 3.1 speaker sounds great with those gear however i am craving for more warm presentation and dynamics for a more involving listening.

Thanks Again.
In my experience, in my system (via Pass Labs XA30.5 power amp), the Shindo Aurieges is superior to both these preamps for less money.