review of Eastern Electric M520

I am very surprised not to see a review on this amplifier on Audiogon.
The model I purchased about 4 years ago was a special one with upgraded
coupling caps with Mundorf Supremes with the work done by Eastern Electric.
I have had many amplifiers and integrated over the years including very expensive ones by Jeff Rowland, Cary, Arcam, Mesa, VTL, VAC and this is my favorite. I have always preferred tubes overall and I believe that with the upgraded caps and some tube rolling that this is one of the best integrated
amps. anywhere near their price. The construction is excellent, reliability has been perfect, and the sheer beauty of the amp is very impressive. With the variable outputs between ultralinear/triode, variable feedback, and outputs this is a very tunable amplifier. I used fairly efficient speakers and the 24 watts/channel was very ample. Overall, highly recommended integrated with the upgraded caps. Call Eastern Electric for other mods available.
EE makes good stuff period-very underated.
My 8 watt mini-max integrated sounds better
than my Oddysey Stratos,AVA 260,Jolida 501 or heavily
modderd Hafler 500.

I am one of their Service Centers, and have not had an EE unit in for almost two years! Very special gear that hits way above its weight class.

Their engineer is magical with his transformer knowledge. Some people really 'get it'.
I had one for years and loved it. Quality of construction is superb and so is the sweet music it makes! Great, great stuff and Bill at Morningstar makes it even better!
I own three EE components: the M520, purchased in 2005; the wonderful phono stage; and the (now discontinued) CD player. The tube driver circuit on the right channel of the M520 shorted out in 2008 (trashing an expensive pair of NOS Mullard EL34's) but otherwise I've had no problems. These EE components get daily use, usually two or three hours per day, and sound great. I hope to continue to enjoy them for many more years.
Love my M520 and my minimax integrated too. Use with Omega Compact Hemp, Hoyt Bedford Type 1, Jean Marie Reynaud Twin Mk II and Green Mountain Audio Europa Max. Awesome sound. I have had a lot of other gear in the past, the Eastern Electric integrateds are keepers because I am always happy with the sound.
Hi Mike
I'm looking at both the M520 and the Minimax integrated but cant decide. Could you please advise which one to go for? Thanks.
Just go for the one that fits your budget, not all that much difference in sound.
Hi, sorry for the delay in responding, I just noticed your question today. Both are nice. On an overall basis, I'd go with the M520. More power so more flexible with a wider variety of speakers and a fuller sound. A bit slower i think than the minimax. Minimax definitely needs an efficient speaker with higher (8 ohm) impedance to present an easier load to drive. Minimax only uses just four 6BM8 tubes so relative to the M520 which uses a lot more tubes including the 5AR4 which you'd probably want to buy vintage Mullards. All those tubes get expensive especially if you buy NOS. My opinion only, ymmv. Good luck!
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Another Zu Druid user chiming in here. The Eastern Electric M520 drives them flawlessly, better than any other amp I’ve tried; I’ve had a Triode Corporation A300 SE, an F3 Clone, a Cayin A50T, and an HH Scott LK-72 pass through the system. All of these are great amps but the M520 really makes the Druids sing. It’s a first class amp, especially if you have relatively high efficiency speakers. The adjustable feedback feature at this price point is amazing. I don’t think people overstate the case when they say that this is 6 different amps in one. With the flip of a few switches, I can approximate the sound of the Cayin, the Triode Corp, and the Scott amp. In Pentode mode, with no feedback and using the 8 ohm taps, the handshake the M520 makes with the Druids performs competitively against any megabuck system that I’ve ever heard. And with 18-20 wpc, they will drive reasonably sensitive speakers to satisfactory levels in most rooms. I can’t speak for 4 ohm loads but with my 16 ohm loads being driven by the 8 ohm taps, my dial never leaves 25% and 25% gets me approaching concert levels, clean and smiling. The only conceivable knock on the M520 is that it’s not dead quiet. The only tube amp I’ve had that was dead quiet was the Cayin but for me, that’s not the end all, be all. If it was, I’d still have the Cayin.
EE Minimax integrated on my short list for an inexpensive tube integrated to start a third system.    Also Sophia Baby, GLow Amp One, Jolida fx10.
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It’s doesn’t run too warm considering it’s got 5 tubes per channel. My listening position is 6 feet away from where I keep the amp and I haven’t noticed it heating the room or anything, but my listening room is in the attic and is fairly cool in the winter months. The transformer module does get a little warmer than usual because it is closely framed on both sides by the tubes. But all in all, it seems to run only marginally warmer than most of the other tube amps I’ve had (due to the transformer module's proximity to all of the tubes) and I’ve never had a tube amp that has run really hot. It will need adequate ventilation though, a good amount of clearance above and around it, for stable operation.