The 912 is an excellent do-all pre/phonos; one of the very best and is on my list as my next (retirement) pre. I have been told that you can 'warm-up' the overall tone of the 912 with some choice tubes.
Two possible contacts that may be willing to recommend alternatives:
(1). Kevin Deal at UpScale Audio sells a lot of tubes destined for the 912
(2). Bob Levi, president of the Los Angeles Audio Club is a big fan of the 912 and has used it extensively and would probably give some recommendations if asked
Thanks i will check the sites you refer to.
I agree its a good pre, i was actually not looking for a pre when i bought this one, i just needed a phono amp. But when i got a question from a dealer to try at home it blew me away, the previous pre i had vas the Electrocompaniet EC 4.8, but it could not keep up with the sound from the 912.
For future references, for others who might have an interest in this, i did buy some 6N1P tubes i found on ebay, and the sound from them was a bit warmer than the original tdp branded tubes. It was minor differences, but i think it was slightly less control in the bass region, and the midband was maybe slightly warmer.
I also have one, and have heard Bob Levi's E.A.R. 912 Dave Weinharts E.A.R. 912 at his shop when I brought in a pair of speakers to demo for him.
Like you I also bought it for the phono stage, and remote, and the fact it can drive multiple outputs at once.
Wadia 860x With Great Northern Sound Statement upgrade
Goldmund Studio Turntable with T3-f arm
Mixer (see below)
Power: MIT Z-powerbar cryroed.
Living room System 1
Balanced output 1 from the EAR 912 front end
Home Theater signal from MSB Analog DAC and UMT+ with all separate power supplies
MIT MA-X SHD 110
VAC PHI 200
MIT Oracle SHD 120 speaker cable
Chapman T-9MKII Speakers
Living room system 2
gets single ended RCA signal from E.A.R. 912
Infinity RS1 Electronic crossover
Audio Research D-250MKII SERVO with Great Northern Sound Upgrade (High frequency panels) 250 w.p.c.
Odyssey Audio Kismet Extreme Monoblocks 200 w.pc.
MIT reference cable.
Infinity Reference Standard RS1-b
Entec SW-1 Subwoofers one pair flanking the Infinity RS-1b
gets single ended RCA signal from Wadia 860x
Audioquest Lapis interconnect
Audio Research VS-110 with Sveltland 6550 winged C tubes 100 w.p.c
Nordost White Lighting speaker cable
Magnaplanar Tympany IV-a
gets signal from E.A.R. 912 (tape out loop)
Scott 299b integrated tube amp (GE 7581) 20 w.p.c.
Analysis plus 12 gauge Oval speaker wire
Chapman T-7 speakers Dual Isolation cabinets
gets signal from E.A.R. 912 balanced output 2
Bozak Mixer (on order) (which can feed everything through the EAR 912)
(2) Technics 1200 MKII
Vestax VCI 100 controller with EAN Golden Arcade Mod v3
Hegel HD25 DAC or Wadia 860x
Wireworld Oasis 7 XLR
Genelec s30D tri-amped powered 360 watt ribbon monitors (these come alive fed by the EAR 912 an amazing combo)
Generic Toslink cable
Aqua La Voce NOS DAC
Nordost Red Dawn Interconnect
Sherwood S5500II (JAN Phillips 12AX7WA, GE 7868) 35 w.p.c.
Chapman T-8 speakers
So that EAR 912 is so versatile, it's ideal for this sort of thing. It's grounding scheme is so great. zero hum.
The point of posting all of this is to note that the EAR 912 sounds good in every system- and remarkably helpful to an unexpected degree in the Genelecs which I did not care for (in terms of audiophile consideration) prior to adding the EAR 912 and now they are one of my top 3 favorites...(but only fed by the EAR 912 through the analog input of the GENELEC s30D).
So rolling tubes in it is a bit tricky. Since all systems sound a bit different. I haven't sorted it all out yet. The Infinity RS1b system is the one I am focusing on the most.
I replaced the two line stage 6DJ8 with Amperex 6922 and also the middle one of the phono section with another Amperex 6922
I have a VALVO ECC88, and another tube Brimar ECC88 to try rolling into it. Also Dan the EAR contact for the USA offered to help me with tube rolling.
I probably will try a few Mullards too. My guess is that British tubes were probably what Tim de Paravincini had on hand when he made the pre-amp..so maybe he used British tubes for his own rolling.. if he does that...just a guess, no more.
He did stop in my room at the recent Newport Show, everyone feels like an audio neophyte around the guy, I think he has it right, and the rest of the industry is wondering how one guy can make so many good products on so many levels...and lets not forget I think is well into his 70's and to see him hopping up and down making his point takes away my fears of getting older...fantastically great guy and willing to teaching share, when I am sure most would have lost their patience decades ago.
I'll keep you posted... Did you find anything particularly good? I have not tried a 7DJ8 or 7308s...
The EAR 912 uses five PCC88/7DJ8 tubes. The EAR 88PB which I happen to own uses four of the same tube type. I have tried these tubes in the following brands: Amperex, Telefunken, Ei Yugo(stock for the 88PB), Siemens, Tungsram, Tesla and Valvo. My second choice is the Tesla, which I find very evenly balanced and a bit more neutral than my first choice, the Valvo. I prefer the Valvo because it sounds the most musically satisying among all those PCC88/7DJ8s I have tried......Yes, it's all highly personal.
Has anyone tried a third party remote for their 912?
With regards tube rolling the EAR 88PB. I recently bought one from new and opened it up and was surprised to find the ECC88 type of tubes in it! All I've read in previous forums has been that it uses the higher heater voltage type of valve (PCC88). Tried some Mullard PCC88 in it which work very nicely. Will ring up EAR to find out why they changed to ECC88 (?).
Wow that's odd. My late 2017 88pb came from EAR with 4x dP PCC88.
When I talked to Tim at the Anaheim Show in 2015, he told me his favorite tube brand was Mullard. The old ones, of course. Isn't is surprising how few audiophiles own, or have even heard, EAR electronics? Small number of dealers and pro reviews, no advertising, no frequent and regular model "updates" (Mk.2, Mk.2SE, Mk.3, Mk.3SE).
I have an EAR 912 preamp and 890 power amp, as well as the HP4 headphone amp and the EAR Dac 4 (although I generally use my Chord DAVE instead). As soon as I got the preamp I started tube rolling. I tried Telefunken, Phillips and a bunch of other NOS 7DJ8s. Then I tried some new JJ gold pin 6DJ8s. They all sounded awful.
I emailed EAR to ask why and Tim replied that he found it amusing that audiophiles thought they knew better than he did and tried to improve on his design by trying different tubes. I reinstalled the stock tubes - which I believe are re-branded Sovtek. You know what, it sounded amazing, much better than any of the NOS tubes I tried.
It may be that EAR carefully select the tubes they put their own brand onto. But it did teach me that sometimes it is best to listen to the person who designed the equipment.
Anyone want to buy a big box of preamp tubes?
FWIW this is my experience exactly on my EAR 912 - tried Telefunkens, tried Teslas, went back to the standard tubes.
I have an EAR Acute which I use large O getter late 1950s Amperex. They are superior to many of the more modern tubes I've tried (about 15 pairs). Also, my older EAR 864 line stage sounded dull compared to the Mullard 12AX7 CV4004 and cleartop RCA 12AU7 in the line stage. It became a different animal too, lush tonality (spot on), super dynamic, super deep bass, extended but sweet highs. I keep it only as a backup because it did suffer from an opaque quality (not severe, just not high end), lacking air and openness of my current pre-amp. Otherwise, what a gem to listen to at it's price.