over 20 years, Tim de Paravicini's EAR brand name has been associated
with valve amplifiers of legendary quality and reliability. Classics
such as the 500-series power amplifiers, the 802 preamp, and more
recently the V20 integrated amp and the 800-series 'Enhanced Triode
Mode' models are among the most prestigious hi-fi products ever made and
have attracted praise and awards the world over.
Although Tim de Paravicini has been designing transistor-based circuits
since the days of the very first commercial transistors, he has never
before produced a solid-state amplifier under his own flag. But now,
after years of breaking with everyone else's traditions, he has broken
with his own and produced the 312 Control Centre, a fully-featured
preamp which redefines the world of solid-state just as EAR amplifiers
have done for the world of valves.
Taking into account the current growth in the number of sources in many
hi-fi systems, the 312 offers no less than eight inputs, three of which
are balanced and transformer-coupled. What's more, there are six
outputs: three each balanced and unbalanced, and because they are also
transformer-coupled it is perfectly possible to use both types
simultaneously (for instance in multi-amped systems) without upsetting
the balanced outputs. This means that six stereo power amplifiers can be
driven at once.
As you would expect from an EAR product, the phono input also features
transformer coupling for moving coil cartridges, ensuring the lowest
possible noise, and in order to ensure very high overload headroom and
complete stability the RIAA equalization of the phono stage uses an
inductor in a unique EAR circuit configuration.
The basic amplifying circuit uses just three transistors in a
single-ended configuration, a 'valve-like' approach that harnesses the
gain of the transistors in such a way as to give sound of unequalled
sweetness and clarity. Complete compatibility with other equipment is
achieved through the very high input and output headroom of all
circuits, plus their low noise.
Again drawing on de Paravicini's expertise in the field of transformers
and inductors, the power supply uses a choke input filter to give very
low noise and ripple, and very low dependency on the purity of the
incoming electricity supply: it also generates very low levels of
interference on the household supply without requiring any additional
Simple and intuitive operation has always been a feature of EAR
products, and to this end the 312 uses a very high quality and high
accuracy volume control with a conventional single-turn range, in
conjunction with a unique meter-like scale which clearly indicates
circuit gain. Channel balance is maintained to close tolerances right
down to whisper-quiet levels.
Finally, it should be hardly necessary to mention that like all EAR
products the 312 is built to the highest standards and immaculately
finished so that it looks as good as it sounds. It will set standards
for a long time to come.
For more information, please visit this product's webpage.