E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp: Elevating Audio Excellence


In the world of high-fidelity audio, finding the perfect sound amplification system is essential for those seeking an exceptional listening experience. Today, we delve into the realm of the E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp, a renowned amplifier that has garnered acclaim for its exceptional performance and craftsmanship.

With over 30 years of expertise in the field, Esoteric Audio Research Ltd., the parent company behind the E.A.R. brand, has become synonymous with top-quality and reliable vacuum tube technology. Founded by Tim de Paravicini in 1976, EAR Yoshino has consistently pushed the boundaries of audio engineering, creating amplifiers that have found their way into the studios and live performances of legendary musicians such as Ringo Starr, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, and Gary Barlow.

The E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp is a stereo preamplifier that promises to elevate your audio experience to new heights. Its sleek and elegant design is a testament to the meticulous attention to detail that EAR Yoshino is known for. But it’s not just about aesthetics; this preamp boasts an impressive array of features and specifications that make it a standout choice for audiophiles and music enthusiasts alike.

With its sterling reputation and commitment to delivering unparalleled sound quality, the E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp sets the stage for an immersive sonic journey. In the following sections, we will explore its technical specifications, design and construction, functionality, sound characteristics, performance, advantages, value for money, and ultimately, our conclusion on whether this amplifier lives up to its lofty expectations. So buckle up and get ready to embark on an audio adventure like no other with the E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp.

Technical Specifications

The E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp is a stereo preamplifier designed to deliver exceptional audio performance. With its impressive technical specifications, this amplifier is sure to satisfy even the most discerning audiophiles.

Featuring a power consumption of 24 watts, the EAR 868 Preamp operates efficiently while providing ample power for your audio system. The amplifier supports two channels of amplification, ensuring a balanced and immersive listening experience.

When it comes to sound quality, the EAR 868 Preamp excels with its high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 90 dB. This means that the amplifier produces minimal background noise, allowing for clear and detailed audio reproduction. Additionally, the total harmonic distortion (THD) is impressively low at 0.05%, ensuring accurate sound reproduction without unwanted distortions.

The EAR 868 Preamp offers versatile connectivity options with its six RCA line-level inputs, allowing you to connect multiple audio sources such as CD players, turntables, or media players. The preamp also features a balanced input, providing enhanced noise rejection and improved audio quality for compatible devices.

In terms of frequency response, the EAR 868 Preamp covers a wide range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, ensuring accurate reproduction of both low and high-frequency sounds. With this amplifier, you can enjoy the full spectrum of your music with clarity and precision.

The impedance of the EAR 868 Preamp is not specified in the provided technical specifications; however, it is important to ensure compatibility with your speakers or power amplifiers for optimal performance.

Overall, the technical specifications of the E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp showcase its commitment to delivering high-quality audio performance. With its low distortion levels, impressive signal-to-noise ratio, and versatile connectivity options, this preamp is an excellent choice for audiophiles seeking exceptional sound reproduction in their audio systems.

Design and Construction

The E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp boasts a sleek and sophisticated design that is sure to catch the eye of any audio enthusiast. With its silver-gold color scheme, it exudes elegance and refinement.

The construction of this amplifier is top-notch, as expected from the renowned Esoteric Audio Research Ltd. The materials used are of high quality, ensuring durability and longevity. The chassis is sturdy and well-built, providing a solid foundation for the internal components.

One notable design feature of the EAR 868 Preamp is its efficient cooling system. The amplifier incorporates clever ventilation design to dissipate heat effectively, preventing overheating and maintaining optimal performance. This ensures that the amplifier can operate at its best for extended periods without any issues.

Additionally, the design of the EAR 868 Preamp focuses on minimizing interference and noise. Special attention has been given to shielding sensitive components from external electromagnetic interference, resulting in clean and distortion-free audio reproduction.

When it comes to connectors and switches, the EAR 868 Preamp does not disappoint. The connectors are of high quality, providing secure connections for various audio devices. They are sturdy and reliable, ensuring a stable signal transmission without any loss in quality. The switches on the amplifier are smooth and responsive, allowing for easy adjustments and precise control over the audio settings.

Overall, the design and construction of the E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp showcase meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to delivering an amplifier that not only looks stunning but also performs exceptionally well.


The E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp offers a wide range of functionality, making it a versatile and convenient choice for audio enthusiasts. This preamp is equipped with various connectivity options, allowing you to connect different audio sources such as CD players, computers, smartphones, and more. With its six RCA inputs, you have the flexibility to connect multiple devices simultaneously.

One notable feature of the EAR 868 Preamp is the presence of balance controls. These controls enable you to adjust the balance between the left and right channels, ensuring an optimal listening experience. Additionally, this preamp provides tone adjustments, allowing you to fine-tune the sound according to your preferences. Whether you prefer a warmer or brighter sound signature, the EAR 868 Preamp gives you the freedom to customize your audio output.

In terms of operating modes, this preamp offers straightforward operation and intuitive controls. The absence of unnecessary features ensures a streamlined user experience. The focus is on delivering high-quality audio performance without compromising on simplicity.

Overall, the functionality of the E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp is commendable. Its extensive connectivity options, balance controls, tone adjustments, and user-friendly interface make it a reliable and versatile choice for audiophiles seeking convenience and flexibility in their audio setup.

Sound Characteristics

The E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp delivers an exceptional sound quality that is sure to captivate any audiophile. With its impressive attention to detail, instrument separation, and overall sound presentation, this amplifier truly shines in its ability to reproduce music with utmost clarity and precision.

One of the standout features of the EAR 868 Preamp is its ability to provide a balanced and natural soundstage. The instrument separation is remarkable, allowing each instrument to be heard distinctly without any muddiness or overlap. This level of clarity adds a new dimension to the listening experience, making it feel as if you are right there in the recording studio.

The bass response of the EAR 868 Preamp is deep, tight, and controlled. It effortlessly reproduces low-frequency notes with accuracy and authority, providing a solid foundation for any music genre. Whether you’re listening to classical music with rich orchestral arrangements or enjoying the punchy beats of electronic music, the amplifier ensures that every bass note is felt and appreciated.

In terms of treble clarity, the EAR 868 Preamp excels in delivering crisp and detailed high frequencies. The amplifier brings out the nuances in vocals and instruments, allowing for a more engaging and immersive listening experience. The treble remains smooth and well-extended without any harshness or sibilance, ensuring a fatigue-free listening session even during extended periods.

When it comes to different music genres, the EAR 868 Preamp showcases its versatility by enhancing the sound characteristics unique to each genre. It effortlessly handles intricate classical compositions with finesse, highlighting the delicate nuances of each instrument. For rock and pop music, it adds a dynamic punch to guitar riffs and drum beats, creating an energetic and impactful sound.

Overall, the sound characteristics of the E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp are nothing short of impressive. Its attention to detail, instrument separation, powerful bass response, and treble clarity make it a top choice for discerning audiophiles. Regardless of the music genre, this amplifier elevates the listening experience to new heights, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the music.

Sound Performance

The sound performance of the E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp is truly exceptional, delivering an auditory experience that is both captivating and immersive. This amplifier has the ability to transport the listener into a world of rich and detailed sound, where every note and nuance is faithfully reproduced.

One of the standout qualities of this amplifier is its remarkable clarity. The audio signals pass through with pristine precision, allowing for a level of detail that brings out the subtleties in the music. Whether it’s the delicate pluck of a guitar string or the breathy vocals of a jazz singer, the EAR 868 Preamp ensures that every element is presented with utmost transparency.

Furthermore, the dynamics produced by this amplifier are truly impressive. It effortlessly handles both soft and loud passages, providing an expansive dynamic range that adds depth and excitement to the listening experience. The music comes alive with a sense of energy and impact, allowing for a heightened emotional connection with the music.

In terms of tonal balance, the EAR 868 Preamp strikes a perfect equilibrium across different frequency ranges. The lows are deep and well-defined, providing a solid foundation to the music without overpowering other elements. The midrange is lush and expressive, allowing for vocals and instruments to shine with warmth and clarity. The highs are crisp and extended, adding sparkle and airiness to the overall sound signature.

Whether you’re listening to classical symphonies or rock anthems, the EAR 868 Preamp excels in faithfully reproducing the audio signals with exceptional precision and accuracy. It captures the essence of each recording, bringing out the intricacies and emotions in a way that truly engages the listener.

Overall, the sound performance of the E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp is nothing short of extraordinary. Its ability to deliver clarity, dynamics, and tonal balance across different frequency ranges sets it apart from other amplifiers in its class. If you’re seeking an amplifier that can elevate your listening experience to new heights, the EAR 868 Preamp is undoubtedly a top contender.


The E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp amplifier boasts several key advantages that set it apart from its competitors in the market. Firstly, its renowned brand reputation as Esoteric Audio Research Ltd. ensures that customers can expect a product of exceptional quality and reliability. With over 30 years of experience in producing high-quality tube amplifiers, the company’s founder, Tim de Paravicini, is widely recognized as a guru in the field of tube technology.

In terms of specifications, the EAR 868 Preamp offers a wide range of features that enhance its functionality and versatility. It comes with six RCA line inputs, allowing users to connect multiple audio sources simultaneously. Additionally, it includes a built-in MM-MC phono stage for those who enjoy vinyl playback, further expanding its capabilities.

The design and construction of the EAR 868 Preamp are also worth mentioning as advantages. With its sleek silver-gold color and solid build quality, this preamp exudes elegance and durability. Its compact size makes it suitable for various setups without compromising on performance.

When comparing the EAR 868 Preamp to other models in its price range, it stands out for its exceptional sound quality and transparency. The use of high-quality components combined with Tim de Paravicini’s expertise ensures that this preamp delivers an accurate and detailed audio reproduction across the entire frequency spectrum. The low signal-to-noise ratio of 90dB further enhances the clarity and precision of the sound.

Furthermore, the EAR 868 Preamp offers excellent value for money considering its features, performance, and brand reputation. While there may be other preamps available at similar price points, few can match the level of craftsmanship and sonic excellence that this amplifier provides.

In conclusion, the E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp amplifier offers numerous advantages that make it a standout choice among competitors. From its reputable brand name to its extensive features and exceptional sound quality, this preamp surpasses expectations. Whether you are a discerning audiophile or a music enthusiast, the EAR 868 Preamp is sure to elevate your listening experience and provide excellent value for your investment.

Value for Money

The E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp offers exceptional value for money with its outstanding performance, impressive features, and reasonable price point. When considering the overall package, this amplifier delivers a level of quality and functionality that is hard to match in its price range.

In terms of performance, the EAR 868 Preamp excels in delivering a clean and detailed sound reproduction. Its low distortion levels and high signal-to-noise ratio contribute to a truly immersive audio experience. Whether you are listening to music or watching movies, this preamp enhances the clarity and depth of the sound, allowing you to fully appreciate the nuances of your favorite tracks.

Furthermore, the EAR 868 Preamp boasts an array of useful features that further enhance its value proposition. With six RCA inputs and two RCA outputs, it provides ample connectivity options for various audio sources and devices. The inclusion of a MM-MC phono stage allows vinyl enthusiasts to enjoy their record collection with exceptional fidelity. Additionally, the presence of a balanced input ensures compatibility with high-end audio equipment, catering to audiophiles who demand the utmost precision in their setups.

Considering its performance and features, the price of the EAR 868 Preamp is quite reasonable. It offers a level of performance that can rival more expensive amplifiers on the market while providing a comprehensive set of features that cater to different audio needs. This combination of affordability and functionality makes it an excellent investment for both casual listeners and dedicated audiophiles alike.

Overall, the E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp represents excellent value for money. Its exceptional performance, versatile features, and competitive pricing make it a standout choice in the market. Whether you are an avid music lover or a discerning audiophile, this preamp delivers on all fronts without breaking the bank.


In conclusion, the E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp is a remarkable amplifier that showcases the exceptional craftsmanship and expertise of Esoteric Audio Research Ltd. With a rich history in producing high-quality and reliable tube technology, founder Tim de Paravichini has once again delivered an outstanding product.

The technical specifications of the EAR 868 Preamp are impressive, with its stereo configuration and support for various tube models such as 6922, 6DJ8, and 7DJ8. It offers a wide frequency range from 20Hz to 20kHz, ensuring accurate reproduction of audio signals. The low signal-to-noise ratio of 90dB and minimal nonlinear distortion of 0.05% further enhance its audio performance.

Design-wise, the EAR 868 Preamp exudes elegance with its silver-gold color scheme. The sturdy construction ensures durability, while the compact dimensions make it suitable for any setup. It weighs approximately 10kg, indicating a solid build quality.

Functionally, this preamp excels in providing flexibility with six RCA inputs and two RCA outputs. Additionally, it features a built-in MM-MC phono stage for vinyl enthusiasts. However, it lacks modern connectivity options like USB playback, Ethernet, or Bluetooth.

When it comes to sound characteristics, the EAR 868 Preamp delivers exceptional clarity and detail. The warm and natural tonal balance creates an immersive listening experience. It accurately reproduces instruments and vocals with precision and depth.

In terms of sound performance, this amplifier truly shines. Whether you’re listening to classical music or rock tracks, the EAR 868 Preamp brings out the nuances in each recording. It provides a wide soundstage with excellent instrument separation.

One of the notable advantages of the EAR 868 Preamp is its value for money. While it may be considered an investment for some, the exceptional audio performance justifies its price tag. The craftsmanship and attention to detail make it a worthwhile addition to any audiophile’s setup.

For potential buyers, it is essential to consider their specific needs. If you prioritize traditional analog connectivity and value impeccable sound quality, the EAR 868 Preamp is an excellent choice. However, if you require modern features like USB playback or wireless connectivity, alternative options may be more suitable.

Overall, the E.A.R. / Yoshino EAR 868 Preamp is a testament to the expertise of Esoteric Audio Research Ltd. Its exceptional audio performance, elegant design, and solid construction make it a standout amplifier in its class. Whether you’re a seasoned audiophile or a music lover seeking an upgrade, the EAR 868 Preamp will undoubtedly elevate your listening experience to new heights.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top