E.A.T. E-Glo I integrated amplifier

The story behind European Audio Team (E.A.T.) is that of one woman, company owner and CEO Jozefína Lichtenegger.

While studying for her MBA at the University of Economics in Bratislava, Slovakia, Lichtenegger (née Krahulkova) sold vacuum tubes for her brother-in-law, Alesa Vaic, then owner of Czech Republic–based tube brand VAIC. After VAIC shuttered in 2003, Lichtenegger founded her own retail business and engaged 100-year-old tube manufacturer Tesla Vršovice to supply 300B and KT88 tubes made to her specifications. When the owner of Tesla retired, she bought the company. She christened her new endeavor E.A.T. (The original Tesla continues as TESLA ElectronTubes, s.r.o.)

Lichtenegger brought over workers from Tesla, including the craftspeople who make E.A.T.'s 300B and KT88 tubes, entirely by hand. These highly skilled employees bring a lifetime of knowledge to their unique professions. "We have three dedicated tube builders," she told me via email, "Kveta Perglerova, Miluse Rösslerová, and Martin Orna."

"The tradition of making the world's best vacuum tubes is the DNA of E.A.T.," Lichtenegger said. "This is how I started European Audio Team 20 years ago."

Jozefína Krahulkova and Pro-Ject founder and CEO Heinz Lichtenegger were married in 2010, creating a true EU audio power couple.

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E.A.T. and Pro-Ject share production facilities. Joining forces with Pro-Ject allowed E.A.T. to start producing cartridges, phono stages, and turntables.

"Thanks to Pro-Ject," wrote Anthony Chiarella, national sales manager of E.A.T.'s US distributor, Vana, Ltd., in an email, "E.A.T. has resources which other companies its size simply don't. At this level of professionalism, products are authored by a team of skilled engineers and designers rather than a single individual whose skill set could not possibly cover every aspect of product development, quality control, manufacturing, etc."

First, following their holy high-end union, "came the E-Glo phono preamplifier ($6995), then E-Glo S ($2995), and E-Glo Petit phono ($1495) preamplifiers," Jozefína Lichtenegger told me in an email.1 After that, "the logical progression [was] a great line of turntables." E.A.T. now makes seven of those, including the C-Major ($2545), E-Flat ($6000), and Forte ($8495). The E-Glo I integrated amplifier ($9995) is E.A.T.'s first foray into power-amplification components. It looks and feels like a well-made, smartly constructed, luxury component.

Design
The E-Glo I is wide (19 5/8") and low (7" tall, including the tubes and transformer covers; the main chassis is about half that tall). I find it unusual in appearance, its body broad and flat, low-slung like an immaculate river barge. It's finished in silver, somewhere between matte and satin, with Macassar-veneered side panels. Heavy-gauge aluminum is used for the E.A.T.'s top plate, front, and sides, joined to a steel bottom plate and back panel. Cube-shaped transformer covers extend upward from the main chassis, their front panels mirrored to reflect the tubes' glow.

The fascia of the E-Glo I is very plain, featuring five small LEDs that turn blue when an input is chosen. To the right, another LED, labeled Power, flashes blue during standby then turns solid when in use. Also on the right is a 3.5mm headphone jack.

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I particularly liked the placement of the aluminum alloy volume control on top of the chassis—a more natural, fingers-to-knob fit than the typical front-mounted volume pot. To the left of the knob (which uses an ALPS Blue Velvet potentiometer) is a toggle switch for power on/off. To the right are two more toggle switches: one for switching between Ultralinear and triode mode, the other for selecting the input; the switches are made from an aluminum alloy. Behind the toggles stand four recessed signal tubes: two 12AX7s and two 12AT7s, by ElectroHarmonix. Each small tube is fitted with an adjustable, thermally conductive, cherry red E.A.T. Cool Damper, made of a combination of aluminum extrusions and Teflon/carbon V-grooved strips. Behind each signal tube is a Sovtek KT88 power tube; substituting E.A.T.'s in-house–manufactured KT88 tubes adds $1500 to the price. Finally, behind the power tubes are those transformers. "The output transformers have permalloy cores, which offer much better sound, mostly in the mids and high notes," Lichtenegger noted. Polypropylene coupling capacitors are employed.

The E.A.T. E-Glo I is a true dual-mono design, with separate PCB circuitry, tubes, capacitors, and transformers for each channel. "There are identical power transformers for each channel along with the two output transformers," Roy Feldstein, Vana's managing director, told me by email.

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Stationed on the E-Glo I's back panel are five pairs of gold-plated, single-ended (RCA) input jacks, IEC receptacle, master power switch, and two sets of gold-plated, five-way speaker binding posts, each with separate posts for 4 or 8 ohm loads, and a post marked "comm" for ground. A tube cage was supplied but not used.

The E-Glo I includes a palm-sized, sleek, brushed-aluminum remote, its small buttons enabling power-on or standby, input selection, and volume adjustment using buttons marked + and –, and mute engage/disengage. Circuitry is all-tube except for rectification, which is solid-state. The amplifier operates in class-A, and it runs a little bit hot to the touch. Also, noted in E.A.T.'s online literature, the E-Glo I includes "auto bias functionality with cathode feedback," "PCB technology with 'wire to wire' connection quality," and premium Solen capacitors in all stages.

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I queried Lichtenegger about that "PCB technology with 'wire to wire' connection quality." In response, she noted that printed circuit boards dissipate more electrical energy than air does—an advantage of point-to-point wiring. "The 'loss factor' (also known as Tangent delta [tanδ]) of PCB material is worse than the loss factor of air, or a [high] quality capacitor (footnote 2). With the high impedances in tube circuits, every tangent deterioration negatively affects the sound." To deal with that, E.A.T. mills "interrupt traces ... in the PCB under the capacitors and along the critical signal paths."

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The E.A.T. E-Glo I is a beautiful machine, subtle in design but so substantially built that it makes a serious visual impression.

Setup
The E-Glo I's minimal array of inputs and outputs made for easy setup. Like the Rotel Michi P5 preamplifier I reviewed before it, the width of the E-Glo I meant it barely fit between the four columns of my Salamander rack, but fit it did.

I played records with my EMT TSD15 N MC cartridge ($1950) attached to my Kuzma 4Point tonearm ($7090) and Kuzma Stabi R turntable ($7465), sitting atop the Kuzma Platis 65 isolation platform ($3267). Tonearm leads were joined to the Luxman EQ-500 phono preamplifier ($7490), connected in turn to the E.A.T. via a pair of Shindo RCA interconnects. A 6' pair of Auditorium 23 speaker cables carried the music to my DeVore Fidelity O/93 loudspeakers ($8400/pair). I also listened to some streaming music via my usual digital front-end; see my Associated Equipment list for details.

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Out of the box, the E-Glo I needed some break-in, so I ran it in with Tidal; after a week of near-nonstop repeat plays, the unit settled down.

Listening
Playing records through the E.A.T. E-Glo I Integrated Tube Amplifier made me happy. Its sound was vivid, fast, forceful, clean, very open, spacious, transparent, dynamic, resolving, and full-bodied—even full-blooded. It served up good helpings of what the late Art Dudley used to call "drive."


Footnote 1: From this point on, all references to "Lichtenegger" are to Jozefína, not Heinz.

Footnote 2: In normal use, "tanδ" is the reciprocal of the better-known quantity Q, or "quality factor"; tanδ is a measure of the amount of energy dissipation in a system. There is always some energy dissipation in a system with electric fields and dielectrics, whether it's inside a capacitor, between two conductors in a coaxial cable, or inside a circuit board. tanδ is very important at frequencies in the GHz range. There is much less dissipation at audio frequencies, but that doesn't mean it's not important.—Editor

COMPANY INFO
European Audio Team
US distributor: Vana, Ltd.
Nesconset, NY
(631) 246-4412
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
Metalhead's picture

Excellent review.

I like the way you compared and contrasted the amp with different manufacturers.

Although I am set on equipment I cannot imagine anyone springing for this beautiful integrated being anything but ecstatic and happy with the purchase.

tonykaz's picture

Sure, it's been a bad year but the UK is now getting the vaccine and we should too.

Bad year aside, I can't recall any Audio related authorship as outstanding as this. I'll bet Steven King would praise our MR.KM. which should worry us, hmm, CNET lost it's great reviewer and the NYTimes is always hunting talent. fingers crossed.

Can we have doubts about longevity ? Great sounding tubes can have disappointing life-spans. ( even not so good ones can die young )

I can't reveal any promise or pledge from the Manufacturer or Importer or our Pulitzer level reviewer. hmm

I'd like to understand the life spans for all those tubes that the EAT team create and their quality policy.

Tubes are the singing voice of Audio gear ( my opinion ). The better sounding the tubes the better and way more addictive the music system.

Thank you for reporting.

Tony in Venice

Jack L's picture

Hi

Bingo.

I can't agree with you more !!!!

Listening to tube is believing

Jack L

thatguy's picture

"The E-Glo I made me want to search through the waves of vinyl records all over my apartment and let the amp have at them."

To me that is what listening to music is about.

It is great that not only is it a visual work of art but that it is also a joy for listening. The closeup pictures reveal impeccable attention to detail.

Ortofan's picture

... EAT did not include a phono stage.
Instead of spending $10K on this unit, I'd find a way to scrape up the extra $2K in order to buy a Luxman CL-38uC and MQ-88uC preamp/power amp combo.
https://luxmanamerica.com/product/cl-38uc/
https://luxmanamerica.com/product/mq-88uc/
https://www.stereophile.com/content/luxman-classic-cl-38u-preamplifier

dial's picture

Audio Research VSi75 8500 (2018)
Jadis Orchestra Black $3995 (2020)

tonykaz's picture

and pricy separates at that.

EAT make 3 Phono step-ups from $2,000 to $6,000 which kinda make them just above entry level. phew.

I'm getting the notion their Tubes are pricey.

Tony in Venice

thatguy's picture

The tubes are outside of my budget (especially for a item that wears out) but they are beautiful hand made tubes
https://youtu.be/Cd2jMzErw9I?t=46

tonykaz's picture

$1,800 for a single KT88 isn't pricey, it's other worldly.

I'm trying to discover what seems to be rather well hidden $ commitment levels relating to this EAT Company and thier product line.

They appear to be a highest Caste, velvet rope type outfit. I called the USA office but no-one there.

Tony in Venice

thatguy's picture

I ran into the same issue when trying to find prices; they aren't big about putting them out there but I thought I saw $1800 for a set of 4 tubes. Which would be in line with their $1500 extra on this amp to get it with those tubes.

That is still a lot of money so I'll just make the picture of one of their tubes my desktop and live vicariously through reviews like this.

edit: found it: "$1795.00 Per Matched Quad" They only sell them in matched quads so I guess the single ended people like me are out of luck anyways.

tonykaz's picture

These devices still might be viable if they have an established Life-Span, a supported guarantee system which would make them Re-sellable and generally useful.

A matched set of 4 could be parted out or stored on a shelf if these are Lifetime Investments.

Still, these are not Impulse purchase buys.

If I were still in the Retail or Import Audio business, I would buy-up boxed sets of these tubes and probably sell a couple sets a week.

Musically, I consider the little pre-amp tubes to be the singing voice, not the Amp Tubes. However, Horns work well at very low or low power levels.

How long will these tubes live? How many hours? How well does the Manufacturer support or will they support over the looooooooonnnnnngggggg span of times that Audiophiles live?

I suspect that wealthy folks don't need or expect assurances like what regular audiophiles rely on.

My life experience is that tube gear will have deteriorating tubes but vintage tubes have outstanding singing voices that perform well for decades.

The Safe path is SS & streaming.

Tony in Venice

thatguy's picture

"I suspect that wealthy folks don't need or expect assurances like what regular audiophiles rely on."

There are plenty of people for whom this would be about the same financial impact as me putting a dollar in a vending machine.

"The Safe path is SS & streaming."

But safe is not so much fun ;)
And speaking of safe: 400+ volts DC wakes me up way more than 120 volts AC when my mind wanders while working on it.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Take it easy. You're not a tube man, no wonder! Any tube amps operate on a few hundred voltage. IMO, tube amps sound better than solid state amps. That's why so many music lovers, including Yours Truly, go for tube amps only. You ever read any news of tube users electrocution ?

FYI, the phonostage I design/built & am using at home for a few years now, operates on 600V++ !!! It sounds superb on playing my 1,000+ classical music LPs collection. NO sweat ! Have I ever worry a bit of electrocuting myself ?? Never !!

Jack L

thatguy's picture

yeah, that is exactly what my post said: that tube amps run on several hundred volts. The first one I built has 700 VAC coming off the transformer before the rectifier. The next one on the bench is over 800. You'd have to be in a pretty small town for the news to cover someone being electrocuted working on an amp.... But I doubt it happens very often either way.

Herb Reichert's picture

"You can use milk instead of butter – but you'll be sorry."

Ortofan's picture

... version of second harmonic sauce?

Jack L's picture

Bingo !

Jack L

eriks's picture

Looking at the caps used I could almost predict this line:

"Though the E.A.T. consistently supercharged the upper-mids and treble"

Shame that a more mellow and transparent option isn't available. Mundorf MKP may be a tad darker, but the smoothness in the treble more than makes up for it after break-in. They're reasonably priced, and about the same physical dimensions. If they were going to chose a low cost audio brand poly cap this or maybe Clarity would have been much better options.

OTOH, of course, system synergy matters a great deal and with the right speakers this may be moot.

Jack L's picture

Hi eriks

What critically decides superb sound quality is not passive components, like coupling caps, resistors, inter-wiring. It is the choice of active
gain devices, e.g. vacuum tubes, transistors etc., & the right circuit design to make these active gain devices sound best.

With the above done right, any very expansive parts & components are only icing on the cake.

Trust my decades' audio amps hands-on design/build experience, backed up by my addiction to classical music !

Listening is believing

Jack L

eriks's picture

Hi Jack,

Shame you are wrong. :) Trust my decades of hands on speaker and electronics building and experience. :) Solens are bright and irritating.

Best,

Erik

Jack L's picture

Hi

May I ask what electronics you've built ?

Jack L

eriks's picture

From theater processors to tube preamps. I don't mean home theater processors either. :)

Best,

Erik

Jack L's picture

Hi

Sorry, I only go for home audios: design/building phonostages, linestages (passive & active), & power amps, using TRIODE tubes only.

Techically & sonically, TRIODES beat any other active devices used in audio as only triodes acquire no-bent LINEAR signal transfer curves.

So please tell us more about yr design/building tube preamps !

Listening to triodes is believing

Jack L

eriks's picture

Hi Jack,

I've been down this road before. Here's what I suggest instead. Anyone who thinks caps are really not very important, use Solen coupling caps for a month, then switch to Mundorf MKP. They are both really inexpensive and worth the self-englightenment.

The audible delta between those two brands is rather large to me, as coupling caps or speaker caps. I've never tried them in amps, but I can't imagine it would be much different.

I'm comfortable that most audiophiles will find this worth the trouble.

Another thing to keep in mind is that caps only seem to be equal commodities when you have neutral or reasonably acceptable caps. Put in a bad sounding cap, and suddenly the cap becomes the most important component only because, perversely, it is so poor sounding.

Jack L's picture

Hi Erik

For best sound, use caps of the right design for the right application.

For HV filter of a tube amp, for example, I would use oil-filled capacitors instead of electrolytic caps most most commonly used even in very very expensive makes.

Why? Oil-filled HV filters sound much much better than electrolytic caps which are physically much smaller than an oil-filled caps & are less costly.

The problem is not many tube amp designers got critical ears to hear the difference!

For signal coupling, I would definitely use polyester (PE) & polypropylene (PP) film caps for tube amps for better sound.

Jack L

Jack L's picture

Hi

Not all caps are made the same way & therefore sound different.

So what dielectric used in the Solen caps you found "bright & irritating"? Polyester, polypropylene films, metallized or not etc etec ????

FYI, I've installed metallized polypropylene (PP) film caps (US made) for the bi-wired stand loudspeakers X-over network boards. I've used compact German VIMA polyester film caps of large capacitance in the passive RIAA EQ loop of the tube phonostage I've been using for many years now.

The caps I used sound smooth & balanced.

Jack L

eriks's picture

I've tried both the Solen polypropelyne and I thought they made a polyester cap (LONG time ago), so I could be mistaken.

I've been told the high-end versions sound much better by builders I trust, but those somehow never seem to make it into mass production gear I've seen. Once I found Mundorf MKP's I didn't look further for cheap good caps. I use Clarity for speakers though, except in the bass low pass filters, where I've been known to use Axon (Solen's cheap brand?) which works really well there.

bwright's picture

I've always been impressed with EAT - if you look at the span of offerings, this is a product line curated by an audiophile.

Given what was written about the EAT, I may end up buying the E-Glo I myself. And I suspect the current VTL IT-85 or Line Magnetic 518ia would have been a better comparison than the Cary. They both sit in the accurate end of the integrated tube amp spectrum, as opposed to the warmed up and slightly indistinct sound preferred by many purists.

And I have to agree with Tony In Venice about the older NOS power tubes. Most of them are built to last and sound incredible, compared to the newer generation. Well worth the money, particularly the EL34s, 6550s and 845s. As for the EAT KT88 quad's price tag, well, it's probably around the same cost as buying 4 good used GEC KT88s. Given EAT's focus on quality, their tubes could be just as good. Look forward to hearing them someday...

Jack L's picture

Hi bwright

Sorry to disagree.

I am a die-hard TUBE DIYER. BUT but I hate "warmed & indistinct" tuby sound.

So ALL my design/built/upgraded tube phonostages, linestages & power amp sound fast, see-thru transparent, open, precision imaging, wide-deep-high soundstaging. In other words, they all sound accurate like the very best sold state amps but beat them musically !!!!!!

Listening is believing

Jack L

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