Eico HF-81 Amplifiers

5/5 (10 Reviews)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (10 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by JCTrumpet a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 5, 2007

Bottom Line:   
I am very pleased with the EICO HF 81. As someone who is new to tube technology this integrated amplifier was quite a surprise to my ears. I am a public school band director and a free lance musician. So when listening to any recording
the comparison made is "how close does the recording sound against when I am in the middle of a performance group or an audience?"

Originally, when I improperly hooked the HF 81 up 10 years ago the decision was to store it. A few months ago, after doing an internet search on and reading about the EICO HF 81, I hooked it up correctly......WOW! Woody Herman's Big Band had presence and warmth that were not there on my solid-state integrated amp. The 14 watts per side are more than enough to drive my Advent/2 speakers or Peavey PR12's (they are PA speakers with an 97 dB efficiency rating).

My listening diet is mainly small combo Jazz, Big Band, Polkas and anything that
shows group energy and clarity. This integrated amp makes it happen.

A major confession is that I repaced the original Mullard tubes in the HF 81. They had lived a long life and were going out of balance. So I repaced all of the pre-amp and amp tubes with JJ Tesla and the rectifier tubes with Electro -Harmonics. This added to better balance and warmth of sound. Before I did this I went through the HF 81 and cleaned the pots and checked the connections.

I whole heartedly encourage someone looking for a clean sounding, modest looking integrated amp to buy an EICO HF 81. I'm still amazed that an integrated amp that is as old as I am, sounds good !

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by godspeaks a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 21, 2004

Bottom Line:   
I purchased an Eico HF-81 after reading the rave reviews on the net including this site. I have to agree with the majority that this little integrated has a beautiful sound - certainly much better than anything I have ever owned. I tried it initially with a pair of Burhoe Blue's that I bought in the mid 70's. While those speakers sounded great with the Leak TL50+ amp, they didn't quite make the grade with the Eico. I hooked up a pair of thrift shop $9.95 (Cdn.) B&W DM4's from the late 70's and voila! Lovely sound. Compact look.

The amp has all Mullard tubes. I know they are all strong but my experience with tube amplifiers and tuners is limited so have no point of reference to compare the tubes to any others. Suffice it to say the amplifier sounds better than anything I have ever owned. I am mostly a jazz listener with some classical and a dose of Santana, Steve Earle and John Lee Hooker. The base response is perfect for my ears. Not the chest rattling of the Burhoes hooked to the Leak put that accounts for very little of my listening these days and seems to offend some family members.

I am a garage sale and thrift shop addict. I ended up buying the Eico on ebay because I couldn't wait any longer. I figured the rest of my system cost me the equivalent of about $40 US in total (plus servicing where required) so the ebay purchase was affordable.

I am a fan of female singers. Patricia Barber is on as I type singing Norwegian Wood. Wayne Shorter was on before that. I am tickled pink with this amp/speaker combo and would recommend the amp to anyone. great sound at an affordable price. Mine was factory built, has original Mullard tubes. My tech replaced four resistors and did some minor adjustments and that was it.

My room is fairly large (350 sq. ft.) with hard surfaces.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   ebay



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Syuji a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 1, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This is a great amp. I use it with Accoustic Energy Aegis One speakers. Music sounds as if they are playing live. Incredible!! Poweful enough for midium size room. Zen amp and McIntosh MC-240 didn't sound any nearly good as Eico HF-81.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $182.00

Purchased At:   ebay



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by James a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 24, 2000

Bottom Line:   
A 42 year old integrated that uses cathode biased EL84's in a push-pull configuration operating in class A, then AB at higher volume, tube rectification, and a nice preamp/phono section. Listening to this amp, despite it's weaknesses, is pleasing, toneful and reproduces music with good depth. Good lay out of the controls, symmetrical in appearance and that brass faceplate is a nice touch with the brown enclosure. I recently finished rebuilding this amp with modern components and so it sings again, but without the hum and hiss. For those of you who already own this amp or just aquired one for modification go to this site-
http://home.netcarrier.com/~rstevens/frames.html

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $150.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by pat the tube guy a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: August 19, 2000

Bottom Line:   
i make and modify amps for audiophiles and the RECORDING INDUSTRY..making preamps, compressors, phones amps, ect for famous film and recording studios.
i have physically modified or made over 1000 pieces of tube gear, stopping the counting over 10 years ago.
you will have DEFINATLY heard my work, if you have seen any TELEVISION or MOVIES of note, in the last decade.
having said that, i have to say, that of ALL The historical designs of amplifiers, NOTHING comes closer to an ideal one box unit, especially if you use RECORDS, to the EICO HF81.
THis said with some caveats: on mine, i have changed all coupling caps to polypropaline. FURTHER, i used to use the tone control section to boost bass for my video setup..until added BIAS regulators to the output tubes.
this is a simple circuit, and can be seen under this line at my web site..: CATHODE REGULATION for EL84's / 6BQ5's .
My web site is http://nanaimo.ark.com/~pat/index.htm
i will add that on my OWN units, i took the 150 ohm resistor and replaced it with 100ohm fixed and 100ohm variable so i could fine tune the adjustment. It has more apparent bass, and WAY more clarity than the stock unit, mostly because the stock unit uses a potted tone control network, and you cant get the benefit of modern high end polypropaline caps, if you leave disk caps in the signal path. I would be happy to advise anyone who wants to do this mod. I also changed tubes to black plate 5751 where 12ax7's were used originally. There were several generations of eico hf81's..some had 7247 in the tone circuit...there is NO black plate equivelent tube to the 7247..i prefer to remove the tone circuit entirely, and while at it, remove the mono/blend switching, balance pot, as well..I also found on all the units i have worked on, that since the power transformer is closer to the circuit on one side, it helps to put a copper barrier between the tube rectifiers and the tone control circuitry.
this helps tame that lopsided hum, but i still prefer it WITHOUT all that nasty stuff. I make high end systems still, and have a recording studio, where i use the higher powered stuff..but the eico STILL has something i havent heard from anything else, ( with the bias mods, you wont miss the boosted bass) and the price is still reasonable. I Have schematics, manual, and mod info available to those daring enough to try it. Its still my favorite vintage design..they can keep all the mac's and marantz stuff!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Purchased At:   traded




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