High End 2013

Audio Research showed two new products -- passively only. First and foremost was the new Reference Phono 10 ($30,000), which meets demand for an ultimate phono stage, having a separate dual-mono power supply, touchscreen display and. . .

. . .two inputs. Like the Reference Phono 2 SE, the new unit also provides for balanced and single ended output. Maximum gain is 74dB, all from active devices, and loading can be changed from the listening seat with the unit's remote control.

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The VSi75 is a very attractive and retro-looking 75Wpc integrated amp incorporating a multicolor display, which allows for front-panel bias adjustment. In many ways, it's a Reference 75 power amp in the form of an integrated amp, as the two share the same audio circuit, transformers and output tubes. It retails for $8000; a separate tube cage will be available for purchase for units sold in Europe, as required by law. But who would want to spoil the beautiful lines of this racy-looking product?

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Analog sound just keeps getting better and better in this digital age, but for audiophiles not chasing the ultimate in analog performance, the VSi75 may offer a more affordable solution to audio nirvana.

Dave Gordon of Audio Research demonstrates the Reference Phono 10's touchscreen display, which matches that of the Reference 10 preamp.

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