Audio Research has unveiled the I/50 integrated valve amplifier, the first product in an all-new series that the company says will combine simple functionality, good looks and sublime sound.
The stereo amplifier features two matched pairs of 6550WE vacuum tubes, along with three 6922 tubes. With a high current and 50 Watts per channel, the I/50 is intended to be compatible with a wide variety of stereo speakers. The amplifier includes both 4 Ohm and 8 Ohm speaker taps and there's also a headphone jack for private listening.
The I/50 has three stereo phono inputs and a single stereo XLR input, one of which can be assigned for pass-through.
On its top panel, the I/50 has just three controls: power, input, and volume (also accessible using the included remote), with setting information displayed on two LexieTubes.
The amp's modular design means a phono stage and a DAC can be added, both of which are set to appear next year. Due in 2022, the forthcoming phono module will provide 42 dB of gain to accommodate moving magnet and high-output moving coil cartridges, while the DAC will offer connection options and decoding technologies to support multiple formats and resolutions.
Available in six colours and with an optional tube cage, the I/50 is the first product to be entirely constructed at Audio Research's Minnesota factory. Even the ceramic-coated top plate will be painted in-house at a purpose-built facility. And, as with all Audio Research products, each of the finished amps will have to pass a listening test with the company's sonic designer, Warren Gehl, before it can leave the premises.
The Audio Research I/50 integrated valve amplifier will be available from October, priced at £5698 ($5000, about AU$10,773).
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