Audio Research introduces its “more affordable” Foundation hi-fi series

High-end hi-fi is a way of life for Audio Research, and now it is slotting in the new Foundation series beneath the existing Reference models.

Initially there are three products in the Foundation range: the LS28 preamp, PH9 phono stage and DAC9 digital-to-analogue converter. They will be available in the UK from June, July and August 2016 respectively for £6998 each. A new, matching, power amplifier is also on the way this autumn, with further products in the pipeline including a stereo integrated amp in 2017, the 75W VT80.

At the heart of the LS28 preamp are four 6H30 vacuum tubes in the analogue circuit. It will work with just about any amplifier, although naturally Audio Research would prefer it if you used it with one of its models.

The LS28 preamp has four balanced and four single-ended inputs, and two sets of both balanced and single-ended outputs.

The Foundation VT80 stereo amp will arrive in 2017

The Foundation VT80 stereo amp will arrive in 2017

If your system includes a turntable and you need a phono stage to amplify the signal, then AR can oblige with the PH9 phono preamp, which has a trio of 6H30 vacuum tubes at its core.

Five different impedance settings allow for cartridge loading, which can be altered using the metal remote control.

Inside the Audio Research DAC9, which uses bespoke components

Inside the Audio Research DAC9, which uses bespoke components

And finally there’s the DAC9, which has five digital connections: USB, RCA, BNC, AES/EBU and Toslink. It can handle resolutions up to 384kHz and native DSD (Direct Stream Digital) sampling rates. Balanced and single-ended outputs are included.

All three Foundation series models are available in black or natural anodized aluminium finishes, and come with a custom-made metal remote control.

Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.