You'll need to be very, very wealthy to afford this limited edition Reference Anniversary preamp from Audio Research, made to celebrate the company's 40th anniversary.
Only a limited number will be made, and production will cease on December 31st, 2010. The UK retail price is £23,000, rising to £24,000 if you're not quick off the mark.
For that you get a two-box preamplifier, with separate power supply and audio sections.
The dual-mono power supply has separate low and high voltage transformers for each channel, separate vacuum-tube regulation (6550C and 6H30) of each channel, and twice the power supply energy storage to ensure "unrivalled dynamic headroom", says Audio Research.
The audio circuit is all-tube, pure Class A triode, ands uses eight 6H30 triodes, four in each channel. There are also four Teflon coupling capacitors, and Teflon bypass capacitors are mounted on the bottom of the main circuit board.
All key components are designed and manufactured solely for Audio Research.
The front panel has controls for volume and input. Six small aluminium buttons provide control for power, processor, BAL/SE, mono, invert and mute.
When switched on, the vacuum-fluorescent display will read "Anniversary Edition Reference Preamplifier 1970-1971" and will then begin to count up, year by year, until it reaches 2010. At the end of this cycle, the display returns to normal.
Silver grab handles are standard, with black as an option. The top covers for both components are smoked acrylic, but black metal covers are available as a no-cost option.