Ultra conservative Audio Research went through a rejuvenation process, when Fine Sounds bought the traditional (valve) amplifier manufacturer, and launched more new products than they had done in over 10 years.
Now Fine Sounds and later McIntosh Group are again out of Audio Research, but the playfulness that Livio Cucuzza and his team introduced with the GS series is still intact.
Just look at the new Audio Research I/50. An integrated 2 x 50 W valve amplifier that can be ordered in colours.
The amplifier is built in Minnesota, and not in China, and the sound is quality assured by Warren Gehl himself, who reportedly does not release anything from the lab until the sound is as it should be in an Audio Research.
The I /50 has four line inputs, one of which is a balanced XLR input, and there is also a headphone output.
But it can also be equipped with a phono module with 42 dB gain for MM pickups (or high output MC), and a DAC with inputs for optical, coaxial and USB connection.
The cable terminals for speakers have four and eight ohm outputs, and the amplifier is operated with a remote control or from the top of the chassis.
There you can also see four (two pairs) 6550WE vacuum valves from Russian Sovtek, three 6922 valves, and two Lexie valves showing the selected input and volume level.
Like all modern amplifiers from Audio Research, this one also has automatic bias adjustment, which makes living with a valve amplifier much easier. There will also be a perforated cage for the amplifier, in the same Cerakote design as you see in the pictures.
The importer hopes to have I/50 in stock within six to eight weeks.