Audio Research has built the Foundation Series a new range of tube electronics at what for them is a low price point of £6,998 a piece. The first three models include the LS28 line stage preamplifier, the PH9 phono stage, and the DAC9 digital-to-analog converter. A new amplifier will follow, with other products to complete the series. All models will be available in both black and natural anodized aluminum finishes. Each unit comes with its own custom metal remote control.
The LS28 line stage has four balanced and four single-ended inputs, and two sets of both balanced and single-ended outputs. The menu allows control of numerous parameters, including input naming, tube hours, auto shutdown, and home theatre passthrough. Phase invert and mono are also standard functions. At the heart of the LS28 are four 6H30 vacuum tubes in the analog circuit. While the LS28 is the perfect match for any Audio Research amplifier, it has been designed to work with nearly any amplifier on the market today.
The PH9 phono preamplifier is a great pairing with most cartridge and turntable combinations. A trio of 6H30 vacuum tubes are at the core of a “simple and clear signal path to provide the most transparent preamplification possible”. Five different impedance settings allow for cartridge loading, which can be changed on the fly with the included metal remote. Cartridge impedance, tube hours, auto shutdown, and other features are included in the menu system.
The DAC9 DAC has digital connections for USB, RCA, BNC, AES/EBU, and Toslink, quad DAC architecture to provide a balanced digital signal, wide dynamic range, and decoding resolutions from red book CD up to 384 kHz and native DSD sampling rates. A pair of 6H30 vacuum tubes are the heart of the analog circuit. Balanced and single-ended connectors are provided for output connectivity and native-rate upsampling and selectable digital filters allow customization of the digital signal.