Audio Research Reference 6SE line preamplifier $17,000 Review

November 1, 2020 § Leave a comment

“My first postbreak listen was in the COVID-19–mandated masked company of Erik Owen, co-owner of Gig Harbor Audio (footnote 3), and his 21-year-old daughter, Natalia. As befits listening during the pandemic, they shared the sweet spot on the front sofa while I sat in the back, way over to the left. With my neighbors’ permission—I warned them that it might be loud, and that they could cry uncle at any time—I also left the door of the music room open to increase air circulation.

The three of us soon narrowed down our track choices from an initial six to the two most telling: the hi-rez remastering of Dolly Parton’s less-than-superbly-recorded “I Will Always Love You (Original Version)” from Jolene (Qobuz 24/96 FLAC) and Yello’s hot-on-top, depth-plumbing, wall-to-wall “Electrified II” from Toy (Tidal 24/48 FLAC). Both tracks include recitations: Dolly does her best to sound sincere as she repeats, in deadpan fashion, words that might embarrass a Hallmark card writer, while Yello’s Dieter Meier’s tongue remains firmly planted in cheek.”

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