Audio Research has announced the I/50, a new integrated amplifier and its first since the McIntosh Group sold the company back to its former sales director one year ago. And boy, does the I/50 ring the changes. From two matched pairs of 6550WE tubes in the output stage and a trio of 6922 on the input, the I/50 promises 50wpc from separate 8 Ohm and 4 Ohm speaker taps. Inputs number four: 3 x single-ended RCA (including ‘passthrough’) and 1 x balanced XLR. A tube cage will also be made available separately to keep inquisitive hands away from the hot tubes.
But lending the I/50 a more 21st-century vibe is a front panel headphone socket, a LexieTube volume/input display and a choice of six colours: the Cerakote top plate is painted in-house and Audio Research also asserts that each I/50 will be listened to by designer Warren Gehl before it leaves the company’s Minnesota factory.
Furthermore, the I/50 is modular, with DAC and phono stage boards to follow in 2022. The press release doesn’t say if they will be installable by the end-user or if the amplifier must make a round trip to the manufacturer or local distributor for installation.
A metal IR remote control wand rounds out the feature set.
The I/50 will sell for $5000 in the USA and £5698 in the UK. EU pricing remains TBC. Shipping begins in October.
Further information: Audio Research