The actually quite restrained acting high-end HiFi forge Audio Research now drives it really colorful with the new stereo integrated amplifier, the Audio Research I/50 Integrated. But apart from the new design, these solutions deliver the classic virtues of the U.S. HiFi forge.
The new Audio Research I/50 Integrated is a surprise from the US HiFi manufacturer Audio Research Corporation. Finally, it can be noted that this company is a manufacturer that is mostly dedicated to rather classically designed products. So a manufacturer where you think you know what’s coming when something new comes along….
And that’s where the new Audio Research I/50 Integrated really stands out, because with this solution, the manufacturer really goes all out.
Audio Research I/50 Integrated – Attractively priced stereo integrated amplifier
First of all, the new Audio Research I/50 Integrated comes at a comparatively attractive price. Of course, € 5,990 in the basic version is still no bargain, so there’s no need for long discussions.
However, considering that the solutions from Audio Research are usually on a much higher level, one can – and only from this point of view – definitely speak of an attractively priced solution.
By the way, the manufacturer itself states that they deliberately extended the price range downwards so that the Audio Research brand can become more attractive for a broader target group.
The aforementioned somewhat different design concept that the Americans are pursuing with the new Audio Research I/50 Integrated also fits in with this. In fact, the new Audio Research I/50 Integrated would hardly be recognized as an Audio Research solution at first glance. It is a complete break with the previous design language.
The “angular” base carries the very prominently staged tubes of the stereo integrated amplifier, behind which is hidden in the familiar way the massive power supply in a housing made of sheet steel, and provided with countless holes for optimal ventilation.
Brings color into play
The most striking feature of the new Audio Research I/50 Integrated, however, is that the cover of the chassis is offered in a wide variety of colors, and this does not mean the usual choice of black or silver.
Yes, you can also choose black or silver, but in the specific case of the Audio Research I/50 Integrated, blue, gold, red and white are added, a whole spectrum of colors that you probably – hand on heart – would never have expected from Audio Research.
One would even be tempted to say that the new Audio Research I/50 Integrated is a lifestyle system, were it not for the company’s long history as a proven audiophile high-end hi-fi manufacturer.
It also fits that the controls of the Audio Research I/50 Integrated are located on the top, directly in front of the tubes, and that the display here is implemented by means of two cylinders with dot matrix display in the form of so-called LexieTubes.
Stereo integrated amplifier based on tube technology
Entirely Audio Research is that the new Audio Research I/50 Integrated is of course a stereo integrated amplifier in which tubes are at the center, first and foremost two pairs of 6550WE, which are used as so-called matched pairs, i.e. selected pairing, as well as three glass bulbs of the type 6922.
According to the data sheet, this is supposed to achieve an output power of two times 50 watts. A pair of screw terminals for 4 and 8 ohms are available for connecting the speaker systems.
It is interesting that the new Audio Research I/50 Integrated has ex works for analog inputs, namely three designed as unbalanced RCA jack pairs, plus a balanced input in the form of XLR.
Modular design – DAC and phono preamplifier optionally available
Excitingly, users can upgrade the Audio Research I/50 Integrated with a phono module that is equally designed for drives equipped with MM as well as MC cartridge systems. From 2022, a DAC module will also be available, about which no information has been disclosed yet. However, first product images at least show that this module will probably also have a USB port ready to establish a direct connection to a PC or Mac, in addition to an optical and coaxial S/PDIF interface.
The modules find their place in so-called audio module slots of the Audio Research I/50 Integrated, whereby the installation must always be carried out by a licensed service partner of Audio Research.
It should also be mentioned that the new Audio Research I/50 Integrated also has a port for headphones.
The new Audio Research I/50 Integrated measures 42 cm in width, 34 cm in depth, and 18 cm in height. This means that it weighs in at a hefty 18 kg.
“The I/50 integrated amplifier is the first product in an entirely new series from Audio Research. Functionally simple, visually appealing, and musically sublime, the I/50 makes listening to music an entirely new experience. Handcrafted in Minnesota, the I/50 is made with the same attention to detail as all other Audio Research products – each even undergoes its own listening test with sound designer Warren Gehl. The I/50 is available in six colors and features a Cerakote finish for a beautiful and durable look.”
Audio Research Corporation
The new Audio Research I/50 Integrated is expected to hit the market later this year, at least in small quantities, according to the distributor’s forecast. As mentioned earlier, the suggested retail price for the Audio Research I/50 Integrated is listed at €5,990. For the optional Phono module the enterprise indicates a recommended retail price of € 790, -, for the likewise optional DAC module stands for the time being still no price firmly.
It is expressly mentioned that one must commit oneself with the order to one of the available color options, a later exchange of the colored Chassis cover is not possible.
Getting to the point
One may hardly believe it, the always on classical HiFi systems of traditional coinage specialized US-American High end HiFi manufacturer audio Research sets on color, drives it for its conditions straight “multicolored”. All in all, the new Audio Research I/50 Integrated gives the impression that a completely new target group is being addressed, because this new stereo integrated amplifier breaks with all of Audio Research’s design conventions. Only in the purely technical equipment and thus also the sound, everything should remain with the old, proven and the new Audio Research I/50 Integrated reflect the DNA of the company.
|Audio Research Corporation
|Audio Tuning Vertriebs GmbH
|Audio Research I/50 Integrated € 5.990,-
Phono Modul € 790,-
DAC Modul k.A.