Single handledly redefining what most have come to know as “tube audio”, Resarch Audio brought tube-technology back into the mainstream light when they established themselves as the sole American manufacturer of vacuum-tube preamplifiers and amplifiers in 1970. 40 years later, they’ve commemorated that event with far more than a badge treatment. The Audio Research 40th Anniversary Edition Reference Preamplifier ($25,000) is a culmination of everything the company has learned to create what can only be described as a stunning experience that crushes any other sound reproduction you’ve ever layed ears upon. Having had the opportunity to audition a few hours of the pre-amp (with a pair of mind-blowing B&W speakers) we walked away, utterly mesmerized by its near-holographic audio. Don’t be surprised if the audiophile in your life, or you, finds themselves brought to tears. Available for just one year, this instant classic will cost you the price of a car, and that’s without an amplifier or speakers. Expensive yes, but not too bad when you consider it’s a piece of audio history that one day will have you beaming when you overhear your grandchildren unabashedly admiring your foresight.
Buy Now: $25,000