The Audio Research LS26 is the little brother to their, at the time, flagship preamp the Reference 3. The LS26 has a hybrid circuit, with a JFET input stage and tube gain stage using the same 6H30 tubes found in the Reference 3, and like its big brother, the LS26 sports a completely balanced circuit - every input and output has both balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) jacks.
The front panel display is well designed to clearly show you everything that's going on within the LS26; volume, which ranges in non-linear increments from 0-103, the selected input, whether balance or unbalanced is used, and the inputs’ gain. Balance control, phase inversion, the mono/stereo setting, and a timer showing the total hours that the two 6H30 vacuum tubes have been in use. The remote isn’t cluttered with buttons, is responsive, and clearly labelled.
The LS26 has classic Audio Research styling: a 19"-wide black or silver faceplate with rack-mount handles protruding from the faceplate, and a black metal case, 5 1/4" high by 12" deep, vented to permit cooling.
The unit paired up to the Audio Research Reference 210 mono power amps sounds fantastic! Detailed and transparent soundstage, everything you’d expect from the Audio Research name. Come into our Wellington store for a listen!