"Three words to warm the cockles of any tube lover's heart. Bill is Back. William Z Johnson, the mastermind behind some of the greatest valve amps and pre-amps of all time, has come out of retirement, and the good news starts here. Among the first products of the Audio Research Corporation's rebirth are two 'affordables', both of which hark back to earlier models without reeking of retro. And both tackle the cries from the faithful, particularly those who simply ain't aspiring to Reference 600s.
The SP16 incorporates 'classic tube architectures for both line and phono sections', while at the same time offering enough flexibility, and enough in the way of modernity to fit into multi-role systems which also deal with, say, extra zones or home theatre. The SP16 is equipped with five sets of unputs marked Phono, CD, Tuner, Video and Aux, two set of main outputs, tape out and a processor pass-through -- something which seems mandantory these days for two-channel products. Additionally, there's a 12V trigger to turn on power amps or other equipment, and full remote control of Power, Input Selection, Stereo/Mono, Volume, and Muting.
.......I would suggest that the SP16 leapfrogs backwards, over the SP9, SP14 and SP15 to Johnson's greatest achievements: the SP10 and SP11. It shows traces of their warmth and emulates their glorious soundstages, while emulating on their precision."
by Ken Kessler
excerpt taken from Hi-Fi News
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