This is one preamp that will help you reach for the stars without burning a hole in your wallet. The LS-7 is a straightforward, no-frills unit (its line stage only and no remote control circuitry) that packs four 6922/E88CC tubes. In fact, there are only two main controls on the unit – input selection and volume control. When you peer though its top cover, the layout is simple but very effective. There are many tube based preamps for under $1,000 in the market but none will bring forth such “soulful” music as the LS-7. Many others just have the “tubey” sound but the LS-7 brings emotion into the equation. There are many model options in the Audio Research lineup but if you don’t want to spend more than $1,000 and want a quality preamp from one of the leaders in the Hifi industry, you have to add this to your list of considerations.
Cosmetically, there are some scuff marks here and there and a couple of nicks along the edges and rack handle. Overall, it doesn’t look that bad. And more importantly, it sounds FANTASTIC. We don’t have the original box but will securely pack this for safe shipping.