Price: $15,000

Website: www.audioresearch.com

Aron said: In my time with it, I quickly learned that Audio Research’s Reference 6 preamplifier is one of those rare products capable of producing a quality of sound greater than might be suggested by the sum of its parts.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

The gist: Aron bought the review sample.

Price: $2499

Website: benchmarkmedia

Erich said: If, like me, you value a high-resolution, totally neutral musical performance, add a Benchmark LA4 to your system, particularly if you already own a Benchmark DAC.

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Basically neutral sound to augment your best source components.

Price: $1795

Website: www.primare.net

Gordon said: Primare’s SC15 Prisma streaming preamplifier is a beautifully built, fine-sounding component that can accommodate a plethora of digital sources as well as high-quality streaming from mobile devices, and its small footprint makes it very attractive for use in multi-purpose living spaces.

Read the SoundStage! Simplifi review.

The gist: Could use better software implementation.

Price: $5300

Website: www.simaudio.com

Diego said: All of this functionality comes in a package that delivers on Moon’s promise of superlative sound and build quality, and is warranted for ten years -- exceptionally long in high-end audio. Printed on the 390’s carton is a promise of “The Performance of a Lifetime,” and I can’t disagree.

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: This thing does way more than a traditional preamp and sounds good while doing it.

Price: $34,430

Website: www.theoretica.us

Howard said: Theoretica’s BACCH-SP technology, which I highly recommend, is at the bleeding edge of IXTC’s continuing evolution, and so effective that it has convinced me that the future of audio playback is not in incremental advancements in electrical circuit design or the operation of mechanical hardware, but in DSP technologies that fool the brain in increasingly sophisticated ways.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

The gist: Perhaps a transformative audio experience awaits your audition of this product.

Price: $28,000

Website: www.vac-amps.com

Garrett said: I found in it virtually no faults to speak of -- its prowess was evident with all genres of music, and its built-in phono stage was of reference level and the equal of almost any other standalone phono stage other than the most extreme luxury models I’ve heard.

Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

The gist: Expensive but with some endearing sonic qualities.

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