once in a while, an audiophile experiences things which are so mind-blowing and life-changing that he is lost for words, and audio research LS26 to me, is such a colossal experience.
fresh from the box, the LS26 already kills the LS25MKII in refinement and delicacy, soundstaging and layering, image specificity and image depth, control and effortlessness. the LS25MKII was ruthlessly murdered and left bleeding in the alley, waiting to be sent to the morgue. such is the harsh reality of high-end audio. such is the advancement of pre-amp technology in a short span of 5 years.
i can't even begin to describe to you how astounding the improvements are. if LS26 is rated A+ (and REF3 A++), then LS25MKII can at most secure a B or B-. by contrast, the LS25MKII is rough, grainy, shallow, floaty, light-weight, flat and loose.
LS26 takes neutrality to a different level. this is truly the modern high-end sound. the midrange is very natural and it neutralizes the slightly golden yellowish and fruity tonal colour of my power amp's 6550 triode sound. the sense of palpability is eerie. the 3D imaging is awe-inspiring. image compaction takes place, as with all upgrading, and the vocalist's mouth is as sharp as a tiny dot.
granted, the extreme highs and lows are still not extended due to it not being burned-in. but after 300 hours' play, i can guarantee to myself that, like what belinda carlisle sings in her song (with minor apologies for altering its title) - heaven is THE ONLY PLACE on earth.
i digress. we audiophiles spend our life's savings repeatedly chasing the elusive audio nirvana, and cynics and lesser audiophiles often mock and sneer at us for being silly and non-sensical. and a lot of times, we can't even be bothered to explain to them why we spend a fortune on our system, because unless you own such a system and have the necessary listening skills, you would never understand the stupendous joy and immense satisfaction of indulging in this hobby.
these people have obviously not listened to the audio research LS26.
晴空万里的"天空" [the sky is the limit]
1 day ago