If your aspirations extend beyond conventional solid-state hi-fi components but at more real-world prices, then this tube series from the US-based audiophile specialist Audio Research may well grab your attention. The Foundation ‘entry-level’ series is from the same engineering and design team responsible for its aspirational Reference series, and the three-strong range (for now) includes the LS28 line stage preamplifier with four balanced and four single-ended inputs, PH9 phono stage with five different impedance settings for cartridge loading – which can be changed on the fly with the included remote – and the DAC9 384kHz and DSD-compatible digital-to-analogue converter. All three models are built around the same chassis and 6H30 vacuum tubes, with four in the LS28 line stage preamplifier, three in the PH9 phono stage and a pair in the DAC9. Available in both black and natural anodized aluminium finishes, each unit comes with its own custom metal remote control. A further amplifier is set to follow shortly, with other products planned to complete the series. The series is expected to be available between now and early August, priced £6,998 each. Click here to find out more.