Many higher end preamps are dated and ugly, why is this?

Conrad Johnson, BAT, VTL are all very good preamplifiers, they are dated and just ugly.  Audio research is a prettier amplifier but it's not very well regarded due to it sounding more like a solid state, ie. Not really a tube preamp despite all those internal lightbulbs.

Cheaper preamps can be more pretty. Schitt makes a pretty preamp for about $1000. People like pretty.

D'Agostino by many is viewed as very attractive but kind of weird. 


I don't care how preamps look, I don't care how speakers look.  I mix black and silver components.  I mix red back light with blue.  All I care about is, how does it sound.  I admit that glowing tubes in the evening can be somewhat intoxicating. 

I’m an industrial designer and I think Schiit stuff looks very derivative.

It’s minimalist but kind of blah...easy on most eyes. I really like Audio Research aesthetics...especially the older stuff. I think McIntosh and Luxman look wonderful...I like older Conrad Johnson stuff.

But then again, I like the look of my Technics what do I know...

I do think the heyday was the 70s. There were a lot of industrial designers on the books back it’s driven more by that’s why everything looks agreeable but not damn fine.

I am not a fan of the current state of marketing as you can see.



Couldn't agree more wrt VTL and ARC.

What were they thinking?

The VTL 7.5 should be on my radar,  but there is no way I'm buying something that looks like a bad 80's vcr, sharp edges and all. The Siegfried power amps look like 90's pc's. What a wasted opportunity. Much like Wilson speakers...urgh.

The US companies are the worst offenders aesthetically. But a peek in many US living rooms shows a similar indifference to design and ergonomics.

Brutalism rules, apparently 

The Shindo pre-amps are very classy looking, aren’t they? Timeless, understated tasteful elegance.