Review: Audio Refinement Pre-5 Preamplifier

Category: Preamps

Audio Refinement is a well kept secret in the audiophile circles and few know of the brand's association with YBA products of France that carry the famous Yves Andre Bernard's signature. This pre-amp is the latest in their more affordable line of audio products. I read somewhere not too long ago that a dealer chose to have some of the YBA models he carried highly tweaked by the manufacturer to make the difference in both brands more pronounced. That's how good the Audio Refinement line is!
Simply put, the Pre-5 sounds and looks exquisite. Details are brought out in a very subtle and elegant manner without sounding harsh or grainy to the listner. The sound is so very smooth compared to my previous Adcom 565. I have noticed I am listning at considerably lower volumes than before and I think it is a function of a much higher level of transparency and resolution than the Adcom was able to deliver. Additionally, the sound stage is much more focused and realistic with a 3-D effect of actually being able to tell where the instruments are placed. With the Adcom I used to have to make deliberate attempts at imagining the soundstage but now it is effortless. This has allowed me to actually enjoy the music instead of having to keep my ear out for subtlties. You can literally hear the drum sticks hitting the cymbals and the decay from their impact. On live recordings, audience excitement and their interaction with the artist is no longer veiled. The pre-amp delivers a very moving and involving emotional experience. What finally sealed it for me was the second evening after I had hooked the unit up, my wife, who beleives my audio fetishes will land is in the poor house someday, danced after a very long time.

Associated gear
YBA CD Player
Soundcraftsmen MOSFET Power Amp
Sumiko TT
Infiniyt Kappa 8 Speakers

Similar products
VTL 2.5 Pre-amp
Adcom 565 Pre-amp
I noticed that you included the vtl in with the ss. What did you think of it?