OK a year later can anyone now comment of this pre-amp?
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Philipwu it originally was sold direct at 7.5k then the Lotus Group took over distributorship and the 1b sold for $15,750. Even at that price it beat out my KONDO M1000 that retailed at $95,000 which I gladly sold (as did another guy who also sold his Kondo for the VRE) and I now find myself not even considering another pre, yes it's that good IMHO.
I've heard the VRE-1c at my local audio club(PNWAS). Hard to isolate it's sound as it was not the only change to the system but the overall sound was great. It didn't seem to be adding a sound of it's own. One of the best sounding meetings we have had. I don't care for it's looks but the sound makes up for it.
Phillipwu ~ The VRE had a more open and extended top end and had MUCH better bass control, the Kondo puts an emphisis on the upper bass region. While the Kondo was extremely transparent the VRE did fall just slightly behind the VRE but just slightly while all in all the VRE was more linear and above all was the more musical sounding pre! The Kondo M1000 was just too euphonic which can be a good thing but once I heard the VRE I listened more and now could forget about equipment. Finally the VRE is very clean sounding and you hear all the detail, something the Kondo feel short in. Remeber the M1000 retails at $95,000 and the VRE below $17,000. I owned 2 different versions of the M1000 the original and MKII but felt the VRE was more precise!