As does their second line, Audio Refinement.
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Simple: high-end quality build parts in a top-end high-end French design, with quality labour in France = A top-end performer.
AUDIO REFINEMENT ("AR") was their cheaper second line offering - a designed-in-France kit with YBA designed family parts but assembled in China line.
Personally, I can speak to the AR prowess. I scrapped my very top-end 7.1 CAMBRIDGE AVR in favour of separates:
- AUDIO REFINEMENT separate 3 channel power amp and
- separate AR 2 channel power amp along with
- a quality built separate USA AV pre-amp processor and
- direct pass-through my main 2-channel integrated.
The sonic improvements over the AVR were not subtle with the AR power amps introduction.... They were a fine complement to my REGA OSIRIS integrated amp
I've run a YBA Passion integrated for almost 8 years now. Before that i ran AR separates . High quality sound, unique features and very solid build. If I was in the market for a second system I would jump all over some of the YBA amps, preamps and integrateds that are usually available used at very good prices. I am concerned that repairs or parts will be hard to come by since they were sold and have a new line that no-one seems to have reviewed for SQ or build quality, Heaven help me if I ever need to replace the remote!
Just discovered this thread and wanted to state we are the new US distributor of YBA - more info on our website.
Please note the Audio Refinement line is no longer in production.
Also, Yves-Bernard Andre remains the Chief Designer of all YBA products as well as manages/directs all YBA manufacturing.
Generally speaking, yes - servicing on AR products can be serviced by our US-based Technician with any required assistance from YBA/Yves-Bernard. Of course there are some limitations of these older designs.
Just contact me directly with an email describing your model, serial number and specific problem.
I should also mention, the two entry level YBA "Design & Heritage" series could be considered the replacement of the "Audio Refinement" series.
Hope that helps....
We recently had the YBA "Passion" Pre/DAC 550 reviewed by SoundstageUltra. Lots of comments on Sound Quality & Construction Quality.
btw, Yves-Bernard Andre retained partial ownership in the new company and continues as Chief Designer as well as Manager/Director of YBA manufacturing done in an ISO9001 facility.
My girlfriend and I both have had AudioRefinement integrated amps (as well as CDPs and tuners) for many years and have had no issues. (Caveat: when she got her tuner, it had some problems, but DeJa Vu audio - in the DC suburbs - was able to fix it easily. Since then, it has worked perfectly.) IMHO, AR equipment was a steal at the price and sounded great.
Mesch, for what your friend will probably ask, I would buy his integrated without thinking twice.
Jim, thanks for the information - both about repairs and about "replacements" for the AR series.