Thanks for the kind words here.
OK guys, here is the scoop:
This unit is indeed the first real production unit in terms of internals.
The case will be changed, but it won't be neither the Etesian case which Rosco has, nor the Tempest case. The height is an issue because of the tubes. In terms of physical size think close to the Tempest, just not sure yet if I want to make an 18" or 19" face plate, will decide this week.
The On switch will be in the front.
We will have a standard HT Bypass input and an optional 2nd pair of outs, yes.
Even though there is the tube glow coming through the glass, we will be able to do primary lighting in different colors, such as blue, orange, green, red, etc. Customers choice.
Remote will be optional.
Different types of tubes will be optional as well, still gaining experience for the design.
There is very, very little use and heat on the tubes, so we actually leave our units on all the time. We'll also gain some more experience here for solid recommendations, but obviously, the availability and cost of the tubes themselves was a very big factor as well, making the unit cost effective and as user friendly as possible.
MOST importantly, like I stated before: yes, the unit works well with tube amps, but it really is optimized for solid state and digital amps, and is as close to the harmonic correctness with liquidity and full dynamics as possible. No romanticism here, because in the long run, it would only deliver a distorted picture of the music. Sweet, but still distorted. In short, our goal was to get close to the Symphonic Line erleuchtung. While this is impossible, because this darn thing is one of the 3 best pre amps that I have ever heard in my life (and nevermind the $ 7,000 price tag). However, I know that with this final version, we have a unit that sounds similar, definitely in the same overall sonic "rightness" of the SL. I honestly can't say that we are very, very close to it, because that would be a lie. But boys, for $ 1,000 this unit has to be the tube preamp out there, and yes, while not very, very close, one can still hear a lot of resemblance to my favorite preamp of all times.
Production: like Alex said, our bottle neck is the transformer. Metal will be finalized and available by mid-June, and hopefully, we'll be able to start shipping quantities in early July.
As for the color options of the metal all of our regular colors will be available as well. Another little teaser: we'll start working with a customer of mine who is a jeweler in NYC, and we'll be able to offer gold and platinum plated knobs with all sorts of real stones (diamonds, etc.) in them as indicators. Ever wondered what "audio jewelry" really stands for ??
I'll be back Tuesday.