"What's new?" I asked Jeff Rowland.
"Define new," he said.
Ah, engineer humor.
I guess you could consider this new," he said, "seeing as how it is finally a reality."
He pointed at the petite Criterion preamplifier ($18,500). "It's battery powered, has user adjustable gain on each input, and a really great display that can be customized for each input. It has three separate balanced outputs, including one that can be run independent of the other two. It uses a 32-bit microprocessor for the commands. It also has a separate recording output with variable output.
"Like other Rowland Research components, it's milled from a solid billet of aluminum, which is why it weighs 46lbs."
It was on static display, so I didn't audition it, but it was such a stunning piece of audio jewelryand so differentthat I wanted to run away with it.