Such comprehensive protection and power delivery pursue optimal operating conditions. Incoming AC should be maximally clean, quick and non-lossy since the music signal merely modulates it. ASR remind us that mechanical transformer vibrations undermine this process. It's what led them to their divide'n'conquer scheme of multiple chassis in the first place. For thermal and mechanical purposes, the ASR enclosure design is arguably the most distinctive on the market aside from perhaps McIntosh. Based on a 42cm² footprint, two massive heat sinks of 17cm height—18cm with footers—flank the slightly lower chassis in dark or clear acrylic (the latter for a surcharge) which then lets the eye roam over an arsenal of electronic weaponry inside [see below].

The visual leitmotif of not just the face plate is symmetry. A fat chromed knob occupies fascia central to regulate volume with a switched resistor array across 1dB increments. To the left sits a smaller rotary knob for off, standby and on. It can also select the optional second speaker outputs. To the right sits a selector numbered 1-5 for the standard RCA inputs and 'D' for 'direct'. Unlike the others which work through a relay, input D connects directly to the attenuator matrix via massive silver wiring. This is the best socket to use for single-source systems but cannot be switched. One could thus theoretically listen to two sources simultaneously but that's obviously not recommended. In fact, ASR explicitly warn us that whilst using the 'D' input, the optional XLR input may not be selected. Also standard is an RCA fixed tape out. Optional again is a pre-out/subwoofer output [€250].

Hard facts served up as entertainment. On circuitry, there's very little ASR won't talk about. They're unusually forthcoming about their IP. Already the basic specs are impressive. Class A/B output power into 4Ω is 250wpc. Your speaker cables will dock to 60-ampere terminals which wire up internally with massive pure silver cabling. Right beneath the volume controller sits a large display to show chosen volume and confirm operational status. Stacking next to it on either side are those old-school 'idiot lights' for source selection, headfi, short circuit, overheating, over voltage, DC offset and other information.

Back on the order menu, I'm not familiar with any hifi machine that offers the buyer this many options. There's basically nothing that's not already on this table. To arrive at one's personally ideal configuration will take some time and consultation with a good and patient dealer. What's more, I've never yet taken receipt of an equipment loaner that arrived with such comprehensive documentation.