R&R – It's rest + relaxation with R2R or reel-to-reel tape when using Merrill Audio's new Element Pure tape head preamp [$9'000]. "Finally there's a good alternative for the purist of such playback. Our machine brings out the full dynamics of reel-to-reel tape with the detail and immediacy of the live recording. This is the first in a series of three tape head preamps. The Pure features minimal adjustments to focus on the purist audiophile demanding the most accurate sound signature with the least amount of artifacts. This makes an ideal addition to the Ampex ATR 100, 102 and 104 series decks. Merrill Audio can provide the plug-in card to access their tape heads directly and replace their on-board preamp cards. The Pure takes its cues from the Jens phono stage and its circuit designer Jens Waale. It has six speed and EQ settings of 3.75 NAB, 7.5 NAB, 15 NAB, 7.5 IEC, 15 IEC and 30 IEC2. The gain is selectable at 71dB or 65dB. All settings are saved. The display brightness can be dimmed, delayed dimmed or delay blanked. All settings can be made by remote. The low-noise Merrill Audio Kratos external power supply provides the first level of power filtering. The Element Pure Tape Head Preamp is built with ultra-tight tolerance components, silver-plated Teflon-sleeved wire, fully balanced inputs and outputs and custom XLR connectors."