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VRE-1C Reference Preamplifier

"a conduit to the sound of the master tape"


Perhaps once in a decade a product comes along that represents a major breakthrough in any given category. We like to think that the Granada and G2 Loudspeakers represent such a development. The better a loudspeaker is, the more faithfully it delivers the signal it is fed, and the more dependent it is on the equipment that drives it to reveal its full potential. Every component matters in a high end system, but in the search for the holy grail of high end performance, the preamplifier can be seen as being the "main driving force". The influence of the preamplifier is central and dramatic. Typically, the preamplifier holds back key portions of the musical event, in much the same way that the wall of a dam holds back the main body of water and only releases a trickle of the tremendous energy through its spillway. One does not know one is missing the "real" event, until it is revealed in its true majesty and glory. Encountering it can be a life changing experience.


We have now had multiple opportunities to experience the VRE-1C preamplifier in action. No matter what equipment it is paired with, and even in systems where volume control can be had through a digital component and the addition of a preamplifier has been considered "unnecessary", the VRE-1C has always delivered a higher level of performance in every respect including transparency, richness of inner detail, dynamic contrast and ultimate quietness.



  • New remote volume control outperforms the best mechanical switches

  • 100-step volume control resolution for perfect level setting

  • Unique design combines the best aspects of active & passive performance

  • Discrete wide-bandwidth JFET circuit uses no feedback

  • Beautiful, heavy, non-resonant enclosure contributes to outstanding sonics

  • Balanced Cardas XLR and unbalanced WBT RCA inputs and outputs

  • Lundahl and Jensen coupling transformers enhance performance

  • No DC leakage, no ground loops, and no RFI issues

  • Completely stable and reliable

  • No heat, no noise, no ground loops, low voltage design

  • External choke-filtered power supply for superior sonic purity

  • Unrivaled transparency and neutrality; incredible dynamic expression

  • A true gwindow onto the performance.

"The Virtual Reality Engine preamplifier is the culmination of years of careful thought and painstaking research into the issue of preamplifiers and their effect on reproduced music. My lifetime of work as an equipment designer, recording engineer, and mastering engineer has allowed me to see clearly the degree to which preamplifiers (including passive volume controls) alter the music that we work so hard to reproduce in our homes. My goal has been nothing less than the creation of a device that acts as a conduit to the sound of the master tape, and which allows your system to be a true window onto the performance. I believe the VRE-1C achieves that goal, and represents a true breakthrough in preamplifier performance. The VRE-1C is a synthesis of the best attributes of tube, solid-state, and passive design, without the traditional drawbacks inherent in those technologies." - Steve McCormack


SMc Audio VRE-1C Reference Preamplifier back view.


SMc Audio VRE-1C Reference Preamplifier Power Supply

Power Supply




Gain (factory adjustable)

-6dB, 0 dB (unity gain), or +6dB (typically set at +6dB gain)


+/- 3dB <5Hz - 170KHz (varies slightly with gain setting)

Input impedance

10KOhm (40KOhm in the -6dB gain setting)

Output impedance

50 Ohms @ 0dB gain / 200 Ohms @ +6dB gain

Power consumption

10W maximum

Preamp Dimensions

17.5W x 12.75D x 5H (includes hardware & feet)

Preamp Weight

25 lbs

Power Supply AC Mains fuse T1A* @ 115VAC / T.5A* @ 230VAC  *Refer to the addendum on using your VRE-1 for further information on fuses.
Power Supply Dimensions 10.25W x 9.5D x 3.625H
Power Supply Weight 11 lbs
Total Shipping Weight

Approximately 42 lbs

Specifications subject to change without notice.



Call Us 206-878-3833 or email sales@kosmic.us

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    SMc Audio VRE-1C

Reference Preamplifier


SMc Audio VRE-1C

Silver Edition