Now I have corrected my self-gimping of my Aficionado here are some actual impressions. I have pretty much been using it exclusively as a preamp to speakers because... I really like it as a pre. It's feeding my monitors: Klein + Hummel O300D, sealed box 3-way with 8" woofers, 280wpc Class AB. Previously I drove these from Yggy 1 via Freya passive. Their input impedance is 10k plus the inline resistance from Freya so... it's a stretch. Mainly, the treble is a bit scratchy and it's ever so slightly limp, but I put up with this because Freya tube mode is a wash - it drops low level detail, is a bit slow, smears the imaging and actually makes the treble less smooth (and I tried a whole bunch of tubes). Okay, so compared to Freya passive, what does AF (stock) sound like? Well: Treble is just as present but clearly smoother. More cohesive macrodynamically, at the cost of a very slight congestion in more complex passages. It's more a feeling than an actual congestion. The way I think of it, there's a spectrum which runs from limp with every part clearly delineated, to highly dynamic/aggressive but smeared. The AF is maybe 40% of the way along that spectrum, Freya passive is 20%. My ideal would be like 30-35%. No audible loss of fine detail (though my room may be the limiting factor here). This was my biggest problem with Freya tube and the performance here is very impressive. I feel like low-level detail is being brought up a bit. I think of this as the part of tubey character that isn't to do with warm or gooey tuning. It's done in a very natural way, in particular without compressing dynamics. Depending on taste you could like this or dislike it. In this setup (as a pre into SS Class AB) I'm neutral towards it. Leading edges of attacks are softened slightly. However it is still fast. Delicate impulses and high-frequency transients are reproduced very well. I don't hear the bass as rounded or slow in any way. It seems as fast as the rest of the spectrum. Frequency response only seems to vary from flat insofar as the tubes I put into it do so. I would not call it warm. Imaging is still laser sharp. Probably it is having some effect on the soundstage but the way my room is set up, good luck figuring out what it is. Some of these points are just down to the fact that the AF fixes the slight impedance issues I have. But the thing is that it does a really good job of getting out of the way; such slight flavour as it does impose is unobtrusive and agreeable. I have no qualms about continuing to use it as a pre. I am pretty purist about this chain so that counts as a big thumbs up. Wall of text about tubes: for power tubes I am sticking with RCA black wavy plate for the time being. For drivers I have been trying WE396a, LM Ericsson gold pin, and CBS JHY. Either all my 396a's are duff (which I suspect might be the case) or I just don't like them in this configuration: too much midbass and top end roll. The CBS JHY and the LM Ericsson are both faster and more detailed and neutral FR wise, in particular having more energy up top. The LM Ericsson is quite lean in the bass and loses some bottom octave, and seems to have something about it (maybe hardness in the upper mids) which is a bit fatiguing after a while. The CBS is maybe 7% less technically accomplished but I think is better balanced, with good extension at both ends, slightly lean in the midbass (my preference) and non-rolled, non-fatiguing treble. I feel like there may be better driver tubes out there but I'm pretty happy with this for now.