Virtual Reality Engine REmote Controlled Preamplifier
The Latest Creation from the Legendary
Steve McCormack

"a conduit to the sound of the master tape"

"The SMc VRE-1C may be the very best solid state linestage currently available. It redefines the over written term “sonic reality” with the ability to present lifelike images and accurate tonality like no other linestage this veteran reviewer has yet to hear."

Peter Breuninger ,, October 2013
Awarded Product of the Year -

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

The critics agree - the VRE-1C is a masterpiece!

  • Perfect coherent clarity - seamless character top-to-bottom, with no region emphasized or detracted from, and no vagueness, muddiness, smearing, or veil.
  • Top-to-bottom transparency - that see-through quality that gives you the feeling of looking out across the room or venue of the original recording.
  • Effortless dynamic expression - from the quietest passage to the loudest, the VRE-1 portrays all of musicfs dynamic power and subtlety - from the thunderous strike of a drum to the almost subliminal shift of a singer's breath.
  • Pinpoint focus and localization of instruments and voices within a 3-D soundfield, and clear individualization of their musical lines.
  • Emotional connection with the music - the most elusive and important quality of all.
  • Elegant simplicity of design and full remote-control operation.
  • User programming of input level trim for matched volume on all sources. ñ± Beautiful non-resonant chassis - solid-surface technology contributes to performance.
  • Absolute reliability and stability. The VRE-1 will always be ready to deliver beautiful music, whether it is new or many years old.
  • Stillpoints Isolation Technology built-in provides unique performance enhancement.
  • Available now - contact The Lotus Group for pricing and delivery.

"Of all the preamplifiers at any price, with any design characteristics of unique or standard structural logic, the McCormack VRE-1C is THE unit—the preamplification musical instrument—I would choose to live with on a perpetual basis. In a phrase, the VRE-1C recreates musical truth with musical grace, tenderness, and grandeur." Jim Merod -

Our faith in the VRE-1C is such that we invite you to compare it with anything costing anything.

Now available through audio retailers. Retail price: $19,950

VRE-1C Literature

VRE-1C Owner's Manual



Contact The Lotus Group