The Ref 18 takes ultra-high-end sound to a place that belies the amp’s real-world price. The Ref 18’s every aspect has been evaluated against those of the Ref 9V3SE in order to identify areas available to improvement. Input-stage circuitry, solid-state and passive components have been reconfigured with an eye to providing a quieter, more distortion-free environment, and greater speed via the Cross-Matrix Array (CMA) capacitor board, the effectiveness of which becomes especially apparent in the supremely fast delivery of musical transients. Owing to the CMA’s larger size relative to the Ref 9V3SE’s Sequential Linear Array, the Ref 18 occupies a commensurately wider chassis that likewise allows for a more effective routing of internal wiring, resulting in a reduction of background noise. In addition to the Ref 18’s performance gains, the amp features a touch-sensitive front panel, WBT binding posts and a 12-volt On-Off trigger permitting it to operate as the cornerstone of any premium installation, be it two-channel, home theater, and other domestic or commercial application.