The final department that a product moves to before it's packaged and shipped is what Audio Research calls paneling. In paneling, the top, bottom, and front panels are attached, as well as the knobs and handles. Other small jobs to complete the product also occur here. It's when paneling is complete that an Audio Research product really looks like an Audio Research product, since it's where all the distinctive cosmetic elements are added.
When I arrived, Dzevad was beginning the Paneling process for a Reference 5 SE preamplifier by first removing some of the protective tape from some of the edges (there to ensure no cosmetic damage occurred when it passed through the various assembly stages and testing).
First the control knobs are installed.
The Audio Research logo is attached to the front faceplate.
The buttons are inserted through the back of the front faceplate.
The faceplate glass is attached.
The faceplate is put on the chassis.
The handles are attached.
The bottom panel is put on.
Tube pins are dipped into a contact enhancer and . . .
. . . inserted into the tube sockets and left for a short time.
The tubes are then removed from the sockets and . . .
. . . packaged separately.
The tube box is labeled with the product's serial number to ensure no mixup occurs in final packaging.
The top cover is attached to complete a Reference 5 SE preamplifier.
Publisher, The SoundStage! Network