Audio Research Reference 160S Stereo Amplifier

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Audio Research Reference 160S Stereo Amplifier

Audio Research Reference 160S Stereo Amplifier

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Audio Research Reference 160S Stereo Amplifier

$22,000.00 Free Shipping!

Free Shipping!
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  • Description

    MY TAKE: Probably no other name in high-end audio enjoys the reputation, recognition, and respect of Audio Research. Since the beginning, Audio Research has maintained a fanatical devotion to quality and sonic performance, ensuring their position at the very top echelon of audio manufacturers. Their offerings earn my highest recommendations. – Galen Carol


    Audio Research is pleased to announce the Reference 160S stereo power amplifier. A vacuum-tube design, it follows in the footsteps of the internationally-acclaimed 160M monaural power amplifier, introduced in 2018, which has won multiple amplifier-of-the-year honors from publications such as Stereophile, Hi-Fi+, and others.


    The Reference 160S (REF160S) carries-over the stunning look of the 160M, with dual GhostMeters™ that float in front of the eight KT150 output power tubes.


    The 160S continues the feature set introduced in the 160M, including a proprietary auto-bias circuit, switchable Triode or Ultralinear modes of operation, balanced and single-ended inputs, and an output tube monitoring mode. The 160S also uses a four-layer circuit board, allowing music to emanate from a jet-black background.


    With a weight of 100 lbs. and a chassis depth of 21.5“(54.6 cm), two rear handles were added to make it easier to lift and move. Larger 120mm, low profile fans are built into the bottom cover plate horizontally to provide ventilation.


    The REF160S distills the astonishing resolution, dynamic impact, musical purity, and finesse of the 160M into one beautiful and attainable chassis. It was designed for the music lover in all of us.


    REVIEWS:

    HiFi+: "The Audio Research 160 S is a great product. Really great. Not great in context or comparison; in and of itself. It’s almost laughably dynamic, making many amps we think of as dynamic sound a little flat and boring by comparison. It extends that dynamic contrast from the quietest level to getting on for PA levels.

    "What I really like about the Reference 160 S (a strong echo of what I liked about the 160 M) is the way it combines analysis with musical enjoyment. It’s effortless and detailed and on the ‘inviting’ rather than ‘stark’ side of the tracks, but you never once feel like you are listening to electronics… they just melt away and you are left with the music. And the better that music, the greater that sense of being in touch with the intention of the music. Of course, some of that comes from excellent detail, a holographic soundstage and the sort of vocal articulation that turns all of us into amateur orthodontists. But it’s more than that; you are there and near viscerally engaged with the music.

    "In a way, the Reference 160 S has some big shoes to fill. Both the Reference 160 M above and the Reference 75 SE below the Reference 160 S in the hierarchy are considered to be two of the best valve power amplifiers ever. Not just from Audio Research, and not just in a contemporary setting… two of the best valve power amps ever built. The Reference 160 S steps up to the challenge of its own kin brilliantly, both showing a lot of what the 160 M is capable of (but not making the mono amps untenable in the process) and showing the Reference 75 SE a clean set of heels. Each one in its price and performance point sets a high benchmark and far from being the ‘tweener’ product in that group, the 160 S functionally creates its own market.
    That’s part of what marks out a ‘great’ product from one that is merely ‘good’. And the Audio Research Reference 160 S really is great!"
    - Alan Sircom


    Soundstage! Australia: "How do you gauge a great valve amplifier? Well, for starters, it should present the signal it’s fed cleanly, without distortion or tonal aberrations, just as any amplifier should regardless of the applied technology. What the Reference 160S brings in addition is a purity of tone and a soundfield presentation which is quite something – especially in Triode mode. Rounding out the strengths at hand, the 160S comes from a company with a long, rich history and an envied reputation for exemplary customer support. Pride of ownership is reinforced by million-bucks-looks and last-a-lifetime build quality – nice cherries on top.

    "For music lovers who are chasing the purity, engagement and pleasure of music without artefact the 160S presents a solid proposition. Plus, the choice of Ultra-Linear and Triode modes offers an almost-two-amps-in-one option… either one may be your chosen cocktail within the context of your system and palate. For this writer, tipsy on Ultra-Linear then intoxicated with the delights of Triode mode, the Audio Research Reference 160S has proven a most alluring brew. Cin, cin…" -Edgar Kramer


    HiFiNews: "Even if I didn’t have to think about cost/space considerations, Audio Research’s Reference 160S has shot to the top of my Fantasy Sound System League Table. It does everything I want, with style, grace and – like a pussy cat suddenly discovering its inner lion – power to spare. It’s not often I feel a gnawing tug when a review unit is collected, but waving goodbye to the REF160S was a wrench I didn’t anticipate." - Ken Kessler


    Stereophile: "They say that every amplifier has its own sound, and I'm sure that's true. But not every sound imposes itself on music in ways that matter. Through all of this, I noticed no particular coloration; in fact, the sound was more open than I'm used to, which I take to be the absence of coloration. The soundstage was three-dimensional, sometimes startlingly so. On some recordings, images seemed etched; on others they seemed loose, bloody, and abundant. Whether from a violin's bow or a piano's hammer, transients seemed natural. On well-recorded piano, the balance between woody impact and string tone seemed ideal—this all still in Ultralinear mode. To paraphrase JGH describing the D-150 years ago, if the Reference 160 had a sound of its own, I couldn't hear it.

    Except: I was consistently aware of beautiful tone. Perhaps a bit more in triode mode than in Ultralinear, but always present, always there. This is the Itzhak Perlman of amplifiers. And like any good tonalist, the 160 S could also make scratchy, strident sounds when the music required it." - Jim Austin

     

    ELECTRONIC SPECIFICATIONS -


    POWER OUTPUT: 140 watts continuous from 20Hz to 20kHz. 1kHz total harmonic distortion typically 1% at 140 watts, below 0.04% at 1 watt. (Note that actual power output is dependent upon both line voltage and “condition” i.e.: if power line has high distortion, maximum power will be affected adversely, although from a listening standpoint this is not critical).

    POWER BANDWIDTH: (-3dB Points) 5Hz to 70kHz.

    FREQUENCY RESPONSE: (-3dB points at 1 watt) 0.5Hz to 110kHz.

    INPUT SENSITIVITY: 2.4V RMS Balanced for rated output. (25.5 dB gain into 8 ohms).

    INPUT IMPEDANCE: 300k ohms Balanced; 100k ohms Single-ended.

    OUTPUT POLARITY: Non-inverting. Balanced input pin 2+ (IEC-268).

    OUTPUT TAPS: 16 ohms, 8 ohms, 4 ohms.

    OUTPUT REGULATION: Approximately 0.6dB 16 OHM LOAD TO OPEN CIRCUIT (Damping factor approximately 14).

    OVERALL NEGATIVE FEEDBACK: 14dB SLEW RATE: 13 volts/microsecond RISE TIME: 2.0 microseconds.

    POWER REQUIREMENTS: 105-130VAC 60Hz (210-250VAC 50Hz) 875 watts at rated output, 700 watts in Triode mode, 500 watts at “idle”, 3.6 watts off

    TUBES REQUIRED: 4 matched pair KT150 (Power output V1-4); 4 6H30 (Gain stage V5 and V6).

    DIMENSIONS: Width  19.0” (48.26 cm), Height 10.25” (26 cm), Depth  21.5” (54,61 cm), With Handles and Connectors: 24” (60.96 cm)

    WEIGHT: 100lbs

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Audio Research Reference 160S Stereo Amplifier

$22,000.00 Free Shipping!

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Description

MY TAKE: Probably no other name in high-end audio enjoys the reputation, recognition, and respect of Audio Research. Since the beginning, Audio Research has maintained a fanatical devotion to quality and sonic performance, ensuring their position at the very top echelon of audio manufacturers. Their offerings earn my highest recommendations. – Galen Carol


Audio Research is pleased to announce the Reference 160S stereo power amplifier. A vacuum-tube design, it follows in the footsteps of the internationally-acclaimed 160M monaural power amplifier, introduced in 2018, which has won multiple amplifier-of-the-year honors from publications such as Stereophile, Hi-Fi+, and others.


The Reference 160S (REF160S) carries-over the stunning look of the 160M, with dual GhostMeters™ that float in front of the eight KT150 output power tubes.


The 160S continues the feature set introduced in the 160M, including a proprietary auto-bias circuit, switchable Triode or Ultralinear modes of operation, balanced and single-ended inputs, and an output tube monitoring mode. The 160S also uses a four-layer circuit board, allowing music to emanate from a jet-black background.


With a weight of 100 lbs. and a chassis depth of 21.5“(54.6 cm), two rear handles were added to make it easier to lift and move. Larger 120mm, low profile fans are built into the bottom cover plate horizontally to provide ventilation.


The REF160S distills the astonishing resolution, dynamic impact, musical purity, and finesse of the 160M into one beautiful and attainable chassis. It was designed for the music lover in all of us.


REVIEWS:

HiFi+: "The Audio Research 160 S is a great product. Really great. Not great in context or comparison; in and of itself. It’s almost laughably dynamic, making many amps we think of as dynamic sound a little flat and boring by comparison. It extends that dynamic contrast from the quietest level to getting on for PA levels.

"What I really like about the Reference 160 S (a strong echo of what I liked about the 160 M) is the way it combines analysis with musical enjoyment. It’s effortless and detailed and on the ‘inviting’ rather than ‘stark’ side of the tracks, but you never once feel like you are listening to electronics… they just melt away and you are left with the music. And the better that music, the greater that sense of being in touch with the intention of the music. Of course, some of that comes from excellent detail, a holographic soundstage and the sort of vocal articulation that turns all of us into amateur orthodontists. But it’s more than that; you are there and near viscerally engaged with the music.

"In a way, the Reference 160 S has some big shoes to fill. Both the Reference 160 M above and the Reference 75 SE below the Reference 160 S in the hierarchy are considered to be two of the best valve power amplifiers ever. Not just from Audio Research, and not just in a contemporary setting… two of the best valve power amps ever built. The Reference 160 S steps up to the challenge of its own kin brilliantly, both showing a lot of what the 160 M is capable of (but not making the mono amps untenable in the process) and showing the Reference 75 SE a clean set of heels. Each one in its price and performance point sets a high benchmark and far from being the ‘tweener’ product in that group, the 160 S functionally creates its own market.
That’s part of what marks out a ‘great’ product from one that is merely ‘good’. And the Audio Research Reference 160 S really is great!"
- Alan Sircom


Soundstage! Australia: "How do you gauge a great valve amplifier? Well, for starters, it should present the signal it’s fed cleanly, without distortion or tonal aberrations, just as any amplifier should regardless of the applied technology. What the Reference 160S brings in addition is a purity of tone and a soundfield presentation which is quite something – especially in Triode mode. Rounding out the strengths at hand, the 160S comes from a company with a long, rich history and an envied reputation for exemplary customer support. Pride of ownership is reinforced by million-bucks-looks and last-a-lifetime build quality – nice cherries on top.

"For music lovers who are chasing the purity, engagement and pleasure of music without artefact the 160S presents a solid proposition. Plus, the choice of Ultra-Linear and Triode modes offers an almost-two-amps-in-one option… either one may be your chosen cocktail within the context of your system and palate. For this writer, tipsy on Ultra-Linear then intoxicated with the delights of Triode mode, the Audio Research Reference 160S has proven a most alluring brew. Cin, cin…" -Edgar Kramer


HiFiNews: "Even if I didn’t have to think about cost/space considerations, Audio Research’s Reference 160S has shot to the top of my Fantasy Sound System League Table. It does everything I want, with style, grace and – like a pussy cat suddenly discovering its inner lion – power to spare. It’s not often I feel a gnawing tug when a review unit is collected, but waving goodbye to the REF160S was a wrench I didn’t anticipate." - Ken Kessler


Stereophile: "They say that every amplifier has its own sound, and I'm sure that's true. But not every sound imposes itself on music in ways that matter. Through all of this, I noticed no particular coloration; in fact, the sound was more open than I'm used to, which I take to be the absence of coloration. The soundstage was three-dimensional, sometimes startlingly so. On some recordings, images seemed etched; on others they seemed loose, bloody, and abundant. Whether from a violin's bow or a piano's hammer, transients seemed natural. On well-recorded piano, the balance between woody impact and string tone seemed ideal—this all still in Ultralinear mode. To paraphrase JGH describing the D-150 years ago, if the Reference 160 had a sound of its own, I couldn't hear it.

Except: I was consistently aware of beautiful tone. Perhaps a bit more in triode mode than in Ultralinear, but always present, always there. This is the Itzhak Perlman of amplifiers. And like any good tonalist, the 160 S could also make scratchy, strident sounds when the music required it." - Jim Austin

 

ELECTRONIC SPECIFICATIONS -


POWER OUTPUT: 140 watts continuous from 20Hz to 20kHz. 1kHz total harmonic distortion typically 1% at 140 watts, below 0.04% at 1 watt. (Note that actual power output is dependent upon both line voltage and “condition” i.e.: if power line has high distortion, maximum power will be affected adversely, although from a listening standpoint this is not critical).

POWER BANDWIDTH: (-3dB Points) 5Hz to 70kHz.

FREQUENCY RESPONSE: (-3dB points at 1 watt) 0.5Hz to 110kHz.

INPUT SENSITIVITY: 2.4V RMS Balanced for rated output. (25.5 dB gain into 8 ohms).

INPUT IMPEDANCE: 300k ohms Balanced; 100k ohms Single-ended.

OUTPUT POLARITY: Non-inverting. Balanced input pin 2+ (IEC-268).

OUTPUT TAPS: 16 ohms, 8 ohms, 4 ohms.

OUTPUT REGULATION: Approximately 0.6dB 16 OHM LOAD TO OPEN CIRCUIT (Damping factor approximately 14).

OVERALL NEGATIVE FEEDBACK: 14dB SLEW RATE: 13 volts/microsecond RISE TIME: 2.0 microseconds.

POWER REQUIREMENTS: 105-130VAC 60Hz (210-250VAC 50Hz) 875 watts at rated output, 700 watts in Triode mode, 500 watts at “idle”, 3.6 watts off

TUBES REQUIRED: 4 matched pair KT150 (Power output V1-4); 4 6H30 (Gain stage V5 and V6).

DIMENSIONS: Width  19.0” (48.26 cm), Height 10.25” (26 cm), Depth  21.5” (54,61 cm), With Handles and Connectors: 24” (60.96 cm)

WEIGHT: 100lbs