Audio Research Releases Reference 80S Power Amp
ARC's Reference 80S shares its dimensions and feature set with the Reference 160S and 160M but has been designed with those that don't require that level of output power in mind.
Naturally, the Audio Research Reference 80S stereo power amp retains the dual GhostMeters that float in front of four KT150 output tubes along with the extruded panels that provide rigidity to the all-aluminium chassis. Of course, there are half as many KT150 valves in the new amplifier as in the 160S, but these tubes are considered one of the finest output valves available thanks to their combination of power and finesse.
The Reference 80S sports XLR and SE inputs, and 4-8-16 ohm output taps, for flexibility. Additionally, you get 12V input and output triggers, RS232 input, switchable fan speeds, and defeatable auto-off function. Also borrowed from the 160S is the proprietary auto-bias circuit that adjusts for tube age and powerline voltage swings.
There is fusing of the output tubes, switchable Triode-Pentode operation to accommodate loudspeakers and personal preference, and output tube monitoring. The Tube Hour Meter is a nice touch. ARC describes this as an odometer for your amp, showing how many hours you've put on the valves.
The ARC 80S is hand-built at Audio Research's Maple Grove, Minnesota facility and is a fully balanced differential design. It employs a four-layer circuit board that provides a separate ground plane, better circuit layout, and fewer noise-inducing point-to-point connections.
The ARC Reference 80s will be available in Australia early-February and will sell for $25,995 RRP.