The tube end of the Audio Research Reference 80S received a quite logical name: it is partly half of the same reference Reference 160S, the release of which we announced almost two years ago. The number of KT150 lamps that operate the amplifier’s end stages has been halved. Accordingly, its output power is also less-80 watts per channel.
Externally, the models are almost indistinguishable. And to count the number of lamps of the terminal stage is a little hindered by the double arrow indicators GhostMeters, located behind the glass front panel.
The switching panel on the back wall of the case is indistinguishable from the same one on the older brother. Here are balanced and unbalanced inputs and connections for acoustics with an impedance of 4, 8 or 16 ohms, grouped for the left and right channels. A 12 V power-on trigger and an RS232 interface are provided.
Reference 80S is assembled in balanced circuitry. Depending on the preferences of the listeners, you can choose the operating modes: triode or ultralinear. The patented offset adjustment scheme is responsible for the durability of the lamps.
A separate feature can be considered an on-board lamp operating time counter. The built-in cooling fan operates in two switchable modes on the rear panel.
The Audio Research Reference 80S tube power amplifier has already gone on sale — it will cost $ 16,000 in the US.