Audio Research launches Reference 80S power amplifier

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by Andy Bassett
Hi-Fi News

3

Audio Research launches Reference 80S power amplifier

Audio Research continues to represent performance oriented High End audio with the release of the 80W per channel Reference 80S stereo power amp.

Sporting the same dimensions as the Reference 160S stereo and 160M mono amplifier models but created for music lovers who might not require the same level of impressive output power, the Reference 80S still delivers the same level of  eye-catching industrial design and engineering as its beefier stablemates. 

There’s a single shallow whisper fan built into the bottom plate for quiet and cool operation and the dual GhostMeters appear to float in front of the four KT150 output tubes within the all aluminium chassis. The KT150 valves – widely considered to be the finest output valve available, owing to its combination of power and finesse - represent half the 160S’s complement of eight.

Audio Research launches Reference 80S power amplifier
Audio Research Reference 80S power amplifier - front view

Flexibility is provided by the XLR and SE inputs, 4-8-16 ohm output taps, 12V input and output triggers and RS232 input. There’s also a tube hour meter so you know how many hours the tubes have on the clock, switchable fan speeds, and a .defeatable auto-off function. 

With a feature set that matches the 160S, the Reference 80S includes a proprietary auto-bias circuit that adjusts for not only tube age, but for powerline voltage swings. There is fusing of the output tubes, single-ended and balanced inputs for flexibility, switchable Triode-Pentode operational modes to accommodate loudspeakers and listener’s personal preferences plus output tube monitoring. Additionally, the built-in 12V trigger turns the 80S on or off when connected to a modern preamp with a 12V trigger.

Power supply circuitry facilitates extremely high current delivery on demand, enabling impressive transient peaks, intense dynamics and plenty of bass depth and authority.

Audio Research launches Reference 80S power amplifier
Audio Research Reference 80S power amplifier - rear view

Like Audio Research’s other Reference amplifiers, the 80S has a fully balanced differential circuit topology and combines the shortest possible signal path with the best possible components – many of which are custom made –  to provide the highest performance and lowest distortion. A four-layer circuit board is used to provide a separate ground plane, better circuit layout, and fewer noise-inducing point-to-point connections.

Founded in 1970, Audio Research is one of the oldest US manufacturers of high-end audio equipment still in operation and many regard its founder, William Z. Johnson, as one of the originators of the entire concept of high-end audio as it exists today.

The Audio Research Reference 80S stereo power amplifier is available in either natural silver or black finishes and is now shipping to the UK, distributed exclusively by Absolute Sounds.

UK RRP is £14,998 inc. VAT.

Source: Press release
Image Source: Audio Research

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