Audio Research LS15 Preamplifiers

4.85/5 (20 Reviews) MSRP : $2995.00


Product Description

Class A tube line level preamp


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Reviews 1 - 5 (20 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bob Berryman a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 1, 2007

Bottom Line:   
Thankyou Audio research,this is my first taste of AR ,and we are very very happy.I took out the siemens.I had a pair of amperex A frame and amperex orange lable lying around,which gives me all i could wish for. Thankyou USA,thankyou England for the B@W 802s,thankyou ,signal cable,taralabs and thankyou New Zealand for the plinius for the SA 100 mk 2 amp.awesome

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by lok a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 16, 2006

Bottom Line:   
After finally finding a secondhand ME850 power amplifier last year ( this was always the power amp I aspired to buy one day. $6000AUS when new, no longer in production ) I connected this to my existing Audiolab 8000Q Pre-amp. It really impressed me with it's added control over my Hybrid Ribbon speakers and a very slight increase in soundstage.

The Audiolab is a great solid state pre-amp but now I was itching for improved soundstage seeing I had plenty of power/control on tap. I took a gamble and purchased the Chinese made Classic No. 9.0 Tube pre-amp and the soundstage opened up 2 fold over the Audiolab, but the gain was too much which meant I could never have the volume knob past the 10 o'clock mark. I swapped tubes and used attenuators and as I fixed one issue it shifted to something else. Although it was a nice pre-amp ( a little bright ) the mis-match between it and my ME850 power amp was driving me to distraction.

I kept my eyes & ears out for other possibilities and as luck would have it, I found a secondhand ARC LS-15 advertised on a Hi Fi shop's website that was located interstate. I had dealt with them a couple of years prior, so no problem in getting them to send it to me via road freight and they even accepted my Classic No. 9.0 pre-amp as part trade in.

What can I say that hasn't already been covered by eveyone before me. This pre-amp is just GREAT ! Beautiful soundstage and very unfatiguing so you can listen for hours and get seduced by the music rather than "playing with your Hi Fi" !
I have to admit that the bass extension was considerably more than I'm used to but also not as tight when compared with my Audiolab 8000Q pre-amp. But considering one is tube and the other solid state quite understandable. I did find a couple of Mike Oldfield's later CDs didn't fair too well when played through this pre-amp. I'm willing to make an educated guess that it may be due to the fact that most of Mike's work is done on computer/synth and some tracks may be slightly "over produced".

After scanning through the various comments from other owners, I decided to replace all the included Sovtek 6922 tubes with some NOS JAN Philips ones and guess what ? I can now listen to those Mike Oldfield CDs again without the bass blurring out the highs/mids & soundstage.

This pre-amp really shines with Jazz & Vocal material and breathes air through those recordings with effortless ease. I have found since getting this pre-amp I'm staying up later into the night listening to my music, especially well recorded vocals. The imaging and soundstage is expansive and seductive to say the least.

The previous owner of this little number had it for 9yrs before upgrading to a newer ARC pre and seeing I just stocked up on NOS 6922 tubes, I intend to keep it for many years to come ! If you can find a nice pre-loved LS-15, grab it !

My Main Hi Fi System -

Jolida JD100H Tube Reference CD Player
Audio Research LS-15 Pre-amp
ME Sound ME850 Power Amplifier
Denon TU-1500AE Tuner
Rega P3 Turntable with Michell Tecno arm
Benz Micro ACE MC cartridge
Perreaux SX-V1 Phono pre-amp
Ambience Superslim 1400 Hybrid Ribbon Speakers
Tara Labs Quantum IV interconnects XLR
Tara Labs RSC GEN II interconnects RCA
Tara Labs RSC Prism 500 speaker cable
Van den Hul D102 MkIII interconnects RCA
AUDUSA Eupen CSA 2.5 Power cables

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $2999.00

Purchased At:   Audio Connection - S



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by aa3826 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: August 3, 2004

Bottom Line:   
This is a wonderful preamp. Soundstage is excellent. Each instrument is extremely well defined. High end is a bit rolled off but certainly not shy. Overall sound is very warm and pleasing. Bottom end is very good but will seem lacking on recordings that are bass shy. Play a recording with an extended bottom end and this preamp will shine however it is not very forgiving on recordings that are a lacking on the bottom end. In other words, if it's not on the recording it's not the preamp...it's the recording. Since this is my first tube preamp the high end and bottom end may be very charactaristic of tube preamps. Overall this is an excellent preamp definitely worth giving a listen to. This is a keeper.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Price Paid:    $1277.00

Purchased At:   Ebay



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by yves a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 3, 2002

Bottom Line:   
This preamp is a great piece of equipment when the Sovtech are replaced by any other 6922's (valvo in my case).

The musical details are amazing compare to a CJ PV-10A & an ARC LS-2 (which are very good preamp BTW).

For Jazz,singners & classical lovers this is one of the pre you should consider.For big orchestra or Rock I find the LS-15 with a lack of "slam" when compare to the LS-2.
I am running it in balanced mode with an ARC VT_100;I also try it with my Odissey Stratos (SS).With the VT-100 it is an amazing combo;with the Odissey it was less magic.
The soundstage is very good and the instruments are well located;same thing for the depht.This preamp is also very dynamic and,with its quality for the details,may make you realyse what you were missing before.In my case it was a big revelation;even with the LS-2 (the CJ PV-10A is far beyound the LS-2).

LS-15
VT-100
Martin Logan Aerius i
Transport-Proceed
DAC-Sonic Frontiers
Cables/Interc.-Yamamura M-6000

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   audiogon-used



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Audiomanic a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 12, 2002

Bottom Line:   
This is truly a great preamp. I recently traded my Sonic Frontiers Line 2 for this an d am completely satisfied. The Line 2 is truly overrated as it has a lifeless, cold and steely sound. Tizzy treble is augmented by a bottom end that is too tight. Nothing sounded real. The LS15 has a wonderful top end, a very neutral midrange but a minor problem in the bottom end which is typical with tube preamps. This problem is very minor and not noticed with my Classe 400 amplifier. This in a nutshell is a great preamp where one would be either foolish or swayed by the product of the month in Stereophile magazine to need anything more.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999




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