Audio Research LS2 Preamplifiers

4.71/5 (21 Reviews) MSRP : $2500.00


Product Description

Hybrid line stage pre-amp


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Reviews 1 - 5 (21 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Craigy a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: January 10, 2014

Bottom Line:   
Let me start by saying that I have had this unit for almost 10 years. I have enjoyed it since I bought it. Inspired by the previous posts, I decided to upgrade it. I put the Dynamicaps in, and also a new tube (cryo treated JJ Tesla) and plugged it in.

This made a huge difference... the imaging and detail was so much better. The sound also seems to be taller, if that is possible.

One thing is that the soundstaging seemed to be lost.. the depth gone.. I am not sure it that is because everything else is now much better or not.

Perhaps it is the rest of my system, the new tube, the positioning of my speakers or indeed my room that makes it sound less than totally amazing, but I am not sure. I will be adding some Zero autoformers at some time soon and hope this is the final link in the system that has taken me over 20 years to build.

Don't get me wrong, this is still an incredible piece of kit and after the upgrades, even more so. The loss of soundstaging is what makes me give it 4 starts, although in the right system this would definitely be a 5 star pre-amp. This is great value, at the price, and upgraded is even better.

System:

LS2 (obviously)
Atmasphere S-30
Sony DVP-S9000ES as CD transport (Previous Sony CDP-777ES which died)
Cambridge audio Dacmagic2 (modified)
Choseal interconnects
OCOS transmission speaker cables

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



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

Date Reviewed: October 16, 2013

Bottom Line:   
best preamp i have owned, now just take out the stock 6922 and put in a telefunken e88cc and you will be in music heaven. running in balanced with kimber hero xlr to a threshold t400 with kimber 12c cables to magnaplaner 1.7's. source is sansui tu9900 with full radiox mod and kimber silver streak rca's and for digital an iPod with a luxman d100 da converter with silver streak rca's. right now i am listening to a baja ca station that plays classical music 24-7 and the old sansui brings it in crystal clear and the background is dead silent. you would have to pry my cold dead fingers off the volume knob to get this arc ls2b mark2 from me. fm is alive and well in so cal and baja to.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by JosephCoty a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: April 26, 2008

Bottom Line:   
I've owned this preamp for several years and I've come to think of it as an old friend. As the cornerstone of my system it has helped me connect with my music in a very intimate way sometimes rolling tears down my cheeks. If you haven't experienced that level of intimacy with your music, this preamp is a good place to start. To squeeze more from the platform as it aged I quickly went all balanced which really lowered the floor. Eventually I used a NOS Bugle Boy 6550 tube made in Holland which really warmed things up. This past year I've used a Telefunkin CCA which is increasingly rare and insanely expensive but it has really spread out the soundstage while preserving crystal clearness in detail. I have the LS2B MKII.

My System:
Audio Research VT100 MKII Amplifier
Audio Research LS2B MKII Preamplifier
Meridian 508-20 CD Player
Vandersteen 3A Signature Speakers
Shunyata Anaconda and Python power cables
Transparent Musiclink Ultra Speaker and balanced interconnects.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



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

Date Reviewed: March 22, 2008

Bottom Line:   
What a great piece of equipment! I have had well over 40 preamps in my audio pursuits, but the LS2 has finally had the sound that I have been looking for! The soundstage extends well beyond the speakers, detail and richness galore! the vocals are simply incredible! Male and female. All the instruments are precisely defined! This unit has increased my listening time to an extra 3 hours a day. I used to have the LS15 and it is a good sounding unit also but it doesn't have the magic that the LS2 has. The icing on the cake is that there is only one tube. If it sounds this good with the Soviet tubes, I can't imagine what it will sound like once I begin tube rolling! If you ever have the opportunity to get your hands on one of these, it would be well worth your while. I traded a PS Audio PCA-2 preamp, which I held in pretty high regard. I read the reviews here for the LS2 and decided to take a chance. It made the PS Audio sound like a boom box!
I have a basic system with a Krell KCT-100, Meridian 508.24, KEF Q60 speakers, PS Audio XLR cables, MIT RCAs, PS Audio Extreme Statement bi-wire speaker cables.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $1.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



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

Date Reviewed: October 20, 2006

Bottom Line:   
Inspired by the last review on the Audio Resaerch LS-2B (by electronicsprof2), I have tried to upgrade my own LS-2. Through the upgrade process i have some experiences that might be of some help to others that are about to give it a try or just are curiouse.

I have also upgraded my LS-2 with DynamiCaps as output caps and the improvement in soundquality was dramatic. I can´t compare my "new" ls-2 to the ls-16 mkII but my overall verdict is that changing the output caps is very much worth the money spend. The best describtion of the improvement is that the amp sounds much more fresh and engaging -more like a new amp again. It sounds faster, much more transparent and the tube-sound is more revealed -not that there is more tube-related distortion; don´t worry the amps bautyfull balance is kept! -It is more like everything that sourronds the tube just sounds better and more transparent and therefor the tubes charateristics is more revealed -which also means that you probably will hear if your tube isn´t good enough or is burned out....

As my ls-2 isn´t the balanced version I only had to change the two yellow 5 uF REL-CAPS placed in the middle on top of the mainprint(Some versions could have the withe InfiniCaps instead). I chose to use the 4 uf Dynamicap as it was to be better than the 5 uF version. I was also told that the design of the DynamiCaps illiminated the need for the small 0.01 uF bypass caps mounted below the print -so they were to be removed. This proved not be true in my case as In ran into problems -I installed the new caps and chose their direction to be the same as the old ones and removed the four 0.01 uF InfiniCaps below the print. Result= better midrange, better bass (but not as deep as before) and the downside: borring treble that seemed to roll off!!!. Then I installed the small 0.01 uF caps again and the treble was back in the game! This was a quite cheap and very efficient upgrade that probably would satisfy most people. Now the the ls-2 sounded much faster, more detailed and at the same time more organic. BUT when I was to be totally hornest, the overall soundreproduction wasen´t totally cohrent as the treble seamed to be a little harsh compared to the midrenge and the bass hasn´t got the same deepbass-impact as before. Quite small downsides that problable only will be audioble in demanding systems. It seamed to be caused by the quality difference between the old infiniCaps and the new DynamiCaps and the smaller value (4 uF instead of 5 uF) of the chosen Dynamicaps.

Second try -I ordered another pair of 4 uF dynamicaps and 4 x 0.01 dynamicaps. I I installed them (all in parrallel ) and now the bass was kicking deeper, faster and more powerfull than before. Sweet. But the treble seamed to roll of again -almost as when I had removed the small bypass caps.... The I became curriouse. Could it be that the new dynamicaps should be installed with the opposite direction than the old caps... I tried to reverse the direction and WOOOW -it worked! The output was much more cohrent than it ever had been and the total bandwith was vastly improved.

Verdict:
Go fore it!
If you are the owner of an ls-2, then don´t hesitade to upgrade it -2 x 4uF Dynamicaps only costs around 60 USD and You´d be amaized! -You can experiment with the direction of the caps and try with and without the small bypass caps -You might only need the 4 uF´s.....

BUT if you want to go further use another pair of 4uF and four 0.01 uF´s and you´ll get a preamp that sounds at least twice as good as the original ls-2;-)


Afternote:
I can´t say that the DynamiCaps needs the small bypass caps because it could be the case that I simply had them installed reversed and therfore they seamed to roll of the treble.

My value rating conserns the upgrade with four 4uF caps and four 0.01 caps.

My overall rating conserns the upgraded ls-2. The original ls-2 would only have earned 3½ stars.



Thanks to: electronicsprof2

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   trough ebay




Reviews 1 - 5 (21 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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