Audio Research Reference 1 Preamplifiers

5/5 (13 Reviews)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (13 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mike Malter a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 20, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I must say that I am very pleased with this preamp. It gives music a presence that makes it seem alive. The soundstage is very big and deep with 3 dimensional imaging.

A number of CD's in my collection I could not listen to and was about to throw away because they had too much glare and were too harsh. Now I am going to keep them and they all sound much better.

There is a lot of detail. This detail is in all frequency ranges - high as well as low. You also get the sence of many individual instruments playing. You can actually pick out the instruments as they play.

I actually was so pleased with what I heard that I must confess that I decided to split my system into a music and a home theater system and went out and bought an Audio Research VT100 MK II to pair with it.

I really recommend this preamp if you want very high quality sound.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $4100.00

Purchased At:   eBay



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

Date Reviewed: April 9, 2001

Bottom Line:   
The Reference 1 in one word sounds great. The soundstage is true and it does a great job on the vocal range. My older pre-amps were harsh on vocals but Audio Research has done a surperb job designing this unit. I find myself listening to my reference CD's and being pleasantly surprised on how natural the sound is. I recomend using XLR cables from the amp to the pre-amp. My orginal cable was RCA connectors and I had to turn the volume led's to the four o'clock position to play at a serious level. But with XLR cable this problem has been taken care of.

The Reference 1 is a large pre-amp. It makes my amplifier look small. The circuit boards are mounted vertically thous gives the unit some height. Consideration in where you will be putting this unit is needed because of the size. The other comment is that the remot looks cheap. It does all functions but it is made out of light plastic. I'm using a programmable remote so the factory remote was put in a drawer where it belongs.

After all is said and done I'm very happy with this purchase of the Reference 1. The pre-amp was bought used, I was fortunate to find this unit in great condition. What a nice difference this preamplifier has made with this system.









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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $4000.00

Purchased At:   Woodbridge Stereo NJ



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bob a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: December 20, 2000

Bottom Line:   
When I started to assemble the system I had wanted, I used a passive preamp, essentially a volume control only, between my PH3 phono stage and a VT100 amp. Sometimes I skipped the passive preamp and plugged the phono directly into the amp. This was driving Martin Logan CLSIIz's, and although it worked and was detailed, it lacked dynamics and was dull. Enter the Ref 1. Since the Ref 2 had just come out, my dealer (the pusher man!) had Ref 1's coming in on trade-in, so I bought one used that had the Infinicap upgrade already. Well, dynamics are incredible, soundstaging is wonderful with instruments having body in space. After a year I changed from Tara Reference Gen II Master interconnects to their Air 1 series. Highs opened up a great deal, and running balanced rather than single ended actually increased volume at the same setting. The overall sound is hard to describe because it simply sounds like the music, or at least like what it would be like to hear the master tape. It can handle all sorts of difficult music, and I listen to almost everything. After reading about tube rolling on this site, I realized that there was a whole WORLD OF TUBES beyond the simple Sovteks that ARC supplies with their equipment. I just installed some Amperex orange globe label 6DJ8's from about 1970, and it did make a very nice difference in the way the bass is controlled (now very tight)and an across the board reduction in grain from the Sovteks. And I thought it sounded great before. Tube rolling made an even bigger difference in the PH3SE phono preamp. The big problem with this preamp and all ARC equipment is that I can't stop listening!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1996

Purchased At:   Soundex



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by R Tan a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 15, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I switched to the Ref 1 after using the LS2B for over 5 year. I use the LS2B to drive a smaller system. The Ref 1 is the most musical and involving pre amp i have auditioned. U could listen for hours. I use it to drive a Mark Levinson 333 or the Sonic Frontiers Power 3 sometimes. SPeakers are the THiel 3.6, and the Sonus Faber Concertos on Atacama SE28 stands.I am very happy with it. My CD source is the SONY SCD 777ES, and I use the Meridian 518 driving a MUSE 296 for non SACD material, using the 777 as transport. Cables and interconnects are Alpha Core Goertz. Digital connects - Madrigal.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Andrew Rahl a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: August 6, 2000

Bottom Line:   
Extremely detailed, holographic presentation of music; sounds equally good with vinyl and digital and it has that all important polarity switch. Sounds great with both the Pass Aleph 2 Amplifiers and Audio Physic Virgos and also with an old 60 Watt Adcom stereo amp and Sound Dynamics 300ti's. It also benefits greatly from balanced interconnects and MIT power conditioning.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $8000.00

Purchased At:   Sound by Singer




Reviews 1 - 5 (13 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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