Audio Research Reference 2 Preamplifiers

4.6/5 (10 Reviews) MSRP : $9995.00


  • Store Promotions Shipping Price

Product Description



Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 5 (10 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

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

Date Reviewed: April 19, 2011

Bottom Line:   
The Audio Research ref 2 preamp that I have was bought used on Auidiogon for $4000.00..
before that I used a Pioneer integrated amp....as soon as I received the Ref2
I realized I needed a Phono stage so I hunted down a Audio Research PH5...
which set me back $600.00...I hooked them uip to my Bryston 4 NRB
and AR XB turntable which I bought in 1972...and is still all original....with
a lot of flutter...(hunting for a new turntable) and will refurbish my old AR..
I put on Joshua Tree-U2, Eagles..Hotell California....and it sounded super awesome..
it was like WOW,,and my new Sonus Faber Auditors are have not been broken in
they only have 15 hrs of use...on low volume I could hear the music all over the house
with extreme clarity and lushness.....I also played Andrea Bocelli best hits....that was
orgasmic....especially when Sara Brightman joined in....I played Dinah Washington,
Billie Holiday ...the LPS came to Life...made me understand term "Living stereo"..
I also purchased a used Tube Jolida CD player on Ebay...hooked that in.,.,..and WOW
Best sound I ever heard.....I used Cardas goldenref,,,,,interconnects that I pickedup
on Audiogon,,,,I went from Listenning to Pioneer,,with Klipsh Horn Speakers.....
to Heaven....

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001



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

Date Reviewed: April 27, 2003

Bottom Line:   
This is about Reference 2 MKII.

I have the oportunity to have in my room one MKI and one MKII, and one LS25 for comparision at the same time.

Forget about the LS25, people that say that its sounds 80% like the Ref are crazy. The Ref are four times better, soundstage, tonal balance and dynamic. One thing Refs are is to be dynamics like nothing I heard.

The Reference Preamps works like two monos preamps in one machine, I think thats why they sound so much better.

About the MKI or MKII they are complete different too, MKII is a hybrid desing. Tube lovers won´t be satisfied. MKII is more clear, more realistic and more vivid and unfortunally it causes more fatigue (if you listen loud). This is a matter of taste, what do you prefer, presicion or confort?

I don´t know if I have the two ones new witch one I would prefer (I have to listen more). I had to get the MKII because the MKI is no longer avalible.

Don´t listen to the MKII before 200 hours, it´s just terrible, the j-fets take long to break in. ARC should burn them in factory.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $10000.00

Purchased At:   Local Dealer



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by mgx1138 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: March 26, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I have recently upgraded from the LS25 MkII to the REF2 MkII. Reviews of the REF1 and REF2 MkI preamps are really not relevant as the MkII is essentially a completely different preamp. Same issue with LS25 MkI vs. Mk II.

First; Audio Research's Ref2 MkII is the finest preamp that I have heard in my system. I never try to evaluate equipment that I have not heard in my system because there are so many variables that it is impossible in my opinion to talk about one component. Only when you have a stable system and change out one part, can you evaluate the contribution of that part.

The REF2 does almost everything well; tonal balance is near perfect, with none of the lower midrange/upper base bloat that was present in earlier models. The highs may not seem as extended as some other preamps, but the more I listen, I more I believe that any perceived lack of extension in the highs is really a result of a lack of grain and hash that so many amps and preamps add to the high end range. The REF2 highs are extended and yet clean. The preamp took about 100 hours to break in. Before that, the soundstage was somwhat shortened and there was not the sense of space around individual instruments that is now so impressive. Soundstage is deep, and very wide (extending behind and beyond the speakers on some recordings) The dynamics are simply astounding... the preamp makes my system JUMP when the recording calls for it. I have not played with powercords for this preamp yet. I am using my standard, which is the Audiance PC (bargain in my opinion).

One amazing thing about the LS25 vs REF2 comparison... the REF2 clearly outshines the LS25, but the difference is by no means embarassing. At its price, the LS25 is also an incredible preamp.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002



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

Date Reviewed: October 23, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Great preamps, it offer an execptional soundstage and liquid sound. I had for five years LS-22 (the best ever hear for the price); don't listen him before 200 hours of initial warm-up. Good match together Classe' Audio DR15 and ProAC.
Future One.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $12000.00



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

Date Reviewed: September 15, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Much better than Sonic Frontier Line-3. My CD's sound so much better on this unit. Easy to use. One piece unit is a big plus. Very reliable. Remote control is excellent.
Rounds off the edge on CD's and makes them full sounding.
LP's sound great also.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000




Reviews 1 - 5 (10 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


Any info of Musical Fidelity P270-2 Reference?

Hello! A Happy New Year greeting from Hanoi, Vietnam to all members of this forum! Recently I bough this power amp, but I haven't find any info about it: http://translate.google.com.vn/translate?u=http%3A//page7.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/g78357586%23enlargeimg&hl=vi&langpair=auto|en&tb ... Read More »

What type of amp for kef 104.2 reference speakers?

Hello, I am new to this forum and a novice when it comes to audio equipment. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through reviews, comments, and questions from other forum participants and have benefited already from very friendly advice on the kef 104.2 reference speakers, which, thanks to some of ... Read More »

Kef Reference 2 - owners manual

I tried to look for the user manual for Kef Reference 2 speakers but not available to download from anywhere. Can someone help in any way? I am particularly intererested in finding out following: Speaker makers guide about it placement and how to maintain the Black Ash finish. Thank you an ... Read More »

SVS PB12-PLUS/2 vs DEFINITIVE SUPER CUBE REFERENCE

I have been looking at new sub woofers. Wanted the SVS PB12-ULTRA/2, but to many $$$$. I am comparing the SVS PB12-PLUS/2 and the Definitive Technology Super Cube Reference. I can buy either for the same money. Anybody have either of these subs? Any suggestions? ThanksRead More »

Read More »





Atlantic Technology :



Award-Winning Axiom: