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Audio Research LS7
12 Reviews
rating  4.5 of 5
MSRP  1495.00
Description: 


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Reviews 1 - 5 (12 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

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

Date Reviewed: December 19, 2009

Bottom Line:   
If you are reading this you probably want a tube line stage but don't have much money. That was my problem. For $500-700 or so you can pick one of these up. Others I looked into were used Audible Illusions, Van Alstine, and Juicy Music. I decided I wasn't mature enough for the AI with the two volume knobs and all however they sound fabulous, Van Alstines were intriguing but I could not find the Trans. 7 or 8 in my price range. The Juicy Musics are great for the money but still out of my range so I started looking into used Audio Research pre-amps and Line stages.

My amplifier is an Audio Research D-115 tube amp. The SP-8 pre amp was my first choice because it was built during the same era as my amp. They are hard to find under a grand. I didn't need the famed phono section so I started to look into their line stages and what they went for used. Looked like the LS-7 was the cheapest ARC tube line stage I could find. Paid $550.00 for it and it was money well spent.

I tried this pre amp with solid state and my said tube amp. Sounds great with either but with the D-115 it is just a wonderful set up. Very smooth top end, very transparent (to me) mid section and nice tight bass. I love the simplicity: power, volume, select, mute, a green light that tells you it's on and thats it. As with my amp this takes a while to get warmed up. I generally will turn everything on a half hour or so before before I get serious about listening.

My experience with tubes are as follows. My LS-7 had the original Sovteks and I was the first to ever take the screws out of the cabinet. They sound fine and are most likely still good however they were in there a long time. I tried NOS Bugle Boys which I burrowed from a friend. They were bright to my ears and too much money. Also some other Amperex tubes my friend had sounded a shade on the bright side. Tesla 6922 sounded very good so I bought 4 of them, very smooth and none fatiguing and not as much money. The best results came from 4 nos Tungsram 6922. These are what the Audible Illusions website recommends as a replacement tube for their preamps. They can be found for a lot less money then other nos tubes (for now anyway). I plan to buy more of them and replace the 6dj8's in my cd player and amp. Just a wonderful sounding tube. If you don't have a friend with a large tube collection I'm sure a new set of Sovteks would sound great maybe even better than some nos. After all lots of high end gear comes with them. New tubes get a bad rap because one "Audiophile" reviewer trashes them and everyone else jumps on the band wagon and says they are crap. Just my opinion.

My experience with this line stage has been very positive. Everyone that listens to my budget stereo gear loves it. It is by far the best stereo I've put together. The LS-7 was the final piece of the puzzle. I hope this review was helpful in your search for a good used tube line stage. Best thing about buying used is you can almost always get your money back on resale if you wish.

My gear:
Ah! Njoe Tjoe 4000 cd player
Audio Research LS-7 Line Stage
Audio research D-115 MKII Amplifier
Vandersteen 2ce speakers
Vandersteen 2w sub woofer

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996



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

Date Reviewed: April 30, 2009

Bottom Line:   
This is soooooo funny. After searching high and low to find a decently priced tube pre amp to match two brand new Nad C272's, I finally settled on a fourteen year old mint condition LS7 that I paid $1000.00 dollars for from a Canadian on line used hi fi site. After auditioning at least six or seven current models starting at three times the price of the LS7 I decided to buy the LS7 based on my knowledge of it's sound and ARC. I figured if the LS7 didn't cut it I'd resell it. Guess what I'm keeping it. Some time ago I decided to quit spending stupid amounts of money for very little gain ( thus the system of "value" high end products).
If you can still find one , it won't take long to realize ARC built these to last and were way ahead of their time when these were produced.
System
ARC LS7 pre amp
Nad C272 amps x2 (mono)
Cambridge Audio 840c CD
Magnaplanar MMG
Mye Sound MMG stands
PNF Audio cables

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996



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

Date Reviewed: December 12, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Thought I'd take a chance with Audio Research since I was so disappointed with other preamps I had tried. The LS7 looked good at $600. Well, I was not impressed from the very start. The was sound was thick and veiled, with ponderous and slow bass to boot. Remembering that with tubed preamps it's not the chassis, circuit board, or the resistors and capicators that make the amplification but rather the tubes, I pitched the Sovtek 6922's (all four of them) and waited until ebay had some premium tubes for sale. After a few painfully long weeks, I finally won some white label Amperex USA made 6922's. To say they made a major improvement is an understatement. The Amperex's made the preamp sing. I can now hear the vocalists breathe before each word sung. The bells, violins, and cellos are in my living room. Bass is quick and immediate. The ugly ducking grew into a swan. This is a superb preamp. Feed it the best tubes money can buy. It deserves the best. (Amperex 6922's go for about $50 a piece (used) on ebay--and worth every penny. Don't even thing about buying a LS-7 without feeding it some good tubes for about $200. The LS7 is a keeper.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   ebay



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

Date Reviewed: September 8, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Bought the LS7 in 95'. Upgraded from Adcom 565. Amazing transformation of sound. You know the old saying "you dont know What your missing till you try it" Well the electronic haze and grain was gone, the music bloomed, sound stage, more bass,better imaging the music flowed. I am using a B&K EX442 amp, and Polk Monitor 10B speakers, on sand filled and spiked standesign stands. Plus I like the combo of s.s. and tubes, best of both worlds. Upgrading the Polks to B&W 802's Should get them in a week Cant wait . Digital is an EAD T-7000 transport w/ aDSP 7000 AQ Ruby between the pre and amp.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Eleksys audio



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

Date Reviewed: May 3, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I first heard the LS 7 matched up with the Audio Research VT 60 power amp. Together, these two pieces created one of the most musical and satisfying presentations of recorded sound that I have ever heard. The soundstaging was amazing with a wonderful bloom around vocals. It was simply liquid and beautiful. Unfortunately, my speakers are not sensitive enough for the 50 watt VT 60. I decided to go with a Conrad Johnson MF2300A power amp, and PV10A preamp. The sound was very good. The soundstage was very deep behind the speakers and came forward to the speakers. After listening to this for a couple of months, I tried using the LS-7 instead of the CJ pre. There was a lot to be heard! The LS-7 has more bass, not overblown by any means, but dynamic and amazingly rhythmic. The soundstage moved forward to be in between the speakers with the 3D stage in front and to the sides of the speakers. The LS-7 is also VERY quiet and very detailed in comparison to the CJ. In the end, the CJ was better at soundstaging, but I prefer the detailed and dynamic presentation of the LS-7. With the VT 60, the LS-7 would win on soundstaging as well.

With the prices these preamps are going for (about 550-700), I can not think of a better introduction to high end sound. The tubes last a long time and warmup time on both preamps of just 90 seconds. If you prefer lush 3D soundstaging or need to tame some solid state gear, go for the CJ PV10A. If you go for dynamics, rhythm and deep bass, go for the ARC LS-7. Either way you will be getting a great preamp. If you don't like the sound, they both hold their value well and can be resold without a loss.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1997




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