Audio Research VT50 Amplifiers

VT50

45 WPC Vacuum Tube Power Amplifier

User Reviews (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7  
John LaPorta   AudioPhile [Oct 06, 2002]
Strength:

Read above. Build quility is over the top and you have ARC around to support your investment. Fully balanced, dual mono design.

Weakness:

A bit tricky to bias

After auditioning many amplifiers I have found absolute magic w/ the little 45 watt ARC VT-50. This amp continues to blow me away. The inner detail and dynamics coupled with the large sound stage really present the music in a realistic fashion. The amplifier is definitely on the neutral side and is very sensitive to source components, cables and speakers. If you are going to use a cheap cd player or skimp on your cables you will definitely not hear the VT-50's full potential. I am curently running a Wadia 860X balanced (the only wat to go w/ the Wadia/ARC combo) w/ spectacular results. I have also tried many different speakers with the VT-50 (mini-monitors) and have found the ultimate match w/ the ProAc 1SC monitors. I have heard that ProAc voices their speakers to ARC and gear and now I know why. Do yourself a favor a audition a VT-50. ARC recently discontinued the VT-50 due to the fact that it was expensive to manufacture as well as the fact that most people are purchasing the VT-100 instead. Since ARC supports all of the equipment they have ever manufactures this is really not an issue. Think of the VT-50 as the baby brother to the VT-100. Absoultely amazing amplifier!

Similar Products Used: Mark Levinson, VTL, Cary, McCormack, etc.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Rex   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 08, 2000]
Strength:

Clarity for detail. Staging. Low background noise.

Weakness:

Base is not as deep as good solid state amps.

I got the amp a year ago and have been very happy with the amp. It gives an outstanding crystal clear sound and made me hear detail that I never knew existed on the CD before. Staging is excellent but not expansive. The only down side is that base is not as massive in quantity, but the quality of base is tight and satifying. Would highly recommend for audiophile listening.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Greg   an Audiophile [Mar 26, 1999]

I have had my VT50 for about a month and I am very happy with it. It replaced a pair of Cary CAD300SE Signature monoblock amps which were 12 WPC. I'm driving ProAc Response 1SC's with it now, but I recently auditioned a pair of Magnepan MG1.6/QR's, and I think I have found the sound I was listening for! The VT50 sounds much more powerful than the 45 WPC rating. No problem listening at my preferred listening levels of around 80 dB in my 15x25x12 great room. The sound is quite a bit more neutral than the Cary's, which had more of the classic "tube" sound. I'm driving the VT50 directly from a Theta Digital Miles CD player. Everything from Jazz trios to big classical pieces to Blues sounds great. I also tried the larger VT100 MK II, and although it is very impressive, I don't think the extra power is necessary or worth the additional $2K with my speakers and listening preferences.The VT50 is a great amp.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Randy Lennan   Audiophile [Jan 01, 2000]
Strength:

Clarity, imaging, liquid and fatigue-free sound

Weakness:

Tube biasing procedure sucks

Over the years I've owned or auditioned most of the high end brands out there (including the classics) as I had a high end store for awhile. I've owned so much (including ARC) because I could never get the sound "right" for more than a few months. I'm sure most of you know what I mean. The closest I got to audio perfection was a Counterpoint, Linn, Marantz 8b, Maggie combo long ago. I essentially "gave up" on high end for a few years as the industry was in a serious funk sound-wise. Enter the ARC VT50. This inexpensive little amp still amazes me after almost 2 years now! If there is a quieter amp out there I haven't heard it. Its intertransient silence and inner detail is fantastic. Even with lots of stuff happening it is very easy to pick out individual instrument lines and voicing. And since it's dual mono, the imaging is the best ever in a ARC. You will easily hear differences in cables, taps, front ends, etc. Note: This amp sounds very different on its various taps and is much better balanced over single-ended. In balanced mode the noise drops and inner detail just goes totally 3-D. The taps can take you from bright (4 ohm) to very old style tube (16 ohm) with the turn of a wrench. Mids and highs are detailed, sweet and totally non-fatiguing in my setup. Bass is tight and controlled on a CLS. Highly recommended!

Ancillary equipment: Theta Miles (balanced) straight in to amp, MIT wires all around, Martin Logan CLS2Z

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
eichler   Audiophile [Dec 14, 1999]
Strength:

Classic ARC sound, but cleaner & lower in distortion

Weakness:

ARC uses crappy Russian 6922's & 6550's

I bought this as a dealer's demo for a half it's retail price.
Out of the box, it reminded me of an older ARC amp I had many moons ago.
The amp has the newer ARC sound - more controlled bass than the D76/D150 era, fairly clean midrange & very easy highs.
I replaced all of the tubes maybe 6 months later with 1960's era NOS Amperex 7308's (a low noise, matched triode version of the 6922) and Mullard KT88's (made by GEC).
The difference was night and day. There is incredible detail without masking this as an added harshness. The amp, to use a cliche that I have heard over & over agin but never beleived, did make me pull out all my favorite CD's to listen to them again. Friends who don't know about tube equipment and give you a hard time are blown away.
This amp is not the darling of the ARC line, but with a tube replacement can really be quite a joy. If you can find it mint or demo on eBay or in RAM, jump on it - it will be a steal.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Joe   Audiophile [Jul 03, 2001]
Strength:

Fantastic overall sound!

Weakness:

Tube bias adjustments.

This amp was my first personal introduction into tubes. Wow, what a performance! Once I heard it, I instantly knew it was better than any other amp I have had in my system. I have since let go of my Jeff Rowland amp in favor of this one. I have heard that there are some negatives with tubes, such as higher noise and lower quality bass, but I can't complain about this amp. It is very quiet! The bass may not be quite as tight as the Rowland, but it comes very close and is not objectional whatsoever. The bass is not lacking either. The overal smoothness is wonderful, and this amp has a dimensional quality that just envelopes me. The sound has a more natural tone to it, it sounds like music and not like electronics! I really like this amp! At 45 wpc, it may not be powerful enough for some speakers, but it's no slouch either, and will probably drive most speakers to reasonable levels. This amp is recommended!

Similar Products Used: Jeff Rowland, Threshold, Classe.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
hatimanis   an Audio Enthusiast [Jul 12, 1999]

I stumbled into ARC tube products for the first time abt 3yrs ago when I was hunting around for a good amp that would give me good midrange and bass qualities. After auditioning numerous reputed amps, I was abt to give up my search and finally found ARC. Initially, I bought the VT50 due to financial constraints and later managed to upgrade to the VT100. I have no complaints abt the amps for they performed to my fullest expectation. I partnered the amps with ARC LS15 pre-amp, Sony XA7ES cd player, Marin Logan Aerius-i speakers and MIT 330 Proline/MIT 750 Biwire or AQ Emerald XLR/AQ indigo+ cabling throughout.
However, the only setback was the local dealer who did not keep his promise to change the VT50's faceplate to my desired colour free of charge when the shipment arrived. After settling the bill in cash, I returned a few days later with my friend (who was also an alibi and present when the dealer made the promise) only to be told to pay S$200 for the faceplate change. I was pissed off by the dealer's attitude and "ungentlemanly" behaviour that I decided to part with the amps.

I would give 5 stars for the amp's sonic performance (at its price range) and 4 stars for the expense of changing tubes.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-7 of 7  

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