Audio Research LS3 Preamplifiers

Audio Research LS3 Preamplifiers 

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 26  
[Nov 03, 2019]
Eric


Strength:

My first high quality preamplifier. I purchased it new around 1994 and instantly fell in love with it. Sounded superb. Build quality and finish along with the feel and operation of the knobs and rocker switches were simply wonderful. I honestly don't remember what I paid for it. But my stereo equipment budget was quite modest back then. It replaced an Adcom preamp.

Weakness:

My only quibble was that it didn't have remote control. Which I learned was a factory option. But a rather pricey one.

Purchased:
New  
Model Year:
1994
OVERALL
RATING
4
[Jun 05, 2013]
Daniel
Audio Enthusiast

The audio Research LS3 B has deep sound that focuses on vocals,and head lining instuments with out living behine dinamics, bass, treble.
you will find parts of music not heard before a unique style of sound smood aggressiveness
Adele,sting,andrea bocelli, bob marley tested
Emotiva xpr2 Amp,Xd1dac,Erc2 cd
Preamp LS3 B
Speaker Monitor audio Rx6

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 12, 2012]
Ed Padden
AudioPhile

Hello, I have owned the LS3 about 4 times. I love the resolution and he lightning fast transients but have always sold it because it was fatiguing. It's a bit harsh at times, the soundstage is flat and its overall dry. The four I have had were all with different speakers, amps and sources and have all had the same result. Don't get me wrong, for around $600 - $700 used they are a great preamp but you could do better with a CJ or ARC tube preamp like the LS7.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jul 31, 2006]
Dave Boyce
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Excelent Sound Quailty, Price Value. It's a keeper!

Weakness:

None , I have had no problems

I have owned an LS3 for about 1 year. I have found it to have great depth and detail (with good source material). The LS3 is dead silent. The program source makes the biggest difference. Poor recordings can sometimes sound quite harsh, yet good recordings just blossom with impact, speed and realism. It is very detailed and engaging. I can see why some reviewers didn't care for it (maybe GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT?). Its a great value on today's used market. I would buy it again. I like it better than any other preamp I have used to date. I am satisfied with it today. I might try something different tomorrow. Current system, Richard Gray 400, Linn LP12-Ittock-Denon 103D, Marantz SA 8260, LS3, ARC VT200, Magnepan 3.6, Analysis Plus Oval 9 and Kinber Hero.

Similar Products Used:

ARC SP6b, Counterpoint, VanAlstine Super PAS 3, VanAlsitne OmegaStar EX.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 23, 2005]
HIFIVE
AudioPhile

Strength:

Looks

Weakness:

Sound

I did not care for this product either. It is beyond me how Stereophile gave this a Class A recommendation. I much prefered the Audio Research LS9 which is the replacement for the LS3. In fact I love the sound of the LS9. The LS3 sounds very average. Not a very musical sounding or involving preamp! I was thrilled I was able to sell it!

Similar Products Used:

ARC, CJ, and many other preamps

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Feb 11, 2005]
Escaladeur
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

detailed, renowned company makes reselling easy

Weakness:

no 3D imaging, very little emotion and musicality. The life in the music was missing. cheap remote for a $500 option.

I didn't care for this preamp. I bought it based on the reviews but I found it lacking emotion and musicality. I compared it head-to-head in my sytem with 3 other preamps and the LS3b came in last in my rankings. The competition was: Conrad Johnson PV10, Classe CP50, McIntosh C712. It is detailed but no more than the others. I heard the same things and no more. However, musicality was poor, texture was lacking, and the soundstage was flat. My roommate which isn't into audio agreed with me on all accounts. He could hear it just as well as me. The top contender was the CP50, followed by the C712, PV10, and finally LS3b. System synergy is paramount so I always list my associated equipment. Otherwise, the review is meaningless since the reference and context is missing. I use JM Lab Electra 926 speakers, McIntosh MC7200 amplifier, a Jolida JD100 tube cd player, and all MIT cables. I have treated and tested my room to make sure my frequency response is accurate so that I can rely on my opinions. This is all too often overlooked by reviewers.

Similar Products Used:

see above

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
[Sep 30, 2003]
Craig Hochscheid
AudioPhile

Strength:

detail accuracy simplicity clarity price (used)

Weakness:

None found yet

The LS3 and associated equipment represent my first hi end purchases. The LS3 is stunning in it's clarity, detail and utter simplicity. I am continually struck by the detail I am hearing in pieces I have owned for years and have been listening to on a midfi system. From small ensemble baroque to big symphonic pieces to jazz to rock music the LS3’s performance has been beyond reproach. I must credit part of my success with pairing the LS3 with class A equipment. I am using a Naim CDX and feed it to the LS3 via the ‘direct’ mode; what a pure sound, analogue like in warmth ( but with no coloration ). I am further impressed that I am able to feed my home theater system into the video feed on the LS3 (using my receiver’s pre-out); this lets my system do ‘double duty’ as 2 channel and theater with NO comprimise on the 2 channel side. Associated equipment: ARC LS3 Preamp Revel F30 loudspeakers Naim CDX CD player Bryston 4B-ST Amp Kimber Monocle-XL Speaker cables Kimber Hero Interconnects

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 24, 2003]
beerhoch
AudioPhile

Strength:

detail accuracy simplicity clarity price (used)

Weakness:

None yet found

The LS3 and associated equipment represent my first hi end purchases. The LS3 is stunning in it's clarity, detail and utter simplicity. I am continually struck by the detail I am hearing in pieces I have owned for years and have been listening to on a midfi system. From small ensemble baroque to big symphonic pieces to jazz to rock music the LS3’s performance has been beyond reproach. I must credit part of my success with pairing the LS3 with class A equipment. I am using a Naim CDX and feed it to the LS3 via the ‘direct’ mode; what a pure sound, analogue like in warmth ( but with no coloration ). I am further impressed that I am able to feed my home theater system into the video feed on the LS3 (using my receiver’s pre-out); this lets my system do ‘double duty’ as 2 channel and theater with NO comprimise on the 2 channel side. Associated equipment: ARC LS3 Preamp Revel F30 loudspeakers Naim CDX CD player Bryston 4B-ST Amp Kimber Monocle-XL Speaker cables Kimber Hero Interconnects

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 03, 2003]
dlbritton42
AudioPhile

Strength:

About 8 years of reliable performance with very neutral sound. The colorations of different recordings become very obvious. This can be a problem with cd's, especially the earlier ones that were so sloppily transferred from analogue to the low fidelity digital format. This preamp can still be very rewarding with properly recorded cd's (if there is such a thing), but be careful in choosing a cd player.

Weakness:

Toggle switches sometimes fail to operate properly, especially if not used often. This has been easy to fix simply by flipping the switch a dozen of so times. A minor complaint that hasn't detracted from the overall pleasure this product has provided for so many years.

This is definitely a class A preamp. The level of detail is amazing, and even more so considering the lack of harshness prsent with most other "detailed" preamps. AR really got this one right. Like other equipment of this caliber, be careful when choosing associated equipment, especially the cd player if you are unfortunate enough, like me, to have this as the sole source. The Meridian 206 was an excellent match to the LS3 for about 10 years, until it finally started acting erratically (the cd player, not the preamp). The LS3 also has exceptional bass response when used with an amp of the same capability, and is a truly neutral sounding piece of equipment.

Similar Products Used:

Forte Model 4, Meridian 206, Linn Classik, NAD C340, B&W Matrix 804's, Rogers LS3/5A

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 11, 2003]
Tristan Gallagher
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Incredibly low noise floor, detail in bags, voices in the room. Simply plays any music!

Weakness:

Uummm, errr, oh yea; with a fine bottle of whisky you tend to get up and boogy too much which could be bad for your heart.

I bought this product simply because it was cheap and I wanted to evaluate the ARC sound on a permanat basis, and man was I glad I did. Imediatly the system came to life, sheer power came out of the ATC 20 active speakers. Presentation was out of the box! Music flowed seamlessly out and for sure it was music! Over a warm in period of 1 day a grainless, sweet, super detailed sound radiated into the room driving your body to get up and boogy. Finally the Tom evans the groove's super silent noise floor could be heard; what a phono stage! what a pre amp! The SME model 20 was now without doubt trully worth the investment. I wonder what the more expensive Arc amps are like?

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 26  

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