Audio Research Ref 80S


It embodies Audio Research’s latest design effort by creating a vacuum-tube amplifier that not only redefines ultimate music reproduction, but does so in an incredibly beautiful package

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Audio Research Ref 80S

The new Audio Research Reference 80S stereo amplifier is finally here.

Audio Research Reference 80S

It embodies Audio Research’s latest design effort by creating a vacuum-tube amplifier that not only redefines ultimate music reproduction, but does so in an incredibly beautiful package.

Outwardly, the 80S shares the same dimensions as the 160M.

A single shallow whisper fan is built into the bottom plate. Flexibility is built-in, too, with XLR and single ended inputs, 4-8-16 ohm output taps, 12V input and output triggers, RS232 input, tube hour meter, switchable fan speeds, and an auto-off function that the user can override.

The Ref 80S was created for the music lover who does not require the output power of its larger siblings, the Reference 160S stereo and Reference 160M mono amplifiers.

The Audio Research Ref 80S the dual GhostMeters® that float in front of four sublime KT150 output tubes.

Elegant extruded panels, a vital part of the all-aluminium chassis, provide rigidity and beauty.

An impressive feature set follows that of the award-winning Ref 160S, including a proprietary auto-bias circuit that adjusts for not only tube age, but for powerline voltage swings.

There is fusing of the output tubes, single-ended and balanced inputs for flexibility, switchable Triode-Pentode operation to accommodate loudspeakers and personal preference, output tube monitoring, and inclusion of a meter to track the actual usage of the tubes in real-time hours – like an odometer for your amp.

This is a tube amplifier that does not require tweaking; its sole purpose is to be enjoyed by music lovers.

The built-in 12V trigger turns the Ref 80S on or off when connected to a modern preamp with a 12V trigger.

Like every Reference amplifier before it, the Ref 80S is a “true” fully-balanced differential design, ensuring the highest performance and lowest distortion.

A four-layer circuit board is used to provide a separate ground plane, better circuit layout, and fewer noise-inducing point-to-point connections.

The Ref 80s delivers the most articulate, detailed, deepest, and accurately defined bass.

Transients are delivered in an especially life-like way rewarding the ear with new perspectives, projecting sounds against an extremely quiet, sonically “black” background engulfing you in a truly enchanting experience.

Carrying on an Audio Research tradition, the Ref 80S is built by hand, from the ground-up in the company’s Maple Grove, Minnesota facility.

The Ref 80s has been created for the love of music, bringing it to life in every sense.

Listening through the Ref 80S is an effortlessly compelling experience. Set up appropriately, the Ref 80S can immerse you in the feeling of a vivid and true musical performance.

The finest details are laced with rich harmonics and full dynamic contrasts – from the smallest whisper to the largest crescendo – showcased within the ambience of the original acoustic space.

The Ref 80S follows and improves upon one of the most successful amplifiers in Audio Research’s 50-year history: the legendary Ref 75 (and the updated Ref 75SE),

This amplifier is acknowledged for the sound, the power delivery, and the innovative use of new tubes, but above all for creating an affordable entry into the Reference series.

Specifications Audio Research Ref 80S

Specifications Audio Research Ref 80S

Additional information


Black, Silver


Audio Research

Audio Research

The state-of-the-Art in music reproduction

Audio Research is one of the oldest continually operating manufacturers in American audio. The company was founded in 1970 in Minneapolis with one goal in mind: to advance the state-of-the-art in music reproduction. Today, Audio Research remains a performance-oriented company by philosophy and design. New product introductions are driven only by genuine advances in technology and performance — the HIGH DEFINITION that is the hallmark of the company’s products. The company occupies a 48,000 square-foot, technically-advanced production plant and administrative headquarters in Maple Grove, Minnesota, where approximately 50 technical, assembly and support staff guide the product line from concept to finished goods.

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