The Reference 150 is the latest addition to Audio Research‘s amplifier family. Replacing the Reference 110 was a reportedly daunting task, but it has been accomplished. Audio Research claims that the REF150 offers more power, greater dynamic thrust, a more vivid and resolved presentation, greater finesse, and quieter operation.
Having identical outer dimensions to its predecessor, the REF150 has much more packed into its chassis. Refined front-panel cosmetics reflect the updated look of current-generation models, with silver units having silver handles and silver top covers, while black units have black handles and black cover.
The REF150 is a fully-balanced design, so its inputs are balanced XLR only. It has a 20-amp IEC power connector, 4-8-16 ohm output taps and 12V triggers arrayed on the rear panel. Under the top cover there are a number of circuit enhancements resulting in improved performance.
Power-supply energy storage has been doubled to some 1040 joules. All-new interstage coupling capacitors using technology and materials first incorporated in the Anniversary Edition preamplifier link input stage to output stage, which is powered by two matched quads of Russian KT120 output tubes driven by 6H30 twin triodes. Output stage coupling is a combination of “ultralinear” and Audio Research’s patented “partially cathode-coupled” topology.
Larger, wide-bandwidth output transformers handle the greater output. Power output is rated at 150 WPC into 4-, 8- or 16-ohm speaker loads. Each channel is fan-cooled using new low-turbulence intakes, with three selectable fan speeds. Internally there is a small LCD display that indicates tube hours.
Reportedly, the REF150 amplifies more critical musical information from your preamplifier and source components than you have ever heard before.
The US Retail price is $12,995 and shipments are commencing immediately.