Basically a stereo version of the Reference 160M mono power amplifier introduced in 2018, the new 160S has the same feature set, which includes Audio Research’s own auto-bias circuitry, switchable triode/ultra linear operation modes, balanced and single-ended inputs, and an output valve condition monitor. It isn’t only the circuitry that’s basically identical, the look is also similar, with the dual transparent power meters on the front fascia through which the eight KT150 output valves can be seen. ‘This new amplifier from Audio Research has astonishing resolution, dynamic impact, musical purity and finesse,’ said Philip Sawyer of Synergy Audio Visual, which distributes Audio Research in Australia. ‘A part of this is undoubtedly due to the lowering of the noise floor that’s been possible thanks to the deployment of a four-layer circuit board in the 160S, which allows the music to emanate from a jet-black background.’
The auto-bias circuit in the Reference 160S works not only with the KT150 valves supplied as standard, but also with other valve types, including the 6550, KT88, and KT120. In all cases, the circuit is claimed to work contiguously maintaining the exact and correct bias required, including compensation for valve ageing effects.
Available in October, the Audio Research Reference 160S retails for $34,995.
Manufacturer’s Specifications: Audio Research Reference 160S
Power Output: 140 watts continuous per channel (16/8/4Ω)
Frequency Response: 0.5Hz to 110kHz (–3dB)
Power Bandwidth: 5Hz to 70kHz (–3dB)
THD @ 1-watt: <0.04%
Damping Factor: 14
Slew Rate: 13V/µS
Rise Time: 2.0µS
Input Sensitivity: 2.4VRMS (balanced)
Input Impedance: 200kΩ (balanced)
Dimensions (WHD): 438×254×470mm
Price: A$34,995 (RRP)
For more information about Australian availability and pricing, contact Synergy Audio Visual