Audio Research Reference Phono 3 Announced
Eagle eyed audiophiles know Audio Research has been beavering away expanding and refining its Reference Series models.
Since the middle of last year, this pedigree audio brand has taken all of its reference amplifiers up a notch in sonic quality and these are now distinguished by the letters, SE, denoting they’re “Special Editions”.
Enhancements include new output tubes and circuitry tweaked to accommodate them. More resolving amplifiers ushered in a need for improved Audio research signal sources. The response was the release of the Reference 6 preamplifier, a masterpiece of design.
To match the sonic qualities of the Reference 6 a very special phono stage was required. It has arrived in the formidable shape of the Reference 3.
The design of this model sees the tube count rise from the four used in previous models to six in the analogue stage, mimicking the tube compliment upgrade of the Reference 6.
Other enhancements include a beefier power supply to drive the additional tubes and to yield a greater dynamic range.
But AR has also updated a heap of other parts adding patented coupling capacitors, better wiring loom, and cryogenically treated parts.
Presented in a sturdy aluminum housing, the Reference 3 carries six 6H30 tubes (three per channel), one 6H30 and a 6550WE for the regulated power supply.
The Ref 3’s large display screen shows each selected function while a row of six buttons control power, mute, input and menu controls.
Menu functions comprise auto shutdown, gain and load settings, display brightness, equalization settings and most desirable-tube hour reset.
High and low gain settings are part of the package along with a choice of six fixed and one custom impedance setting, which will keep tweakers happy. Input connections include two single ended for two turntables.
Outputs comprise both balanced and single ended.
The Reference 3 phono preamplifier is available now for $22,995 RRP.
Audio Research is distributed in Australia by Synergy Audio Visual.
See Audio Research at the 2016 Melbourne International HiFi Show, July 1st-3rd in Room 1206.
Stephen Dawson started writing full time about home entertainment technology just weeks before the DVD was launched in Australia. Since then he has written several thousand product reviews amounting to millions of words for newspapers and magazines around Australia.