Audio Research Reference Amp Upgrades

Posted on 17th December, 2019

Audio Research Reference Amp Upgrades

Audio Research has updated its Reference 6 line-stage preamplifier and the Reference 750SE mono power amplifier.

The Minnesota-based audio company has announced significant updates to two products in its Reference series, the Reference 6 line-stage preamplifier, and the Reference 750SE mono power amplifier. Both refreshed products will begin to ship in December in the USA.

Audio Research Reference 6SE

A special edition performance update has been created for the REF6 line-stage preamplifier. The REF6SE ($17,000 US) replaces the REF6, which has proved extremely popular since its introduction in 2015.  

Audio Reseach REF6SE

The REF6SE has received several wiring and component upgrades which, we are told, create an immediate sonic impact. Audio Research states that the updated preamp “provides higher resolution, greater transparency, better focus, and an effortless quality that draws the listener into the rich musical soundscape.”

Audio Reseach REF6SE

With a single gain stage, the 6SE is a fully-balanced, Class-A design with zero feedback. In addition to six long-life 6H30 tubes in the gain stage, the enormous and highly-regulated power supply has another 6H30 with a 6550 providing vacuum-tube regulation.

The SE update will be available to current REF6 owners in January 2020 and can be installed through Audio Research or authorised service centres for $3,000 US. 

Audio Research Reference 750SEL

Audio Research REF750SEL

As well as the refreshed REF6SE, Audio Research has also announced a limited edition of the REF750SE mono amplifier. There will only be ten pairs available of the REF750SEL ($75,000US/pair), and it replaces the REF750SE, with first shipments available after December 16th stateside. 

The improvements to the REF750SE came about through the development of the Reference 160M and 160S amplifiers. Those component and wiring upgrades have been incorporated in the new 750SEL. The SEL version includes 23 new wires and 26 new capacitors as part of a stunning sonic transformation. 

Audio Reseach REF750SEL

The Reference 750 SEL delivers over 750 watts of power into speaker loads of 4 to 16 ohms. This is achieved by the use of massive, custom-built power and output transformer delivering current from sixteen KT150 vacuum tubes in each channel.

Audio Reseach says that this new product establishes a new benchmark of quality for the brand's amplifiers. Among the sonic improvements, the company notes improved micro- and macro-dynamic contrasts that allow the music to come alive.

Unfortunately, there will not be an update kit available to convert the REF750SE to a REF750SEL because the changes are too substantial to make the upgrade feasible, according to Audio Research.

Price and availability

We are awaiting confirmation regarding UK pricing and availability. Once we know, we will update the details here.

For further information, head to Audio Research.


    Jay Garrett's avatar

    Jay Garrett

    StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

    Posted in:Hi-Fi
    Tags: audio research  absolute sounds 


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