Audio Research Reference 10 line preamplifier

Tubed preamplifiers
Audio Research Reference 10

This isn’t just about hearing more from your recordings, although that is what first attracts you to the Reference 10’s performance. It’s like a reset button on your music. Tracks you know so well aren’t just replayed as if it were the first time you heard them; they are rebuilt note-by-note in front of you, opening up that music in ways you can’t anticipate until you experience them. Yes this is about detail, space, and dynamic range – Bernard Purdie’s drum pedal on ‘Memphis Soul Stew’ [KIng Curtis Live at Filmore West, ATCO] has a squeak that really high-resolution systems can resolve. Many of those are brutally analytical rendering the track hard to hear because of that ever-present squeak, but the Reference 10 forces you beyond that, to a point where it is just a part of the musical whole again. It’s just this time, there are so many more parts to that whole. Let’s put it this way; anyone who was actually at that concert almost 50 years ago might have heard that squeaky drum pedal, and I guarantee not one person walked out of the concert because of that squeak. That’s how the Reference 10 pushes ahead of the competition. That’s not to say the preamplifier is forgiving, but instead is so informative that detail alone isn’t enough; it’s like you get a new set of ears  with the Reference 10 and they take everything in! Going back to more real world preamps is an exercise in disappointment.

What you learn from the Audio Research Reference 10 preamp is just how deep ‘good enough’ goes, and just how much more you can get from a system if you set ‘good enough’ aside. What you also learn from the preamplifier is that is as much about the listener as it is the system, or even the music played on that system. Many will be content with simply having a system that sounds excellent, but if even that degree of insight is not enough and if you are up for the challenge laid down by the Reference 10 preamplifier, the rewards are remarkable. 


 Type: Two box line preamplifier

Inputs (7): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, PROCESSOR. (XLR and RCA connectors)

Outputs (3): 2 main, 1 tape (XLR and RCA connectors)

Frequency Response: +0 -3dB 0.1Hz to 200kHz at rated output. (BALANCED, 200k ohms load.)

Distortion: Less than .006% at 2V RMS Balanced output

Gain: Main output (SE or BAL input): 12dB Balanced output, 6dB Single Ended output. Tape output: 0dB. (Processor input: 0dB Balanced)

Input Impedance: 120K ohms Balanced, 60K ohms SE 

Output Impedance: 600 ohms Balanced, 300 ohms SE main (2), 20K ohms minimum load and 2000pF maximum capacitance 

Output Polarity: Non inverting

Maximum Input: 20V RMS maximum Balanced, 
(10V RMS SE)

Rated Outputs: 2V RMS (1V RMS SE) into 200K ohm balanced load (maximum balanced output capability is 30V RMS at less than 0.5% THD at 1kHz)

Crosstalk: -80dB or better at 1kHz

Controls: Volume (104 steps). Push Buttons: Power, Mute, Interactive Touch Panel. Rear RS-232 control and IR input

Power Supplies: Electronically regulated low and high voltage supplies. Automatic 40 sec. warm-up/brown-out mute

Line regulation: better than .01%

Noise: 1.7uV RMS residual IHF weighted balanced equivalent input noise with volume at 1 (109dB below 2V RMS output.)

Tube Complement: (8) 6H30P dual triodes, plus (2 each) 6550C and 6H30P in power supply

Dimensions W×H×D, per chassis: 48 × 17.8×39.4cm, Handles extend 3.8 cm forward of the front panels

Weight: Audio Chassis: 13.25kg
Power Supply Chassis: 17.88kg

Price: £31,998

Manufactured by: Audio Research


Distributed in the UK by: Absolute Sounds


Tel: +44(0)208 971 3909

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