Australian HIFI - - SOUNDBITES -

Au­dio Re­search has up­graded its Ref­er­ence Se­ries am­pli­fiers to use the new KT-150 out­put valve, so the Ref­er­ence 250SE (250-watts per chan­nel), Ref­er­ence 150SE (150-watts per chan­nel) and Ref­er­ence 75SE (75-watts per chan­nel) all now use KT-150s. ‘But not sat­is­fied with merely chang­ing out­put tubes, Au­dio Re­search de­cided to also in­clude sub­stan­tial per­for­mance up­grades in the Ref­er­ence am­pli­fiers to co­in­cide with the changeover to the KT150,’ said Philip Sawyer, of Syn­ergy Au­dio Vis­ual which dis­trib­utes Au­dio Re­search in Australia. ‘The re­sult­ing ac­tive and pas­sive parts changes in the SE am­pli­fiers have re­sulted in dra­matic sonic im­prove­ments. Sim­ply put, the new SE ver­sions are bet­ter in ev­ery way: pu­rity and lack of grain, res­o­lu­tion, mi­cro- and macro-dy­nam­ics, sep­a­ra­tion and in­stru­men­tal fo­cus, phase and time co­her­ence, and greatly im­proved bass weight, author­ity and con­trol.’ The KT-150 valve of­fers higher plate dis­si­pa­tion, higher cur­rent ca­pa­bil­ity, more power and a longer life­span than the power out­put tubes in com­mon use (KT-66, KT-88, KT-120 etc). War­ren Gehl, of Au­dio Re­search, who eval­u­ated the valve prior to it be­ing used in the Ref­er­ence Se­ries, told Aus­tralian Hi-Fi Mag­a­zine: ‘ We have been very im­pressed with its per­for­mance and longevity. Ver­sus the KT 120 tube, which it most closely re­sem­bles son­i­cally, the KT 150 im­parts a greater sense of foun­da­tion, so­lid­ity and author­ity from the midrange on down much like hav­ing a more pow­er­ful am­pli­fier on tap. There is a sense of ease and head­room han­dling the mu­sic that brings out very low level dy­namic nu­ances as well as new­found in­ten­sity on high level cli­maxes which build more dramatically. The sound is full and rich, yet tran­sient re­sponse is su­perbly fast and ex­tremely pure, with the most grain-free and life­like res­o­lu­tion and trans­parency. The oc­tave to oc­tave tonal bal­ance is spot on, with im­proved fo­cus, im­age sta­bil­ity and sound stag­ing di­men­sion­al­ity com­pared di­rectly against the same amp with KT 120s. It’s holo­graphic and supremely mu­si­cal in ways rem­i­nis­cent of the har­monic as­pects of the best tri­ode tubes.’ Old Ref­er­ence 75, 150, and 250 am­pli­fiers can be fully up­graded to in­clude all SE en­hance­ments us­ing up­grade kits, which will cost $5,000 for the 75, $9,000 for the 150 and $8,000 for the 250. Prices for the new mod­els are $15,995 (REF75SE), $22,995 (REF150SE) and $25, 995 (REF250SE). For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, please con­tact Syn­ergy Au­dio Vis­ual on (03) 9459 7474 or visit the web­site at www.syn­er­gyau­

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