Audio Research Corporation Reference 160M Monoblock Amplifier $30,000 Review

July 30, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“For a bigger difference, you can choose, with the touch of a button, triode mode rather than Ultralinear. In triode mode, the REF160M is very reminiscent of the sound of the ARC Classic 60 and Classic 150 (which came wired in triode). The presentation is markedly leaner, a bit more midrange-centric (and more detailed in the mids), a bit drier, less extended, and less full and powerful in the bass and the treble—a presentation that in some (not all) ways is closer to classic ARC (or classic ARC triode). Of course, you lose half of the amp’s power in triode, but 70W is still enough to drive most speakers with a relatively high sensitivity (such as the M3s) to thunderous levels. All things considered, I preferred Ultralinear with the Magicos, though triode had (and has) its appeal, as did that 4-ohm tap”

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