Audio Research VT80 SE Vacuum Tube Power Amplifier Review
January 14, 2020 § Leave a comment
Across the frequency spectrum, the Tung Sol KT-150 output tubes produced lightning-fast transients and startling dynamics. Soundstaging was immense in size and imaging within the sound stages was precise and clearly delineated. With high quality 2-channel stereo recordings, wandering into the walk-through 3-dimensional musical landscapes produced by the VT80 SE was a breathtaking pleasure.
Shortcomings…? The VT80 SE’s 4Ω outputs are grounded. In the owner’s manual, ARC notes: “Avoid wiring and speaker switching systems that have a common ground wiring or switching of the amplifier output.” After connecting the 4Ω taps to half dozen different pairs of speakers, I consistently heard a low-level ground hum. Although the hum didn’t overpower the music, it was still *there*; and not in a good way.”