Audio Research is one of the most dependable brand names when it comes to high-end audio systems. For years the brand has been recognized by audiophiles throughout the world as equipment that delivers clear and consistent quality in music.

What are the specs for the Audio Research Reference 5?

Frequency Response:
REF5: +0 -3dB 0.2Hz to 200kHz at rated output. (Balanced, 200k ohms load). REF55 SE: +0-3dB, 0.5Hz to 200kHz at rated output (Balanced, 200k ohms load).
Less than .01% at 2V RMS Balanced output.
Noise and Hum:
1.7µV RMS residual IHF weighted balanced equivalent input noise with volume at 1 (109dB below 2V RMS output.)
REF5: Main output: (SE or BAL input): 12dB Balanced output, 6dB Single Ended output. Tape output: 0dB. (Processor input: 0dB Balanced). REF5 SE: Main output: 12dB Balanced output, 6dB SE output. Tape output: 0dB. (Processor input: 0dB SE output).
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:
Maximum Inputs:
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).
Power Supplies:
Electronically regulated low and high voltage supplies. Automatic 40 sec. warm-up/brown-out mute. Line regulation better than .01%.
Tube Complement:
(4) 6H30P, plus (1 each) 6550C and 6H30P in power supply.
Power Requirements:
100-135VAC 60Hz (200-270VAC 50/60Hz) 130 watts. Standby: 2 watts.
Inputs (7): CD, TUNER, VIDEO, PHONO, AUX1, AUX2, PROCESSOR. (XLR and RCA connectors). Outputs (3): 2 main, 1 tape (XLR and RCA connectors). Crosstalk: -80dB or better at 1kHz and 10kHz. Controls: Volume (104 steps), Select Input. Push Buttons: Power, Proc, BAL/SE, Mono, Invert, Mute.
19" (48 cm) W x 7" (17.8 cm) H (standard panel) x 15½" (39.4 cm) D. Handles extend 1½" (3.8 cm) forward of the front panel.
30.4 lbs. (13.9 kg) Net; 41.6 lbs. (19 kg) Shipping

What else to know about the Audio Research Reference 5?

The REF 5 is the latest model in a series of the finest and most successful line-stage preamplifiers ever made. From the REF1 to the REF2 to the REF3 to the REF5, each one has built upon the legacy of its predecessor as the most sought-after reference level line-stage preamplifier. The REF5 clearly redefines the state of the art at a price that is not inexpensive but represents extraordinary value. Like every Audio Research product, it is made by hand by craftspeople in our facility in Minnesota. The REF3 was a sonic breakthrough when it was introduced in 2004 and it has remained at the top tier of preamplifiers since, which is why the REF5 will stun listeners by its enormous advancement in sound quality. The REF5 possesses great bandwidth and resolving power combined with a purity and naturalness that is uncanny – grain and electronic artifacts are simply absent. Bass impact, depth and control are startling, while music ebbs and flows with a dynamic life that is rarely experienced outside the concert hall. While differences in recordings are immediately apparent, the REF5 connects you to the intent of the musicians and the soul of the performance, drawing you in. Music emerges from a totally black background because the REF5 – defying its vacuum-tube architecture – is utterly quiet. Only by hearing it for yourself will you fully appreciate the sonic advancements unveiled by the REF5. Those individuals familiar with past models will notice some cosmetic refinements to the Audio Research "look," including silver handles and several other subtle changes. The large and legible vacuum-flourescent display is unchanged from its predecessor and retains the ability to be dimmed or turned off. When the display is off, nine small pixels remain lit in the center as a discreet reminder that the unit is powered on. Under the display are six control buttons for Power, Processor, BAL/SE, Mono, Invert, and Mute. The remote controls all of these functions, plus left-right balance, tube hours, and display intensity. The REF5 is only the second Reference preamplifier to have its main board laid out horizontally, after the REF Phono2, with its transformers off the board and mounted on the sides of the chassis. The new audio circuit is fully balanced, pure Class-A triode, with zero feedback. The tube complement includes four 6H30s in the analog stage, with a 6550 and a 6H30 in the power supply. Massive energy storage, the most of any Reference preamplifier, provides tremendous dynamic capability. Total gain is 12dB via the balanced outputs and 6dB via the single-ended outputs. There are six sets of balanced and single-ended inputs, plus a dedicated Processor input with unity gain to be used as a processor pass-though. A Record output is provided along with two sets of Main outputs. There are 12V input/output jacks to remotely turn on and off the preamp and other linked components having similar capabilities. This is a very flexible product. Like its predecessors, the REF5 will redefine the preamplifier landscape. With its unimpeachable pedigree, great build quality, and its ability to transform any system into which it is placed, the REF5 is a product that demands to be heard. Audition one soon. \[From the ARC website]

Brief History of Audio Research

Other Audio Research Products We Often Buy

Typically, StereoBuyers purchases mostly used amplifiers, especially the vintage amps and high-end Audio Research models.

StereoBuyers has purchased tens of thousands worth Audio Research brand equipment since 2014, with individual buys ranging from $100 to well over $50,000. If you are moving, ready to upgrade, or have Audio Research equipment you do not or will not be using, why not contact us today to find out if it is worth good money?

If you are interested in selling your used Audio Research equipment to us in the greater NYC area or Colorado, please click here to fill out a Free Quote Form and we will get back to you. If we agree on terms, we come to meet you where you want, and pay cash.

The following images show actual Audio Research equipment purchased by StereoBuyers.