BRAND: Audio Research

SERIES: Reference 6Line Stage Preamplifier
TYPE: Preamplifier


Almost from its very beginning, Audio Research has had a reputation for designing and creating some of the finest preamplifiers ever produced. The new Reference 6 line stage preamplifier continues this tradition in the constant pursuit of High Definition music playback. Founded in 1970 by William Z. Johnson, Audio Research continued the manufacture of high performance audio products utilizing vacuum tubes, which had fallen out of fashion at the time in favor of transistors. Though easier to implement and far less expensive than tubes, the sound quality of transistors at that time was simply unacceptable, and did not offer the detail or musicality which Bill Johnson was seeking to create. By 1973, the SP3 preamplifier had been hailed by both J. Gordon Holt of Stereophile, and Harry Pearson of The Absolute Sound, as the best preamplifier available on the market. The Reference 6 is the latest chapter of our story. The Reference 6 is not simply a market-driven product, but rather, a solution to a need which arose after the creation of the Reference SE Series amplifiers. According to Warren Gehl, who is responsible for sonic development of all Audio Research products, the new series of Reference amplifiers offer a level of musical and dynamic capability only made apparent when using the flagship, two-chassis Reference 10 preamplifier. Both preamplifiers of the Reference Series need the ability to provide the full benefit of this new sonic landscape. Increasing the tube count to six in the analog section, and advancements in the power supply improved both macro- and microdynamics and lowered distortion. The Reference 6 also offers better bass control, relaxed purity and more dimensionality. Further improvements include a more grainless presentation, greater transparency, better speed, and more continuity across the musical spectrum. Quite simply, the Reference 6 improves upon its predecessor in every way for a more palpable and immediate musical performance.

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Frequency Response
+0-3dB, 0.5Hz to 200kHz at rated output (Balanced, 200k ohms load).

Less than .01% at 2V RMS BAL output.


Main output
12dB Balanced output, 6dB SE output.

Record out
0dB (Processor input: 0dB SE output).

Input Impedance
120K ohms Balanced, 60K ohms SE. Inputs 4 balanced, 4 single-ended. Assignable processor passthrough.

Output Impedance
600 ohms Balanced, 300 ohms SE Main (2). 20K ohms minimum load and 2000pF maximum capacitance. Outputs (3): 2 main, 1 record out (XLR and RCA connectors).

Output Polarity

Maximum Input

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

-80dB or better at 1kHz and 10 kHz.

Rotary encoders: Volume (103 steps), Select Input. Push Buttons: Power, Proc, Menu, Enter, Mono, Invert, Mute.

Power Supplies
Electronically regulated low and high voltage supplies. Automatic 45 sec. warm-up/brown-out mute. Line regulation better than .01%.

1.7uV RMS residual IHF weighted balanced equiv- alent input noise with volume at 1 (109dB below 2V RMS output.)

Tube Complement
(6)-6H30P dual triodes, plus (1 each) 6550C and 6H30P in power supply.

Power Requirements
100-135VAC 60Hz (200-270VAC 50/60Hz) 130 watts.

2 watts.Specifications

Width Height Depth
19” (48 cm) 7.8” (19.8 cm) 16.5” (41.9 cm)
Handles extend 1.6” (4 cm) forward of the front panel. Weight: 36.5 lbs. (16.6 kg) Net; 53 lbs. (24 kg) Shipping.