Audio Research REF160M Amplifiers


Audio Research REF160M tube monoblock power amplifiers have arrived!   

When we first unboxed them, stone-cold and not burned in, we were already amazed at the level of resolution and nuance that the REF160Ms could muster. As we played them over the next few weeks the soundstage expanded beyond walls of the room and the music took on a palpable solidity and drive reminiscent of much larger amplifiers. 


An all new compact height circuit board brings a new, previously unheard of -120db noise floor to the new Audio Research Ref160M.  The 160M's circuit represents Audio Research's new amplifier design for the next generation of amplifiers.  A Stereo version and others are planned for release.  

With four KT150 power tubes per chassis, these amps punch way beyond their power rating and effortlessly drive all the speakers with which we've listened to them. 

The new KT150 is a brand new tube in the world of high end audio. It was purpose built from the ground up to be an audiophile tube.  Even the shape of it, the smooth blown glass rocket-ship shape is designed for sonic improvement by virtue of the fact that it vibrates less than older tube shapes.  Less vibration means less distortion introduced into the musical signal.  

This new series of amplifiers also features switchable Ultralinear/Triode modes of operation, proprietary auto-bias, and output tube monitoring and protection.  Tube ownership just got a lot easier!

The fine detail and nuance are what make the REF160M truly special. Surpassing even the highest benchmarks set by previous Audio Research amplifiers, these monoblocks bring the listening experience as close to real music as we've heard. They have the lowest noise floor of any tube amplifier ever produced by Audio Research.  This allows the delicate sounds, the finesse, the tonal color of music to come through.  The low noise floor allows these musical details to shine  through, much like pure colors from a perfect-black level plasma TV. 

Pearl Audio has the new Ref 160M's in our large reference room, powered by twin dedicated 20 amp circuits and a pair of the new Cardas Clear Beyond 20 amp power cords.  

Call us to arrange a demonstration.  We have speakers from Dynaudio, Sonus Faber, DeVore, Totem, Magnepan and Magico. 

Here is a video of REF 160M Industrial Designer Livio Cucuzza at the factory: