Audio Research VT80SE Vacuum Tube Power Amplifier

The VT80SE version of Audio Research’s well-received VT80 power amplifier sports a new set of KT150 output tubes.

The previous version of this amp used KT120s. Although they had a smidgen more bass output, the KT150s excel in soundstage width and depth. The difference has nudged what was a very good amplifier to a very very good one!

The VT80SE is built to survive just about anything without breaking a sweat. The metal film resistors and film capacitors in the signal path appear to be discrete components that are sufficiently overbuilt so that you can buy with confidence now and your grandkids will still be enjoying it later on. But despite the discrete components, the VT80SE also sports some 21st-century technology. Output tubes are auto-biased by the amp’s microprocessor so that manually setting tube bias is a thing of the past. Each tube has an individual fuse so that if one tube fails for any reason, it won’t take others along with it. AC power rectification is done by solid-state rectifiers with a time delay – not by a rectifier tube. This makes for cooler operation and lower losses. And I could go on…

But the point is that if you’ve always wanted the “Audio Research sound” and couldn’t afford one of the “Reference” power amplifiers, there’s never been a better time to check out the marvelous VT80SE. Watch for the review!