KJ West One - Connoisseurs of Sound - Est. 1965
KJ West One - Connoisseurs of Sound - Est. 1965

Our Collection

Audio Research Ref 3 Preamplifier (Ex-demo)

Ex-Demo / Pre-Owned

RRP - £14,000 / Our Price - SOLD

This is a pre-owned item in very good condition. There are no marks to mention. We have the original remote, but not the original packaging so collection is preferred. 

The REF3 is more musically transparent. It presents an immense soundstage that makes everything else sound one-dimensional. Voices and instruments have real body and weight, with pinpoint focus. The deep, powerful bass is fast, articulate, and controlled. It possesses a dynamic swing that is breathtaking. And, most importantly, there is a directness and immediacy that connects the listener with the performance. The results are simply thrilling.

Flanking the display are two knobs which control volume and input. Under the display are four soft touch switches controlling Power, Processor input, BAL/SE, and Mute. The remote controls all front panel functions plus the balance control, and also a display readout of the number of operating hours the vacuum tubes have been in service! It will be easy to integrate the REF3 with system controllers from companies like Crestron or AMX. Inputs are direct access, and there are discreet codes for power on/off, processor on/off, etc.

The remarkable level of performance has been achieved with all new audio and power supply circuits. There are four new circuit boards and two new transformers. The new audio circuit is pure tube, Class-A, with zero feedback, utilizing a total of four long-life 6H30 twin triodes. FETs are used for constant-current sources (outside the single path), and the analog circutry uses a long-tailed pair input stage to provide the same performance in either single-ended or balanced operation. Total gain is 12dB balanced, 6dB single-ended. The hybrid power supply has over 50% greater energy storage that its predecessors, greatly contributing to its tremendous dynamic capability. There are other improvements which can be seen on the bench and appreciated in the listening room. Bandwidth has increased from 60kHz to 200kHz; noise has been reduced by 12dB; headroom is much higher, with the maximum input increased to 20V balanced, and distortion has been lowered by 40%. The advancements of the REF3 are both audible and measurable. As you would expect, older REF preamps cannot be updated to the REF3.

It will be easy to hear and see how the REF3 extends the boundaries of preamplifier design. With its great build quality, versatility and the ability to musically transform every system, the REF3 also represents great value. Building upon the foundation of its famed predecessors, the REF3 will be a resounding success.

Demonstrations are available. 

Ex-Demo / Pre-Owned range

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