Audio Research Reference 5 SE line preamplifier Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: VPI HR-X turntable & tonearm; Spiral Groove SG-2 turntable & tonearm; Triplanar Precision Mk.VII tonearm; Lyra Titan i, Grado Signature Reference cartridges.
Digital Sources: Audio Research CD8, Primare CD 31 CD players.
Phono Preamplifier: Sutherland Engineering Phono Blocks.
Power Amplifiers: VTL MB750 SE, Mark Levinson No.20.6 (both monoblocks).
Loudspeakers: Wilson Audio Specialties Sophia 2.
Cables: Interconnect: Nirvana SL, Nordost Valhalla. Interconnect: Stereovox. Speaker: Audience Au-24e. AC: Audience Au24 & PowerChord-e, Synergistic Research.
Accessories: Audience aR-12TS & aR-2TS power conditioners; Echo Busters room-treatment products; Finite Elemente Reference Pagode equipment stand, MusicTools CD-only CD rack & equipment stand; Audience Auric Illuminator, Disk Dr., Nordost Eco-3 CD cleaning & treatment systems; VPI 16.5 record-cleaning machine, VPI & Disk Dr. record-cleaning fluids; Wally Tools turntable-setup tools.—Brian Damkroger

Audio Research Corporation
3900 Annapolis Lane N.
Plymouth, MN 55447-5447
(763) 577-9700

seank's picture


"The Ref 5 SE's performance at the extremes of the audioband, usually tube electronics' bàte noir, was superb."

I had to search the internet for bàte noir.

bàte noir is french for black beast

I assume from the context you meant "weakness".



John Atkinson's picture

The phrase should have been bête noir - blame my occasionally suboptimal HTML coding :-)

I have corrected it.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

Markus Sauer's picture

It's la bête, so bête noire, I'm afraid, Mr. Copy Editor.

Anyway, I like bàte noir, it's almost black bat, and every review in the Halloween edition of Stereophile should mention black bats at least once.

audioware's picture

These pres are outstanding. However the problem is their poor reliability. 06 (six) of them were already on my services bench this year to fix problems with the transformer that feeds the dgital, the remote control and the on-off switch, circuits. It is a small xformer below the circuit board that burns out frequently. Another very serious problem is with the 6H30s filament regulators that do not stand for the increased current demanded by the new 6H30s intead of the old 6922s. ARC has to pay more attention to these problems!

laywingsun's picture

Editor ,my englishi is poor,but I'd like to ask a question :Can I replace ref5se's 6550 by kt88? thank you.

John Atkinson's picture

Can I replace ref5se's 6550 by kt88?

These tubes are very similar and used as the series-pass element in the voltage regulator, I don't expect them to behave differently. However,  I wouldn't do so until you have checked with Audio Research.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile