Audio Research Foundation Series

Audio Research Foundation Series

Mar 13, 2017

From the same engineering and design team responsible for the award-winning Reference Series, the Foundation family of vacuum tube components has been created to provide incredible musical experiences. Spatial definition, dynamics and detail abound while providing the most natural musical experience.

Since 1970, High Definition has been more than a trademark of Audio Research; it has been the guiding principle for all their products. The Foundation Series continues this passion and philosophy, offering the listener stunning playback, great value, and unparalleled long-term support. All products at Audio Research follow the exact same path from concept to production, regardless of the series or model.

The Foundation Series shares the same lineage, build quality, and many design characteristics found in the more costly Reference Series. The result is a consistency in the Audio Research sound, and the ability to create a range of components which offer exceptional performance and value.

The Foundation Series is made up of four components: the VT80 Power Amplifier, DAC9 Digital-to-Analog Converter, PH9 Phono Preamplifier, and the LS28 Line Stage Preamplifier.

The core of the VT80 is adapted from the Reference 75, including the same power and output transformers, similar circuit topology, and many of the same parts. The 75 watt-per-channel VT80 offers striking dynamics, powerful bass, and natural clarity combined with a very holographic presentation. The result is sonically breathtaking and provides a new reference in its price range. New features from Audio Research include a proprietary auto-bias circuit developed entirely in-house and fusing of each output tube. In case of a fault condition in a tube, an easily replaceable fuse will blow, not a resistor.

The new DAC9 is the digital product consumers and dealers have been demanding from Audio Research: a straightforward DAC with a vacuum-tube analog section and the latest digital design, capable of decoding DSD music files, upsampling to 384kHz, with the ability to accommodate multiple digital inputs. The DAC9 digital-to-analog converter decodes most current formats with state-of-the-art vacuum tube technology. Five digital connections - USB, RCA, BNC, AES/EBU, and Toslink - provide connectivity to all of your digital sources. Quad DAC architecture provides a balanced digital signal, wide dynamic range, and decoding resolutions from red book CD up to 384 kHz and native DSD sampling rates. A pair of 6H30 vacuum tubes are the heart of the analog circuit. Both balanced and single-ended connectors are provided for output connectivity. Native-rate upsampling and selectable digital filters allow customization of the digital signal.

The PH9 phono preamplifier is a great pairing with most cartridge and turntable combinations. A trio of 6H30 vacuum tubes are at the core of a simple and clear signal path to provide the most transparent preamplification possible. Five different impedance settings allow for cartridge loading, which can be changed on the fly with the included metal remote. Cartridge impedance, tube hours, auto shutdown, and other features are included in the menu system.

The LS28 line stage is a flexible and intuitive preamplifier. Four balanced and four single-ended inputs, and two sets of both balanced and single-ended outputs, allow maximum connectivity. The straightforward menu allows control of numerous parameters, including input naming, tube hours, auto shutdown, and home theater passthrough. Phase invert and mono are also standard functions. At the heart of the LS28 are four 6H30 vacuum tubes in the analog circuit. While the LS28 is the perfect match for any Audio Research amplifier, it has been designed to work with nearly any amplifier on the market today.