Audio Research Ref 160M amps, xtra $2K new tubes! Stereophile. $34,000 MSRP.

Selling for $21,995.00

Stereophile recommended


These has to be one of the best sounding tube monoblocks on the market right now. It is a current lineup from Audio Research and sits just one rung down from their flagship Reference 750 SEL monoblocks. With 140W on tap, it will easily drive any speakers out there. The four KT150 power tubes and two 6H30 tubes just sound magical through the amps. They have the usual tube warmth and smoothness with one big difference that sets it apart from other tube amps – definition, speed and precision. The attention to detail and how it shapes it in its broad and deep soundstage is exemplary. The tiniest details are reproduced with excellent clarity which means a top notch preamp and speakers are almost mandatory with these amps to sound their best.

Cosmetically, the amps are in very nice shape shape. Minor scuff marks here and there common with use but nothing major. Hours on the tubes are 1030 with about 400-500 used in burning in the amps. KT150 tubes are renowned for their endurance and typically run into 3000 hours before they need to be replaced. So there is still a good amount of juice left in these amps. One amp has a 370 hour reading because the previous owner forgot to set it. Hours may change a little as they may be used in auditioning. But not to worry, we are throwing in a new set of tubes – power tubes and input tubes that were factory matched at Audio Research. These sell for $2,000 per set but will be included in the sale at no extra cost. We have the original boxes, manual and AC cords and will ship strapped on a pallet for safe delivery.

Additional information

Weight 180 lbs
Dimensions 48 × 40 × 20 in

Manufacturer Website


Looks good with minor scuff marks here and there


Reference 160M monoblocks


Reference Tube poweramp