The Reference series from Audio Research is one of the most successful line of preamps from any manufacturer. And it all stem from this Reference 1 you see here. Together with the VT200 we just sold, it was a combo that brought smiles to audiophile’s faces when they were introduced together. The magical presentation from this combo had a dreamlike setting where music just flowed naturally, had no grain in the sound, spectacular transparency and a 3D like imaging that you get from the best preamps out there. Sure the VT200 with its prodigious amount of power had a big part in this but it only amplifies what it is being fed and the Reference 1 had a lot of good stuff going down the pipeline into the VT200. The later generations in the Reference lineup may have built and improved upon the benchmark setting of the Reference 1 but the Reference 1 still retains its reverence (in our opinion). When you factor in the price differences between it and the later generations and its 85-90% performance of its newer siblings, the Reference 1 is the pick when budget is tight. In fact, it would easily rival up to the Reference 3 generation and yet save you thousands of dollars. It uses eight 6922 tubes (four for each channel) and you are welcomed to tube roll till you get your tailored sound of preference.
This is still a truly World class preamp that brings the level of musical enjoyment up several notches. This unit is in very good condition. No major marks or dings. Some minor signs of wear and a tiny crack in the battery cover on the remote (rest of the remote looks very good) but that’s it. We have the original box, manual and remote for it.