Posted on 23rd November, 2017


We LURVE the look of Audio Research’s new VT80SE amplifier.

But the valve brand’s rusted on fans may baulk at the blend of retro and new-age chic used to craft what’s sure to be a big seller for this American legacy audio manufacturer.

Whatever the reaction to the styling departure away from AR’s more industrial and muscular looking valve amps, the VT80SE is built to appeal to a wider audience of music lovers.

According to Audio Research, the VT80SE is a set and forget valve amp and features such as auto biasing will take the angst out of owning and using a valve amplifier for many buyers.

A valve cage to protect fingers from hot glass will cost Europeans an eye-watering US$500 because a cage in mandatory in the Common Market.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, the only difference between the existing VT80 model and the new VT80SE is a change of output valves.

The VT80 came with KT120s while the newbie SE version carries the higher performing and physically more imposing KT150 tube. And yes, the new amp has the model number VT80SE marked on the rear of the chassis.

Audio Research VT80SE

Audio Research says it hand matches its output tubes and burns each for 48 hours before they pass muster. A process that gives each valve a 10 percent better tolerance level.

The new amp will land in Australia in December/January, but a price has still not been hammered out. But a useful guide is the VT80SE’s European price of about $8900.

For more information visit Audio Research.


Peter Familari's avatar

Peter Familari

One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, Peter was formerly the Audio-Video Editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades. One of the most-respected audio journalists in Australia, Peter brings his unparalleled experience and a unique story-telling ability to StereoNET.

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Posted in: Hi-Fi
Tags: audio research  synergy audio visual