Audio Research Reference Phono 3 SE

Audio Research Reference Phono 3 SE – New Reference Series phono preamplifier

The US American high-end hi-fi company Audio Research is convinced that the new Audio Research Reference Phono 3 SE is a high-end tube phono preamplifier in a class of its own. They are even setting a new standard in sound accuracy and musicality.


Since its foundation in 1970, Audio Research Corporation has been dedicated to the development and production of high-quality solutions for the reproduction of records, after all, at that time the record was the medium par excellence. Even as the CD began its triumphant march and clearly overshadowed the record, at least for a few years, the company continued to focus on phono preamplifiers, always with a clear focus on high-end solutions. So when Audio Research talks about setting new standards in this area with the latest solution, it causes a sensation.

With the new Audio Research Reference Phono 3 SE, Audio Research claims to present a proven high-end tube phono preamplifier that combines the knowledge gained from decades of developing the countless outstanding solutions that Americans have come up with over the decades, while at the same time relying on new, particularly high-quality components to meet the demand for setting new standards.

The company states that with the new Audio Research Reference Phono 3 SE, the focus has once again been on particularly clean processing of signals with naturally extremely low levels, and that all components and also the cabling have therefore been optimized accordingly. This is why the company relies on an audiophile circuit design that works ultra linear and ultra low-noise and guarantees a vivid, dynamic sound. In the center of attention is a tube circuit based on 6H30 double triodes as well as 6550WE and 6H30P in the power supply, whereby, this should also be mentioned at this point, it should be an elaborately designed regulated power supply for high and low voltage.

As a special feature, the new Audio Research Reference Phono 3 SE features two separate inputs that allow two drives to be connected in parallel. Of course, each of these inputs can be configured individually, be it for MM or MC cartridges. For example, the input impedance can be set between 50 ohms, 100 ohms, 200 ohms, 500 ohms, 1 kOhm plus once user-definable for MC cartridges, for MM it is fixed at 47 kOhms at 100 pF. The gain can also be flexibly adjusted to the respective pick-up system, 51 or 73 dB for MM, 45 or 67 dB for MC pick-up systems.

It should also be emphasized that the equalization here can be selected between RIAA, Columbia and Decca, so that vinyl treasures from the 1950s and early 1960s can also be reproduced optimally.

The operation is very comfortable by means of buttons and a display on the front panel, so that the settings can be adjusted quickly and easily at any time.

The Audio Research Reference Phono 3 SE provides both unbalanced RCA connectors and balanced XLR sockets at its outputs.

Of course, the new Audio Research Reference Phono 3 SE is presented in the classic design of Audio Research, or more precisely of the Audio Research Reference Series. The extremely solid housing thus has the typical handles on the front, and the customer can choose between silver and black.

The new Audio Research Reference Phono 3 SE is not a lightweight, as it measures an impressive 48 cm in width, 42 cm in depth and 20 cm in height, thus weighing 16.6 kg.

The new Audio Research Reference Phono 3 SE is expected to be available at specialist retailers in the near future. The recommended retail price is stated as € 19,900.

Getting to the point

According to Audio Research, the new Audio Research Reference Phono 3 SE is a proven high-end tube phono preamplifier that combines the knowledge gained from decades of developing the countless outstanding solutions that Americans have come up with over the decades, while at the same time relying on new, particularly high-quality components to meet the demand for setting new standards.

Manufacturer:Audio Research Corporation
Distribution:Audio Tuning Vertriebs GmbH
Price:€ 19.900,-

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