Ready to succeed the VT80 stereo tube amplifier, Audio Research is introducing the VT80SE, an amplifier with higher-performance KT150 tubes. The big change from the VT80 to the new VT80SE is upgrading the KT120 tubes to the higher performance KT150 output tubes. Everyone should know that we have been deeply enamored with the KT150 as we feature it in all of our other amplifiers, from the VSi75 to the REF 750SE. Its performance is unparalleled, and its 3,000-hour average life allows years of uninterrupted listening.
The VT80 was originally designed with the KT120, the predecessor to the KT150, but these two tubes are electrically interchangeable and the demand for delivering the VT80 with the KT150 could be ignored no longer.
It is important to mention that the KT150 tubes supplied by Audio Research for all of our products are specially produced to our high standards, are tested and measured for quality control and assurance, and are burned in for 48 hours. Then using our "Certified Matched" process, they are hand matched in sets with tolerances 10x tighter than standard off-the-shelf tubes, thus ensuring the finest audio quality possible.
With its auto-bias design, the VT80SE can also be used with KT120 or KT150 output tubes, and the circuit will adjust immediately when a new tube is installed. Protective fuses are installed for each output tube and can be replaced if the need ever arises.
What sonic improvements will you hear with the VT80SE? As our Warren Gehl said, "More music!" Tonal color, detail, dynamic swing and purity are all improved, along with a bigger and more robust presentation. The music gets better, in every way.
Aside from the beautiful curves of the KT150 tubes, the only other way to distinguish the SE from the original VT80 is by a small sticker on the rear panel. Nothing else needed to change. The existing (optional) ventilated tube cover can be used with the taller KT150 tube set; there is still sufficient space to breathe.
The new VT80SE is now available worldwide with an MSRP of $9,400 USD in Europe where it will include a required ventilated tube cage; MSRP for the rest of the world is $8,900 USD with the tube cage available as an option for $500.