America's oldest audiophile manufacturer of reference tube and solid state hifi.
Origin: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Audio Research is Noho Sound's reference American tube & solid state line. Anyone who hasn't owned at least one piece of gear built by the Audio Research Corporation — lovingly referred to as ARC — wasn't an audiophile between 1980 and 2000, when they were one of the few true hi-end brands building Stereophile Class A winning gear every single year.
Even in a sea of copycats now out of business, ARC kept their focus on building the world's best-sounding tube gear in their signature style, regardless of cost or sales volume. They make too many fantastic products to cover here, but this list covers the last fourteen years.
ARC makes a full line of electronics for almost any application, from tube and solid state amplifiers, preamplifiers, phono stages and digital-to-analog converters (DACs) to integrated amplifiers, allowing one to build a full system in the family. The only exception? Turntables.
Today ARC is owned by the McIntosh Group, who tasked famed Italian designer Livio Cucuzza with launching the all new Foundation series, which both honors ARC's past and raises the bar for art in industrial design.
"I still own and love the Audio Research LS3B preamp I bought in 1993 for $2000. It was the best I could afford at the time. That's like spending $3500 today. Is that crazy? Not if you want to have reference quality sound for the next 25 years."
— Alex Roy, Noho Sound Founder
From the Audio Research Site:
"Audio Research is one of the oldest continually operating manufacturers in American audio. The company was founded in 1970 in Minneapolis with one goal in mind: to advance the state-of-the-art in music reproduction. Today, Audio Research remains a performance-oriented company by philosophy and design. New product introductions are driven only by genuine advances in technology and performance -- the HIGH DEFINITION that is the hallmark of the company's products. The company has grown steadily over the last 40 years, with a network of top audio specialist retailers across North America and distributors throughout Europe, Asia and South America. The company occupies a 48,000 square-foot, technically-advanced production plant and administrative headquarters in Plymouth, Minnesota, where approximately 50 technical, assembly and support staff guide the product line from concept to finished goods."
Website: Audio Research