Audio Research filing for bankruptcy?

I just heard Audio Research might be filing for bankruptcy. This is a shock to me. I just called them a few days ago to have my Ref 6 upgraded to a Ref 6SE. I will also be the new owner of the Ref 750s. I was just wondering if they did go bankrupt what would all those millions of owners do about servicing their equipment. Should I be concerned? I’m alittle worried now. 

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xtattooedtrackman

Here is the newest news:

I was an ARC dealer for many years and have owned a lot of their gear.

Sad.  Hopefully they can be saved...

It's true. ARC filed for receivership on April 3 and a court hearing has been set for May 17.

"millions of onwers"?

If I owned ARC equipment I would be concerned, not about repairs or service, but about resale value.  Although I definitely would not send equipment to the factory for an upgrade until this is sorted out.

@onhwy61 Why do u say that about not sending in for an upgrade until this gets sorted out ? I already made the appointment and got my RA number. What do u think would could happen?

I wouldn't send gear out there right now.    A judge could padlock the building and you will never see it.   Chances are thats not going to happen but......

If they had sold millions, then they would not be in this position

IMHO as a 50 year hi-end audio junkie: this is just the tip of the iceberg, especially for uber expensive kit. Renting an apartment (or buying) in many popular cites is so out of reach for the 99% that even IF they were predisposed to hi-end kit, they cannot afford it: an 700 sft efficiency near downtown Ft Lauderdale is $1700-$3000/mo! And then cars are absurdly priced as is car insurance, etc, etc

Combine those issues with significantly better kit (compared to days of old) at <1/10 the price of the uber expensive kit and... well... RIP

You don't send your equipment to them because you don't know what is going to happen.  It's not likely, but they could just cease all operations and close.  Your equipment sits on a shelf and you are in a line of creditors asking for what you are owed.  It's not likely, but it really could happen.  Why risk it?

It'll be dangerous to send anything to ARC right now. Perhaps the price Increase from last year over 40% for the ref6 upgrade is to garnish more funds while they knew all along this was their path. They should've cut prices if there not paying there creditors.
Id be a bit suspicious  @tattooedtrackman  they told you we have a guy who only does these and it's a fast 14 day turnaround, send it in we get right on it! Yeah ok. 

The name has value, so it will continue, but the company’s value to those on this board is up in the air.

Looks like time for the Chinese Investment group to swoop in.

Wouldn't be surprised if the boards are stuffed in Asia, then shipped back to USA for assembly.



Speaking from many, many years of experience in the high-end audio business:


I’ve lost several pieces through the years to this exact cause...



I’ve lost several pieces through the years to this exact cause...

Wise counsel from you and @onhwy61 


@charles1dad...thanks for that link!

Did you guys see ALL the creditors that are listed?  My Lord...


Shows how little I know. I’d assumed given Audio Reseach’s pedigree and long standing high end tenure they’d be on very solid ground financially.


I've owned AudioResearch phonostage... Notably their equipment runs extremely HOT and may need service from time to time and even more often then that. Thankfully it isn't very sophisticated so the local tech can troubleshoot  and repair it.

Sad news. They set the benchmark in the States with the SP-3 preamp. I owned a fair amount of their gear back in the day, stopping at the SP-10mkii preamp and a succession of their amps. W Z Johnson was a force in the industry- hard to get the line as a dealer-

They went through a number of different periods- from classic but very open sounding tubes to what I called their "white period" where the sound was drier, bleached, to the later Reference line which was very good. I stopped dealing with them in the '90s not for any reason other than that I changed directions. I still have my original Dual 75a that I bought new in 1975, awaiting a recap and retube (I have all the power tubes I bought from ARC 15 years ago). Still have some of the old literature showing prices with Magnepan- that was a big deal system back in the day- ARC electronics with the big Tympani panels. 

I hope for the sake of their customers and the legacy of the brand that this gets turned around. 

One of the ARC execs just posted on What's Best- company is open, running, they hope to have a new owner quickly. We have a bunch of threads on this. I reached out to TPTB to see if these could be consolidated.

Bill Hart

Just posted on WBF.

“Hello, everyone. This is my first post on What's Best because I want you to know what is happening at Audio Research. Some of you know me since I was hire by Bill Johnson at Audio Research in 1989. I left for a few years and returned to ARC in 1996. 
We will be posting a statement on the Fans of Audio Research's FB page, and also the company's FB page as this seems the fastest way to get the facts out.
Nathanu's post is correct. What almost no one seems to realize is that Audio Research has been running since the assignment was filed on April 4th, almost four weeks ago. That was a week and a half before AXPONA, where our VP Sales (Allan Haggar) worked with Quintessence Audio (REF10, REFPH10, 160M MkII). We are staffed, with customer service answering the phone, the service department is repairing products, production is building new products, we are receiving parts, our sales department continues to accept orders, and our shipping department is shipping parts and product orders along with service work. 
Trent Suggs was relieved of control of Audio Research. We have been working with individuals who want to purchase the company, and I expect that we will have a new owner within the week. There will be continuity as production, engineering, purchasing, service, and critical personnel will remain working for Audio Research. Warren Gehl, too. 
I am writing this quickly as there are a lot of things to attend to immediately. Thanks to Mike for sending me this link to this so I could respond”

This is encouraging news. The company should absolutely get a statement up on its website and be transparent.

Post removed 
Audio Research voluntarily agreed to assign its assets to a receiver, Lighthouse Management Group, Inc, on April 4th. We want you to understand what that means and how it affects our daily operations. Audio Research has been operating since the assignment was filed almost four weeks ago, ten days before the AXPONA show where our VP of Sales (Allan Haggar) worked with our dealer Quintessence Audio, which featured a statement system including Ref 10, Ref Phono10, and Ref 160M MkII amps. Little has changed outwardly. Audio Research remains staffed with Greg and Evan answering questions and assisting owners via email and on the phone; the service department continues repairing products; production is building new products and performing updates; our parts inventory has been good and we continue to receive parts shipments; our sales department continues to accept product orders, and our shipping department continues shipping parts and product orders along with completed service units. Dave Gordon gave our Philippine distributor a tour of the facilities on April 26, where he and his wife were able to meet everyone, see everything going on, and listen to music in the sound room. The tour had been scheduled in March and did not need to be cancelled or postponed. Trent Suggs was relieved of control of Audio Research and we have been working with individuals to purchase the company: we expect to have a new owner very soon. There will be continuity as production, engineering, purchasing, service, and critical personnel will remain working for Audio Research. Including Warren Gehl. We just turned 53 in April and we look forward to continuing to provide the finest high performance audio products, service and support to our loyal customers, dealers and distributors.

I own all Audio Research equipment. I am very disappointed that Trent has not been successful in managing the company. He has certainly been a great customer advocate. I have no doubt that the company will survive. Their products are second to none.

Trent has responded to my needs and concerns. I am ecstatic owning all Audio Research equipment and will continue to. If I had just purchased a piece of equipment I would be happy that I did. I purchased my first Audio Research component in 1979. It performed flawlessly until 2020 when I replaced it with a newer version…a friend of mine uses the original. 

This is the answer to the question “should a sales professional run the company?”.

‘I’d assumed given Audio Reseach’s pedigree and long standing high end tenure they’d be on very solid ground financially.’

How many people do you think buy ARC equipment? ARC builds great equipment that 99.9999% of the world doesn’t know about nor cares. Even if you take a poll on this website I think you will get a small % of ownership. That’s not a negative thing but the facts in this hobby.

Specialty/low volume stores are going to struggle in this economy and the high interest rates for funding new projects is becoming more expensive. When the economy tanks later this year you will see more companies have problems.

"When the economy tanks later this year you will see more companies have problems.  "


....Tanks alot, @p05129 ....and the Very Special Specialties of/by/for those Special People who own them.... *wry L*  

...become art objects that may or not actually work. ;)

"Trouble in River City!"
((insert Locale here))

If that goes down, there's a tush-load of other companies that domino in-line as well....🤨  

Will the smarter ones in da loop be able to 'keep it local'....instead of a 'bigger affair'?  

Ever consider living out of town?

I mean, Way Out of town.....😏  

Nanook of the North out of town.............

Several years ago my brother put his Honda 750 into a dealer for a minor repair.  They went broke he never saw it again.

True, ARC is an attractive asset and the receiver is there to sell it.  It will get sold.

But don't be so confident.  The real issue is who buys it.  These days many buyers of such assets are only in it for a quick buck.  They don't pay their own money, load the company down with debt, pull out the maximum management fees whether the company is making money or not, if anything's left over then it's dividends.  It makes no difference to them if the company survives, let alone prospers.  They just bleed it dry either way.  A few years later they spit out the pieces and move on to their next victim.

It's called private equity.  And it's evil and destroying good businesses.  Over here in the UK, they bought the water and sewage companies.  Instead of spending money repairing and improving the plant, they ripped it out and put it in their pockets.  The result is record levels of raw sewage in our rivers.  Nice.  Not.

I have a few ARC pieces.  Fortunately they are so well made I rarely get service issues.

One can only hope that ARC failed financially due to upper level addiction or embezzlement issues & not due to a business model that no longer works in our crazy times & is truly unfixable. They make some beautifully sounding, high quality  equipment  & I hate to see any independent US company go down

Dealers were notified last week.  Most companies fail because of sales. How many units do you think they were selling?  The high end market as we know it is almost completely gone. Counterpoint sold 10,000 units and failed.  Look at the prices of some equipment compared to upgrading those units. Much better to upgrade then to buy new.  That's why we do repairs and upgrades. The values may drop but the units can be repaired.  Another company may buy them but there is no guarantee they will continue on especially with passion.


Hopefully they won't be purchased by a private equity firm as wee all know what happens then, and as @clearthinker mentioned.

I still can't help wondering if the problem isn't a shrinking market and inflating prices. Fifty years ago when I was first getting into audio, Audio Research gear was out of my price range, and if new, it still is, but the price differential between now and then is just way beyond average inflation rates for most (not all} consumer goods.   

At the same time, there is an ageing and shrinking customer base, as well as an infinite and tempting variety of domestic and imported brands in the Audio Research price range. It's not hard to see why there would be a problem, even if the company was being well managed.

@roxy54    I'm not sure ARC prices have moved ahead by much more than inflation.

I recall the SP10 was $4,000 when launched around 1980.  The Ref 6 is currently around $17,000.

$100 in 1980 is $360 now, so the Ref 6 ought to be $14,400, so not much less than its current $17,000 price.

Most people would say the Ref 6 is a better amp, but I can listen to my SP10 and there is much less difference than you might think.  I have to listen on my second system as my main system is balanced from stylus to power output.  The SP10 is definitely warmer, but then some who favour tube amps also favour 'warmth'.

Post removed 

Plus, IIRC, my SP10 had a damn good phono stage. 😉  Ref 10 does not.

IMHO, ARC gear went through the roof, price wise.

I've never owned ARC, but watching it through the years, one thing I was not a fan of was all the continuous streams of incremental product improvements.

The latest and greatness never seemed to be the latest and greatest for very long. Guess they have to keep customers returning to the well...

@elrod  I know exactly what u mean. My first ARC was a used Ref 5se. Loved it a lot until I heard the Ref 6  in my system. I loved it and sold the 5 Se and bought the 6 brand new. Now I’m gonna up grade it to the 6SE. As I heard a lot of better things with it. I will be upgrading it sound unheard though. 

The Italians (McIntosh Group) are smart cookies. While growing their portfolio they decided to divest themselves of ARC. IMHO, they would not have done that without reason, knowledge, and forethought.

Just a guess the CEO of McIntosh Group had a lot to do with it. He was the president of McIntosh when Fine Sounds first bought McIntosh.

I don’t remember the exact time frame after Fine Sounds bought McIntosh, but the ARC Dealer in my area was told he would have to sale McIntosh in his store. No choice if he wanted to continue to sell ARC. The Dealer picked up McIntosh...

FWIW: On June 15, 2022 a private equity firm, (Highlander Partners of Dallas TX) acquired the McIntosh Group.


Something is broken at ARC and it may take more than just the third owner since 2020 to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. These are tough times for some luxury brands and those without a solid balance sheet may not weather the storm.

"In September 2020 Audio Research left the McIntosh Group when Audio Research was sold to its former North American Sales Manager, Trent Suggs"

Obviously, the new owner was in way over his head.

I don’t know if it was the new owner, or one of his representatives, that told the ARC Dealer in my area they would have buy all the ARC Line and display, demo, it in their store. The Dealer dropped ARC. I wonder how many other ARC Dealers the new ARC owner lost.


Will ARC warranties be discharged in a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?  If so, my thought that buying super well made Chi-Fi products only came with the risk that warranties wouldn't be honored could apply to ARC or other American blue bloods.  Oh my.  

I'm not suggesting this is happening with certainty. But if it does, it will certainly make me think twice about purchasing 5-figure products.  


Whoops, my big mistake--this is not Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 but receivership.  

But with a list of creditors like that attached to the filing, Bankruptcy could be imminent.  

What a sad moment in hifi.