Audio Research is launching new products, "The Foundation Series"

I went to my local dealer today and found out that Audio Research will be launching new products, the LS28 preamp, the DAC 9, and the PH9. My dealer stated he believes the prices will be $7,500 a piece, but he stated don’t quote him on that. This stuff will be the replacement for my stuff, which is the Dac 8, and PH8. If this is so I will be getting the LS27 for as cheap as I can, I have the LS17se. I did some research on the internet and found the following :

Maybe they aren’t leaving us high and dry as I first thought and was led to believe, but if $7,500 will be the price it will still price some out, but it won’t be horrible as I was first led to believe, stay tuned on this one. This stuff looks like the Ref 6 stuff, but isn’t and I was told Audio Research is looking to do everything in this new look to stay uniform. The dealer stated he couldn’t tell me if and when the LS27 would be discontinued, but my guess and it’s only my guess is it probably will be.
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I believe the announcement and arrival of the new LS28 will put some downward pressure on the prices of used Reference 5 SE models.
I, for one, like the new styling. Kind of reminiscent of the old Quad faceplates, and a little of the ARC SP-3.
I cut my teeth in audio with the man who is now AR's CTO. I can tell you that there is not anyone I know of that has higher engineering and sonic standards. Scary set of ears on him too.

Long time ARC user. BUTT! . With who now owns them.

BIG CORPS buy's out little ones with a very good brand history

Some times Rapes the brand with less than the VERY BEST inside GUTS in new gear. It's called bottom line.

 Get back there investment QUICK!! AT THE EXPENSE of the brand True believers.

Myself I.would hold off pulling the trigger. And not be the first in LINE.


Fact that some of the older models in there line out PERFORM of that

offered with- in the last couple of YEARS..

Just my thoughts  Tubes444

I saw these new ARC components at the Munich High End Show and they certainly don't look like the new Asian owners have moved the company off its historical commitment to high quality components. Nice quality external panels and chassis', thoughtful and functional esthetics and familar intertnals buliding on the Ref 5 and 10.  However, never hurts to wait for the intial reviews.
... and sometimes the BIG CORPS actually have more resources to put towards R&D, materials and quality control and actually deliver a superior product.

If the GS 150, and Ref Phono 3 are any indication of ARC’s focus on the "bottom line" I’d be jockeying for a position at the front of the line. I find their latest offerings to be outstanding. Over the last several years ARC has exhibited a commitment to allowing the advancements in their "ultra-high-end" gear to trickle down into the rest of the line which has resulted in remarkable performance in many of their latest product offerings. I couldn’t be more pleased.

Tubes 444 is right. ARC was once great. Now owned and distributed in conjunction by Fine Sounds and Sumiko. Other brands owned by Fine Sounds include - McIntosh, Sonus Faber, Pro Ject, and Wadia.  

Fine Sounds was owned by Quadrivio an Italian Private Equity Fund who's major portfolio at the time was quick serve restaurant chains in Europe. In turn McIntosh facilitated the buy out of Fine Sounds by Yarpa, an investment bank in Italy, and LBO France, a Leveraged By Out company.

Having sold off Fine Sounds, Quadrivio is now investing in Bio Tech with another entity from Yarpa.  It seems like the debt was redistributed between all of these companies, who have little to no interest in the audio industry, except for perhaps McIntosh who secured themselves a management bond.

The result  of this is that companies who at one time produced Exceptional Products have been homogenized and eviscerated. They are forced to produce sub par products that are repackaged and hyped up to sell to the uninformed consumer, the majority who ultimately suffers.

The best audio systems I have seen have all taken time to put together with older components. The newest is not always the best. It is the harmonious combination of products that you amass.  If you get a great product it should last a life time.  My $.02, for what its worth. 

So when was ARC bought out by the conglomerate,before or after the ref 5se and ref 210s.Built 2008 & 2011 I think.
If the quality of Audio Research products started to slip or stagnate, that information would spread through the audio world in an instant.  Not long thereafter, sales would crater.  I think Audio Research will be okay.
Sid1, did you ever get the LS27, if so thoughts, I am thinking of doing the same
jtsnead - I purchased an LS27 about 2 years ago. I had it in a home demo up against my Ayer K-5XE mp. The LS27 crushed the Ayer in every way that mattered to me, it wasn't even close. But then the LS27 cost about twice what the Ayer did.
The bottom has dropped out of affordable products. Affordable no longer sells.

Go old school!   Buy used!

Can these new foundation products, beat the ARC older products like the LS 25, SP 14, SP 11 MK II, or Sp9 Mk III?

Not with rolled nos tubes.

New buyers have no history, with older, better, ARC products IMO.

They are suckers!

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I have owned ARC products from the SP5-SP7, to the current Ref 5SE preamplifier. The older products sound really great and offer a great value when found used. As far as rolling tubes with the older products it gives you what you want sonically. However they do not sound better than the newer production units. If that were true they wouldn't keep releasing new product. This is actually about being able to afford the newer gear.
I've said this before. I find the modern ARC quite different sounding, and for me in a good way. The sterility of before is gone and they sound warm but not yet euphonic, while keeping the sound stage and openness.

Regardless of their ownership, I would use that as my guide. If you really loved the ARC of the 1980's - 2000 then I don't think you'll be a fan of the current line, and vice versa.

I've not done an exhaustive listening, so I could certainly be wrong, or oversimplifying, however if I were go look for tube gear this is how I would organize my search more or less.


To Jtsnead, I didn't buy the LS-27, but I do have the LS-17se, which I'm enjoying until, I eventually move to a Ref 5se.