Audio Research Corporation Marks 50 Years of Sonic Luxury

Audio Research Corporation Marks 50 Years of Sonic Luxury

The spirit of innovation and love for music is stronger than ever at Audio Research Corporation (ARC). After five decades of ground-breaking engineering, you might think that ARC has pulled out all the stops when designing high-performance audio components, but wait until you hear and see what’s coming up in 2020!

Founded in 1970 in Minneapolis, Minnesota by William (Bill) Zane Johnson, this year ARC has achieved something that very few high-end audio companies ever do: the company has been in business for 50 years. Driven by genuine innovation and performance, rather than a desire to simply introduce new products, today ARC continues to develop true advances in tube audio technologies and circuit designs at its cutting-edge manufacturing facility in Maple Grove, MN. Its current portfolio of products includes bespoke vacuum tube amplifiers, preamplifiers, phono stages and CD players – designed for true music lovers. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, ARC will introduce a number of exceptional new components throughout 2020.

While there are a myriad number of ways to fail in this business, there are two main routes to long-term success within the high-end audio industry: one, consistently create components with a state-of-the-art sound quality; and two, continually manufacture units with a luxurious and sophisticated aesthetic style. For 50 years, ARC’s leading-edge components have deftly delivered both emotionally moving sonics and captivating industrial designs.

power amplifier

Human beings are genetically attracted to warmth. Audio components that recreate natural warmth from recorded music will always sonically triumph units that are cold, unnatural, and sterile sounding. The human element deeply embedded within all of us of being innately attracted to organic warmth in sound comes from the physical comfort that real instruments, voices, and sounds bring to life.

ARC’s vacuum tube audio components shimmer with the sybaritic warmth and caloric incandescence of glowing fireplace embers. This ebullient warmth in both sonics and aesthetics innately attracts audiophiles and music lovers to ARC’s gear.

Achieving State of the Art Sound with Vacuum Tubes

Audio Research has a rich history and an uncanny dedication to vacuum tube technology innovation that has stood the test of time, even among the biggest audiophile critics.

Back in the 1960s, most consumer electronics outfits were rapidly abandoning vacuum tubes and replacing them with transistors. Why? Transistors were cheaper, easier to implement within circuits, and ran much cooler. The big problem, of course, was that transistors did not sound musical. Fifty plus years on down the road, most transistor-based solid-state gear still doesn’t sound like real instruments being played in real acoustic environments. Bill Johnson felt that, when properly implemented, vacuum tubes were capable of producing a far more realistic and convincing musical experience.

In 1970, ARC was the only home audio company within the entire United States that was still using vacuum tubes in their circuits. More than a decade before the renaissance of audiophile tube gear that occurred in the early 1980s, ARC was passionately exploring and promoting tube sound.

vacuum tubes

Today a half-century later, ARC’s vacuum tube audiophile gear vividly breathes life into all types of music and makes treasured recordings sound like live performances. Whether at a concert hall, an opera house, a jazz club, or an intimate underground rock venue, all of ARC’s components effortlessly create a sound that is warm, accurate, and profoundly engaging. Combined with classical Art Deco styling, ARC’s components espouse a unique aesthetic that is reminiscent of a better time and era. And yet, all of ARC’s gear concurrently champions undeniable modernity and luxury.

Stylistically expressing a warm and cozy elegance, ARC’s vacuum-tubed units literally glow with natural warmth and an artfully distinguished industrial design. Their aesthetics reflect a passion for contemporary as well as traditional stylistic art forms. All of ARC’s units soberly command the spotlight in any high-end 2-channel stereo system with sterling and dignified elegance.

In terms of sound, the vacuum tube circuitry used in ARC’s components casts a textured ambiance, palpable *feel*, and organic matter-of-factness to all forms of music. Featuring state-of-the-art PRaT (Pace, Rhythm, & Timing), shiver-inducing timbral accuracy, and enormous soundstaging, ARC’s immersive sonics are something which must be heard—and felt—to be believed. Listeners are drenched in stunning *walkthrough* 3-dimensional soundscapes, reach-out-and-touch-it imaging, and a wealth of palpable sonic information that is the dream and envy of audiophiles and music lovers the world over.

Equally as important as performance and styling, ARC firmly believes in dedicated customer service that ensures long-term user satisfaction and trouble-free enjoyment for the lifetime of the components. It’s no surprise then, that vast numbers of classic ARC components are still cherished by music lovers around the world today.

Audio Research to Reveal New Products For 50th Anniversary

What party tricks does Audio Research have up its sleeve for 2020? Throughout the year ARC will release an impressive number of new products to commemorate its 50th year in business. Two components celebrating this momentous occasion are already available: the new Reference 6SE vacuum tube pre-amplifier and Reference 750 SEL tube amplifier. Primarily the result of improved capacitor and wire technology breakthroughs, the astonishing clarity, PRaT, and time coherency of both of these components set a new standard in macro and micro detailing. Once you’ve heard these remarkable vacuum tube units, it’s obvious that ‘fine-tuning’ can yield a previously unheard spatial resolution, an unmatched detailing of elusive sonic cues, and, in the aggregate, a shiver-inducing level of sound quality.


But these two components are just the tip of the sonic iceberg. This year ARC will also introduce a new series of components and custom finishes of existing components, allowed by its modern manufacturing facility, opened in August of 2018. And if all this wasn’t enough, ARC is also working on a small but impressive project called “Making the Music Glow” as 2020 closes one chapter of the company’s story and begins a new one.

Can’t wait to hear what’s coming next? Be sure to explore the ARC World page where you’ll find news about the latest Audio Research products and other useful articles. And if you’d like to be the first to learn about upcoming products, subscribe to the Audio Research newsletter at the bottom of this page.

Stay tuned for more exciting Audio Research news coming soon!

Sam Sadowsky
Author: Sam Sadowsky