Audio Research V70 Review
by James Leahy
The Audio Research V70 was introduced in 1992 and
uses eight KT90 output tubes in it's output. There is a rated power output of 60 watts
per channel to deal with. This should be more then enough in most cases.
The energy storage is 280 Joules and the hybrid FET input & 6CG7 tube
driver stage. The V70 weigh's in at 29kg's and is small
enough to provide you with a slew of mounting options.
The back panel supports loudspeaker taps for 4, 8
and 16 ohm units. There are Balanced inputs only provided.
The chassis sports two muffin cooling fans on it's
removable cage which is directly responsible for extending tube life and
helping with the management of the overall temperature of the amplifier.
It's basically a Classic 60 that runs fully
balanced (only balanced inputs) and has a better power up protection
circuit that extends tube life.
In my review sample the output tubes were Tesla
The amplifier is
designed with a triode circuit instead of
Audio Research's more modern pentode (ultra linear) designs. This was
the case with the V70's siblings namely the smaller stereo V35 & V140
mono blocks. The ARC V-series developed more on their 'Classic'
amplifier range that was the forerunner in their triode designs in this
The V70 is not what one would be used to in
relation to Audio Research's current offerings. The presentation of
the fine detail coming from this triode design sets this amplifier
on it's own.
Listening to Johnny Cash - American IV: The
Man Comes Around (American Recordings Company, 2002) the V70 gives the most extreme departure from the traditional ARC
house sound we all know and love today. This is not to say I do not
like it but it is more of an acquired taste rather than an amplifier
that automatically has mass appeal. A certain level of analytical
precision and transparency from the midrange right on up can be
heard. There is an upper brightness that remains audible in the
mid-treble. This was not unmusical, but can be a tad sharp under
certain conditions. It did however add to the amplifier's excellent
impression of transparency.
This is an amplifier that requires very well
integrated system synergy with your associated equipment choice to
obtain a pleasing presentation. The level of fine detail and
separation between the vocals and backing track is among the best I
have heard with every shade being brought into it's own dimension
and space. The width and depth of the soundstage was as big as the
VS110 I had in my system at the same time. Bass dynamics were up to
the VS110 standards but the overall speed of it's delivery was much
more lively and forward. This can be enjoyable for a limited time as
a bit of a different style but can get old fast when listen for
extended periods of time and at high volume levels.
It is not an amplifier to go for if you have a
system that tends to be on the bright side of neutral. At high
volume levels it can get fatiguing if you are not careful and
sounded very dry to me when pushed. The VS110 or VT100 Mk.III never
suffered from this trait but it is a trade off between detail and
smooth warmth. The V70 definitely has more detail and can be almost solid state
sounding from memory in the treble. The texture of the midrange is not what I
would call sweet or liquid sounding and I would grade it towards the
lean end of the scale. If you like your music with more body and a
fatter midrange go for either a VT100 Mk.II or VS110. Both of these
amplifier will work better with the greater majority of system
configurations and should be easier to source too. The V70 is more
of a niche product that would suit a buyer that demanded a very
analytical and forward sounding amplifier over the more up-to-date
conventional Audio Research sound being solid that is inoffensive in the
midrange but with an extended and sweet treble.
Associated review Equipment
Line Stage: Audio Research LS26
Audio Research PH5
ScanSpeak & Vifa Custom
Cartridge: Ortofon MC Jubilee
Subwoofer: Velodyne HGS-15