Thoughts on the Audio Research 150.2

I bought this amp about 6 months ago from my local dealer along with the Shunyata Hydra 8 with the python power cord. Although I've been dabbling in HiFi since I was in my teens, this is the most I've paid for an amp. Frankly, I really love the sound I'm getting. My front speakers are JM Labs 926 Electras that I bought as demos from the same dealer. Before them I had Klipsch K-7's that are know in my living room as satelite speakers/ ones that can really crank with the windows open when I'm in the front yard.

I'm just curious if others have an opinion on this amp either good or bad. Again, I really like what I've been hearing. Thanks in advance.
I also, just purchased this amp. The difference, I've been using audio research equipment for the last 20 yrs.
I know the sound and equipment. I recently changed from bi-amping to single amping thus the purchase of the 150.2.
I was vascillating back and forth between the ARC 100.2 & the 150.2.( the 150.2 replaced the 100.2 kinda sort of) After reading the review that Soundstage did (which was very favorable), and reading some other reviews and opinions, I decided to take the plunge.
I was not disappointed to say the least. This amp is very good!! and encompasses their latest technology. To go from bi-amping to single with this amp, I'm not losing that much all things considered.
I'm mating it with the audio research LS-16 MKII preamp and the sound I'm getting is excellent. Detail, resolution, bass response is just great and I have a 18k system.
Long story short, this is a great amp.

Hi John

I have owned the AR 150.2 for about a year now, and I have been extremely pleased with its performance. It just goes about its job and doesn't get in the way of the music at all.

I am using mine with the AR SP-15 Pre-Amp which works wonderfully well with the 150.2.

This amp is well built, runs quiet, stays cool and is fairly priced.


With Electras, you are hearing your electronics so if you like the sound then you have a great setup! I have only heard the 150.2 on a couple occasions and not with my 926s but I always thought that recent ARC gear sounds "delicate." I like a more robust sound myself but, hey, everyone is different. Enjoy! Arthur
Thanks for your feedback!!!
I hate to rain on the preverbial parade but I had the chance to do an A/B comparison of the 100.2 and the 150.2 and I have to say that the 100.2 was better by a considerable margin. The 100.2 has the magic of tubes with the drive and authority of solid state. The 150.2, while a very good amp, simply was not as engaging as the model it replaced. I'm no electrical engineer but the significant difference in sound quality between the amps is probably a function of their radically different designs--the 150.2 being a digital switching amp. I listened to both extensively in my own system and room so there were no variables except for the amps themselves. I really wanted to like the 150.2 better because it runs cooler and would work better in my in-cabinet installation. Try as I might the 100.2 simply sounded more musical and involving. I am not the only one who has reported on this comparison--since I did my listening and made my decision there have been other threads in which people report the same results. Bottom line is that both are good amps--it's just that the 100.2 may be the best sounding amp that ARC has ever produced. This is why they have held their value so well and why so few show up on the A'gon. I'd be interested in hearing other viewpoints on this as it is not often one gets to do such a controlled comparison and therefore develop an opinion with a high degree of personal validity. BTW, the preamp was an SP16.
Thought I would post thoughts on the 300.2 I recently purchased (replaced a Krell FPB-300)to drive ProAc D38; ARC LS25mkII pre, ARC CD3 MKII, Kimber select cables, ExactPower. The results are stunning! What a great amp! The combination of components is very synergistic. Couple of learnings along the way: 1)keep the amp on as much as you can. After power-on the 300.2 takes a long time to sound great again. According to my ExactPower the amp draws less than 60W so it's like keeping a light bulb lit. 2) Invest in the best power conditioning and power cord you can. I'm using ExactPower and Kimber Palladian PK-10. Very noticeable improvements. Class D and Class T digital amps are showing up in many companies product lines. ARC has one of the best implementations so far.
Thanks Rsorren1, I´m considering a 300.2 for my Magnepans but how would you describe the bass compared to the FPB 300 which is known for having great powerful bass?
Hasse, sorry it has taken this long to get back to you. The bass on the 300.2 is outstanding. Not as rich sounding when compared to the FPB300 but BETTER DEFINED. The Krell amps have a rich, powerful, sound. They tend to present the soundstage "in-front" of the speakers. The 300.2 lays the soundstage behind the speakers. I've owned Krell amps since 1991 and became familiar with the rich, forward Krell sound. When I initially heard the 300.2 at home on demo, it took me just a little while to determine that the bass response was actually more articulate and better defined. Try it with Maggies. I can't believe that it would be a bad match given the proper cables and power
This response is an addendum to my response regarding the 150.2. I know there have been some people who have attempted to compare it with the 100.2 which in its purest sense is not a fair comparison. You are talking about two different!! types of amplifiers and technologies. The 150.2 is a tripath or class "T" digital amp the 100.2 is not.
After finally hearing the 100.2, all of the accolades it has received are warranted no doubt. The luscious tube like midrange and the solidstate bass with great authority are all there but here is one thing I would offer. In trying to achieve "the absolute sound" in our respective systems What are we talking about? We are talking about trying to replicate the actual live performance and the live performance does not sound like tubes and it does not sound like solidstate. It doesn't even sound like stereo!
Having said that, when I listen to the 150.2 in my system, it sounds more like the live performance(and I've attended a lot of live performances)than any amp I've heard including the 100.2! Sometimes we get accustomed to hearing and listening to recorded music so much that we lose perspective of what live music really sounds like, particularly if we don't go to a lot of live performances.
So, nobody has rained on my parade to quote Mr. Dodgealum.
The bottom line is that in the final analysis it comes down to personal preference and my preference is the 150.2 based on my experience and I've been in highend audio for over 20yrs.
Eee3. I would agree absolutely that it all boils down to personal preference. However, I would ask with regard to the 100.2 and 150.2 comparison--how do you know which you prefer? I do not doubt the sonic attributes of the 150.2--I've heard the amp and it sounds good. However, I heard it in DIRECT comparison with the model it replaced, the 100.2 and I preferred the older model. I can say unequivically that the 100.2 is my preference because I compared it to the 150.2 in the same room, same system, same everything. It is only through this type of comparison that one can make an intelligent choice. Comparing the two amps in different systems etc. really tells you almost NOTHING about which you prefer. You say the 150.2 sounds more like live music than the 100.2. Are you sure? Or does the SYSTEM which contained the 150.2 sound more like live music in the room you heard it than the SYSTEM with the 100.2 in the room you heard it in? I also disagree with your assertion that we should not be comparing the two amps because they are different designs. Evaluation by comparison is pretty much what this whole hobby is about--and besides the 150.2 is the amp that replaced the 100.2 in the manufacturers lineup. Why shouldn't we compare and see whether the new design exceeds the performance of the older model? I would think this type of comparison would be the most relevant of all. Sorry to sound a bit shrill but I think we all need to more consistently bear in mind the role that room acoustics and system synergy play in determining the sound we hear. Once those variables are controlled, then personal preference can be more authentically determined and roundly asserted.
This response is in regards to Mr. Dodgealum and his response to my comparison of the 150.2 to the 100.2. I think we can agreeably disagree. You are right about evaluating equipment in the same system,same room, come to a 100% accurate conclusion (but that conclusion is still an opinion) That would be for someone who is not familiar with how to do listening tests and who is not at all familiar with specific equipment.
Again, I'm not a novice. Let me give you my resume. I've had an currently have audio research equipment and have had it for over 20yrs.!! I know the equipment and the sound of the equipment amps & preamps all the way back to the D-52b and SP-3A up to an including the 150.2 and LS-16 MK II(I've owned or had in my system) I'm astute enough to know what its doing in a system I'm familiar with. I heard the 100.2 in a friend's system of which I'm very familiar, a system I,ve listened to extensively for a number of years, an audio research system. So, I know the system. I did not go to a audio showroom an listen one time to an unfamiliar system and make my conclusion.
Again my reference is live music and live recordings not equipment but how the equipment portrays the music. The 150.2 makes instruments sound more natural to me and I know how instruments are supposed to sound as I'm also a former musician.
What we're dealing with here basically is opinion, you like the 100.2 I like the 150.2 there's nothing wrong with that. What a dull world it would be if we all dressed alike. ate the same foods, wore the same clothes etc.
I've owned one for about a year and a half. I love it. I will say in all honesty however, I feel it is just beginning after all this time to "burn in"/"settle in" to its sound after a year and a half powered every day... 24/7. At this point I've fallen deeper in love with the sound, and it pulls me into my favorite jazz and classical music especially. I hear and feel the emotion musicians phrased in their recordings now, and when I first bought the amp it didn't seem all there like now. I also enjoy Karen Carpenter's voice through it. It's sweet, powerful and a masterpice. Arguably the best entry level solid state amp from Audio Research. I love their stuff! It's paired with an LS 12 pre amp.