audio research


Hybrid JFET/tube stereo line stage with remote control.

From the ARC website

With the REF3 redefining what is possible in ultimate preamplifier performance and the LS26 creating a new performance benchmark in a slightly smaller package, we are very proud to introduce the LS17, a new preamplifier offering much of their performance and musicality in a more affordable package.

The new LS17 retains the strong feature set of the previous LS16 series, offering two balanced and five single-ended inputs, and two balanced and one single-ended output. A monitor input and record output are also provided.

On the front panel, the changes are more obvious. A new linear LED display provides a 20-lamp display for the 104-step volume control, as well as indicators for selected input and muting. One rotary control is provided for volume adjustment, while a second controls input select. Pushbuttons are provided for power, monitor, processor (unity gain) and mute. All functions are also accessible via the included handheld remote. For systems using a master controller, all LS17 functions are individually addressable by discrete codes. Handles are included as part of the standard LS17 package.

But it is in the LS17's remarkable new level of performance that you will experience the biggest difference from its predecessor. Using two 6H30 twin triodes in the audio stage, the LS17 has a larger power transformer, redesigned power supply and new parts including proprietary output coupling caps. This gives the LS17 the stunning purity of sound first heard in the REF3 and in the more recent LS26. The family resemblance is undeniable, and convincing. The LS17 has an easy flow to its presentation, but it resolves musical and spatial information at a much higher level than the LS16 series was ever capable of. Instrument focus, soundstage clarity and bass definition are all vividly enhanced. Members of our listening panel agree that if the LS26 is the "REF3 Jr.," then the LS17 is surely the "Baby REF3." The pedigree is only too clear, and you will hear it immediately and without effort.

With the introduction of the LS17, Audio Research now offers benchmarks in preamplifier quality, performance and value at three distinct price points. Our lineup has never been stronger. Hear for yourself how an LS17 can transform your system and make music much more enjoyable.



LS17SE (2011)

From the ARC website

The LS17 SE preamplifier benefits from a long tradition of exceptional preamplifier technology from Audio Research and shares many common traits with its larger peers. The Reference Anniversary has been hailed by many as the greatest preamplifier yet; it also yielded technological developments to be shared across the entire Audio Research product range. The SE treatment of the Reference 5 SE preamplifier and Reference Phono 2 SE phono preamplifier have been applied to the LS17 SE to great success, providing the listener the ability to hear deeper into the performance and overall better musicality in a more affordable package.

The LS17 SE maintains the same physical size as its predecessor. The only cosmetic difference is the updated front panel which replaces the black plastic buttons with round metal buttons, complementing the symmetry of the two control knobs flanking the LED display. The display shows volume as well as which input is selected. Front panel controls include power, monitor, mute and processor (pass through). All functions are also accessible via the included handheld remote, and discrete remote codes are available for programming universal-style controllers. Handles finish the understated elegance of the overall appearance.

Internally the LS17 SE builds on the architecture of the LS17 and adds SE upgrades to provide exceptional performance. New Teflon coupling capacitors as well as other internal performance enhancements combine to create a preamplifier offering greater detail, spatial cues and dynamic breadth. Two 6H30 twin triodes are at the heart of the Class A audio circuit. A custom designed power transformer provides serious current delivery. In concert, the components of the LS17 SE create a sound that will truly delight the listener – this is a preamplifier dedicated to delivering a great musical experience.

The LS17 SE has seven inputs (including the processor input), two of which are balanced. There are four outputs, record and main output 1 (both single-ended) and two balanced outputs. There is also a 12 volt trigger for controlling the power of other system components. The A.C. power input is a 15A connection.


MSRP (US new retail)


Frequency response +0-3dB, 0.5Hz to 160kHz at rated output (Balanced, 200k ohms load)
Distortion (THD) Less than .01% at 2V RMS BAL output.
Noise & hum LS17: 2.2uV RMS residual IHF weighted balanced equivalent input noise with volume at 1 (101 dB below 2V RMS output).
LS17SE: 1.7uV RMS residual IHF weighted balanced equivalent input noise with volume at 1 (109dB below 2V RMS output.)
Gain LS17: Main output: 18dB Balanced output (12dB SE output).
LS17SE: Main output: 12dB Balanced output (6dB SE output).
  Record output: 0dB (Processor input: 0dB SE).
Input impedance 120K ohms Balanced, 60K ohms SE.
Output impedance LS17: 700 ohms Balanced, 350 ohms SE Main.
LS17SE: 600 ohms Balanced, 300 ohms SE Main.
20K ohms minimum load and 2000pF maximum capacitance.
Output polarity Non-inverting.
Maximum inputs LS17: 24V RMS BAL.
  LS17: 12V RMS SE.
Rated outputs LS17: 2V RMS 1Hz to 100kHz into 200K ohm balanced load (maximum balanced output capability is 15V RMS at less than 0.5% THD at 1kHz)
LS17SE: 2V RMS (1V RMS SE) into 200K ohm balanced load (maximum balanced output capability is 30V RMS at less than 0.5% THD at 1kHz).
Power supplies Electronically regulated low and high voltage supplies. Line regulation better than .01%.
LS17: Automatic 50 sec. warm-up/brown-out mute.
LS17SE: Automatic 40 sec. warm-up/brown-out mute.
Tube complement (2) 6H30 dual triode. (Hybrid JFET/tube audio circuit, solid-state power supply).
Power requirements LS17: 105-130VAC 60Hz (210-260VAC 50/60Hz) 50 watts maximum.
LS17SE: 100-135VAC 60Hz (200-270VAC 50/60Hz) 130 watts. Standby: 2 watts.
Other Rotary volume selector (104 steps, 20 LED indicators) and rotary input selector.
Push buttons: Power, Monitor, Proc, Mute. Also remote buttons: Bal 1, Bal 2, Aux, Tuner, CD.
Dimensions LS17: 19" (48 cm) W x 5.25"(13.4 cm) H (standard rack panel) x 12"(30.5 cm) D.
LS17SE: 19" (48 cm) W x 7" (17.8 cm) H (standard panel) x 15.5" (39.4 cm) D.
Handles extend 1.5" (3.8 cm) forward of the front panel.
Weight LS17: 13 lbs. (5.9 kg) Net; 23 lbs. (11.5 kg) Shipping.
LS17SE: 30.4 lbs. (13.9 kg) Net; 41.6 lbs. (19 kg) Shipping.