Audio Research Corporation I/50 Integrated Tube Amplifier

The I/50 Integrated Amplifier is the first product in an all-new series from Audio Research. Functionally simple, visually engaging, and musically sublime – the I/50 takes music listening to a whole new experience. Hand-crafted in Minnesota, the I/50 is built with the same attention to detail as all other Audio Research products – each one even gets its own listening test with sonic designer, Warren Gehl. Available in six colors, the I/50 features Cerakote finishes for a beautiful and long-lasting look. The modular design allows for the installation of two audio modules – a Phono Stage, and a D/A Converter (to come in 2022). The high current, 50 watt per channel amplifier is capable of driving a wide variety of speakers. A headphone jack allows for personal listening time.

The I/50 is designed to be easy to use, and has three controls on its top panel – Power, Input, and Volume. Two LexieTubes® provide display information for input selection and volume. Two matched pairs of 6550WE vacuum tubes, along with three 6922 tubes, stand in front of the perforated transformer cover. Three single-ended inputs and one XLR input provide connectivity for most systems, along with 4- and 8- Ohm speaker taps to accommodate your speaker of choice. One input can be assigned for pass-through function. A full-function metal remote control provides further functionality and operation. An optional tube cage will be available.

As with all Audio Research products, the I/50 is built entirely in our Minnesota facility by a team of skilled technicians and expert craftspeople. Offered in six colors, the I/50 is the first product completely finished in-house. The Audio Research finishing lab encompasses a purpose-built painting facility and laser imaging and marking machines to produce a luxurious finish normally found only on much more expensive products. The Cerakote finish is not only beautiful, but designed to be enduring and easy to maintain.

The performance of the I/50 belies its compact design. 50 watts of all-vacuum tube power energize your speakers with beautiful and lifelike music. Designed by the Audio Research engineering team and fine-tuned by Warren Gehl, the I/50 has been given the same level of care and attention as our Reference Series products. The ability of the I/50 to reconstruct a musical experience will thrill and excite all who hear it. Thanks to the substantial power supply and high current design, the I/50 provides controlled and dynamic playback – even on challenging speakers. The Phono module provides 42 dB of gain, allowing a wide choice of moving magnet and high-output moving coil cartridges. The D/A Converter will have multiple connection options and an array of decoding formats to accommodate the wide spectrum of music formats and resolutions. The I/50 is a truly integrated product while providing renowned Audio Research performance and sound quality.


So I figured this would be solid for headphones but not much more. Giving it a listen while other stuff warms up and suffice to say I’m actually just impressed. I listen quiet so I can see it not having enough juice for other people (without a pro output level source at least, I listen 35 out of 45) but this is a super satisfying susvara listen


You were at TSAV I see!!! hahah Nice!


Hahaha. Yup. Litteraly listening to the amp in their main room as I stumbled across this thread


Love it! Tell Jason and Wayne I said hi.


I love the optics (in black and red). Assume you are listening to the White Stripes while perusing a coffee table book on Constructivism. Did you (or anyone) have a chance to listen with full-range speakers?

My impression of ARC has always been that it was really overpriced, and maybe not as good as its very strong branding (a la McIntosh), though in fact I’ve barely heard any amps from either. Yet, the HiFi mags consistently lose their shit anytime a new ARC amp arrives. This piece looks really fun, anyway.

I would go give it a listen and formulate your own opinion. Compared to other amps at this price from Botique manufacturers and other Chinese made tube amps, I think you will find it’s a real player.

What I have found of recently is the majority of people who :poop: :poop: on McIntosh, ARC, or other expensive and legendary audio brands usually (not in all cases) are doing so because 1. They can’t afford it, so anything less expensive is just as good or 2. Don’t want to spend the money and prefer a cheaper option, or 3. legitimately don’t like the sound.

This doesn’t mean the products are not incredible and a person should listen to them before assuming anything, like anything it’s a very personal choice.

Here is another video I recommend watching if you have the time and you can see the level of care that goes into the build and design of these amplifiers.


Oh yeah I read all the reviews and watch all the videos. What is your direct experience with what ARC makes?

Tbh I have 0 soeaker experience so all i can realy comment on is the headphone usage. Its fun and interesting but I would want to hear it with a digital end i know better to realy comment. I’m also currious how the speaker taps work for sus as it was running out of gain on the HP out and sounded like it may have had fairly high OI on it as well

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I hope I can make it to at least one audio show this year — Tampa is coming up soon but I’m too wary of Omicron still. I’m pretty much set on all audio fronts for now, but always interested in what’s out there.


Also there is a reason they are legendary and stand the test of time. Those brands dealer network are there to support and guide you as well. I have a Naim SN3 and know if there are any issues 15-20 years from now, they will probably still be in England for repairs and support. I am lucky enough to live near some different dealers and a major east coast audio show and have bought headphones, amps and products that align with my preferences in sound signatures


Glad to see Arc gear getting headphone outputs. All the arc gear I’ve owned have always been awesome and since lots are made there are really good deals on the used market. If someone can’t afford retail I highly suggest waiting a couple years as the used prices will be very enticing. Although besides this amp I don’t know any other arc amps that have headphone outputs. I bought an Ampsandsound headphone adapter box for my Ref75 and the noisefloor was through the roof! Definitely a failed experiment. Maybe different impedanced headphones would of worked better but it was a no bueno with 300 ohm ZMF’s.


Fine advice @MRHifiReviews. Quality costs time and money to both design and manufacture. Regardless of whether or not you like the product in the end, Quality is Quality.

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Hey Earmuffs — How;d you like the Ref75? It’s often mentioned as a great tube match for the Gibbon Xs, and also shows up pretty affordably on the used market. Don’t know that I’ll have the spare cash to experiment with a purchase for “fun,” but always curious …

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Sorry to be taking this out of headphone discussion, if briefly …

The ref75 is easily my endgame amplifier in my stereo setup. I have owned amps in this Ref lineup for many years and feel no need to change at all. Audio Research is definitely a favorite of mine. I really like their gear in the Ref lineup and earlier when they were directly/indirectly crafted by the founder Bill Johnson. I’d assume even stuff coming out today hopefully still has trickled down circuitry from the late founder. Just a speculation and could be wrong. The last stuff he fully designed was Ref lineup gear in 2008. I like to think that the company is still carrying the torch with people like Warren Gehl and others who worked with Bill Johnson in the past gaining wonderful experience from a legend of this hobby.

The ref75 has a Perfect blend of overall detail and is Definitely not a tubey or warm amp. Very realistic sounding with a small dash of tube holographic spaciousness but seems to focus more on deep Slam with huge instrumental weight vs other previous amps I’ve had.

And yes, these pop up in the used market at a great price!! At about 35-45% of retail. I’d expect it to be a great amp to try out with the gibbon X’s as I’ve heard it paired with The Nines before.

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Definitely looking forward to seeing Arc do a reference headphone amp and hopefully one day I will get to hear the I/50 with some ZMF’s!
Interested in how good the headphone output is on this and how they implemented it. Also, the LexieTubes are a cool addition.


Anyone have any idea the OI on the headphone output?


Do you also use an ARC pre- …?

since I use an integrated with no pre- outs, it’s more complicated than just dropping an amp in. (But I am getting tube analog via a Modwright phono pre and the Stratus).

No, just amplifiers and integrated amplifiers. A couple of older models and then a ref150 and ref75. My friend has A LOT of ARC gear which I’ve gotten to demo too.