Audio Research Corporation (ARC) on the Ropes?

Stumbled upon this on the What’s Best Forum (WBF). Sadly ARC is struggling yet again. Hopefully they pull through.


So sad…




TWS Enterprises Purchases Audio Research…


Minneapolis, Minnesota (August 25, 2020) – TWS Enterprises, LLC, a privately held company owned wholly by Trent Suggs, has agreed to purchase Audio Research from the McIntosh Group, Inc. subject to completion of due diligence which is expected to be finalized by the end of August. As Audio Research celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year, it is time to embark on the next chapter of its journey in high performance music reproduction.

During the past six years that Audio Research has been owned by the McIntosh Group, it has enjoyed expanded marketing opportunities and exposure to new market segments. The Design Lab at McIntosh Group also defined a new industrial design incorporating iconic elements of past products while introducing a refined, modernized aesthetic. Audio Research products were showcased with the other brands of the McIntosh group, providing wide market visibility in the United States and internationally. The support and friendship is truly appreciated.

‘It has been an honor and privilege to lead Audio Research for the past 3 years’, says Jeff Poggi, Co-CEO McIntosh Group. ‘It is with mixed emotions that we are selling Audio Research. It has been rewarding to work with the passionate team of audiophile enthusiasts and craftspeople that make Audio Research the most respected high-end valve electronics company in the world. Yet, I couldn’t be happier knowing that the brand will be under great leadership with Trent Suggs at the helm.’

There will be two familiar additions to the team: Trent Suggs will rejoin the company with dual roles, as President and as Director of North American Sales; Brandon Lauer will rejoin Audio Research with dual roles, as Director of International Sales and as Director of Marketing. Dave Gordon will assume the role of Managing Director. No other staff changes have been planned. Product development, engineering, and manufacturing remain at the company’s
20,000 square foot facility in Maple Grove, a suburb west of Minneapolis. The unique culture and processes of Audio Research will remain and will become core functions of the company’s future development. Audio Research’s value of high-performance music playback will remain at the center of all development, to continue the brand’s exceptional reputation within the market.

‘I am extremely excited for this opportunity to be back as a part of Audio Research. As former North American Sales Director, I was able to build upon the excellence associated with this corporation. Jeff and the McIntosh Group have been instrumental during this process, and to them many thanks. We look forward to our continued relationships with our valued partners for another 50 years. Being part of such an amazing organization is truly an honor. Audio Research will continue our never-ending pursuit for excellence.’ - Trent Suggs

TWS Enterprises, LLC is a privately-owned company created to hold Audio Research equities; it is not part of a group. The objective for TWS Enterprises is to further enhance brand reputation and to focus on the unique processes that nourish the culture and product innovation at Audio Research. Maximizing workforce talents while returning to small company values will allow Audio Research to strengthen its relationships, respond quickly to market demands, and continue to build some of the most sought-after electronics available today.

Audio Research Corporation was founded in 1970 by William Z. Johnson and is one of the oldest manufacturers of vacuum tube electronics in the world. Founded with the singular goal to advance the state-of-the-art in music reproduction, today it is one of the most recognized brands in high performance music playback systems.

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Sounds promising. Like some of the previous ARC folk are taking up the reins. Hopefully with success.

Note the posted letter regarding the Assignment on April 4, 2023 addressing the ARC Notice of Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors. Unfortunately things have changed for the worse since August 2020.

Tony, that was August 2020, things aren’t going their way in 2023.

I’m hoping someone will save ARC. It’s a great company with quality products. IMO, they need to come out “again” with a lower cost option to sustain day to day operations.


I too would like to see them continue on, and as you say with products priced more favorably.ARC I/50 at $5,500. The Ukrainian War and its impact on vacuum tube availability is not helping matters, and then there are concerns with where our economy is heading.


Yeah, I missed the date. I figured the post was relevant to the timeliness of this discussion, not bothering to observe the date. Apparently it’s not.

It shows how much can change in such a short period, and I appreciate the post.

There was a thread on the What’s Best Forum about the cost to upgrade a Ref 6 preamp to Ref 6 SE. Cost of the upgrade rose from $3000 to $5000 over night with a wait time of 6 months. That’s highway robbery! I’m staying at the Ref 6 level. Maybe it will become a collectors item?


The dates provided are relevant. My post was to show the companies past has already been in question. However their present status is even more important. Things can happen very fast as weedeewop stated. ARC amps are very important for such speaker lines as Wilson Audio! We continue to wish the best to ARC!


You make a good point, value oriented service was never an ARC strength.


They’ve unfortunately priced themselves out of competitiveness. Many moons ago I owned a Classic 30 and a SP-6B. ARC eventually eliminated its entry level products line, that was my introduction to the Audio Research sound and I’m sure for many other audiophiles. Couldn’t sustain itself without a more affordable line that would sell at sufficient volume to keep the doors open. A poor decision they never recovered from IMHO.

I hope there’s a viable way for them to recover. I’m guessing their reliance on tubes has really hurt sales. The cost of replacement tubes at the frequency I would replace them stopped me from getting a 160S last year.


That notice referred to a management buy-out in 2020. Various changes were made, see here:

This 2021 review seems to foresee the problem:

“It’s a gloriously niche brand that understands ‘what it does’ and is now, once again, driven and engineered by a team that is passionate about serving the diehards of the audiophile community.”

People may admire these amplifiers, but who on earth is left that actually buys them? And as my dealer, who sells Audio Research, told me a couple of weeks ago, getting good tubes is a nightmare.

Many bankruptcy processes are turnarounds, but apparently this one has a massive long list of hundreds of creditors, which suggests getting a supply chain together for a fresh start would cost a lot of money (trade credit unlikely).

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It’s too bad. Their site landing page previews a new Ref 320M mono amp, supposedly available later this year, but I wonder if it ever gets released?

I just picked up a Vsi75 and the “Making the Music Glow” book within the last month. Big fan of ARC


I checked Brent Jesse website and found NOS tubes in general has jumped 30% from a year ago. I cannot imagine I want to invest in any gear that uses a lot of tubes now. This does not help ARC.

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The key to long term success with tube gear is to have a considerable secret stash of tubes. Access to reliable good sounding tubes has become somewhat problematic. NOS knock-offs in my experience just aren’t up to snuff.

It will be interesting to see how the ARC saga plays out.