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Thread: Audio Research 250SE Versus VTL MB-185 Series III/MB-450 Series III

  1. #1
    Site Founder And Administrator Ron Resnick's Avatar
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    Audio Research 250SE Versus VTL MB-185 Series III/MB-450 Series III

    If you have compared directly these amplifiers in a familiar system please tell us what you think of the sound of each amplifier, and please compare and contrast the sound you hear from each amplifier.

    On which speaker did you hear this comparison?
    Mono and Stereo - Senior Contributing Reviewer

    turntable: American Sound AS-2000; tonearms: SME 3012R, Schröder LT; cartridges: ZYX UNIverse Premium X-SB2, Air Tight Opus-1; tape: Studer A820 Mk II; phono stage: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 power supplies; line stage: VTL TL-7.5 Series III; amplifier: VTL Siegfried Series II; loudspeaker: Gryphon Pendragon; cables: MasterBuilt Ultra; stands: Herzan + Taiko Tana + Evo LPS for Io, custom for turntable, Stacore Basic+ for amps; power: Benjamin Electric subpanel, JPS in-wall wire, Furutech NCF outlets, Torus AVR60BAL; room: 19' wide X 24' long X 14' tall; acoustic treatment: SoundSense A.T.I. + Lumitex drapes + Vibramat, ASC IsoThermal Tube Traps; tweaks: Shakti Stones, Shun Mooks, self-propelled sound-absorbing cocker-poo

  2. #2
    Ron, I don't visit this site all that often but whenever I do I notice that your system description is mostly "on order." It shows you have a power amp and cables, but everything else is basically a wish list. What gives here? Do you have an operating system? Perhaps you have simply not updated the component list in a long time. I am not trying to be snarky; this is a genuine question and if you have explained this elsewhere, I apologize in advance.

  3. #3
    Hi Ron,

    Does a VTL MB185 vs Audio Research Ref150 on Usher D2MK2’s and Audio Acoustics Sapphire’s help out?

  4. #4
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    Hi Ron,

    I’ve listened to the VTL Siegfried Series II and the ARC Reference 250SE with the Vandersteen 7 Mk2 speakers. I honestly preferred the Reference 250SE when it was used with the Reference 10 preamp. To my ears it had more ease and was more natural sounding. The Siegfried had more of a wow factor but for long-term listenabilty I would prefer the Ref 250SE. YMMV.

    Best,
    Ken
    Source: MSB Select II DAC (Incoming)
    Two Mono Powerbases, Femto 33 Clock
    Amplifiers: Vandersteen M7-HPA Mono Amps
    Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7 Mk2
    Cables: AudioQuest Wild Blue Yonder
    Power Conditioner: Audience AR6-TSSOX
    Power Cords: Audience AU24SE

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    I wonder the same thing because he always has something on order, yet never gets anything. Basis was ordered for 2 years, but is on to something else. Please Ron go to Axpona this year so you can hear all the amp contenders under one roof instead of asking any ones opinion whom you don't even know.

  6. #6
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best!
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    Jeffy, you’d hate me LOL for my ongoing requests for opinions on all things tt, Saskia, Spec and Audiosilente Blackstone.
    Ron will potentially have one of the world’s greatest loudspeakers, is devoted to tubes, and has massive potential for getting this right...and wrong. No way is he easily going to hear all these combinations, even less chance hearing them at home once the spkrs are up and running.
    Casting for opinions I guess at least keeps his shortlist becoming a very longlist.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by spiritofmusic View Post
    Jeffy, you’d hate me LOL for my ongoing requests for opinions on all things tt, Saskia, Spec and Audiosilente Blackstone.
    Ron will potentially have one of the world’s greatest loudspeakers, is devoted to tubes, and has massive potential for getting this right...and wrong. No way is he easily going to hear all these combinations, even less chance hearing them at home once the spkrs are up and running.
    Casting for opinions I guess at least keeps his shortlist becoming a very longlist.
    +1
    You can never have enough power !!

    Custom speaker in progress

    Can help with recomendations for hotels and good food in munich !

  8. #8
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    Casting for opinions is crazy, he does not know what these people's taste are. So to me this is a total waste of time. Going to a show is the best choice better than peoples opinions even if it is not on your speakers. This is the best way to do it. Get off your bum, spend the money, and go to Axpona. If you can afford Gryphon you can afford to go to as many shows as possible. I have been to 22 CES shows and have a good feeling for a lot of electronics out there. I would have no clue with out this experience. I still think Ron is making a mistake by not getting the Basis with the new arm.

  9. #9
    Site Founder And Administrator Ron Resnick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salectric View Post
    Ron, I don't visit this site all that often but whenever I do I notice that your system description is mostly "on order." It shows you have a power amp and cables, but everything else is basically a wish list. What gives here? Do you have an operating system? Perhaps you have simply not updated the component list in a long time. I am not trying to be snarky; this is a genuine question and if you have explained this elsewhere, I apologize in advance.
    No worries! I am glad you asked!

    My last system, which I enjoyed without change (I am not an equipment swapper or frequent upgrader) since about 2000, consisted of a Benz Ruby 2 cartridge on a Graham 2.2 tonearm on a VPI TNT Mk. IV turntable with an Aesthetix Io using Transparent interconnects and Reference XL-V speaker cables to VTL MB-750s to Martin-Logan Prodigy speakers.

    That system was set up in three different rooms: 1) an apartment, 2) a medium size room in a house and 3) a larger room in a house. After the system was set up in the larger room in my house (the room in all of the photos on my system upgrades thread) in 2012 I discovered that the house, including that listening room, needed to be repaired. Those repairs have been, and continue to be, on-going. I disassembled the system to enable the listening room to be repaired. We hope the repairs will be finished in the middle of next year.

    Since then I decided that since I had to repair the house I also had the opportunity to upgrade the listening room. I decided to put together my best system ever. I sold my long-time analog front-end and the speakers.

    Since then I have enjoyed visiting manufacturers, dealers, audio shows and audiophiles to audition components and systems, and I have enjoyed getting to know several of the people on WBF, and their stereo systems. So I have used the last five years to research, audition and plan (MikeL says, not without reason, "hatch") my next audio system.

    Even when I make a component decision (I ordered Gryphon Pendragon speakers a couple of years ago) I cannot take delivery of the component because first we were traveling and now we are living temporarily in a small apartment. The speakers are in local storage.

    There is no point in asking Jim White to build my Io and Callisto because I have no place to put them. Hence they remain "ordered." This is true of the turntable as well.

    When I make a firm purchase decision but I cannot take delivery I consider that item to be "ordered." If I make a tentative decision which has not resulted in a purchase I consider that item "to come."
    Mono and Stereo - Senior Contributing Reviewer

    turntable: American Sound AS-2000; tonearms: SME 3012R, Schröder LT; cartridges: ZYX UNIverse Premium X-SB2, Air Tight Opus-1; tape: Studer A820 Mk II; phono stage: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 power supplies; line stage: VTL TL-7.5 Series III; amplifier: VTL Siegfried Series II; loudspeaker: Gryphon Pendragon; cables: MasterBuilt Ultra; stands: Herzan + Taiko Tana + Evo LPS for Io, custom for turntable, Stacore Basic+ for amps; power: Benjamin Electric subpanel, JPS in-wall wire, Furutech NCF outlets, Torus AVR60BAL; room: 19' wide X 24' long X 14' tall; acoustic treatment: SoundSense A.T.I. + Lumitex drapes + Vibramat, ASC IsoThermal Tube Traps; tweaks: Shakti Stones, Shun Mooks, self-propelled sound-absorbing cocker-poo

  10. #10
    Site Founder And Administrator Ron Resnick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffy View Post
    I wonder the same thing because he always has something on order, yet never gets anything. Basis was ordered for 2 years, but is on to something else. Please Ron go to Axpona this year so you can hear all the amp contenders under one roof instead of asking any ones opinion whom you don't even know.
    I do not really think of it as "casting for opinions," although that is a reasonable way to describe it.
    I am casting, at the end of the process, for narrow sonic impressions.

    Hearing different amplifiers in different systems and different rooms at a show tells me little to nothing about the amplifiers.

    If I find someone who has owned both components I often will call that audiophile on the telephone to get a full understanding of the system in question and of that audiophile's sonic preferences and of how those preferences have changed over time. Asking targeted questions of people who have heard in one system the exact comparison about which I am curious -- once I understand that system and their sonic preferences -- helps me triangulate on what I am looking for and provides suggestions for further inquiry.
    Mono and Stereo - Senior Contributing Reviewer

    turntable: American Sound AS-2000; tonearms: SME 3012R, Schröder LT; cartridges: ZYX UNIverse Premium X-SB2, Air Tight Opus-1; tape: Studer A820 Mk II; phono stage: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 power supplies; line stage: VTL TL-7.5 Series III; amplifier: VTL Siegfried Series II; loudspeaker: Gryphon Pendragon; cables: MasterBuilt Ultra; stands: Herzan + Taiko Tana + Evo LPS for Io, custom for turntable, Stacore Basic+ for amps; power: Benjamin Electric subpanel, JPS in-wall wire, Furutech NCF outlets, Torus AVR60BAL; room: 19' wide X 24' long X 14' tall; acoustic treatment: SoundSense A.T.I. + Lumitex drapes + Vibramat, ASC IsoThermal Tube Traps; tweaks: Shakti Stones, Shun Mooks, self-propelled sound-absorbing cocker-poo

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