Audio Research- An underated Gem?

ozy

Member
Nov 13, 2012
183
2
18
Atlanta ,Ga.
#1
The other day I passed by one of the nicest audio stores in atlanta, HIFIBUYS, on my way to a meeting ,and got to hear some of audio research's amps and preamps.
Count me impressed! fabulous , organic sound! but sadly , not much love or mentions on this forum....
 
Likes: WeatherB

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,635
240
63
Boston, MA
#2
And probably for good reason
 
May 30, 2010
15,505
714
113
Portugal
#3
The other day I passed by one of the nicest audio stores in atlanta, HIFIBUYS, on my way to a meeting ,and got to hear some of audio research's amps and preamps.
Count me impressed! fabulous , organic sound! but sadly , not much love or mentions on this forum....
Probably the ARC happy owners are too busy listening to music ...
 
Likes: ALF and ozy
Sep 1, 2013
128
9
18
Chicago, IL
#7
Good one!! BTW, do you have an update on your VTL 7.5 III vs ARC REF40 thoughts (possibly including best tubes for each?)
Really interested in that comparison, as 2019 is the year of one upgrade and its a preamp for me (unless a pair of used Magico M3's somehow appear out of no where)
 
May 30, 2010
15,505
714
113
Portugal
#8
Good one!! BTW, do you have an update on your VTL 7.5 III vs ARC REF40 thoughts (possibly including best tubes for each?)
Still waiting for some Mullard's for the VTL 7.5 III. Telefunken's were too detailed in my system.
 
May 30, 2010
15,505
714
113
Portugal
#11
Yes, as ARC totally changed its sound around 5 years ago from that awful whitish-ss sounding crap. The KT150 tube sealed the deal.
IMHO this big change was around 2006 - the REF3, REF110, REF610T. And I got my REF40 Anniversary in 2010. Sometimes we find we are older than we think ...
 
Likes: ozy

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
3,753
704
113
Marina del Rey, CA
#12
IMHO this big change was around 2006 - the REF3, REF110, REF610T. And I got my REF40 Anniversary in 2010. Sometimes we find we are older than we think ...
I'll disagree with you on the Ref 110/610, sorry.

I don't know the preamps as well but heard the Ref 40 was excellent. The LS25 series at the time was one of the worst sounding things I've owned
 

Uk Paul

Member Sponsor
Sep 27, 2012
365
25
28
UK
#13
Ref 40 is indeed very good, as are several pre's from Ref 3 onwards. Reliability is still an issue sadly though.
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
6,135
133
63
La Jolla, Calif USA
#14
I was 100% impressed by my older ARC D70Mk2. For its era, i seriously doubt that anything else could come near it.Tremendous sounding amp, and one that I somewhat regret selling, although the newer design with KT150's that i replaced it with does a lot more. Nonetheless, if it weren't for the ARC's ludicrous biasing procedure, i wouldn't have considered ever selling it.
 
Dec 9, 2018
70
45
18
56
#15
ARC had a period of updating model “marks” on a very regular basis which thankfully stopped.
I had an SP14 and classic 60 for about 8 years before “upgrading” to a LS25, PH3SE and VT100/3 and after a month or two running in etc, found no real improvement, managed to sell without losing money and purchased my first reference components which were a real improvement. I’ve stayed with ARC to my present REF6 and 250SE combination which suits my needs perfectly.
There may be better, but I’m happy with the longevity of the company, service record and ability to (relatively) easily resell should I choose.
I’m not sure about reliability issues, never having experienced any personally, having had 17 products from them over the years with no problems.
 

BillWojo

New Member
Jun 12, 2015
19
15
3
#16
Just picked up a SP8 MKII Ver5 in mint condition that was serviced not long ago. For a 36 year old preamp I'm impressed to say the least. Very quiet, detailed and musical.
Easy to roll tubes as it uses 12AX7 in the gain stage of both the line and phono section. Now I understand the high resale value and cult like following of these legendary products.
Listening to some Dire Straits and Mark never sounded so good.
For power I'm using restored Mac MC40 mono blocks and listening through Altecs.
Lots of ARC love here.

BillWojo
 
Likes: ALF

MTB Vince

New Member
May 11, 2019
23
7
3
55
#17
At one point or another through the 90s into the new millenium, I owned examples of the ARC Classic 30, Classic 60, and then for most of a decade the Classic 150 monoblocks. I loved the sound of these hybrid fet/triode 6550/KT88 power amps. While I really enjoyed the ARC LS2B line-stage that initially fronted them, it turned out after some experimentation with a Sonic Frontiers Line 3 and an Aesthetix Callisto, the amplifiers were capable of a considerably higher performance than was the well reviewed LS2B preamp.
 

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