Audio Research Preamps, what are your experiences?

Discussion in 'High-End Separates from Years Past' started by Blue Shadow, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. a_retent

    a_retent Daddy's little shadow Subscriber

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    This thread already exists here.

    (Edit 3/13/19) It now appears both threads have been combined.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019

     

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  2. twitch54

    twitch54 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    as stated by E-stat, total nonsense. To the Op, congrats on the SP9 mkIII, superb unit, i had the mkII, modded by Steve Huntley, still going strong in my sons system out in Colorado.

    I'm currently using a LS-28, happy as a clam ..........
     
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  3. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

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    ARC owners love their products, they do have fantastic sound. All I can base my thought about the products was from what. came into our shop that the ARC dealer couldn't repair and the owners didn't want to return the units to the factory for repair. The amps were really a pain and as the factory didn't want to help even after their dealer went under we stopped accepting the units. Is that any way to support owners.
     
  4. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Didn't want to help? Sorry, but that story bears no resemblance to what I've experienced over a span of nearly four decades. Especially since I've required their assistance only twice since 1981.

    If and when there's a genuine problem, send it back to the factory where they maintain a service facility that supports everything they've ever produced - except for some unobtainium CD transports that are no longer produced.

    https://www.analogplanet.com/content/analogplanet-visits-audio-research-corporation

    Would you have your McIntosh gear serviced by a local yocal? Having worked in the industry as have you, why wouldn't you want to consult the factory? I've actually toured the Binghamton facility and if I were a Mc owner, I would want them to perform any service if needed. I can handle tube replacements by myself.

    The power switch on one of my VTL power amps recently failed - it wouldn't turn off - so I emailed Bea Lamm directly at VTL. She instantly replied and is sending me a replacement switch.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
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  5. BillWojo

    BillWojo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Purchased a LS15 from a local AK member at a great price and so far it sounds fantastic, and that's with all 4 6DJ8 tubes being JJ! Have some NOS Tungsram 6299 tubes ready to roll and other tubes to play with. Very high build quality as well. Very happy to be part of the Audio Research club.

    BillWojo
     
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  6. Ds2000

    Ds2000 Oh THOSE speakers. Subscriber

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    I have a Reference 3 here for the moment. It’s a luscious piece of high performance tube engineering. It looks the part, is built extremely well, and stands as tall today as it did the day it was made. In fact, it’s one of the most favored in the field, from the things I’ve read.
    They’re also really reliable and only use two tube types, (6 in total) easily gotten from A.R.C. themselves.
    Oh it doesn’t sound ‘tubey’ either, it’s honest to the signal and does what it’s supposed to, according to the edicts and strictures of the high end.
     
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  7. Athalwolf

    Athalwolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    How does the bass sound with your Ref 3? The reason I ask is I recently switched from a vintage Akai AA - 1200 receiver to a preowned Ref 3 and a new MC 275 VI and my bass is feeble compared to what it used to be. I bought a pair of XLR interconnects locally from a fellow who writes reviews and he told me that the Ref 3 was known for muddy bass. I cannot find that confirmed anywhere online. He was auditioning new ARC mono blocks at the time and says he is a big ARC fan but the Ref 5 was a huge improvement over the Ref 3 in the bass department. I am planning on adding a good sub woofer to the system but a decent one will probably be two grand. I read upgrading the tubes in the MC 275 will give me marginably better bass. I just miss the slam and the sound of a decaying bass note :(
     
  8. Ds2000

    Ds2000 Oh THOSE speakers. Subscriber

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    I have no issue with the bottom end and haven’t read anything of the sort. Are the tubes still in good shape?
    If anything, I noticed very tuneful and abundant bottom end with the unit in place, so I really cannot confirm that. Quite the opposite, in fact.
    Were you in the habit of using tone controls when the Akai was in the system?
     
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  9. Athalwolf

    Athalwolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Yes the tubes are in excellent condition. They have about 3000 hours on them and are an upgrade from the originals. The previous owner had the unit thoroughly gone through by a qualified tech. I have run the Akai flat since I bought it. That is why I was not concerned that the Ref 3 did not have any tone controls. The system seems to be sounding better and better everyday. There is less than 100 hours on the MC 275 tubes so perhaps they need some break in time. On a positive note I am struck by how fantastic sounding the midrange and highs are now. The Akai doesn’t come close in that area. Like I said earlier, I think a good quality sub will be a viable solution. Thanks for taking the time to respond!
     
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  10. onemug

    onemug AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    It should improve some. My 275-vi took a few weeks to come together. I've had 3 versions of the 275 and this one is a notch better, especially in the bass.

    What speakers are you using and have you tried different taps on the 275?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
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  11. Athalwolf

    Athalwolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    My speakers are Dali 4b’s. They don’t provide deep bass but the bass they do provide is very good. Haven’t tried different taps. Are you running stock tubes on your MC 275?
     
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  12. Ds2000

    Ds2000 Oh THOSE speakers. Subscriber

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    The only maybe could be an issue is the non A.R.C.tubes, and the 3000 hours on them. A.R.C. definitely knows their product (obviously), so they know well how to select and test the tubes they sell. I’m a believer in factory sourced parts for their gear.
    Also, check the 6550 power supply tube at startup. Mine developed a white spark issue, so I replaced it.
     
  13. Athalwolf

    Athalwolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    TBH I’m not sure what tubes are in it ATM. I do know the originals have 500 hours on them and they were included. The fellow I purchased it from is a true audiophile judging from his amazing sound room and audio components. I guess I should open it up and take inventory. It also came with a $500.00 upgraded power cable. He knocked off $500.00 because he didn’t have to ship. He just threw it all in without my asking. Totally classy guy. We had a chat, heard some tunes and he insisted on sending me home with a good book.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  14. Ds2000

    Ds2000 Oh THOSE speakers. Subscriber

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    Oh nice. Try the original tubes if you haven’t already.
     
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  15. onemug

    onemug AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have several quads of KT88's. While the 275 was breaking in I preferred Gold Lions and Winged C's to the stock ones (JJ). After a month, the stock ones are acceptable and I rotate them in once in awhile. The small tubes in front are still the stock ones and am happy with them. I will be getting a set of Telefunkens in the near future, they did wonders for my C22iii.

    What taps have you been using? Try the 4 ohm if you haven't, you won't hurt anything.

    I'm very impressed with this newest version of the 275, especially in the bass. Give your amp some more time. Sometimes more bass is not as good as better bass. I learned that long ago when I went from a cheap subwoofer to a nice one. At first I thought the new one had less bass but the more I listened, the better/more musical it sounded. The cheap one just had a big bump.

    Re the Ref 3...it could be that the tubes are getting a little weak, even after 'only' 3000 hrs. The company has been known to run their preamp tubes pretty hard. Might be the case with yours. Good luck. I have no reason to think that a Ref 3/MC275 combo would not produce some spectacular music ...if they meet specs.
     
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  16. Athalwolf

    Athalwolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Good morning,

    My speakers are 4ohm and that is what I have been using. I'll take Ds2000's advice and try the original tubes this weekend. The tech who checked out the pre said the tubes that are in it are at 90% whatever that means. I don't know if I'll get better bass with this new set up. The bass from the SS system was tight and fast and quite impressive even though it did not go deep. If the original tubes do not sound better then I will purchase the best replacements I can. Thanks very much for your input!
     
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  17. gizzyman47

    gizzyman47 Super Member

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    I own Audio Research's entry level LS7 along with the VT60 amp. What a musical combination! I paired them with my Sonus Faber Electa's. The pre has served me well for over 20 yrs. Not one single issue with either. Not using these units at this time but can't seem to part with them! I don't have any experience with any other Audio Research products but I wholeheartedly recommend the brand and the LS7!
     
  18. DeFriend

    DeFriend New Member

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    love my ARC LS-7. have multiple sets of 6922/6DJ8 tubes for this hybrid pre, currently running late 60's Amperex A-frame orange globes. have tried old and new versions of EH and JJ (and incomplete set of original Sovteks); high-mileage and unmatched tubes have more background hiss/noise, but newer is not necessarily better sounding. older is also not necessarily better sounding. not willing to keep spending money on sets of 4 matched tubes (really two sets of matched pairs), but would really like to try some 60's german tubes if they weren't so expensive compared to pre-amp value.
     

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