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Favorite Audio Research Components

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  • Favorite Audio Research Components

    There was a discussion over on kcin's thread about ARC and thought it would be interesting to hear about everyone's favorite ARC vacuum tube product.

    For me, four amplifiers over the years stood out:

    ARC D250 Servo: Powerful and imaged like a son of a gun in the day.

    M100s: sounded absolutely wonderful on the top end of Infinity RS1bs. Just so graceful, transparnet and delicate sounding in its day (paired with the SP10).

    Classic 150: great pairing with ProAcs and the Classic series was in part a breakthrough for ARC. Many thought the Classic 60 was the jewel of the line if you had a speaker that wasn't power hungry.

    Reference 600 (not heard the 750 SE): these sounded wonderful on the SF Fenices! Big, bold, transparent and so effortless!

    The one preamplifier that really stood out for me (I really thought the SP11 was a step back) was the dual mono SP10. Problem was the preamplifier ate tubes like they were going out of style. The tubes wen't microphonic in what seemed no time at all. But it was a big step in reducing coloration and noise in their line.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    All the Ref. Phono preamps. Especially the new Ref Phono 3 for closing the gap to the Ref 10 even more.

    Comment


    • #3
      My favorites are one only ones I could afford, a VSI-60 and LP1. Once I saw the prices of the new foundation series, I knew grabbing something now was my last chance of owning some ARC gear unless I started playing the lottery. They no longer have products for the average Audiophile, only ones with 7 figure incomes.

      That being said, I have wanted to own ARC since the 1990s and am ecstatic to finally have a few silver boxes of my own.

      Comment


      • #4
        I always thought it was brilliant that ARC never changed the look of the faceplate on their gear. Ergo the wives would never notice that new piece of equipment. Or as like my ex-wife wrote in Stereophile, the women never noticed the $5000 missing from the bank account! (you can tell how long ago Lisa wrote that.)
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
        -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

        Comment


        • #5
          I reacquainted myself with an SP-11 a few years ago and liked it a lot, the phono stage still holds its own with many tubed units I've owned. Its got plenty of gain for carts down to 400uV thanks to the generous line stage gain. I also miss the gain control feature in addition to having a volume pot which allows the user to optimize the gain structure and s/n between line and phono stages. some ARC amps like the d115 also had input controls to match levels properly between pre and power amp, very few cos. do that anymore.
          TechDAS | Graham Eng | ZYX | Boulder | Magico

          "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
            I always thought it was brilliant that ARC never changed the look of the faceplate on their gear. Ergo the wives would never notice that new piece of equipment. Or as like my ex-wife wrote in Stereophile, the women never noticed the $5000 missing from the bank account! (you can tell how long ago Lisa wrote that.)
            probably one reason she's your ex? I still prefer ARC's ol skool look over the recent Italian re-do.
            TechDAS | Graham Eng | ZYX | Boulder | Magico

            "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

            Comment


            • MylesBAstor
              MylesBAstor commented
              Editing a comment
              Actually no.

              Looks wise, I preferred the old amps instrumentation feel.

          • #7
            Well I've followed ARC products since inception, but it wasn't until 2011 that I bought one, sight unseen (unheard?) purely based on JV and other reviews - The Audio Research Reference 40th Anniversary preamp. Think one day it will be regarded similarly as the SP10. What a beautiful sound.

            Comment


            • MylesBAstor
              MylesBAstor commented
              Editing a comment
              Congrats!

          • #8
            I bought a D-76 the year they came out. Loved that amp and owned it until 2006. I loaned it to someone. Both left town never to be seen again.

            Comment


            • MylesBAstor
              MylesBAstor commented
              Editing a comment
              That sucks. 😯

            • Doxycc
              Doxycc commented
              Editing a comment
              my first foray into high resolution audio was D-76 and SP-3a-1. Loved both and I haven't been back into ARC until Santa this year brought me a REF150 w/KT 150's, a REF 5SE and a pair of REL 212's. Must have been good.

          • #9
            Originally posted by RandyRobinson View Post
            I bought a D-76 the year they came out. Loved that amp and owned it until 2006. I loaned it to someone. Both left town never to be seen again.
            A downstairs neighbor when I lived in the Bronx owned a D76. He must, in fact, have bought his entire system from Lyric at the time since it consisted of Timpani IIIs, D76, SP3A1 van Alastine modded, Linn table/vdh modded cartridge. His system, unfortunately was horrendously bright because he didn't believe in cable (he used zip cord so old that the ends were rotting off and had turned green) and never replaced the tubes ever because someone told him the newest tubes weren't any good (remember this was circa 1990 and good NOS were certainly available. I often wondered if he ever biased his tubes? What a colossal waste of money.
            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
            -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

            Comment


            • RandyRobinson
              RandyRobinson commented
              Editing a comment
              Yikes! The first really nice system I remember hearing was Typanis, not sure which model, tri - amped using D-76s and the SP3A. Wow, I even remember what they were playing when I walked into the dealership: Also sprach Zarathustra. One of those D-76s became mine. Didn't get maggies till much later. One D-76 is not enough for maggies.

          • #10
            My first ARC product I ever owned was a D-76 that I bought as broken. The only thing broken about it is that it had never been biased since new. It still had the original GE 6550 tubes in it that were sadly out of bias. I set the bias and the amp worked like a charm. I considered it my first high-end tube amp and quickly heard what a pretender the ST-70 was in comparison. And my ST-70 came from the original owner in beautiful shape. I had the D-76 for years and it gave me countless hours of musical pleasure.
            Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

            Comment


            • #11
              The days of when an amplifier was an amplifier!

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              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
              -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

              Comment


              • Rob
                Rob commented
                Editing a comment
                that's tube porn right there I recall when the d250 was still a current model, the dealers tech always kept the cage off to chase down gremlins. those things put out some HEAT.

              • Bill Hart
                Bill Hart commented
                Editing a comment
                They would have called it "Manly" but that name was already in use.

            • #12
              That would heat a small house

              Comment


              • #13
                In the same form factor as the D-150 the D79c that I heard with Beveridge speakers and an ARC- SP-6 was incredible at the time circa 1980.

                My ARC SP-8 revision 5 that I bought in 1981 and kept until last year- it was that good. I have kept a ARC SP-3a as the monumental piece that it is effectively beginning the high end as we know it- the battle was between the SP 3 at the time and the Levinson JC 1 pre amp. Tubes versus solid state.
                Nothing has changed!


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                Phono: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
                Brinkmann Balance & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas Lamda, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
                Amps: Custom Direct Drive, Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2. Bedini 25/25
                Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
                Speakers: Beveridge Model 3 Direct Drive amps, REL S/2 x 2, Quad ESL pair
                Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

                Comment


                • #14
                  I had the D-79 as well. I didn't care for it.
                  Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                  Comment


                  • Rob
                    Rob commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Wasn't the D-79 HP's pet amp for like the first 10 issues of TAS?

                  • MylesBAstor
                    MylesBAstor commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I seem to think so.

                • #15
                  Originally posted by mep View Post
                  I had the D-79 as well. I didn't care for it.
                  What version did you have? as an impressionable 19 year old at the time - it was far beyond the ST 70s and MK IIIs that I was playing with after hours in University Engineering class.
                  Phono: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
                  Brinkmann Balance & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas Lamda, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
                  Amps: Custom Direct Drive, Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2. Bedini 25/25
                  Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
                  Speakers: Beveridge Model 3 Direct Drive amps, REL S/2 x 2, Quad ESL pair
                  Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

                  Comment

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