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rkc

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Does anyone have any experience with ARC amplifiers driving Martin Logans, specifically their solid state units? I am interested in the 100.2, D-400 mkII, 150.2, and 300.2 to power SL3's. I have read a lot of great reviews of the 100.2 but they all have no experience using it with Logan's. I already know the history of ARC tube units with Logans but I am really turned off to the fact of having to re-tube every 4 years or so and the cost as well. Here is the rest of my system:

Preamp: ARC LS-15 with infinicap upgrade
Amp: Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature bi-amped into the SL3's
Source: Rega Planet cd player

The Sunfire of course has plenty of power to drive the SL3's and I absolutely love the LS-15 preamp. It is a good match with Sunfire. As a whole, this system sounds very very good. I am just wondering if an ARC amp would be a better synergistic match with the LS-15. If these amps that I have listed do not match up well with Logan's, then could you please recommend a great match with my preamp in about the $2000 used price range? I would even be willing to upgrade to another Sunfire if it would surpass my current amp!

Thanks
 

mitrolyat

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I felt the 100.2 was perfectly matched to my LS-16, driving Aerius Is. The only other ARC amps I have heard driving MLs were the VT100 and 150.2. Comparisons are difficult, I was told by the dealer that the 100.2 offered much greater finesse than the 150.2. The VT100 with SL3s gave me my first experience of goose bumps on the back of my neck. Bottom line, I think the 100.2 deserves the praise. Will 100w be adequate for your listening levels?

Sorry, no experience with Sunfire. Sunfire is well respected and your system must be delivering very, very good sound (your description). Any gains going to an ARC pre/amp combo may be only subjectively better. But then again, it may be a synergistically better.

Good luck.
 

Statman

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Before I purchased my Levinson 335 the dealer loaned me a ARC 100.2 to listen to on my Odysseys(RIP). I did like the the overall sound it produced. The only disadvantage it had was not enough power for me. If I had no other choice I'd buy one still.
 

aliveatfive

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I've been using ARC tubes on my Logans for years and I love them. Are you sure you want Tri-path modules in your system? I haven't heard them so I won't comment.
 

tonyc

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rkc, I fear that you will find the combination of your preamp and an arc solid state amp a bit threadbare compared to your current arc/Sunfire pairing. The Sunfire is a much warmer sounding amp. Please do not rule out arc tubes until you actually listen. If you are indeed set on SS, may I suggest that Rowland or Ayre might be a better match with SL3's.
 
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rkc

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Thanks for all the comments, experiences from everyone. I will admit, I have come very close to pulling the trigger on a VT100 a few times, but I just do not have any experience with tube amps. I do realize that if I did hear one, I would probably have a difficult time giving it up no matter how much a re-tube would cost, well, to a certain limit anyway. So, if I did go with a tube amp (VT100), what should I expect in the way of tube life, cost, maintenance, etc.... I also have a fear of too much heat due to my equipment rack, which holds a 50 inch Sony lcd and has a pair of glass doors. It is open in the back, however. I would have about 3 or 4 inches of clearance on top of the amp. I should also say that my living room dimensions are 22' x 18' with a vaulted ceiling in case 100 watts would be too small for occasional loud listening. I have a small child so putting it on an amp rack on the floor isn't an option. Please please keep the suggestions coming!!

Thanks,

Rich
 

Statman

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When I had my ARC 120 tube amps my son was around 2 years of age. He never really messed with the amps which sat on the floor. You need to have the amp well ventilated. If you take the curiosity out of it they won't have the urge to touch it? :D
 

DTB300

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rkc said:
Thanks for all the comments, experiences from everyone. I will admit, I have come very close to pulling the trigger on a VT100 a few times, but I just do not have any experience with tube amps. I do realize that if I did hear one, I would probably have a difficult time giving it up no matter how much a re-tube would cost, well, to a certain limit anyway.
If you have not heard a Tube Amp on your setup, you really need to audition one first before "pulling the trigger". Tube Amps, like any amp, have their own type of sound which some like and some do not. Neither party is right or wrong, just personal preference. And like all amps, different companies have different sounding products.

Dan
 
A

Andre

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I have used Audio Research D-300 with SP-14 on Aerius-i to good effect. I had VTL tubes but were daunted by the heat generation....If you like Audio Research sound, then stick with it.
 

wink

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Hey Rich,

Make sure you let me know what your doing with you Cinema Grand Signature. I can never have enough channels of Sunfire power for my whole house audio.

Take it easy

Dan
 

Gordon Gray

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I second Dan's opinion

Rich,

I think Dan's response is spot on. I have the Summits, along with the CJ Premier 18LS preamp and a Theta "Miles" CD player. I have been using the Classe Audio CA150 SS amp and decided to audition the VTL ST150 tube amp. Although the tubes definitely did some things better, I ultimately ended up sending it back and am staying with the Classe. The VTL "warmed" up the overall sound a bit too much for my liking.

To be sure and, as recommended by Dan, you should audition in your own home before you commit.

GG
 
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karma

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HI All,
I should be shot!! I'm really trying to be objective, I promise. It won't sound that way, I know. But, I see no reason to be bashful or humble (not a trait of mine anyway).

I have had ARC tube electronics on my CLS's from the moment they walked in the door, 16 years ago. I'm not going to speak about sound quality. All you folks already know about that. Rather, I'm going to speak about synergy, something you may not know enough about.

In my 50 odd years of hi fi experience I have never heard such perfect synergy between a speaker (CLSIIA's) and its driving electronics as I experience (see my signature). The CLSIIA strong points of speed, transparency, clarity, resolultion, detail and articulation are well kown. How, then, do we optimize our electronics to take advantage of this performance. I have the answer. (You can start shooting now). IMO, the sonic signature of ARC components are perfectly in line with the strengths of the CLSIIA's. The synergy is nearly perfect. Each does best what the other does best.

Consequently, when you ask if ARC electronics work well with ML's I give a qualified YES. My reservations pivot around the term "Solid State". In my view, anyone would be crazy to not buy what Audio Research does best: tube amps and preamps. That's what I think you should buy. Forget solid state electronics. Leave them for the flat earthers (yes, I know this is a twist on the figure of speech).

Sparky
 
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twich54

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Sparky, You do Bill Johnson proud ! But I'm with Ya ! been an ARC guy for twenty years myself, although I hold a soft spot for CJ gear as well !
 

dbakker@wwnet.com

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Why Solid State?

karma said:
Consequently, when you ask if ARC electronics work well with ML's I give a qualified YES. My reservations pivot around the term "Solid State". In my view, anyone would be crazy to not buy what Audio Research does best: tube amps and preamps. That's what I think you should buy. Forget solid state electronics. Leave them for the flat earthers (yes, I know this is a twist on the figure of speech).

Sparky
I have owned five version of ML speakers and with every model ended up using Audio Research tube equipment. I have tried many solid state units and never found any that reinforces the unique strength of electrostats the way AR tube gear does.

I own a number of SS amps by Electrocompaniet (known for its "tubelike sound) and they work really well in a HT environment but in a music system they do not come close in the harmonic capabilities of tubes. Speed and control are also there in spades. Why Solid State indeed?
 
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karma

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twich54 said:
Sparky, You do Bill Johnson proud ! But I'm with Ya ! been an ARC guy for twenty years myself, although I hold a soft spot for CJ gear as well !
HI twitch and dbakker,
Thanks for your support and, while I know you offer it for purely audio reasons, it is still appreciated personally.

Twitch, I too have a large soft spot for CJ tube equipment, especially at the top of their line. I have heard their amps on ESL's and they performed beautifully. Nothing quite compares to what CJ does with hall ambience. But on ML speakers I think CJ's are not playing to their strengths. Extreme detail and resolution is not what CJ is best at. I could see them more at home on Sound Labs where I think they would make me cry. I feel the same about VTL, again at the top of their line. Good stuff but not for me.

Dbakker, I am with you on solid state. They definitely have a place in fine systems. My 5.1 HT bedroom system is based on Krell, Denon and B&W 805S series speakers. My entire speaker kit is 805S, ASW800 (X2) subs, SCMS center channel, and HTM4S surrounds. This is an awesome system. I have nothing but good to say about it. It only suffers when compared to my main ML, ARC system. The HT system serves a dual purpose. First, I love movies and having a good surround system is joyful. Next, and maybe most important, is it is my casual listening system. This means that I don't fire up my main system unless I'm going to do some serious listening.

Retubing just my D250 amp costs a little over $1800. I know because I am going through it right now. To me, this is not chump change. The only way I can justify having my current main system is to cut the costs. My HT system lets me do this and not cause any undue hearing damage. In fact I really enjoy my little HT system.

Actually, it's not so little. The Krell KAV 3250 amp and KAV 280P preamp, the 805S speakers, and the Cal Audio Labs tube DAC are right on the cusp of being great, having some of the qualities I love in my main system.

Sparky
 
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rkc

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twich54 said:
Sparky, You do Bill Johnson proud ! But I'm with Ya ! been an ARC guy for twenty years myself, although I hold a soft spot for CJ gear as well !
twich, how does the Plinius amp match up with the ARC preamp? It must be pretty doggone good or else you wouldn't have it. I have an SA100MKIII on my short list of solid state units as well as the ARC 100.2
 
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rkc

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karma said:
Retubing just my D250 amp costs a little over $1800. I know because I am going through it right now. To me, this is not chump change. The only way I can justify having my current main system is to cut the costs. My HT system lets me do this and not cause any undue hearing damage. In fact I really enjoy my little HT system.



This is the exact reason why I have a difficult time justifying investing in a tube amp just due to the cost of re-tubing. I have heard that re-tubing even a VT100 costs several hundred dollars. If I can find a solid state amp that provides me with what I call the "chill factor", aka goose bumps, that would be wonderful. Besides, my significant other DEFINATELY wouldn't be very happy with me spending hundreds on new tubes every 2 to 4 years, I hate to admit to that, but I have to consider that factor as well. I do appreciate everyones opinions.

Rich
 
K

karma

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HI rkc,
Well, tubes ARE the wellspring of life. I hope you don't think that I enjoy the retubing expense. I don't. I just think it is worth the cost.

Also, my D-250 is the largest stereo amp ever produced by ARC. It has 32 (!) tubes, 20 of which are the very expensive 6550 beam pentodes. This amp shouldn't be considered the benchmark of retubing costs. If I have not completely scared you away, I would call Audio Research and inquire about retubing costs for the amp you are interested in. I think you will find that it does not compare to my amp.

Consider: let's say you must retube every other year. Let's say that it costs $400 (just a guess) to buy the tubes. If you can't do the work yourself then figure another $100 to hire a professional to do the work. So, $500 in round figures. Good output tubes will be the first to go. They age the fastest. On the average, you will get about 1500 hours on your output tube set before replacement. How does math work out out. Let's see; 500 divided by 1500 should come out about .33 per hour of operation. Divide by 2 to get your use cost of .17 per hour. Is that too bad?

Also, chances are that the complete set will need to be replaced about every other time. So, you will save money by buying only the output tubes.

Just my thoughts on the issue. BTW, my amp and preamp have been very reliable.

Sparky
 

twich54

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rkc said:
twich, how does the Plinius amp match up with the ARC preamp? It must be pretty doggone good or else you wouldn't have it. I have an SA100MKIII on my short list of solid state units as well as the ARC 100.2

Rich, Good evening, as to your question, in a word, superb !! I have owned and listened to alot of amps both solid state and tube over the years and i trully believe the Plinius is Stellar. When set to the high bias Class A position it will rival many a tube amp with it's mid - range sweetness yet will maintain a bottomend that NO tube amp can match. Now would I turn down the ARC ref series mono blocks if dropped at my front door...... of course not, but as I have said numerous times before, at the price point of the Plinius I have yet to hear anything even close ! it mates up just perfect with my LS-26.

With regards to your thoughts on the SA-100, I would be carefull for it has been documented that that Amp did have some "swiching" glitches, I spoke with Mr Markwell (importer for Plinius out of so Cal) and he more or less said it had to do with changing the amp over to 120v configuration for the states. with that keep your eyes open for a nice SA-102, I do believe "Joey' got a nice deal on one recently and with the SA-103 out and about the 102 might start showing up more often on the "Gon"
 
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DTB300

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Rich, Good evening, as to your question, in a word, superb !! I have owned and listened to alot of amps both solid state and tube over the years and i trully believe the Plinius is Stellar. When set to the high bias Class A position it will rival many a tube amp with it's mid - range sweetness yet will maintain a bottomend that NO tube amp can match.
I agree totally with Twich and his assessment and comments about the ARC Pre and Plinius combo. I own a lower model ARC, the SP-16L, but I have rolled tubes from the stock EH and really like the sound I am getting.

With a bunch of people here talking about tubes and ML's, I did listen to many tube amps during my search for a new amp, and as Twich stated, I could not find a Tube amp that would control my panels as well as the Plinius did for the cost involved. But that is my opinion and my preferences, and not the bottom line.

In Class A, the Plinius has that great midrange sweetness, and no grainy or shrill high end that some SS amps may exhibit.

There is no "Abolute Best Component" in this hobby, let it be Tubes, SS, Vinyl, Digital, etc. just many choices for all of us to choose from to determine which we like best for our budgets and rooms.

Dan
 

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