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Auditioned the New ARC LS-26 !!

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twich54

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Finally got around to listening to Audio Research's New LS-26 today. I was at Overture Audio in Wilmington, De. where they had set - up the LS-26 vs. LS-17, source was ARC CD player, Classe' 200w amp, Vantage Speakers, MIT interconnects. For listening purposes I brought: Chuck Mangione's "Childern of Sanchez", Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concerto No. 3", and Beegie Adair "Jazz on Broadway". I'll leave the flowery addjectives and metaphors for the writers of the various audio rags and just say that anybody in the market for a new pre-amp in the 5-6k range should give the LS-26 a serious listen. The new LS-17 is very good in its own right, but when going between the two it is as if another "veil" has been lifted and your even closer to the "live source" with the LS-26.
When listening to Mangione's Childern of Sanchez his Fugle horn never sounded so good as well as the uncanny ability to clearly discern between crash, ride and high-hat cymbals. We all know how great a job our M/L's do with piano, well Tchaikovsky's piano concherto #3 was most impressive, it's a shame he only wrote one movement before he died.

The topology of the pre-amp is closely tied to the ref#3(2-6H30P dual triode tubes complimented by a Hybrid JET circuit). Front panel is a smaller version of the Ref#3 as well.

All in all, a very enjoyable way to spend ones lunch hour. Now if only that kid of mine would have decided to elope, instead were heading to Mexico for a wedding next week ! Ah the wheels are spinning !!!
 
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Statman

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Twich 54

Thanks,

I'm afraid to go to my dealer and listen to it now. I read and I'm sure you did also the posting over on Audiogon that said that it's voiced very similar to the Ref 3? I was wondering if you've heard the Ref 3 and if you did is that true at all? I'm curious as to how much of a difference there is compared to my LS 25MKII? I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and audition it.
 

twich54

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Vern, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the LS-26 is far closer to the ref #3 than the LS-25 mkII. Yes I have listened to the Ref#3 as well and if $$$ were no object than it would be easy but as I said I've got a wedding to help pay for so even the LS-26 might be a reach................hmmmm............ what's that crap that Joey was eating so as to afford his new Summitt's ????
vermon noddles or something like that ????
 

jfm

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Thanks for the review! Which ARC cdp was being used - the 3 or the 7?
So it didn't sound bright at all, huh?
 

Joey_V

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You looking to upgrade to the LS26, Dave?

Sounds like a killer pre. :)
 

twich54

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jfm said:
Thanks for the review! Which ARC cdp was being used - the 3 or the 7?
So it didn't sound bright at all, huh?
It was the new cdp 7, sounded superb !

Yes Joey I'm contemplating the move but I have the shared exspense coming up of my sons wedding to deal with, I've already got a buyer for my SP-16L so that helps.
 

aliveatfive

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Twich -

I hate to be the bearer of sad tidings, but if you've not yet heard the PH 7, you gotta. This phono pre has absolutely zero vices which I can detect. I'm sure it'll sound great through a REF 3 or an LS 26. Mine's going on about 125 hours now, and it's by far the best phono pre I've ever heard.
 

twich54

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aliveatfive said:
Twich -

I hate to be the bearer of sad tidings, but if you've not yet heard the PH 7, you gotta. This phono pre has absolutely zero vices which I can detect. I'm sure it'll sound great through a REF 3 or an LS 26. Mine's going on about 125 hours now, and it's by far the best phono pre I've ever heard.
Your absolutely correct, I've listened to it through the ref #3 and the ARC big Mono Blocks driving a pair of Wilson's, table was a VPI Aries, can't remember the cartridge but it was mighty impressive. $$$ wise, way out of my league though.
 

twich54

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Spike said:
For the $6k budget of the ARC LS26, you should also consider the DeHavilland Mercury 2 Pre, Cary SLP-05, and the Manley NeoClassic 300B Pre just to name a few. I'm sure I'm missing a bunch more on this short list...

Spike
Spike, of the three you listed the Dehavilland I listened to last year at dealer in Victor, NY "The Analog Shop", nice piece but it didn't wow me, besides if I remember correctly it was pretty limited in flexibility and only had single ended connections. I believe someone on the Forum is using SLP-05 on their Logans, I listened to the "98" earlier this year and thought it to be a little "bloated" in the mids, overall I do like Cary audio though. Manley labs , I've had no experience with. choices, choices ..........hell, I practically live next to the home of BAT and have yet to listen to them !!! I've been a CJ and ARC guy for so long, maybe it's time to expand my horizons !
 

Spike

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twich54 said:
I listened to the "98" earlier this year and thought it to be a little "bloated" in the mids, overall I do like Cary audio though.
Same here. I did find the Cary SLP-98 to be too..."intoxicatingly sweet". The ModWright on the otherhand is more neutral, with good (underlying) tone and dynamics (courtesy of the 5687 tubes).
I practically live next to the home of BAT and have yet to listen to them !!! I've been a CJ and ARC guy for so long, maybe it's time to expand my horizons !
Yep, go out and explore the horizons. I think that if you've always like the ARC sound, and that you found the Cary 98 to be "bloated in the mids", the ModWright and BAT should be on the top of you list.

Good luck on your search
Spike
 

twich54

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Ahhhhh.... in the poor hse, but the music is great !!!

Yes I did, gulp !!!!! LS-26 has a new home, wonderfull combo with the Plinius SA-102
 

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aliveatfive

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Dave -

Quick question: Does Overture actually stock ARC stuff? When I ordered the PH 7 from Lyric in NYC, I had to wait about a month for delivery. Did you pay full list? (I did.) Tax also an interesting consideration.

Addendum: Today's NY Times (in the business section) has an article on Sovtek. (Manufacturer of Sovtek and EH and TungSol and who knows what else) Mike Matthews, the American owner of the company, is very concerned that the Russians are trying to take the company away from him. Wonder if this will affect the supply of 6H30s, etc?
 
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Anthony A.

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dave, could you expand more on the ls26. i recently heard one at the dealer and thought it sounded superb. i tried a few other pre's but i think im gonna pull the trigger on an arc pre. my question (if you have experience with this), have you compared the ref 1 or 2 mk1 that uses 6922 tubes (that can be rolled extensively) to the new design of the ls26/ref 3 with 6h30 tubes and j fet design? i cannot listen to these units but many feel that they perform better and you can custom tailor the sound with tube rolling. any experience or comments are appreciated. thanks.
 

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Anthony A. said:
dave, could you expand more on the ls26. i recently heard one at the dealer and thought it sounded superb. i tried a few other pre's but i think im gonna pull the trigger on an arc pre. my question (if you have experience with this), have you compared the ref 1 or 2 mk1 that uses 6922 tubes (that can be rolled extensively) to the new design of the ls26/ref 3 with 6h30 tubes and j fet design? i cannot listen to these units but many feel that they perform better and you can custom tailor the sound with tube rolling. any experience or comments are appreciated. thanks.
Don't leave the Placette off your comparison list.
 

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Dave,

Looks like I missed your post from a while back regarding the LS26 homecoming... man.. must've been when I had that boards-related dry spell. Anyway, CONGRATS on the baby and hope that it's making some sweet sweet music with the SA102.

Joey
 

twich54

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Joey_V said:
Dave,

Looks like I missed your post from a while back regarding the LS26 homecoming... man.. must've been when I had that boards-related dry spell. Anyway, CONGRATS on the baby and hope that it's making some sweet sweet music with the SA102.

That it is Joey, that it is !!! I couldn't be more pleased with the pair !
 

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I'm also intersted in the difference in sound quality between the LS25mkII and the LS26. The LS25mkII is a very nice pre. But knowing ARC it is unlikely they'd sanction a model change just for the sake of it. What would the price difference be between the new asking price for the LS25mkII and the LS26?
 

Anthony A.

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i think the ls25 has been discontinued for the ls26. perhaps a dealer may have a few left or demo units, but the msrp between the two i think was like a $500 difference. i would like to hear some comparisons/remarks as well for this unit.
 

twich54

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edwinr said:
I'm also intersted in the difference in sound quality between the LS25mkII and the LS26. The LS25mkII is a very nice pre. But knowing ARC it is unlikely they'd sanction a model change just for the sake of it. What would the price difference be between the new asking price for the LS25mkII and the LS26?
The LS25mKII has been discontinued, the LS-26 is considerably better that the LS-25 to the point that it is compared to the REF 3 , given the topology it shares that makes sense. general consensus amongst the "golden ear" crowd is that it is 80-90% of the REF3 at 60% the cost. List of the LS-26 is $5995.
 
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