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Anthony A.

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So i recently upgraded my cd player to an ARC CD3 mk2, that is wonderfully musical and engaging (can you say SOUNDSTAGE). anyways, now im looking to upgrade to a tube preamp with a fully balanced design. help me out on my choices. i have narrowed down (based on my proce range) the following:


ARC ls16mk2
BAT (anything up to vk 30se)
Blue Circle bc3/3000

any other suggestions or choices in the same price range (up to $3k on the used market).


thanks so much, and my system components are in my sig.
 

aliveatfive

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ARC is about to release a new preamp (6h30 based) called the LS17. According to their website, it's based on the REF 3. I'd audition it before plunking down the long green.

BTW, the latest BAT in your price range would be the VK 31SE. (I have the 51SE.) I'd also recommend an audition.
 
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twich54

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Anthony, I am also an ARC guy, I will demoing the new LS-17, LS-26 alongside my existing SP-16L the begining of next week. According to a friend of mine who has just recently picked up his LS-26, it is so close to the Ref3 it's scary !! ?? If thats true it could well be the dollar value amp of the year, not to mention the re-sale of ref2's will drop dramatically. I'll post my impressions after my audition next week.

Also FWIW those in the Wilmington,De area this weekend, Overture Audio has a nice show going on with folks from ARC, B&W along with Robert Harley.
 

kach22i

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ARC is a "standard" in the audio industry and should always be considered.

BAT has a nice wide sound stage, just no magic to my ears.

Blue Circle would be my choice even though I've never listened to them. I've liked what I've read, and as far as "Industrial design" goes it just looks better to me than the others, kind of artsy.
 

MiTT

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Well...I'm a BAT guy using a VK-31SE and I recommend it enthusiastically.

I've listened to the ARC gear for a few years and always found it wonderfull, but in my system and room the BAT offers a bit more of a soundstage and a bit more detail while still sounding very lush. I'm also running a solid state amp (BAT VK-6200) in my setup.
 

jfm

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Anthony, those are great preamps to choose from.

While I'm an ARC guy myself, I think your choice will depend on which one mates with your amp best, both in terms of sonics (duh) and electrical compatibility. Regarding the latter, I've read instances where some tube preamps have compatibility problems with some SS amps. I run that kind of setup myself and wanted to stay clear of such problems.

If I were in your shoes, I'd email Blue Circle and BAT and ask them about such potential compatibility problems; both companies' designers are accessible by email (not sure about ARC). Go to the Blue Circle forum as well and ask those folks (not sure if there are forums for ARC and BAT). While you're at it, email Pass too.

That's just for the functionality aspect. For sonics...hope you get to a chance to audition your options.

Happy shopping and do update when you've made your choice!
 

jjqiv

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Anthony A. said:
So i recently upgraded my cd player to an ARC CD3 mk2, that is wonderfully musical and engaging (can you say SOUNDSTAGE). anyways, now im looking to upgrade to a tube preamp with a fully balanced design. help me out on my choices. i have narrowed down (based on my proce range) the following:


ARC ls16mk2
BAT (anything up to vk 30se)
Blue Circle bc3/3000

any other suggestions or choices in the same price range (up to $3k on the used market).


thanks so much, and my system components are in my sig.

Though it is not a tube preamp, or even a preamp at all, I would suggest looking into a Placette Passive Preamp. Included is a link to a review from a site/reviewer who seem to have very good ears.

http://www.10audio.com/placette.htm
 

Anthony A.

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yeah, i've heard a lot of good things about the placette but have discluded it since i want a fully balanced design to complement the rest of my gear. and, the placette unfortunately is single-ended.
 

jjqiv

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Anthony A. said:
yeah, i've heard a lot of good things about the placette but have discluded it since i want a fully balanced design to complement the rest of my gear. and, the placette unfortunately is single-ended.
They do offer balanced versions of the Placette. Though, the cost is almost double (, ie., x 1.8)
 

Anthony A.

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oh really...... i didn't know that. i've heard good things about it, do you have any more info and experiences with one?
 

jjqiv

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Anthony A. said:
oh really...... i didn't know that. i've heard good things about it, do you have any more info and experiences with one?
I don't have any experience with the balanced version, but I rememberred seeing this in the placetteaudio.com Q&A section:

"Q... Why don't you recommend Balanced operation?

A... We offer truly balanced versions of all of our products at an extra cost of 1.8 times the single ended price. To build a truly balanced volume control or preamp requires building four channels of everything instead of the usual stereo pair and because of the very high cost of Vishay® resistors, this gets very expensive. It only offers an advantage in a very few situations. But, because of the extremely good tracking of our balanced four channel volume controls, noise cancellation is the very highest possible because the plus and minus signals are always exactly equal but opposite in phase at every volume setting.
"
 
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