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ARC Line Stage pre-amps


Ralf11
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tubes are a hassle, but...

 

I have a deep affinity for the ARC pre-amps (or maybe just the knobs).

 

As I look at the newer (used) ones tho, I see they dropped the balance control at some point. How do you adjust the balance??

 

Also, which ones have remotes -- and good, highly functional remotes?

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tubes are a hassle, but...

 

I have a deep affinity for the ARC pre-amps (or maybe just the knobs).

 

As I look at the newer (used) ones tho, I see they dropped the balance control at some point. How do you adjust the balance??

 

Also, which ones have remotes -- and good, highly functional remotes?

 

Out of curiosity, what do you consider an highly functional remote?

[br]

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  • 5 months later...

@Johnseye

 

Amazingly, adding this pre-amp to my system made me think that some common Stereophile terms like "musicality" and "sense of pace" actually made sense.

 

It uses 2 tubes 6H30 IIRC? and I've heard that that change (the Mk II) made  a significant increase in SQ.

 

Ergonomically, I like LEDs in a circle display better than the numbers used on the later pre-amps.

I like the toggle switches -- maybe due to playing with an early unit at a dealer's when I was a young, but impoverished, graduate student...

This unit has the twist & hold knobs on it, which I do not like.  I guess it's too hard to have real knobs in a digital unit.  I DO like the knob shape better than the stubby black knobs on the very first units (ARC brought that look & feel back on the newest units too.)

 

A new remote is $150 -- too much, tho it is metal.

 

This unit does not have a phat overly "tubey" sound.  Some people prefer that and the early units were more like that, as is Conrad-Johnson.  It DOES sound euphonic.  Maybe that isn't accurate but I like it.

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Did you compare it to other pre's when making your decision?  The more I think about it I'd like to use it for both my turntable and dac so a line is probably out for me.  I could always run a phono pre through it but why when it's tube.  Not sure what the benefit of having a balance has.  I never use it in my surround system.  Remote yes, mute, source switching and volume control yes.

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I bought it used via mail order for $2,500 (from a dealer who replaced the tubes with new) -- I live in a fairly small town so there is not much way for me to comparison shop at this level.  The nearest dealer to me would be Portland which is an all day back and forth trip.

 

I know many people rave about the SP-11, but it could be placebo effect from having two boxes...

 

ARC was purchased by a large co. at some point, but I don't know when, or whether the SQ was affected.

 

Here is an Audio Research... ah.. research site for looks, features, etc.

http://www.arcdb.ws/preamplifiers.html

 

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On 12/27/2016 at 4:04 PM, Ralf11 said:

tubes are a hassle, but...

 

I have a deep affinity for the ARC pre-amps (or maybe just the knobs).

 

As I look at the newer (used) ones tho, I see they dropped the balance control at some point. How do you adjust the balance??

 

Also, which ones have remotes -- and good, highly functional remotes?

I once had an SP-11 and I loved it, but today I feel that AR gear has priced itself way out of the market - at least for me. I see no reason to spend as much for a line-level pre-amp as AR wants when one can get a superb sounding Schiit Freya (with remote control) for US$700.

George

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An outboard phono stage is another option.  And if you put it on a very short cable from the turntable, with the longer lead to the pre-amp, it is likely a good SQ option.

 

Best (and least convenient) is to put the turntable and phono stage in another room, like  a closet off the listening room...

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2 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

An outboard phono stage is another option.  And if you put it on a very short cable from the turntable, with the longer lead to the pre-amp, it is likely a good SQ option.

 

Best (and least convenient) is to put the turntable and phono stage in another room, like  a closet off the listening room...

 

I have an outboard phono stage now but it's not tube.  Was thinking if I make a decent investment I can get it in the pre.  Maybe separates is a better option and I just run my current phono stage into the pre.  I had it in the closet and moved it right in front of me.  Much much nicer. 45s require frequent changing.

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1 hour ago, Ralf11 said:

An outboard phono stage is another option.  And if you put it on a very short cable from the turntable, with the longer lead to the pre-amp, it is likely a good SQ option.

 

Best (and least convenient) is to put the turntable and phono stage in another room, like  a closet off the listening room...

If any of you need an outboard phono preamp, this one is a smoking hot bargain.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Emotiva-Audio-XPS-1-Phono-Preamp/dp/B00PMCIYK4

 

Don't let the small size or price concern you.  This works MC or MM and sounds very good.  I do have experience with expensive phono pre's fed from expensive analog rigs.  I wouldn't say this is as good as any, it isn't, but it is very good.  Silly good for the price.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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1 hour ago, Johnseye said:

 

I have an outboard phono stage now but it's not tube.  Was thinking if I make a decent investment I can get it in the pre.  Maybe separates is a better option and I just run my current phono stage into the pre.  I had it in the closet and moved it right in front of me.  Much much nicer. 45s require frequent changing.

Though many would scoff at the idea, feeding that phono pre into an affordable recording ADC works well.  You digitize the phono signal and it then becomes another digital input to your DAC.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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1 hour ago, esldude said:

If any of you need an outboard phono preamp, this one is a smoking hot bargain.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Emotiva-Audio-XPS-1-Phono-Preamp/dp/B00PMCIYK4

 

Don't let the small size or price concern you.  This works MC or MM and sounds very good.  I do have experience with expensive phono pre's fed from expensive analog rigs.  I wouldn't say this is as good as any, it isn't, but it is very good.  Silly good for the price.

 

So many bash Emotiva in CA.  Nice to hear something positive about them.

 

1 hour ago, esldude said:

Though many would scoff at the idea, feeding that phono pre into an affordable recording ADC works well.  You digitize the phono signal and it then becomes another digital input to your DAC.

 

Can't do it.  Many rip vinyl as well. I haven't given ripped vinyl a listen but I really like the sound of straight analog.

 

36 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

45s??

 

Yup. A lot of albums are released at 45 rpm now.  It takes 2 LPs where a 33 would be 1 but the sound is better for several reasons.  This site explains the concepts fairly well.

 

https://www.classic45s.com/why45s/45sound.html

 

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12 minutes ago, Johnseye said:

 

snip

Can't do it.  Many rip vinyl as well. I haven't given ripped vinyl a listen but I really like the sound of straight analog.


snip

 

Oh no, another scoffer.  :)

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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5 hours ago, esldude said:

Oh no, another scoffer.  :)

Why would one insert an ADC>DAC if it weren't necessary? That seems like the worst of all worlds despite a minuscule chance the RIAA curve is better.

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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On 12/27/2016 at 7:04 PM, Ralf11 said:

tubes are a hassle, but...

 

I have a deep affinity for the ARC pre-amps (or maybe just the knobs).

 

As I look at the newer (used) ones tho, I see they dropped the balance control at some point. How do you adjust the balance??

 

Also, which ones have remotes -- and good, highly functional remotes?

 on the LS28  ; 

To adjust the balance, press the ‘BAL L’ or
‘BAL R’ button on the remote. The balance
scale will appear in the middle of the
display, and the indicator will move in the
selected direction

The Truth Is Out There

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On 12/27/2016 at 4:04 PM, Ralf11 said:

As I look at the newer (used) ones tho, I see they dropped the balance control at some point. How do you adjust the balance??

 

I have a 20 year old ARC LS-2 preamp, and it does not have a balance control.  It has only two knobs, for volume and source selection.  It's the minimalist philosophy shared by so many of the perfectionist brands.

Mac Mini (2012 i7) > HQPlayer > RME ADI-2 v2 > Benchmark AHB-2 > Thiel 3.7

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