1970's Audio Research Equipment, worth having?

ARC seems to held in high regard by quite a few 'Gons. What about the early tube stuff, like the mid 70s? Does it still measure up to today's standards? What are some the problems one might face?
I agree with Nsgarch that in the late 80's ARC made changes in going to hybrids...BUT i will not cede that this was an advancement. :-)

I'm not up to speed on ARC's amps. The only one I've ever owned was the D115II - I never warmed up to it for various reasons.

However, the SP preamps made in the 80's were fine then, fine now, and are fully supported by ARC. They all have different sounds, come with very good to world class phono stages, and give up little to todays stuff other than a bit of resolution for which they make up in tonal balance, mid range bloom and their ability to throw a hugh soundstage. They are not cold and ascerbic as are many modern pre-amps, tubes and SS.

I've been running my SP10II since about 1983 - I send it back to ARC about every five years for a tune up. The service is 1st class - and get this, they don't take credit cards. They just return the equipment and send you a bill in the mail! Guess who they trust .....and support.

The SP8 also gets high marks. The SP11, its first hybrid also gets many great comments, although for me it was the first step away from the traditional tube sound. The SP6 is less resolved than the 8 or 10, and the SP3 is lush.

If I were in the market for the sound from these 80's units I mentioned I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to buy one.
If you want older ARC gear, I feel the peak of ARC was from 82-85 or so with the SP-8, SP-10, D70, D115, D250 models. Once they headed into the hybrid line, their sound became way too analytical for me. If you want a sound that is a refinement to the models I have listed, you have to go to the PH2(solid state phono), LS5 & VT130 / VT150. These retained the magic of the 80s pieces with many refinements. I have not heard anything in the ARC line since these models that has caught my attention.

One thing I can say without a doubt is that ARC has made some phenomenol gear and some that was not! Buying a newer product with the assumption that it will be an improvement over the previous model can result in disaapointment. But this is true with any company.

I will offer a somewhat differing view. I agree with the above comments that the hybrids marked a downturn in ARC products-- at least to the qualities I listen for. I have worked on most of their gear up to the mid-1990s. The best amp they ever made, IMHO, was the M-100 and the best preamp being the SP-10 (although keeping 12 quiet tubes in it was a challenge). However, do not assume that the 70s vintage stuff is over the hill. Updating the coupling caps, some resisitors and the feedback caps will give you an amp, or preamp, that is highly competitive. If you are technically inclined, some work on the power supply will then give you an amp or preamp that is as good as you can buy. The output transformers of the 70s tube amps are excellent quality.
one thing is for sure stay away from a d90 man did those things blow up, the d250 on the other hand was a fine amp and very reliable even with all those tubes, d79 also was a great amp very big and heavy though, same with the 250
Thanks for the info received so far. It is interesting how even a well respected company can bring out a new product that is not an improvement over past models. ARC has been around for a long time in audio terms. I wonder how many companies today will be around in 30 years? Take a look at an issue of High Fidelity from the 70's and see how many companies have come and gone.