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Mainly using Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme cables (speaker, power cable to ARC Ref5SE and Magtech)
Shunyata Alpha HC to my Schiit Yggdrasil, Shunyata Zitron Python from Yggdrasil to Ref5SE, Groneberg TS Premium from REF5SE to Magtech
I just got the Merrill Veritas for demo today and am using different interconnects and power cables.
Actually, The correct comparison would be the Aesthetix Callisto Signature or Eclipse to the ARC Ref 5se, not the Calypso. Here’s a link to a comparison of the Calypso to the Callisto:
The ARC uses the 6H30 tube. If you like that tube then ARC might be right for you. You can’t change it for anything else, though. The Callisto has a bunch of tubes that you can roll to tune the sound to your taste, maybe too many tubes for many people.
"I think it’s unfair to compare the Ref5SE to the Calypso Signature because of the price difference ($13k v. $7k); a fairer comparison would be the Calypso Eclipse to the Ref5SE (~$10k v. $13k)."
I don't see why that would be unfair. System matching is more important than price. In some systems, the ARC may outperform the Aesthetix, and in other cases, the opposite may be true. Of the 2 preamps, the Aesthetix will most likely match up with a wider range of components than the ARC. With ARC preamps, its hard to predict whay kind of sound you're going to get. They can sound amazing in your system, and be a train wreck in mine. Not only that, the build quality of the Caylipso is also much better.
The Aesthetix Callisto Signature retails for $13,000 including a $2,000 remote control. $11,000 without remote.
The ARC Ref 6 retails for $14,000.
The ARC Ref 10 retails for $30,000.
Ultimately, what’s important is the sound, as sfall states. However, the sound quality we get is usually limited by the amount of money we can afford to spend. I know that a cheaper system can sound better than a more expensive one, but if one carefully puts his system together, the more expensive one should sound better. I know that my system’s sound has improved as I have bought more expensive components.
How many boxes the component consists of is usually not a big factor in what we buy.
So I think that most people shopping for a preamp would compare the Callisto to the Ref 6 and feel that the Ref 10 is out of their price range. However, if $16,000 is chump change to you, you might compare the Callisto to the Ref 10.