Having owned one, I can tell you that the great reputation the 100.2 has is well-deserved. They tend to get snatched up very quickly on Audiogon. Still, as good as the 100.2 is, I'm told by people whose ears I trust that the 150.2 sounds better across the board. Regardless, I don't think you could go wrong with either amp.
The 100.2 is a greatly underrated amp. I currently have Thiel 2.2s and it makes a great match. You will not be disappointed. I might suggest that you consider a different preamp in the ARC line. IMHO a substantially better pre-amp is the LS-12. This is another ARC pre amp that is underrated.
I had a 100.2 for a year and a half and loved every minute I spent listening. Gorgeously musical and absolutely right on in the midrange. However, I do not think it has the guts to drive your Thiels and would recommend the 150.2 instead. Check and compare the specs on these two amps--the 150.2 has higher peak current (20amps vs. 15amps), doubles to 300wpc into 4 ohms (instead of 200wpc into 4ohms) and simply has more snap and drive than the 100.2--I know because I replaced my 100.2 with a 150.2. I have written previously on the A'gon that the 100.2 is sonically superior to the 150.2 but this requires some clarification. First, the two were compared using Harbeth Compact 7's (medium sized British two-ways) and as a result the superior drive of the 150.2 was not noted simply because the power was not needed in that application. Second, I recently discovered long after comparing the two amps and writing the review that the rear panel switches on the 150.2, which allow the user to alternate between balanced and single wired settings depending on what type of cabling you are using, were set on "balanced" but single wired RCA's were used as IC's! This was only revealed to me when my buddy swapped out his 150.2 for another amp only to discover it was hooked up incorrectly. We got together again and did the A-B comparison of the two amps on MY system (now with a different pair of speakers) and I have to say the 150.2 acquitted it self VERY well. While the mids on the 100.2 still retained a bit more tubelike presence, in all other respects the 150.2 was the better amp. And, it runs cool as a cucumber. So the long and short of it is that for your speakers I think the 150.2 is a better choice--if you didn't need the ability to drive low impedence loads or a large multiway speaker system I would call it a toss up. It's all about matching components to create a synergistic whole and while the 100.2 is a very fine amp I don't think it represents the best choice in your application.
This is great! Keep it coming guys and Happy Memorial Day.
The reason the ARC 150.2 runs so cool is because it's a digital amp.
I think the term digital is misleading. I doubt the 150.2 has ADCs at the front end and then DACs elsewhere. I think the power supply is of a switching nature. This is one way to increase power output in a reasonable chassis while producing lower heat. The switching frequency may be driven from a clock, and i guess this is what is 'digital' about this amp. Switchers tend to be in the megahertz. This is a whole different animal than the 'typical' class A/AB amps we are used to, which use linear power supplies.
I did some research and found my original statement was not based on the facts of this particular technology. My Bad.
The actual device the 150.2 employs is from tripath.
The device actually does a conversion on the analog signal and that used with adaptive filters, arrives at the optimal switching modulations for the output. The reconstruction is obtained by low pass filters.
Pretty nifty, and i bet it does sound great, but i'm old school when it comes to power amps. I like em big, hot, and inefficient. I like linear power supplies and your 'typical' amplifier topologies.
Anyway I'm still looking for 100.2 info and user results. I would like this thread to not be derailed to "how much better this preamp is or that amp is".
Dpac996, what's usually better is what sound you prefer. I have heard a few ARC solid state power amps and liked each and every one of them but the ARC 100.2 may be the last power amp you will ever need or want. Buy that and your done.
My brother uses the ARC LS-16 mkII & 100.2 to drive to drive his Vandersteen 3A Sigs. I've house-sat many a time for he and his wife while they were on vacation, giving more than a few hundred hours on that setup. While I'm not a big Vandy fan, I do have give credit to the 100.2 for maintaining control of that fairly difficult speaker all the while sounding terrific.
I'm a high-eff SET tube guy and I have to admit that the 100.2 does have some very tube-like qualities in the midrange. There is no hardness or grain that normally makes my shy away from solid state systems.
As others have said, I think it is one of the great underrated amps available.
My 100.2 have a great partner LS16. Like folks said, it does produces sort of tube-like sound, and more transparent, better soundstage. I usually turn on the music whole day long and not felling fatigue.All in all, it's a great AMP. However, I am getting a VT100MKII for replacement. Because I am so into the tube sound. I wish I won't make a mistake?
Bradcyh, keep both, when you get tired of one sound hook up the other. It keeps things more interesting unless you need to sell the ARC 100.2 to buy the VT100MKII. At least hold onto the 100.2 till you can determine which one you want to keep. Let us know what your take is on the VT100MKII.
Bought a 100.2 from Agon about 6 months ago to drive Magnepans. Short answer is I'm very happy with it, especially given the going prices. It's built like a tank and very musical. In contrast to other comments, I've found the amp to have plenty of guts for lower impedance loads (at least with my Maggies - no experience with Thiels). It does seem to take a couple hours of warm-up to sound it's best, but, I've found this to be true of most equipment (and may be mostly in my head). If you like your amps 'big, hot and inefficient' the 100.2 sounds like a good choice; however, if I were to do it again, I would audition and compare it to both the ARC VT100mk2 tube amp and ARC 150.2 switching amp. I haven't heard these in my system but have read interesting reviews.
You are absolutely right, I am so relieve, thanks for the advice. Well, even I am so eager to get the VT100MKII,but I still love ARC 100.2. Anyway, I should have consider this point before I make "big decision". Thank you.
Just to chime in on Tasml's point--my only issue with the 100.2 was even when used with relatively efficient loads the heat was considerable--the thing runs very warm. This prompted my switch to the 150.2 which is so efficient it operates at room temperature regardless of the demands you put on it. Really, after extended listening, I like the 150.2 quite a lot. It will nearly equal the 100.2 with efficient two-ways but has a lot more drive when paired with more difficult loads. And, it runs so cool it will last forever. Just something to think about.
Dodgealum, that is a very good point in regards to heat, driving difficult loads with the 100.2. Also I am very intrigued with the 150.2 even though I have not heard one yet. I don't think that ARC would put their name on a product if the technology involved was not up to their high standards. If you came to the conclusion that I like ARC gear, you are correct. When I first appeared on Audiogon and seen some of the ARC gear for sale I knew I was going to have to make some ARC purchases.
as a follow up:
I received my LS-15 and then promptly retubed it with EH 6922 platinums from upscale audio. The Aragon actually sounds outstanding with the tube preamp. Go figure.
I still want to try the 100.2 at some point, but for now "i'm resting".
I am awaiting the delivery of the 100.2 and replaced the Thiels with Dynaudio Contour 1.8 MK II's. I can hardly wait to spin it up in my system. I hope this amp is as good as I trust it to be.
Dpac996, thats is excellent. Even if it's contrary to some of our opinions, let us know your take on the ARC 100.2 when you get a chance. You know Dpac996, if you could get the 100.2 to spin while playing, it no doubt would run cooler. Just a little humor.
Good good amp, but not have a protection to the
power start in order not to give the "bump" to the loudspeakers: it is a terrible effect to power on them
I am interpreting that as, you don't like the little turn on thump as the power supply settles.
The way i see it: No harm done! This is a very low freq signal; therefore only the woofers move a tad. No biggie.
The woofers will be displaced far more during regular listening.
That being said:
All the stuff said about this amp is true: It is a beautifully crafted/sounding amp.
This takes my system to the level I have been seeking all along. Pure transparent liquid midrange, huge soundstage (well whatever is on the software), powerful ease, insane level of refinement for the price, soaring treble, utterly grain free presentation, I can't say enough positive. This amp lets me really dig into my 90's rock like never before. Alice in Chains melts my brain, GNR sounds right on, The Eagles really sound live, Classical music is ripe and luscious. The standard audiophile approved cd's like barber, krall, and sutton, all sound 1st rate. This amp does it all. And oh that velvet midrange...
At the prices this amp is going for on a'gon this has to be THE value amp of the century.
It's operating balanced (via Acoustic Zen) with an LS-15 preamp and powering dynaudio 1.8 MK II's.
Someone said "buy that amp and your done", so far they could not be more right.
I can't stop listening to the music which creates its own set of 'problems'