Anybody familiar with both Aesthetix and Audio Research?

Somebody is telling me that Aesthetix is comparable to Arc and I would be using my money more wisely going for a Calypso Signature than an Audio Research ref 6SE. But from reading it seems the Callisto is far superior to the Calypso.

I am already familiar with Arc gear which I like a lot but know little about Aesthetix.

I'll be matching it to a pass xa 25 and am looking for a deeper soundstage(one which goes way back) and more transparency with large orchestral forces.

Some poster was comparing the Calypso Signature to a ref 3 which would of course be a real step back to me.

Anybody know the two brands and have an opinion?




I recently sold my Aesthetix Calypso signature  which i liked very much, especially for the money, and purchased  a ARC ref 6se  and am extremely pleased with the switch. Obviously a difference in price, but very glad i did it. But the Calypso was very good.

It sounds like the Calypso is a great preamp. I own a ARC REF 6SE, of which I can attest to being a world class preamp. Detailed, excellent imaging, midrange bloom, quiet, and great bass. I have owned ARC phono stages and preamps for a couple decades. The most amazing things happened as I added more ARC components… they are incredible synergistic and my system made a huge jump in sound quality each time. Now with all ARC components the sound exceeds what I thought possible. It has been a great 50 year journey.


You probably can’t go wrong with your choices here.

I am an Aesthetix lover and currently own the Mimas Integrated amp. I owned the Aesthetix Calypso for many years with Quicksilver tube monoblocks and it was a great combination. When I switched to a Pass 250.5 the Calypso did not work well with it. After listening to many preamps I landed on an Audio Research Ref 3. It was a major improvement over the Calypso with the Pass amplifier. A Pass preamp was also really good with it but I slightly preferred the Ref 3 and got a great deal on it. YMMV. Good Luck.

Pass with Pass makes the most sense. The 6SE may be better in

some ways but is it as synergistic?

I had an XA25 and it created a 6' deep soundstage with no

preamp at all. 

I wonder though if you enjoy 'large orchestral forces' does the XA25

have the juice to produce? Maybe with highly sensitive speakers

in a smaller room but otherwise it seems unlikely.

Extensive experience w both storied firms with well deserved reputation for excellent engineering, sonics, support and typically some level of upgrade path without scrapping / selling the whole box. As others have stated, they each have strength, in image depth and air, i would give nod to ARC, bass drive, nuance to Aesthetix. In my system the ARC Ref5se is also quieter and more detailed. I do have an Aesthetix Pandora Sig feeding the ARC. At the level you are at tube rolling and isolation will both improve image depth, I use HRS, but there are other brands that yield similar results. Best wishes in your journey.


I have used a Audio Research REF 5SE preamp with Pass x350 amp for many years… wonderful combo, until I tried an Audio Research Amp… holy cow… that was so much better… more musical and natural. Now I have a ARC REF 6SE preamp and a REF 160s amp… actually at the moment I am auditioning REF 160m monoblocks. Overwhelmingly musical.