The Reference 600s will raise the temperature in your room by 20 degrees. They are also very noisy compared to the BATs. Save some money and look at the VTL 750 Reference monos. Much quiter and all the headroom you could ever need.
Thanks Jtinn, for your advice. About a year ago, I had an opportunity to acquire a mint pair of VTL Wotan but I wasn't ready to, just acquiring the BATs. I understand the drawbacks of Ref60os but how about the sound? How do they compare to VTL or BAT soundwise? Would appreciate your sharing of experience.
I think the new BAT equipment is superior to the Ref 600s in every way execpt soundstage and ultimate power. The REF 600 MKI & MKII are very thin sounding, tonally inaccurate, hotter than a radiator with bloated bass as well as a huge noisefloor. They are also incredibly expensive in terms of tube replacement (short life tubes as well). They throw one of the biggest soundstages I have ever heard, and have an iron grip on notes. But, all in all I did not think it was worth ever owning them. The BATS, on the other hand, are dead quiet (comprable to ML & Krell in that respect), with exceptional tonality, detailed bass, beautiful mids and highs and great detail.
The VTLs are very good but you have to get the new ones with the latest revisions. If you get the newest VTL 750 Reference amps, they should do fine. The problem is that you are still dealing with a short life 6550c that costs quite a bit to replace.
If you want something speacial, go to the VK-75SE's or VK-150SE's. They are a huge difference over your current VK-60.
Let me know if I can be of any other help.
Jtinn.. You must have ears of "tin".. The ARC Ref 600's are without a doubt some of the best amps available on the market. They are the antithesis of how you describe them.
Don't listen to this bozo. Arnie Nudell of Genesis Technologies uses the Ref 600's to voice and critically evaluate every 200, 201 and 350 loudspeaker system that he manufactures (They also use NBS Monitor 0 speaker and interconnect cables). Since the designer of the speakers
could use ANY amplifier he choses, I wonder why he chose the ARC gear? Because tonal accuracy and correct timral information is presented by the Reference 600's. They have an ease and grace with large scale orchestral swings, and they never sound strained. Dump the BAT gear and audition some ARC Ref gear with the Genesis 2's.. they are made for each other.
Jim, thanks for your opinion but I think you don't have to offend Jonathan just because he doesn't like the Ref 600s,do you? From my own experience, I'm also not quite convinced by the AR, having auditioned them several times at the dealer's showroom but not with the Genesis. The reason probably was because the Ref 600s need at least an hour to start sounding good according to Robert Harley's review in TAS and I never have the chance to listen to them that long.
The four VK 60s I'm using sound very good to me and Jonathan is absolutely right about their queitness compared to other amps my experience. The only limited factor is the power reserve which I sometimes wish I had more for some sonic spectacular recordings.
I would never be interested in the Ref 600s new at USD 40,000.- but found them on sales at less than half the price and wonder if they are a good buy.
Seems like I need a third opinion on this.
Thanks again Jonathan and Jim for your kind advise.
Jimj: Not only are you insulting, but you also must have very limited auditioning experience. The Ref 600s were the biggest disappointment in the ARC line. The Ref 300s blew them away in terms of musicality as did the VT100MKII & 200MKII. I have a great deal of experience with all of the ARC equipment that we are talking about and unless you are talking about the newest versions, I hold to my original post.
If you own them and need to justify to yourself how good they are, fine. I just know the truth.
Suchtan: Just as a note, I sold a pair of Ref 600 MKIIs for $15,700 about 3-4 months ago. I had a very tough time selling them.
Sorry to change the subject, but has anyone compared the sound of the ARC amps before and after the new JFET input upgrade? I'm particularly interested in how the input change affects the timbre of the sound.
Jonathan, thanks for your very informative post. Otherwise, I may get the bad idea of owning the REF 600. I understand you have the BAT VK 150SE. How do they compare to other tube amps at or around the same price bracket?
fwiw.. i have to completely disagree with Jtinn, specifically the statement: "thin sounding, tonally inaccurate, hotter than a radiator with bloated bass as
well as a huge noisefloor". that is a total bunch of concocted rubbish. my close friend owns Genesis 201's, and he tried a plethora of expensive amps to find the best for the mid/tweet panels. among those in his home audition were the VTL Wotans, ARC Reference 600 mkII, and the ARC Reference 300 mkII's. First we tried the Wotans.. while they sounded pretty good, they had a recessed midrange, which with the 201's midrange ribbon, was not good at all. then we tried the Reference 300's.. wow! these sounded great with the panels. Then we tried the Ref 600's. This was rather interesting. While the Ref 300's sounded a bit better in producing "bloom", they were actually slower during transcient attacks through the Gen ribbon's. We concluded that the larger capacitor power reserve in the 600's controlled the mid/tweet panels in the Gen's much better than the 300's. As far as tonality, the Ref 300's had a slight improvement over the Ref 600's.. I would attribute that to the newly designed JFET/6H30 input stage,
but neither amps had any tonal "anomalies". We also noticed that the 600's ran fairly cool with the easy to drive mid/tweet panel load. We were able to turn the fans down with the variable control because the tube output heat wasn't that bad with the panels. in the end my friend and i both agreed that for the genesis 201's the Ref 600's controlled the panels with better authority and accuracy than the Ref 300's.. and with the fans turned down the heat was a moot issue.. Good luck in your search!
I agree with the last response. Its difficult to find fault with the 600s. Certaintly, major crtitisms are unfair and inaccurate. No amplifier handles transients on orchestral passages as the 600s. There is no mid-bass bloat, unless one is mistaking deep controlled bass for bloat. Deep bass is a good thing. Tonally inaccurate is so wide of the mark there's not much to say. The tone is realistic and accurate, but not colored and euphonic as many tube amps. The Bat Amp is far less tonally accurate. I also think there is no such thing as too much control. You get what your willing to pay for and all else masks hidden desires or agendas.
May be I jumped to the conclusion too soon about the Ref 600s. But I must defend that the Bats are very suitable for the Genesis as well. In terms of sound quality, I regard the Bat as detailed, fast, and musical. With four monoblocks they can control the Genesis just fine, giving up only at the very loud level. I have no doubt about the power and control of the Ref600s but don't want to give up the blooming quality the Bats have in abundant. Now I decided to stick with Bats but will either add another 2 monoblocks of VK60s which is a cheaper alternative or switching to four monoblocks of Vk150s.
Hi Suchtan, Why not have your 4 VK60s upgraded to the "SE" version? I'm with you on sticking with BAT! For years I owned many ARC products. Then BAT came along and every since then when I've compared ARC to BAT both amps and pre-amps BAT has embarrassed ARC to my ears. Good luck to you on whatever you decide. Regards, Tom
Jtinn; Are you a BAT dealer?
Jtinn is not a dealer - he is a hard-core audiophile cursed with a passion for music and a very low tolerance for anything not musical. Colorations that I am only dimly aware of, or find easy to overlook, drive him nuts. I may not react the same way he does to what he's hearing, but I have a great deal of respect for the man's ears. The reason I call Jtinn's acuity a curse is, I shudder to think how much his ears have cost him over the years.
Sorry Jtinn, never heard anyone bash Ref 600's before.
There few negative things to say about the 600s. I A/B the 600s Mark I to the BATs in the same room, on the same equipment, and the 600s blew away the BAT gear. It was not even close. In the 14K to 18K price range, the BATs are one amp to consider, but believe me the BATs do not touch ARC reference gear and probably not even the VTM 200s. There are reasons that audiophiles hassle with ARC's poor customer service and expensive tubes--they have heard nothing better.
First of all, the newest versions of ARCs amps are greatly improved over the past series. I would not buy Ref 600s because they are about to go to Ref 600 MK III. All of you ARC fans may not even recognize the faults because maybe you have not heard what a really great amp does... nothing, just pass information in a neutral way to the speakers. The newest ARC equipment does a much better job of it, but the older stuff DOES NOT cut it.
I think that the reason audiophiles hassle with ARC's poor customer service and expensive tubes--they DO NOT KNOW better:)