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Taters ... how did you come to learn that ARC discontinued the Ref Phono 2 SE?
It doesn't surprise me. I surmise that ARC will change over all of its Ref source products in light of the circuit topology change made with Ref 6, namely the 6 audio tube (6H30) configuration. My guess is that the next to go will be the Ref CD-9.
This will be a good time to pick up some great gear at a great price.
I get regular e-mails from a local Audio Research dealer, Paragon Sight and Sound, and yesterday they sent out a "special deal" on the Ref Phono 2 SE for $9500 (regular $13K) since Audio Research is discontinuing this model. Better act fast though, supplies are limited! No mention of a Ref 3 though ...