ARC Galileo GSPre vs ARC Reference 5 SE ? ....

Has anyone compared these preamps? Which would you choose and why?
85515478 910c 44c7 932f cad8d3184a62joeinid
Hello Joenid-

I,too, would be interested in the comparison. In the past, I have spent much time w/ the ARC Ref3, Ref5 & Ref5 SE.
This is a serious pre-amp in terms of sound quality. It is going to be interesting to see/hear if the newest Galileo can beat it. Keep me posted & Happy Listening.
I've heard the Ref5 SE and loved it. A friend is head over heels with his Galileo gear and swears that it beats his previous Reference gear. As more gear gets out in the wild, we'll have a better handle on the sound. Exciting times.
Very nice! Joe-

in the systems that I auditioned, ARC Ref 75, Ref 150 and Bryston 3B-ST power amps were used on Wilson Sasha + Sophia loudspeakers. Cables/Power cords were Transparent OPUS line.

Personally, I enjoyed the ARC Ref5 SE w/ the Bryston 3B-ST power amp. Top to bottom, the very best sound for Rock and Jazz music. Keep me posted as you get the opportunity to demo the new Galileo gear. -JA
Ditto to above. Looking forward to reading some comments about how the GS series compares to the Ref 5 SE and Ref 150.

I took another look at the ARC website to read the marketing descriptions of the GS-150 and the Ref 150. The Ref 150 description has a comprehensive explanation about the changes that were made from its predecessor, the Ref 110. The changes were numerous and significant.

By contrast, the GS-150 is described as a new aesthetic with KT-150 tubes. The GS-150 specs are identical to the Ref 150, save for the KT-150 tube. Oh ... one other difference is that the GS-150 only has 2 output taps versus the Ref 150 which has 3 taps. Maybe the GS-150 uses new and improved output trannies??

What I really would like to read is how the Ref 150 with KT-150 tubes compares to the GS-150 ... all other system components the same.

I am ready for a re-tube. Very close to pulling the trigger on KT-150s.
Joe ... must have blinked. Who if the source of that post? The author said he was advised in writing about the "ok'ness" of the KT-150s for use in the current Ref amps. Has that approval been posted somewhere and sourced back to ARC?

Ordinarily, I'd call ARC to get that directly, but I'm afraid if I ask the Q again, my calls will be blocked. :)
Trust the source. I've seen the document from ARC myself. They are blessing the KT-150 but really want you to buy from them at some point. I have it on great authority that Kevin Deal - Upscale Audio is one of the better (best) places to order your tubes from. Go for it!
Joe ... then why the big secret and ARC's misrepresentations? Just to lock the market on KT-150 tubes. What document are you talking about? How did you come to see such a document?

My guess is that the GS-150 is a Ref 150 in a new skin. The only difference being the KT-150 tubes and possibly (??) different output trannies.

But even still ... Johnny R posted somewhere that he heard the same from Dave Gordon. But when I spoke with Chris Osanna two weeks ago ... a straight denial.

What the heck is going on? Is ARC trying to corner the KT0150 market? I woulda' thunk' they have better ways to make a buck.
Here ya go: I read an article last night reviewing the GS150/GSpre in the Jan Hi-fi
News & Record Review...the reviewer liked pretty much everything except the
response of the meters on the GS150, and thought it was better than the REF150
he had for comparison...he suggested sticking KT150s in the REF to make it
better. As a recent convert from KT120s to KT150s (in my relatively el-cheapo
but world beater Jolida 502p) I can say the 150s are killer tubes and really deliver
the mojo (you know what I mean).
Listen to Wolf_garcia. A man who knows what he's talking about.
Joe ... I happen to believe that what you are proffering about the KT-150 tube is correct. But again, maybe I blinked, but after re-reading the HI FI News review article, I still did not see where **Warren Gehl** or **Ward Fiebiger** expressly said that the KT-150 tube has been blessed for use in the current Ref series amps.

I also read the Audioshark posting from Mike, the site's founder and webmaster. Forgive my ignorance. But who is Mike and how did he manage to get his hands on a double secret memo from ARC that sprinkled holy water on the KT-150 tube?????

Look, as I mentioned above, Johnny R from Audio Connection, an ARC dealer, posted that he spoke with ARC's Dave Gordon and Dave pretty much said the same as did Mike from Audioshark. Maybe it's the lawyer in me. But I want to see this news come from ARC ... "not so and so heard from ...." or "so and so read some double secret internal memo that said ...." To me, it is all hearsay.

Frankly, I am getting big time annoyed about the whole issue. If this is a sales pitch because ARC wants to sell the KT-150s at double the Upscale price, ... then I am pissed Or, if ARC wants the GS-150 to be received by the market before people figure out that the Ref 150, loaded with KT-150s, sounds 95% as good as the GS-150, and for half the price, then I am double pissed.

Sh*t, I may just take my chances and go for it. I'm a big boy. If I blow the circuits in my Ref 150, ARC can lick its chops fixing my amp.

What crap!!
ALL manufacturers charge more for THEIR tubes. That is NOT the point. Time is money and they all charge for their time and testing. I bet your KT-120's cost more from ARC too. Time marches on and improvements happen everywhere. There's no conspiracy.
Joe ... try twice as much. FYI: Uncle Kevin charges about $50 per KT-120; ARC about $100 per KT-120.

Joe ... I am not paranoid; nor suggesting there is a KT-150 conspiracy. I am (was) an ARC fan. All of my electronics are ARC.

What I am crabbing about is ARC's reluctance to simply say what it apparently knows: the KT-150 will not damage or prematurely age the current Ref amps. If that is true, then they should just say it.

Look, if I choose to wait for ARC to make KT-150s available for my Ref 150 at the price of $200 per tube ... then that's my decision. And, if I choose to go to Uncle Kevin NOW and pay $100 per KT-150 ... well that's my choice too, even if it means the tube may arc and take out a bias resister.

If I sound pissed ... it's because I am. There is a lot of smoke out there that says the KT-150 will *NOT* damage my amp. For goodness sake ... the company should just say it.

Look ... I'm done crabbing. My amp is ready for a re-tube. I'm a big boy. I'll make a decision and live with it.
I understand. The dust will eventually settle. I am sure you will get better performance for just the cost of the tube upgrade. I am sure ARC will publicly bless the amps. I am sure they are just being conservative.

My Conrad Johnson ART monos cost almost $2K to retube from CJ with KT-120's. My CJ ARTsa stereo amp costs about $1K for a retube. Cut those prices in half from other vendors. I was told flat out no for KT-150's in my amps and I don't know anyone who is using or willing to try KT-150's in these amps, unlike many users using KT-150's in ARC amps.

Just have fun!
Look at the 2 recent leveraged buyouts at ARC and you might conclude, as I have, that the GS 150 was aimed at the Asian market as higher ups at ARC have told me because it is an even bigger and potentially more profitable market than the US.
However,the Asian market has generally not been taken with the current ARC design as they have, for example with McIntosh. That market likes Bling or "authentic" American design (see Chuck Taylor Converse, etc). So ARC restyles the Ref 150 circuit for a more "authentic, retro/chic"-meter dominant look to hopefully capture that market. But how can you ask for primo $ just for newer (retro/chic?) looks without being able to state that more money also gets you better sound?. Well-- you put in KT 150s in what is basically a Ref 150 circuit to make it sound better.
But hold on--- if ARC says publicly that KT 150s can be placed in Ref 150s and have the same sound, they have just undermined the rollout. So--sotto voce--we in the U.S. are told unofficially that it can be done.
End of story.

Thank you for that. Makes perfect sense.

BTW, I love the "sotto voce" comment. :)
This thread has really taken off in terms of info exchanged.
I say, if the KT 150 fits into the Ref 150- go for it.
Otherwise, has anyone auditioned the GS150/GSPre? Did any of you guys see them at CES 2015? Happy Listening!
A friend of mine just received his GSpre. I know it's probably too soon for him to say definitely but he thinks it's as good or better than the REF 5se but the REF 10 still beats both.
As my careful survey of KT120s and KT150s has shown, no amp in the history of the universe (many billions of years) has been damaged by these tubes, assuming an amp was originally designed for similar but lower heater current draw. Many respectable (unlike myself) reviewers, technical experts, pole dancers, vegan nuns, and convicted felons have recommended 150s as "drop in replacements." Also, I've bought matched and tested 120s and 150s for a LOT less than Kevin Deal sells them for (or ARC who seem to be holding many of their fans by their seemingly tiny balls) and all have worked perfectly.
Hi Wolf,
Well stated with humor and wisdom. It does seem there's an element of neurosis regarding the KT 150.

ARC should simply and clearly tell their customers yes or no concerning the use of this tube. Why all the suspense?
@Charles1dad ... I think Gpgr4blu said it all above.
Given what ARC charges for tubes and their warranty policy for units not tubed w "their" product, you could also add lucrative retube revenues to Gpgr4blu's theory, which also seems very reasonable.
Yes, he certainly did.
Here's what you can a pile of factory matched 150s from the cheapest Ebay seller with a good rating (I bought a quad for 260 bucks or so), take your old tubes out of your amp, stick the 150s into the recently vacated tube sockets, adjust the bias, and listen to some music...this could go a long way toward alleviating stress regarding these things, and perhaps stop most of the ARC related whining except that which regards the silly price you paid for the amp.