Hands down, leaps and bounds, over the top...ARC LS26. Just buy one and be happy forever. It's really that good...
14 responses Add your response
What an endorsement for ARC!
Being a BAT fan and former owner (VK-300SE) and former ARC owner (LS-1, LS-9, VT-100, VT-100 Mk-III) methinks thy doth endorseth too much!
While I've never heard the LS-26, I have heard the Ref-3 (T.H.E. Show in Las Vegas).
I don't believe the gulf is that wide...
My personal pref is for BAT -incredibly good.
I have owned the BAT VK-31SE, 50SE, and 51SE. I have also had in home auditions of the VK-3iXSE and VK-32SE. Also, I have owned the ARC Ref 3. I would say that the choice would come down to your sonic preferences. The BAT will be more powerful and dynamic, while the ARC will present more articulation and definition. IMHO, The ARC Ref 3 was the best preamp that I've ever heard/ owned.
If your system needs more power/slam, you may prefer the BAT though.
Theo: I would start with the VK-31SE. The VK-300SE was so satisfying, so "right", that I would have to hear something better to believe "better" is possible.
That said, the internals of the VK-31SE are double that of the VK-300SE (two transformers, four 6H30 supertubers and gobs more capacitors). Coming from Vicktor K., this almost certaily means the sound is that much better.
I HAVE heard an ARC system that was more "magical" than my BAT system so I'm not saying ARC is lesser.
I was just a little shocked by Mofimadnesses response.
Both manufacturers are certified high-end blue-bloods.
Dave, by power and slam, I mean that the BAT's bass region is more prodigeous.....it feels more powerful. The ARC on the other hand, goes just as deep in the bass, but is tighter and better defined, so it seems to be 'lightweight' compared to the BAT at first listen.
By more refined and articulate, I mean the ARC also has more extension and definition in the high's. The BAT may sound warmer, the ARC may sound livelier. The choice is yours. All around better choice? No. Better for some? Yes.
You need to decide what musical values are more important to you, bass and warmth, or detail and definition?
Sadly, even at these prices one has to make choices.