ARC or Jeff Rowland pre-amp?

I’m using Electrocompaniet EC-4.8 Pre-amp and AW-180 Mono-block power-amp about 5 to 6 years, I enjoy EC amp sound very much but recently want to try something new. I used listen to Mark Levinson No. 326S, Accuphase and several famous brands but they are not impressed me very much. Because I’m using Esoteric K-03X and Avalon Opus Ceramique speaker,  I know many Avalon speaker user are using JR and ARC pre-amp, and I heard a lot of good things about these amp , so I’m interest to give them a try, my target is ARC’s Ref 6 and JR’s Corus. Unfortunately I’m unable to compare them side by side at the same place because they have different distributor in my area.


I prefer natural, a little bit warm and sweat sound, not too fast but not slow, very good density and texture, good dynamic, wide soundstage, very high transparency and very good 3D dimension soundstage. I only listen to Jazz music, especially contemporary Jazz like Charlie Haden, Stan Getz, Bossa Nova, Pat Menthey, Enrico Pieranunzi…. which pre-amp you think is fit for my need?


Another important very thing is I will not change my EC AW-180 Mono-block power amp at this stage because no budget (And this power-amp drive My OPS Ceramique very well). So I need to know which pre-amp can work better with my power-amp?  THX!

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are you using an Electrocompaniet cd/sacd player?
I have been wanting to audition on of these spinners.

Also, what brand of Cabling are you using?


Electrocompaniet has a very good CD & SACD Player, model named is : EMC1 MK3 SACD Player. This is a good CD & SACD player, I’ve listened this palyer in their distributor show room last year, the sound is very good, same character with their amp, you won’t regret if you choose them. But I’m a big fan of Esoteric so I’m using Esoteric CD & SACD player (As I mention in my post, I’m using Esoteric K-03X).

I’m using a Furutech FP-Alpha-3 Power cable for my Esoteric K-03X, the IC is Zendo silver gold cable. These are not very expensive cable but very nice sound.

And I’m using Inakustik NF-1603 IC from my pre-amp to power-amp, speaker cable is Inakustik LS-1603. Inakustik is a German cable manufacturer, they make very nice cable.

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I would keep the synergy of the Electro pre/amp combo. Spend your money on great music instead .
TY- mmbl622

did you own any of the other Esoteric spinners prior to the K-03X ?

I was using Esoteric X-03SE CD and SACD player for the last 6 years, it sound very nice. I’ve test many other CDP but I think Esoteric sound best for me. Their latest model K-01, K-03X…. has same sound character with my old X-03SE, but it sound much better : Better transparency, better 3D dimension soundstage, more texture and density, more soft like silk (This is the biggest improvement, because many people said Esoteric’ s CDP sound very hard, lack of emotion). And you have an option to use the up-conversion (Up-sampling) , PCM and DSD-filter for your CD music playback. There are nearly 20 different combinations you can choose.

Oh yes, I also owned an Esoteric G-03X master clock for my X-03SE, but I sold it together with my X-03SE at the same time.  My K-03X sound even better than this combo without an external master clock.

May I have more suggestion or tips about my orginal question:

ARC Ref 6 and Jeff Rowland Corus:   Whcih pre-amp work better with my
Electrocompaniet AW-180 power-amp?

Much Thanks! mmbl622
I have the Esoteric K03 and was using an ayre preamp into my magtech amps (actually external digital crossover).  The ayer preamp was a low priced one so I wanted to move up.  I ended up going with the Jeff Rowland Criterion and COULD NOT be happier.  Jeff Rowland is a GENIUS and the battery power really takes his stuff to a different level.  ARC had tube rush and Jeff had uber solid ink black backgrounds, a soundstage you can drive a truck through and dynamics that will make grandma blush.    

Hi triode12

I’m in Hong Kong, unfortunately we can’t get the equipment from a dealer in here to test at my home. All I can do is ask them to find a power-amp, speaker and CDP which has similar character with my system. Beside ARC, the Ref 6 dealer is selling McIntosh and Accuphase products. I’m planning to ask them to use a SS McIntosh power-amp to test with the Ref 6. Because I think McIntosh’s sound neutral and warm, which has similar character with Electrocompaniet.

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It seems like you've balanced out more neutral speakers and source with warmer pre and amp and that it's working for you.  Given that you like a good 3D stage with silky smooth highs, transparency, and good tonal texture and density, the first thing that popped into my mind was VAC.  Not sure if you have access to that brand, but from what you describe adding a little tube magic to your system may push all your buttons in a big way.  I'd be concerned ARC may be a bit more neutral sounding than your current pre and could potentially shift the balance of your system in that direction, which may or may not be a good thing.  VAC, on the other hand, may more preserve the balance you currently have but potentially provide meaningful improvements the areas you indicated are important to you.  Not sure how VAC would compare to JR as I've not heard the latter in person, but I'd guess there may be some meaningful differences given one is solid state and the other tubed.  Just some thoughts and another potential option, and best of luck.