ARC Ref 3 with CAT JL2 or do you need CAT SL1

To All,

I recently changed my Krell KCT with an ARC Ref 3 preamp. I like the preamp very much and am now thinking about upgrading to a tube power amp. There are a few on my list:

ARC Ref 300 or ARC Ref 600
Cat JL2 MK2

I now play with FPB700CX on Wilson Puppy 7.

Will the ARC be a good match with the CAT. Do I not loose bass. I like a strong controlled bass very much and this is why I now play with FPB700CX. How good is the CAT. Everybody says it's bass matches the big Krell amps. Is this true.

Is the SL1 a better preamp than the ARC Ref 3. I heard many people prefer the ARC ref 3. I need balanced out for my FPB700CX so I guess ARC is a better choise for my amp.

Who has compared ARC Ref 3 with CAT SL1. Does the Ref 3 match with the CAT power amps.

Up in that price range... I heard the Lamm 18-watt triode amps driving the Wattpuppy 7's to great effect. Whether it's the lower power triode or the higher power units, Lamm is one you might want to consider. It has great timbre, things sound very reall and backgrounds are black.

Best, Peter_S
The CAT amps sound great and will sound way better than your Krell in most set-ups, but they are extremely finnicky because of their hot-rod design. They require constant monitoring of bias settings and blow tubes easily, which requires new resistors to be soldered in. Don't buy one unless you know how to use a solder iron, have a lot of patience and have a lot of money for new output tubes.

The ARC amps use a lot of negative feedback and are hard to get to sound good as a result. They produce a great deal of heat as well (especially the 600 -- you need a separate room for them).

The above suggestion is good, but perhaps the 90 watt Lamm tube amp is better for WattPuppy 7's -- they drop to near 3 Ohms in the bass and need real current.

Another option is a VAC 70/70 Mk. III or Signature, as they can drive tough loads - they are easy to own because they auto-bias, have a tube shut down feature for tubes that fail, and use 300B's that provide really long life.

All of the above amps are very well made.

Stay away from Chinese tube amps -- the power supplies and output transformers are not robust enough for tough loads like WattPuppys.
As Dearing says, the three amps mentioned are all excellent. I own CAT JL2s and they are the best I have ever heard. But for the money you are spending, you must audition the ARC, VAC, and Lamms. The CATs will drive difficult loads and produce "solid state" bass, with SET transparency in the mids and highs - a worthy contender.
Hello Pubul57

Well the solid state bass I do ot want to loose. But what I heard from people that own a CAT is that the bass will be as powerfull as the big Krell amps. So in that case I will be a good buy for me.

I just worry about the reliability. If it breaks down two times in one year I will definately sell it, no matter how good it is.

If it is like dearing says I do not want it, no matter how good it is. Can you comment on reliability.

I went from a Krell FPB 600 to the CAT JL2. I don't miss the bass from the Krells. The CAT does everything better.
I have owned CAT equipment for 12 years without any reliability problems. I listen to my system almost every day.
With my Soundlab M1's, my CAT JL1's purrrrr.

Prior to the CAT's, I had a Levinson 336, choosing it over a Krell FPB 600. Both were auditioned using the Martin Logan reQuests which I owned at the time.

The CAT's were hauled home with Parasound Halo's to audition against the Levinson. After only a few minutes, the CAT's were clear winners in all areas, even bass!

I'm using s Supratek Chenin pre-amp, and am quite happy.

No reliability problems here.
I use an ARC Ref 3 with CAT JL-3 Signature Mono's. I like the combination very much. They produce prodigous bass from full-range electrostatic speakers. They are are extremely hard on tubes, but I have not had any reliability issues.
I have not had a problem with my CAT pre or amp in terms of reliability - the amp would be a problem to ship for repair at close to 200lbs. However it must be considered in the top echelon of amplifiers of whatever topology or design. They are Ferraris and may need closer attention to tube biasing and tube quality - but that should not be too hard if you are willing to pay this much money for world class perfomance. P.S. You won't miss the bass.
The ARC REF 3 will work fine with any CAT power amp, even the latest Sig 2 Version of the JL2 (and JL3). I think that your concern stems from my insistance that the ARC REF 2 (TWO) was not a good preamp for use with CAT amps, because the CAT amps inherent transparency will reveal the harshness and grain of the Ref TWO all to clearly - especially if highly revealling speakers are also used.
The ARC REF 3 (THREE) however is a much more refined preamp the the TWO and therefore I regard it as a good match with our amplifiers. (Of course I have auditioned both the REF 2 and the REF 3 with CAT amps)
Yes, the SL1 will be even better (bass, transparency, dynamics, timbre) but this does not diminish the fact that the ARC REF 3 will also be a worthy match and perhaps even preferable for those who insist on a remote control preamp.
Ken Stevens