I have heard the ARC Ref5 SE w/ both ARC and Bryston power amps. I liked it best w/ solid-state power.
this sounds like trouble to me because it indicates to me that the output impedance of the preamp is too high to use with the lower input impedance tube power amp. S.S power amps usually have higher input impedance thereby making the electrical impedance match better. I've found over the years that one of the 1st things you need to get right is to ensure that the electronics match up electrical impedance-wise otherwise you will end up with sonics that have bloated bass &/or shrill treble, recessed or over-emphasized mids, etc.
Gear that is so specific that it matches with only s.s. or only tube or best with XYZ cable, etc should be avoided, IMO. It leads to trouble down the road because if you change one variable later on (electronics or cable or speaker) your whole system is likely to fall apart & you will be on another search for good sound which will entail buying all-new equipment or most of the components will have to be changed out.
The ARC performs at its best w/ Transparent cables/cords. Audience is a natural, sonic match for CJ gear. Audioquest is a 3rd match. Tara Labs is a 4th.
same deal - this sounds like nothing but sonic-trouble to me.....
the design of the equipment is such that it has a dependency on the cable parasitics (C & L) that is altering its performance as you switch in/out different cables. Not good! :(