ARC Ref 6 VS. Vac Renaissance MK V


Have heard the Ref 6. Was super detailed and transparent but very forward. Have not heard the VAC preamp. Thoughts? 
dchattleton
((((Have heard the Ref 6. Was super detailed and transparent but very forward.)))

I totally disagree.
Could it be the fellow who played it had his speakers too far out into the room causing a lack of foundation or meek power response?

Perhaps the speakers you heard it with were light n bright and were not to your preference?
Warmed up properly, Broken in 400 hours?
 Highly dought it was the Ref 6 it's a pretty amazing machine.
When partnered with other well-designed gear it plays extraordinarily .
 JohnnyR
 ARC dealer

Post removed 
Vac is a better sounding preamp more neutral and more musical.Vac also has great service as well.
I have not heard either of your two choices but I do own the Renaissance mk1 which replaced an Audio Research preamp.  The build quality of the VAC is superior to the AR if that matters to you.  I would take the VAC without thinking twice.
The only limitation I noticed on the mk5 is only 3 inputs plus the phono, so if you have a lot of things to connect you have a problem.
I have the Ref 6; it was indeed a bit too forward and lean in bass when paired with a Rogue Ares Magnum phono stage. But recently I paired it with the VAC Renaissance stand-alone phono stage and WOW! That combination blows me away. At this level of gear, matching is crucial. Soon I’ll borrow my dealer’s Renaissance V line stage (when my new SE phono comes in) and see which wins. But the control of the Ref 6 would be extremely difficult to give up for the crude motorized analog pot of the VAC. I absolutely adore the ARC’s digital volume and balance control, etc.

I also used to own the Renaissance III line stage some years ago, and my impression is that the Ref 6 is notably better. But the V is interesting with its use of 6922 and transformer coupled outputs.

the build quality of the Ref 6 is spectacular, btw.
Mulveling, in terms of sound on the Ref 6: how did it compare with the VAC equipment you’ve listened to? Particularly the line stage? Thanks for your input. 
Like I said, I think the Ref 6 is notably better than the Renaissance III. Though I didn't own them at the same time, I had a Rogue Hera II for reference against each. The Ref 6 is the most detailed and has the best clarity; exceptionally clean and clear sound. Fast and free of all grain. With the new VAC phono, it also displays better extension on both ends. Dead neutral tone. 

The Ren III a beautiful midrange (as all VAC does), good treble sparkle (maybe a bit editorialized) but perhaps a bit of bloom in the bass. Its built in phono stage, like the new stand-alone stage, is decidedly on the warm side, but man I love their phonos. A more romantic sound overall. 

The Hera II was more neutral than the Ren III, with better bass, but has a slight haze to it (like SS haze), maybe from the fact that it's too high gain for my 96dB speakers and noise/microphonics was ever present in that setting. This preamp matched best with the Rogue Ares phono, not surprisingly.
Has anyone compared the current stuff like VAC master preamp directly w arc ref6, ref10?
I’ll probably be borrowing a VAC Master from my dealer soon, to compare to my Ref 6. But I saw a photo of the inside and it looked a lot like the Ren V circuit, with the main difference being PSU (much in favor of the Master). The Ren V SE might be an interesting option, since based on the SE vs. non SE on the Renaissance phono stage it raises the parts quality a lot (I think even better than Master in some cases) and makes it sound more neutral and detailed.
Take the one you like the looks of best.