ARC REF3/LS26 with B&W user opinions?

I have a pair of B&W 802D mains. My mains amp is a Spectron Audio MK2 with V-Cap Class D amp which is very muscial and also liquid. My sources are a Magnum Dynalab 609T XM tuner and a Cary 606 Pro CD player and I'm using Kimber KS-1136/KS1126 ICs with a Hydra for the amp and PS Audio Power Plant Premier for my source components.

This amp sounds best with a tube preamp and I am considering a used Audio Reseach REF3 or LS26. Are there any B&W 800 series with diamond tweeters owners out there who have the REF3 or LS26 with a SS or class D amp? If so can you provide me your impressions of the B&W's and AR together?

I used to have a C2300 Mac but it was a little 'soft' with my particular set-up although the mids were certainly sweet.

I would also be interested in the REF3 or LS26's sonic signature or you impressions of it.

I've read the professional reviews etc but thought some members here might have B&W 800 series diamonds speakers (800D,801D,802D,803D) paired with it.

Thanks in advance.

I have a similar system that I use for HT and 2 channel. I have 802D mains, Wyred4sound class D amps and the LS26. The only difference may be that I am bi-amping the 802D's with 4 amp modules, two at 250W and two at 500W and of course the power doubles at 4 ohm.

I really enjoy the combination of tube preamp and SS power amp. My amp is very neutral sounding so it lets the tube personality of the LS26 come through. The LS26 also has a very refined sound... tremendous soundstage that lets every note flow out of the speakers.

I also replaced the standard tubes with NOS 6H30-DR's which add to the detail. I also preferred silver balanced interconnects to anything I tried in single end RCA's.

Hope this helps.

Paul, did you audition the REF3 before buying the LS26? I appreciate your impressions and I do use silver XLR ICs. I've also read both units perform better using their XLR inputs/outputs.
Nick... I did not audition the REF3 but I'm sure it would be great if your budget permits. I'm not sure how much better than the LS26, and at their level of quality (both good) you would have to A-B them in your system. It would be hard to evaluate from a 3rd party system.

There are no ARC dealers in my area of Florida, but I have owned quite a few of their pieces over the past 20-25 years. I actually called an Agon seller regarding a PH5 that he had listed. He was also going to list his LS26 and I felt that it would be more beneficial to my system so I bought it from him.