arc ref5-se

I have been entertaining the idea of trying a ref5-se for awhile. I see a few around the $6500 range, but they sure don't seem to sell very fast.

I have an opportunity to get one for $6000. The unit is very clean with low hours.

I kinda feel this is a fair price. Any thoughts?


@ghdprentice +1


True reference  components  a generation  away from new are still exceptional  many times the flavor is all that has changed. 

What are the tubes are in it? Are they the stock tubes? I bought an ARC preamp a few years ago and someone had replaced the original tubes with the cheapest Electro Harmonix tubes money can buy. 


I owned one for a few years and loved it. I sold it to return to Solid State and bought an Ayre KX-5 Twenty, realized I had made a mistake. Sold the Ayre and bought and still have an LS28SE and am happy again. By comparison the two are very close in performance and plan to keep this one. I am sure you will be happy with the performance of the REF5SE, it never left me wanting more. My issue was the heat and my limitations of placement. 

As far as the hours go, it is hard to say since they can be reset at anytime, unlike an odometer. Enjoy and I only used AR tubes, but they are hard to get right now.



The ARC REF5 SE is still a killer pre-amp. $6K is a good price. $5500 is even better.


Happy Listening!

Thank you all for your good hearted feedback.

 I started my audio journey in the early seventies with the likes of Optimus, SAE, Carver, ESS and so forth. Life happened and now at 63 years old with great hearing, I want to gently enter the other side of audio.

Now, my system is in my shop, I build cars as a semi retirement gig. So acoustically shitty, but it’s my shop, I’m okay with that for now.

So my shop tunes consists of Carver tfm 45, two tfm35x, m500t, c1 and c19 pre’s,all updated by Nelion audio. Auralic Altair, ENO filter, Furman with lift and smp and upgraded Forte III’s. Dedicated 10ga circuit.

 I know it’s not hi end but for in a clean shop environment it suits these ears pretty good. So thought I would Move up the ladder starting with the preamp.