Never heard the SP11 but the LS22 was one of the worst preamps that ARC designed. Any old ARC dealer will confim my opinion of the 22. This preamp is just not musical at all.
It seems that many peole do not like this preamp, but I sometimes listen some good point of views about it....
As a generality, I find it very hard to get a common point of view about ARC preamps : for a same products, many people like it, whereas many people hate it.
I just noticed two things : I haven't found bad comments about SP11 and most of the time, the LS25 is well appreciated.
That's why I was hesitating between those both.
And since someone told me that LS22 was really near the LS25, then I ask the question beetween the SP11 and the LS22.
What would you recommand me as for an ARC preamp ?
(I own a Pass Aleph amplifier, that is hard to make work).
What do you think about current LS16 et SP16 products ?
Thanxs for your help,
Hi Steve, I've had the LS-22. I must say it is too colored, midrange sounds bloated. There is also some upper midrange emphasis that can make music sounding harsh. I think using a tube Conrad-Johnson preamp, a better ARC preamp like the LS-25, the Reference One or Two or a good solid state one could ameliorates these problems. I'm not familiair with the LS-16.
Thank Dassdax for your help.
I'd like to get my first tube-component and, since I've already listened to the ARC SP16 (that I'd appreciate a lot), I know I like the ARC sound, that's why I look into that direction.
I've been told of Conrad-Johnson, but since I've never listen to it, I really don't know if it would nice to my hears. So it's hard for me to consider something else that an ARC (for the moment.)
Nevertheless, you are a supplementary person that found the LS22 not so good, I won't probably not choose this one.
I have compared the LS-25 MKII to the Ref MKII. The Ref was more lush in the mids, more extended in frequency and more musical overall, but at the list price, a lot of $$$ for a little more improvement. The CJ LS-17 MKII ( the one that is around $4-$5K ) was not as detailed as the LS-25 MKII but had a more lush mid range, more tube sound with more rounded bass notes, etc. Combine both and you'd have a great preamp. There are several tube preamps that I would personally like to try, the H-Cat with the newer features, the First Sound (just check out the volume control in one of these units. As for used components, the ARC LS-5 (I think that is the one most prefer), Counterpoint SA-5 & SA-5000, Sonic Frontiers model 3 and Aud Ill 3A. The AI 3As go for a song used and with NOS tubes are a great bang for the buck.
I auditioned the LS22 some years ago and thought it dreadful. The ARC SP9MkIII which I still own was far preferable. The Reference products mentioned by others all sounded great to me, but were too dear. I'm sorry I can't comment on the SP11, except to say that it's the same hybrid era as the SP9 and has a great reputation - they still sell for high amounts in Australia. Cheers, Rob.