Audio Refinement Complete owners: amp power Q

For those of you that are experienced with the Audio Refinement Complete Integrated, how would you describe the capabilities of its amplifier section? Just how capable are its 50 watts? I am considering matching it with a small pair of monitors, the GMA Europas. I don't listen to music at insane levels or have an abnormally large room, but I do want an amp with "guts" for lack of a better term. Other integrateds on my short list are the Bryston B-60, the Creek 5230se, the Unison Unico, and the Plinius 8200 (if I can find a REALLY good deal). Thanks for any input. Jb3
I have heard very good things about all the amps you mentioned, but I haven't heard any of them (I did hear the Creek 4330, which is a steal). I've used a Complete as the cornerstone of my system for about 4 years now. MANY other components (in fact, all of them) have come and gone, but the only amplification I've heard that I liked better was the Audio Refinement Multi-2/Pre-5 combo, and that's not necessary for some speakers (such as the efficient Triangle line). The Complete just has a very balanced, smooth, detailed, sound that has always outshown its competitors in my system. It's just a question of how it matches with your speakers. Some speakers, in my experience, do not sound their best unless you hit 'em with serious power and current, which is not what the Complete is all about. It's plenty energetic, though, and I love the deep, CLEAN bass, which is perfectly integrated with the rest of the sound. I am a real fan of YBA's whole approach to audio and I think their elegant, simple designs and attention to resonances, etc. pay off with results that sound, well, refined! Happy listening. PS: if you do listen to the Complete with the GMA speakers, be sure to let us know how it turns out. I've been curious about that very combo.
I have owned 2 of the amps you mentioned and used them with the Tyler Acoustics Tylo Reference Monitors (89db eff, I think). To me, the Bryston seemed to not have enough power at times. The Plinius is another story, with its much greater power output. I preferred the Plinius by a wide margin in my system/room.

BTW, according to a contact I trust, the Plinius 8100/8150/8200 sound nearly the same and the power increase for each successive unit is not that noticable. I also have a friend that owns the 8100 and he really likes it driving his Thiels (not a particularly easy load). If you don't need the little extra power or HT bypass circuit, look for a Plinius 8100 or 8150 in addition to the 8200.


post results. I am leaning heavily toward the ARComplete, it seems like a great fit and at a fair price vs. its competition.
What equipment do you have working with the ARC right now? In particular I would like to hear about your choice of IC's/Cables. For cables I am leaning toward Signal Cable, for IC's I'm still not sure.

I have a review here on the Europa and am still using my Complete. They are a great match and the more i listen, the more i like. The Plinius is a supurb amp but I feel a bad match for the Europas.

Having lived with this combo for about three months I feel to better the Complete you will need an excellent tube Integrated, the Unico might just be the ticket??

P.S. IMO the Europas are at their best with tubes and the Complete is the next best thing and probably better than 90% of the tube Integrated's out there.

I have yet to hear any compression from overdriving the Complete. My room size is about average and I listen at modest levels.
Hi John,

I don't think you can go wrong with Signal Cable IC's for the price. I used the Analog 2 for awhile, and found it to be a solid performer.

Roy Johnson, who designed the Europa's, highly recommended Audio Magic Sceptor IC's. They were a bit out of my price range, but I did try the Audio Magic Excalibur II with my Complete, and found them to be a noticeable improvement over the Signal Cable. Smoother midrange, cleaner treble, and more detail. Of course, the Excalibur's were about $125.

Two other cables you might consider: Analysis Plus (also recommended by Roy), and Millersound. Millersound IC's are pretty rare, but they are essentially clones of JPS Superconductors and are only about $40-50 used. VERY neutral cables that are great for the price.
Its awfully hard to get around to actually listening to all of these, good to narrow it down. I really like what I see in the Unico too, but as you alluded to, it is a significant step up in price, a step up that may not be proportional to the benefits it produces.
I'm now pretty certain that the Complete offers plenty of power for the Europas, the feedback that I have had has been consistent.
Hey Eric,
Roy made the same recommendation to me. I certainly don't doubt his recommendation, I'm sure the AM's are excellent. But laying down that kind of money--$700+ for the Sorcerers--is a little beyond me. Plus, there is the hotel room I would have to rent when my wife found the bill!!
I'm pretty sold on Signal Cable for speaker cables, but I am going to consider some of the more affordable AM and AP IC's, with the Signal Analog2's as the value-fallback option. I am going to look into the Millersounds too. I enjoy buying from lesser known companies that put more resources and attention into their product than advertising and flash.
Stick with the ARC Int. I found that it sounds almost as good as my Aleph 2s into 4 ohms, but not quite as powerful.
So I had to spend $5k instead of $1k. Oh well. I've put this giant killer into several friends' systems (as well their GREAT matching tuner---but NOT the CDP!), and ALL have been extremely impressed. Nice remote, too.
It's ability to double down to 4 ohms is reasonable...somewhere in between the YBA one and two transformer cousins, at 80w/ch, probably adequate for your needs.