Audio Research 75 SE


I just heard there is an Audio Research Ref 5 SE and they are offering the update to Ref 75 owners. Not only includes the 150 tube but also some circuit changes to better accommodate the new tube. Audio Research states this is a dramatic improvement as much so as from Ref 5 to the Ref 5SE.. Anybody heard it.
carey1110
3 Threads very important!!!!!
That's weird, I don't know why it tripled, but yes it's is Sooooo important, ha!!
Everything's a dramatic improvement with arc...their older stuff must really have sucked; )
M18764ag
I'll let you know when mine comes back.. I just sent it in. Hamburger may be fine till you've tasted steak. Most of their improvements usually are just that, so I'm excited to hear the difference. I'll keep you posted.
@Carey1110 .... yes, please keep us posted. Another member, Oregonpapa, recently sent his Ref 75 back to ARC for the SE upgrade. Also looking forward to reading his comments soon.
Bufwynne ...

Just for clarification, I sold my REF-75 and bought a new REF-75-SE. The old amp sold in 12 hours here on Audiogon. I love this place!
Great!! Should be interesting.
I really would be interested in a comparison of the 75SE, against a 75 with just the added KT150's and no caps changes etc. I suspect 90% of the difference is the tubes and the other upgrades are an expensive irrelevance, but it would be nice to be sure.
Ditto David12. When I asked, ARC was somewhat tongue-in-cheek about the circuit changes and parts that go into the SE upgrade.

Having said that, I doubt that ARC would charge $5000 to do an SE upgrade to my Ref 150, where the retail price of the tubes (8 KT150s 4 6H30s) being approx. $1800 and the balance (or, $3200) relating to snake oil.

OTOH, all that being said, ARC has at times described certain improvements or new models as "being in another league" or "in a different class" and so forth. That has not been my personal experience in a number of cases (e.g., Ref 3 to Ref 5 (not SE); PH-7 to PH8). Just my opinion.

So I am waiting to read comments from Carey and Oregonpapa.

BIF
I'm also interested in hearing how much of the upgrade comes from the tubes vs. the circuit changes (one obviously is much cheaper than the other).
Rrolack ... I just dropped 2 quads of KT-150s into my Ref 150. Sound is better, but not transformational. So I wait to hear back from Oregonpapa and Carey1110.
I actually found the KT-150s to be a huge step up in the Ref 75, particularly in the bottom end. Best money I ever spend in audio.

That said, I'm also super curious to hear how the upgrades change things.
According to my source, the KT-150 tubes account for about 40% to 50% of the improvement in the SE amps.

On the KT-150s ... they take a good 100 hours of break-in to start sounding their best.
Hmmmm, well Obfiscation Central were hardly going to leak any other set of percentages were they? when one does the math on the residual $3000 for a handfull of resistors and capacitors, together with a meter or so of silver plated copper wire!!! Or are we being taken full circle back to ' costly proprietary Teflon ' Capacitor Gate once again?

Those ARC technicians must charge more per hour than my Wife's Orthodontist and Gynaecologist put together!
I had recently changed my capacitors from white to red when one of the capacitors went bad on my REF 250s. ARC also replace the wire at that time and I later upgraded to KT 150. But did not hear much difference after all these changes.
Well, all I can say to you, Tsushimal ... is that ARC, like all businesses, has expensed to meet. Your post reminded me of the old joke where a brain surgeon had to call in a plumber to fix a major leak in his home. When the plumber presented the bill to the brain surgeon, the surgeon looked at the bill, then looked totally shocked at the plumber and said: "Hey pal, I'm a brain surgeon ... and I don't make this kind of money." The plumber looked the surgeon n the eye and said ... "Neither did I when I was a brain surgeon."
Well Oregonpapa! Should your career in stand up comedy not work out, it would appear that you would be a shoe in with customer services over at Obviscation Central.

Should you wish to make yourself really useful, perhaps you might inquire of your 'source' as to list of the componant parts utilized within the SE upgrade service/kit, the total within your basket upon checkout at Mouser may prove most insightful.
03-27-15: Tsushima1
Well Oregonpapa! Should your career in stand up comedy not work out, it would appear that you would be a shoe in with customer services over at Obviscation Central.

Should you wish to make yourself really useful, perhaps you might inquire of your 'source' as to list of the componant parts utilized within the SE upgrade service/kit, the total within your basket upon checkout at Mouser may prove most insightful.
If you don't find the SE upgrade is good ROI, then don't do it?? You do have a choice??

Don't tell me my government is imposing another mandate if I don't upgrade, I have to pay a STIFF penalty.
Tsshimal...

I have two words for ya ... and it ain't Happy Birthday.
:>)

Read my comments on the REF-75 SE in the new thread I
started last night. It should be posted sometime today.

In spite of the wishes, hopes and prayers of the trolls,
the naysayers, the miscreants, the envious, the
destructive, those who derive pleasure from sticking pins
into the dreams of others, and the modifiers of Pas-3s
and Dyna 70s, the new SE amps are in another league from
the where ARC has gone before. Too full of exuberance you
say? Find one and judge for yourself.

Oh yes, and one final thought, Tsshimal, as to the
exorbitant fees charged by the Gynecologist you
referenced in your previous post; its important to keep
in mind that probing to previously unexplored depths
requires hazardous pay.

Take care ... and happy listening.
Exactly, Knghifi ... and those who gain their sustenance from sucking the positive air out of every room they enter in life need to be challenged every time they open the door.

And by the way, I've been listening to the new amp for three hours again this morning. All I can say is M.A.G.I.C.

Take care ...
Well I sent my Ref 75 back for the upgrade and just got it back today.. Its been on for two hours and I have to say I really like it much better than before. I used the KT 150 for a couple months before sending in for the upgrade( shh! Don't tell anyone) and I tell you the improvement is substantial. The first thing I notice is how cleaned up the sound is especially in the upper registers. Much more open.. Its funny when you think you're hearing everything and then you find out there was still another veil that could still be removed.. Seems like a slightly increase in tonal richness in the mids as well. Smoother top to bottom, more coherent.. There you have it my initial impression.. I'll keep you posted the night is young.
Cool, Carey. Good move. where else can you get that kind of improvement for two grand? My understanding is ... we are not really hearing the improvements until the 200 hour mark.
Sounds great!! I've been meaning to go to dinner but I'm having a hard time pulling myself away..This is just what I needed:-) No regrets here. Just one more cut then I have to go, Ha!
Thanks for the reports guys. I'm leaning in favor of doing the SE upgrade.

Just concerned that the next bottleneck will turn out to be speakers. Kal said the Ref 150 SE will work magic with the Maggie 3.7i speaakers. But room size (room height and length), room effects and time coherence are a still problems. The DEQX can fix a lot, but not room height and length. The Maggies are 6' tall I think. My room is 7' feet high.

Also, the Maggies are not bass rumblers. May need a sub.

Thanks again guys.

Please keep the comments coming. Your SEs will need time to tome to break in, even the Ref 75 that was upgraded at the factory.

Btw, Carey ... how long did it take ARC to do the turn around the SE upgrade?

Bruce
The amp was done in about a week..But I waited another week for the SE badges to come in.. Expect a week to 10 days I'd say.
Carey ... did ARC change or modify the top cover to accommodate the larger tubes. Or do you play sans cover??

Also, are you able to tell if they took a soldiering iron to the existing circuit boards and swap out components, or did they swap out the old boards and drop in a new boards?
the top cover is the same but there is more room above the tubes.. Calvin said they were lowering the board I believe..He said it would be identical the the new ones being produced. Mine was less than 4 months old when I sent it in.
Cary ...

I swear to GAWD ... I can't tear myself away either. Had the system warmed up at 7:30 again this morning (Friday) and didn't jump into the shower and get dressed until 3pm. I need help! *lol* The sound stage depth is becoming quite unbelievable. Honestly, I feel blessed to have such a great sounding system to play my jewel collection on.

Bifwynne ...

Love the big Maggies. They remind me of when I had Accustat Fours in my system. On good nights with the lights out, and a small fire flickering in the fireplace, the back wall seemed to just fall down and the depth went on forever. They needed a TON of power, but man, those babies could play.
So I am trying to understand this. The original Ref 75 was 9k and the new SE model is 10k. I have heard the new upgrade is 2500.00. Someone would be better off selling their Ref 75 for 7k and just buying the new version for 10k.
It does appear that the wires from the ICs to the circuit board have been replaced with different ones,