Audio Research LS25 Mk II vs Ref 1

Hi Guys;

Has anybody done direct comparisons with the Ref 1 and LS25 Mk II?

Well, not the Ref 1, but the Ref 2 mk1 vs. the LS25 mk2.

First, keep in mind the Ref 1 and Ref 2 mk1 use the traditional 6922 tubes whereas the LS 25 mk2 use the newer 6h30 tubes. They do sound completely different. The 25 mk2 is very dynamic and with lots of detail. It sounds similar to a SS piece, with little bloom. Everything sounds very "crisp" with the 25 mk2. The Ref 2 mk1 however has lots of bloom, is dynamic, (although not as much as the 25 mk2) and gives more of a laid back presentation. Don't get me the wrong, the LS25 mk2 is very good, however it all depends on your musical tastes. The Ref 2 mk1 beats the 25 mk2 in bass extension hands down. Probably due to the two massive toroid transformers vs. the smaller transformer used in the 25.

If you are used to SS pre's, then the LS25 mk2 might be a good mixture between tubes/SS. If you are wanting the traditional "tubey" sound of the 6922's, then the Ref 2 mk1 is very hard to beat. (Keep in mind, I have never heard a Ref 1).

Good luck.......
Tony- you HAVE a Ref 1- whats' up? I am surprised to see you inquiring about an LS25! Call me crazy, but I would have thought the comparison you would be looking for is Ref 2 MK II to your Ref 1...
Hi Sutts - Yes I do have a Ref 1, but I have not heard the LS25 Mk II. I think the Ref 2 Mk II may be too rich for my system synergy and tastes and wanted to get a feel for the LS25 Mk II. I still have fond memories of my old SP11 Mk II hybrid. I guess we should include the Ref 2 Mk II in the discussion though. Thanks guys
Go for a PSE HL-1, eclipses any of these pre amps.
Owned em all...ref1 was whitish...LS25 was wonderfull...MKII is still good, but 6922's in the pre stage is more musical.
I own a LS25MKII and I've started thinking upgrading it to one of the REF models. However, I haven't had the chance to listen to any of the REFs, would you think either REF will be better than the 25mk2 or should I concentrate on the REF2MKII and forget about the older models? The AR is working toghether with a Krell FPB300c into M Logans Prodigy.
I agree about the crisp sound of the 25mkII, wouldn't want to loose dinamics, but certainly would like some more bass extension, more 'punch', so, wich way to go?
brgds, marcelo
Based on previous ownership of both models. I think you should upgrade to the LS-25 MK1 if you want to stay with ARC.
I owned both the LS 25 mk2 and a Ref 2 mk1 at the same time. The LS 25 is more dynamic than the Ref, however it suffers from the bloom that makes tube equipment so special. I did do some cable swapping on the Ref 2 and it made the dynamics and resolution improve quite a bit, but it is still not as dynamic as the LS 25 mk2. The Ref 2 mk1 does have more body and bass slam than the 25. I think the next step for you would be a Ref 2 mk2 as I spoke with Leonard at ARC a couple of weeks ago and he said the Ref 2 mk2 is even more dynamic than the LS 25 mk2. I ended up keeping the Ref 2 mk1 as I prefer the whole sonic presentation over the LS 25 mk2, especially with my Maggies.
The LS 25 MK2 is very dynamic and with lots of detail. I think it is a great pre !
The Ref1 have more bass extension and less dynamic or punch.