Audio Research Pre-Amp advice

Hi, what would be a good used Audio Research pre-amp that has a remote, that is overall very musical. My budget is under 6K? I really don't want any Ref. pre's because too many tubes. Also something not too old, I do not want to have to bring in for service. I welcome and appreciate any advice. Thank you!


There was a significant jump in sound quality from the LS 27 to the Ref 5SE in my system. It uses 5 6H30s and the 6550, which isn't that many. 

+1 on not worrying about service. Most will never need service, they are built to last a lifetime and Audio Research prides itself on servicing older models and having an extensive parts stockroom. Should you keep it for decades, then any competent electrical repair can update the caps.


Well o so fast.  As a repair facility, we have had 5 ARC older products in the room for repair recently.  BUT they can be repaired and also upgraded to improve the sound so that I would agree with.


Happy Listening.

@romad I think you are on the right track for an LS27.  I had an LS26 before I got my LS27 and that was a significant improvement in SQ as well as much better aesthetics.  

I took quite a journey in the ARC line stage lineup and really liked the LS27 with the PH8 but I knew I could never stop thinking about the REF lineup. It was def a jump when I went to the REF 5 and REF 2 but I felt the LS27 was a better value for the SQ it offers. They don’t show up that often and if you get a good price I think you are guaranteed to get your money back if you also ever choose to move to the REF line. If you do move to the REF line, you can’t beat a REF 6 for their current ASP. They are not much more than the 5SE and usually a few thousand less compared to the 6SE.

Good luck!

I currently have a Ref 6 SE and have had most of their preamp products since the LS2 was introduced. My favourite is still the LS5 mkII. It’s still the best of the bunch. Hard to find though.

Buy once and cry once . @ghdprentice he knows his ARC stuff. You might get a good deal off of hifishark . Things happen in life and toys have to go . Some buyers just don't want to get low balled by the dealer .