Audio Research preamps EXCESSIVE OPERATING COSTS


Soooo disappointing.
So you want to use in home theatre mode.  Get ready to pay up to operate.   The tubes stay on and when family uses system 10 plus hrs a day for tv and videos, the tubes burn away.  Most of the 8 tubes have life of 4000 hrs and cost $150 per tube to replace.  Over 5 years operating costs could approach $5000 or more.  And this excludes wasteful elec costs of $100 to $200 per year for bulbs running without being used.   Sooooo disappointing.


I called audio research and they confirmed all this.  Further, they lacked any sensitivity to theses issues.  Seemed kinda arrogant.  

Sooooo disappointing.
emergingsoul
The tubes only cost that much when you get them from ARC. They are in sockets for a reason- they are considered 'user replaceable' which means you can buy tubes from the Tube Depot or the like and spend considerably less!
Absolutely no sympathy for the OP.  If you didn't know this when you purchased your preamp, then you didn't do adequate research.  Only yourself to blame.  Also, if I owned an ARC preamp, and I don't due to high operating costs, I would only buy replacement tubes from ARC.
Post removed 
Two issues here:  I am considering a purchase.  Don’t own arc.  Next, I will explore a cheaper tube,  but I saw them from a tube seller for more than 100.   Very expensive when replacing 8 tubes.
Very expensive when replacing 8 tubes.
@emergingsoul  Its unusual to have to replace all the tubes at once! Tubes have really variable service lives. Some will go a few hundred hours and others will go 20,000 hours.
I never use HT-Passthrough. W/my Bryston I hook up the Balanced connections to my Krell Showcase. W/the RCA's I connect the amp to my Luxman CL38U-SE. When I had a CJ ET-3 SE I did the same. All I had to do was hit the switch on the amp and turn on the preamp I was using. Saves on tube use.
Luxman
do you share an amp between processor and stereo preamp?

Can u do this? Sounds creative.

Thanks for more info.  
Considering a tube product..basically of any kind, that will be left on 100% of the time and utilized for HT is NOT a great idea, IMHO. 
To then question the fact that the tubes will age more rapidly than if one where to use a ss piece, seems a little 'crazy' to me. No wonder ARC were not that receptive!
As mentioned above, you can source power tubes for a fraction of the cost stated, Bias accordingly and there is no difference. ARC is taking advantage of lazy people who don't do their homework.

Oz



Have to agree with
 "Absolutely no sympathy for the OP. If you didn't know this when you purchased your preamp, then you didn't do adequate research. Only yourself to blame."
Class A tranny stuff ain't exactly frugal with the old wall socket, either.  Thank goodness for Stand By switches.
Reading the OPs issue with Audio Research, I just got a mental picture of their staff leaning in on the conversation while on speaker phone with you and then just cracking up in the back ground as you dredge on about their lack of concern and I wonder, are you their targeted market? Have you considered solid state? Enjoy the music
Who uses tubes for home theatre its a really bad move get solid state asap.Good luck though.
Get a nice av receiver to use with the HT system. 
Do you also want a 2 channel system in the same space ? 

OP already said on another of his threads that he doesn’t like listening to music, one has to wonder why then buy an ARC preamp to watch tv and movies

Quote: "11-04-2020 9:27amAnd I don’t like listening to music very much.

waiting to hear something of value about high end preamps.  Very thin.

lots of marketing hype "

emerging soul I have a Bryston amp that shares double duty. I hook up to Luxman w/the RCA connects and the Balanced to the Krell processor. I just flip the switch on the amp according to what processor I'm using . I E-Mailed James Tanner at Bryston to see if it was OK. He wrote back there was no problem. Saves on tube life as w/most HT/passthroughs you have to leave the preamp on. 
Which ARC preamp do you own that costs $1200 to re-tube? And why in this world would you have it in a home theater system?
No sympathy.  Who was it that bought an ARC preamp?  Who was it that made their OWN DECISION to operate it that many hours a day?

It's ALL personal decisions.  
If you run a respectable hobby but cannot keep away people from your gear who do not cherish the value of this high end-preamp you do not deserve any compassion for the situation/problem.
There are enough solid state solutions out on the market to amplify goofy films on TV.
Just my opinion...

Jan
If your family has to use these all the time invest in A SS amplifier for home theatre.
I define "troll" as someone who buys a car and complains to the company that his tires wore out after 70,000 miles.
This can’t be real tred.  You open sliding door and boot all those people out the doors.  Tell them to ride bicycle, play basketball, learn to sword fight, go mountain climbing, get BB gun and shoot target and maybe learn to hunt.  I don’t see how this arc problem this family to much on the tv problem.
Arc Ref 6se operating costs are very high if you use it with a ht system that happens to be on 12 hours a day.  Even when stereo used 2 hrs and rest is ht time.

tube life is 4000 hours per arc and 2000 for power related tube.

unfortunate why tube preamps used in a ht system have to have tubes on when being used in ht mode.  Startup delay to use tv is also a problem.  

Post removed 
Weird thread. Is this that new "what's the deal with ARC" complaint forum?

Buy tube gear to listen to music. SS does just fine for explosions and special effects along with marathon viewing as mentioned.
truism in life --

some good things in life are free, but lots of other really really good stuff costs money to have and enjoy

money is over rated, it is the experiences that matter

when you are done and have no more time, all the money in the world will not buy you one more second


Clearly the OP has no love for ARC.  My suggestion is buy a solid-state preamp and be done with it--there have been some good suggestions made above.  If you really want the ARC, get a cheap solid state integrated amp/HT processor for your home theater and just use the ARC for music.  But stop bashing ARC for the fact that it's expensive to own and operate--I think most of us know that.
@tubebuffer
..."I don’t see how this arc problem this family to much on the tv problem." ...

Oh my gosh, LMFAO. Tubes use to be in TVs and lasted a good while.
Didn't you learn your lesson with your first Audio Research bash thread emergingsoul? This one is really an embarrassment.
Where are you buying your tubes?  Wow... a typical ARC retube is much less. I’ve done a few. And agree with the others, for that kind of hours used, a secondary receiver would be best, or make it really easy and do a sound bar for tv.
If there’s a secondary receiver with one being a stereo preamp, how do you share speakers between them?  
So in your other preamp threads (digital forum) you mentioned the ARC Ref 6SE

7 - 6H30p tubes - $30 per
1 6550WE - $35
$245 to retube , if they all went out at once
Post removed 
I think you mean 6h30 by sovtek which sell for $34. I was looking at a rare brand which was so much higher and arc wasn’t helpful to guide me.
So now I ponder an arc 6se vs a McIntosh 1100, which has a phonostage. A very tough choice.
If ARC is such a rip-off as you seem to be saying, why would you even consider it?
Rare tubes for watching tv and movies, and having a penchant for not enjoying listening to music. Interesting , but whatever
My experience with Audio Research tube gear has been excellent.  The tube replacement cost is not out of line with other top tube equipment manufacturers.  Of course it is more expensive than having a solid state piece.  Seems like a lot of belly aching over nothing here.
Get the McIntosh.  The tubes last forever.   Some guys are still using the same tubes in their unit, 20 years later.  McIntosh does not push their tubes and tube life is greatly extended.  I have done a lot of experimenting with tubes in my C2500 preamp and after spending almost $400.00 on more expensive tubes, I went back to the stock McIntosh tubes 12ax7 which are rebranded JJ’s. 6 tubes at a cost of 90.00 total. Not too shabby. 
The McIntosh c1100 is nice but it bothers me that I am getting a phonostage and headphone amp that I will not be using. And it takes up a lot of space. Mc needs to do a higher tube preamp without this extra stuff. It would do really well.
McIntosh users like all the extra features, as do I.  If you want minimalist, look elsewhere.  I had minimalist for years and now wonder, why. 
So, with original equipment tubes, the ARC Ref 6 costs about 300.00 max to retube.

https://www.thetubestore.com/audio-research-reference-6-original-equipment-package

If your are considering going to that level, I would think a sound bar would be your best choice for a dual use room situation... but honestly, even if you didn’t, the cost per hours really would be negligible in the long run.
Please try not to cry to much.
Decooney, yes tubes were used in TVs for years... not because they worked well, but because that's all we had.
I remember pulling the heavy TV  out from the wall, removing the 10-20 screws and power cord interlock so I  could access the insides of the TV,  making a map of where each type of the 10-15 tubes were located or in some cases, hidden...pulling them all out, driving to the electronics store with a showbox full of tubes and testing every one of them...getting positive results on many, negative results on some and unknown results on others. You spend money buying replacements for the known bad ones and maybe some of the questionable ones, take them all home and carefully re-install the tubes, put the cover on, cross your fingers and turn it on. If it worked, great! If not....back to the store to re-test the questionable ones, repeat until it works.
This was a once in 6-18 months routine.
No...when transistors became available, NOBODY kept building TV s with tubes. SS was the way to go.
Yes, I have a tube phono stage and it's great. And, it's only on for a half hour to an hour before I listen to an LP, and gets turned off when optical or other digital sources are in use.

Isn't this sort of like complaining about how much gas your Ferrari uses or would be be more of a Camaro analogy?
  DUH! I’ll give you $100 for your ARC preamp and that’ll give you a start toward something that you should have bought in the first place! Somebody needs to come up with a quick online audiophile competency test. Have you checked the "ohmage" on your speakers? Maybe they use too much energy too. Sorry. Maybe we need new ’thinking caps’ or ’tin foil hats’ or those crazy laser hats that are supposed to grow hair. Anything would be an improvement.
McIntosh makes equipment for home theater, ARC does not.
My suggestion is to purchase a high quality sound bar/sub combination driven off the TV for general viewing. Save the ARC for movies and audio. No need to listen to food network channel through a high def sound system. 
Sell the ARC and get a ss preamp.  Who uses tube preamp for general TV viewing anyway? 
That is ARC. I had an SP 10 and then SP11. Had to retube every 8 months. Horrible life on those units. Now I have a Veloce' which smokes the ARC and tubes last for years. My Audio Note DAC5 is on 24-7 and I get at lest a year form the tubes and it is under $250 to retube.