audio research ref

I may have n chance to pick up a used AR REF locally here and was hoping someone could give me their oppinion on this phono vs the Clear Adudio basic + I currently use.
My TT is a Rega P-5 with exact cart.

thanks for any thoughts on this.
The REF Phono is supposedly pretty good, but it is not easily configurable for changing cartridges. (FYI, I used the ARC PH-3 phono preamp, and it was decent as an entry level phono preamp, but not great, and it had even more limitations than the REF, as it was set up for just one gain.) There are two fixed gains on the REF, (one for MM and one for MC), and changing loading is accomplished via "soldered" resisters, (which means swapping out resisters to try different loading is a big pain in the butt). If you are getting a great deal on the unit, maybe, but otherwise, I'd go with something more easily configurable, (for reference phono preamps, I'd recommend the Manley Steelhead, or the ASR Basis Exclusive,or for cheaper alternatives, the Ayre P-5xe or one of the Ear phono preamps come to mind).

Here is the specifications on the unit.

Ref. Phono spec's from ARCDB

Good Luck in your search.