Audio Research Ref 6 SE

Hi , was told today that Audio Research Ref 6 SE is about to get released with first shipment scheduled by the end of December/ early January, if anyone has more information about specs please share , I emailed AR support waiting for response with details but they confirmed about Ref 6 SE release . I was about to purchase one so would be interested to see what got upgraded or how much will current Ref 6 will drop in price ..,

Showing 3 responses by fsonicsmith

Frankly, I am pleasantly surprised. My take (rightly or wrongly) is that Mr. Wasserman must sell a lot of ARC gear such that the folks at ARC could not say "no". 
I love my Ref 6 and Ref 150SE combination. I paid full boat for each three years ago. I will not be spending $3000 to upgrade. I have no doubt that the SE will sound both different and better. How much different and how much better will vary among listeners. Whether the $3,000 is a value play will also differ among each owner. I invested long green on Cardas Clear Beyond XLR's to connect the two after experimenting and finding ARC's recommendation to buy the very best XLR's one could afford very true. 
My own personal situation is that my loudspeakers and listening room (combined) are a much greater impediment to better sound than any incremental difference there might be between the Ref 6 and Ref 6 SE. ARC's price structure for both new equipment and accessories (e.g. replacement tubes) is on the very high side. They have always positioned themselves as a barely affordable luxury brand compared to the likes of Lamm and CH Precision. I sense the same applies to their upgrades. This is just pure conjecture, but I think ARC is charging $3K to do changes that someone like, say for example, Mike Sanders at Quicksilver would charge $1000 for doing. They don't give existing owners breaks on upgrades. 
And further, the Ref 6 SE will then be eclipsed in 2-3 years by a Ref 7. 
I have reached a point in my personal audio journey where I feel content and don't have to have the latest/greatest. I hope it sticks. 
Ha! I was actually referencing the shot of the interior circuit layout which you need to scroll to view. But then again, it too is likely just a holdover of the previous Ref 6 photos. Wouldn't it be nice if ARC were more transparent about what your 3,000 clams buys? Ain't gonna happen. And the factory no longer answers questions. They refer you to the dealer. And the dealer is clueless. I speak from personal experience. But let me say again-I am not upset or put-off. It is just the way things are now with ARC. If you buy from a tiny producer like Quicksilver, Atmasphere, Don Sachs, et. al. you get information but you don't enjoy the benefits of economies of scale that a larger producer can provide. There is an inherent question there; does an ARC really pass along the benefits of economies of scale or are they 100% pocketed by ARC?
The question I would like an answer to is; just who is designing the circuits and "improvements" now that Ward Fiebiger died in 2017? I suspect that McIntosh Group fka Fine Sounds SPA is simply playing "design by committee" with a group of far less talented and individual-visioned engineers who also assist with Wadia and McIntosh product development. The case work of the Ref 6 was the first hint of this and then came the obnoxious (in the eyes of the beholder) power meters of the 160 M and S products. So, is there a truly talented engineer dedicated to ARC products who is developing real advances in circuit design or not? If so, who is he or her? And btw, I am no EE but the basic circuit layout and components inside the Ref 6SE as shown on the website look identical to those of the Ref 6.