I was able to hear and AB comp between a well broken in REF3 vs a fairley new REF 5 and hands down the REF 5 is a better pre-amp. I have an LS26 and would consider the REF3 demo the dealer is selling but a fellow Ag'er tels me the LS27 is on it's way. And if the LS27 has the same improvement of the 26 as the 5 over the 3 I think that is the path I would take. But it was a no question improvement on the new 5 over the 3. The sound field and information delivery was much more natural and life like.
It was noticeable with a few notes and we went back and forth a couple times and even blind it was easy to hear.
But it is a lot more money too. I would suspect there will be a few REF 3's listed soon by those that afford the leap.
Theo, there have been a more than few REF3s recently for sale. If you have not already viewed the other CHAT thread on REF5 vs REF3, you may find it an interesting read as certain opinions changed over the course of evaluations, etc.
>>The sound field and information delivery was much more natural and life like<<
Lately, when listening to live music, symphonic, Jazz, I find myself wondering as I always start out making comparisons to my system, how much more natural can it be? does it need to be more natural is there a threshold where there is no more "more natural" or is it just sounding better in my room? There is no such thing as an "absolute sound" is there? Don't get me wrong, I am still thinking for example, about how to tighten and lower my bass response...but there are no absolutes. Just some thoughts.