Audio Research Reference 3 Seeking help

Dear Brothers,

I am Michael from Hong Kong. I bought my Audio Research Reference 3 Preamp from the previous authorized Hong Kong dealer in 2008. Now I intended to upgrade the said 4 pcs 0.0024 coupling caps inside the Ref3 but the present authorized Hong Kong dealer refused to help me to make such order.

Would you guys offer me assistance to that? Of course, I must pay you back the charges in advance, if any.

Thanks for your help.

Michael Cheung
from Hong Kong
I think you should stick with what is stock in your preamp. The changes you wish to make are 'modding' it and do not help except to empty your wallet.
Listen to your dealer.
If you want it to sound better buy some better interconnects.
Agree with Liz. It's hard to make perfect better. I used to own the Ref 3. It's a classic linestage. I was underwhelmed when I switched it out for the Ref 5 (not SE). The Ref 5 (not SE) was NOT in a different league.
As told above , the 4 bypass caps are an official revision
by ACR NOT a modding .Michael I think the easy way is buy the 4 caps , ARC used infinicap with a voltage of 400V.
Let these 4 caps installed by a technician , it is very easy , the are parallel at the backside of the 4 big goldcolour outputcaps of 10 mF.You don 't have to dismantle
the unit , space enough.The caps are easy ordered at any
retailer of electronic parts.Remember , they are installed
in every ARC unit standard now ( EQ CD 7 )

Why do you have to buy from Hong Kong dealer?? Google for ARC dealers in other countries and have them order for you. I'm VERY familiar with HK and easy to find a qualify tech to install them if you can't solder.

Another avenue is investigate using different brand caps but same values. Parts Connexion (PCX) has a HOURLY overstock sale so you can get some good deals.

My consultant bill is in the mail ...

Good Luck!
ARC never used .0024mfd as a coupling cap. I do not know where you are getting your info from. That value is way too small for a coupling cap as well as for a bypass cap.
Hello Hifigeek1,
Could you please tell us the value of this bypass cap ?
Some time ago the ARC importer give me the new 6550 tube , but said to me the 4 bypass caps would not give me a better sound .In my schematics the 4 caps are of course not mentioned . They are listed however in the CD7 and installed in the factory.In this schematics ( SEP 26 05 )
C5,6 are listed as 0,0024mF 500V INFINICAP.Did not verify in my CD7
I would complain to ARC about this dealer, who would want to buy anything from such a person unwilling to help with a product he represents?
As I explained above .0024 mfd caps will not give you better sound and are not coupling caps. You can try emailing the factory for this information.
You can email the factory:
Thank you guys!
Would any of you send me the schematics of the Ref 3 by email?
My email:
To my understanding, do you guys mean parallel a 0.0024mf cap each on all the 4 big coupling caps??

Would you send me the schematic? I will ask a qualified technician to do the soldering job. I am an electronic dummy. Thanks so much.

By the way, where can I find the infini caps ? 0.0024mf is quite difficult to find. Thanks.

I contacted ARC already by overseas phone call but they asked me to contact the local dealer direct and they do not deal with end consumer!!

Oh my god!! What can I do? Would anyone offer me any help?
Thousand thanks.

"I contacted ARC already by overseas phone call but they asked me to contact the local dealer direct and they do not deal with end consumer!!"


ARC is too busy replacing burned resistors in their tube power amps!

Very poor customer service!
Don ... I must respectfully disagree with your comment that ARC has poor customer service. It's difficult to judge the situation described by the OP just comfortably sitting in my music chair ... so I won't.

But based on my personal experiences dealing with Kalvin Dahl and Chris Osanna, IMO, ARC provides top drawer customer technical support and product advice. Heck, when a pesky bias resister blows, a local ARC authorized service tech makes house calls. Saves me schlepping a bulky 75 pound amp around. Further, if you search the Forum archives, you will see that many others share my opinion.
I would be most grateful were any AG member to be in a position to advise me as to what voltages / loading ARC run the 6550 within the Ref5SE power supply circuit,
as It would seem that ARC Central forcibly lobotomize (other than their official service tech's ) anyone outside of the Program found to be in possession of 'Company' information of this nature !
Tsushima ... respectfully, don't you think that ARC is within its right to be discreet with the type of technical info that is the subject of the last posts. Seems to me that ARC, or any company for that matter, has a right to keep proprietary information out of the public domain if it so chooses.

Of course, I suppose that if one is so inclined, they can buy a Ref 3 or Ref 5SE and reverse engineer it. Of course, that may cost the curious $13K MSRP to but a Ref 5 SE as the price to sate their curiosity.
I have dealt with Chris Osanna several times over the years when I brought in ARC gear and every time he was a rude prick!

Where do you live? Not in the Twin Cities. ARC does not send out service techs to anyones home.

ARC has no service techs outside the factory. Store service techs communicate with ARC, but they are independent hacks.
Don ... obviously we have very different views about ARC and some of its people. We will just have to agree to disagree.
Don, I am a warranty repair station for ARC and I find you comments to be rather offensive. I am not some independent hack. I've been fixing ARC gear for more than 20 years and was friends with both Nancy and Bill Johnson. Last year I drove over 100 miles to fix Nancy's Ref Amplifiers. I deal with Chris Osanna on a regular basis and he's never been rude to me. It's possible he was stressed out when you spoke to him or maybe you were rude to him. Given your broad brush name calling it wouldn't surprise me.

Were you a TV repairman before repairing ARC amps?
No sir, I was not....Fixing TV's does not qualify someone to fix complex vacuum tube audio equipment with solid state/tube regulators. It's obvious to me you have had some unresolved issues with service providers in the past and that is unfortunate.
Gentlemen , Please !

It was not my intent to be the cause of any handbags and spilled Lady Petrol.

@ Bifwynne , My posting whilst posing a serious technical inquiry also contained a somewhat less than serious element of Satire.

@ Don , Whilst I fully appreciate that you may have had personal dealings with ARC as a Company ,that may have left a less than favorable impression ( as for my part have I ) , I would not consider that reasonable grounds for calling Hifigeek1's professional credentials into any sort of question !!!
I have owned equipment over the years from many high end manufacturers. A few have not been helpful with customer inquiries, but, over the past decade or so of my ownership of ARC gear, ARC --I usually speak to Kal--is right up there with the very best. On one occasion when Kal was out of service, I spoke to Chris who was extraordinarily helpful and polite.
Perhaps Don_c55 impressed Chris the way he is impressing us, in which case I suppose Don_c55 got what he deserved.
Gpgr4blu ... my experiences with Kal and Chris are the same as yours.

If an independent repairman in one part, of one state, in the USA can make a living repairing ARC equipment for 20 years, I would say ARC equipment has gross reliability problems.

I do not believe tube amps are any more complicated to fix than TVs.

Yes, I have had issues with ARC service, and know personally many other people in Minnesota that also have had ARC service issues.

The internet forums are chock full of ARC failure stories.

This is "NOT" true of any other audio tube manufacturer. Yet many people love ARC, and do not care about "down" time.

It is like women that get abused by their man, but keep going back to them, after being repeatedly being beaten up!
With reliable audio equipment you never meet the service people because good reliable audio equipment almost never needs to go back to the factory!

If one repair person in one part of one state in the US can make a living for 20 years repairing one brand what does that say about the reliability?
Don_c55 ... this is my last post on this thread. Did it occur to you that Hifigeek1 is not a "one trick pony"?? That is, maybe he services many other brands and may also have other commerical interests going on as well. If you're so interested, why not ask him. Frankly, I don't think it's any of your business.

Further, as is the case with most gear, part failure occurs -- period .... The older the equipment, the more frequent the failure rate. There is a lot of serviceable ARC gear that is decades old doing what it was originally designed to do; to wit, make beautiful music. Caps dry out and need replacing. Switches wear out. Bias resisters burn. And so forth and so on.

Gary (Hifigeek1) is a long standing and respected A'gon member. ARC is a fine company. Look at my system description. Except for an occassional pesky burned biased resister in my amp -- NEVER had a problem with equipment reliability!! And ... IMHO, I am blessed to own a killer rig that is powered by ARC gear.

Don ... let this one go. You've stated your opinion. We all got it. I have no intention of trying to change your mind. I have no dog in this fight. My only point is to put out there that I *AM* A HAPPY ARC customer and I believe that there are many others.

Have a nice day. :)
To Michael , at the backside of my REF 3 is written in solder C111 0.0024mF , in the partlist of the CD7 is written
C5,6 quantity 4 ARCpart 53240308 CAP 0.0024mF 500V INFINICAP , which is a MKP type.If you can't get the ARC parts , just buy another good quality brand MKP type.Let it install by a technical engineer.
good luck !!
Thank you Hans
Got it!!