Here we go yet again.
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Thanks you guys for the responses. I have a buddy with a Ref 5 SE and I was amazed by the soundstage that, that sucker threw! I hated to ask the questions because I have seen those types of questions before - "why are there so many ______ for sale" but I was truly amazed by the number of Ref 5's on Gon and thought that there might be something going on that I did not know about. I know that they have the new G series out, but I'm not up to speed on that series. Thank you all for the responses.
I purchased one a few weeks ago brand new from a dealer for under 10k easily. I am almost at 200 hours of tube usage now. Before that plateau it sounded good but a bit flat in it's ability to reveal those holographic images. This preamp is just what I needed to complete my system! Keithmundy is correct, it has a huge sound stage. I am finally starting to hear the separation and three dimensional depth on recordings now. Midrange and highs are so sweet. Bass is solid and more than enough to satisfy my ears.
I picked up a used Ref.5SE and love it. It has defintely dropped in price significantly on the used market from a year ago.
Funny, I thought of buying an new one about 6 months ago and talked to a dealer. He would not mark it down more then $800. I asked if a new model was on the horizon and he said certainly not.
Glad I waited.
Hey Statman, I met you the other day with Sunil. I flew to LA to listen to the full line of Wilson speakers over at Sunil's (Sunny's Audio Video). We came by your place to listen to your Maxx 3's. You have a great room/system and thank you again for having me over. Sunil, his wife and Sunil's right hand man are amazing, down to earth people. Sunil picked me up at the airport and basically spent the day with me. Really great people and what an awesome showroom!! You are so lucky to have a dealer/person like Sunil to work with. I did not end up getting the Wilson speakers, but hopefully some day will do some business with Sunil. Anyway, thanks for responding to my post. All the best.
Riparian---ARC makes that claim with every new model.
Keith---Sunil's right hand man used to be at Brooks Berdan Ltd., working for Brooks' son Brian. Brian has his own shop now (Audio Elements, in Pasadena) and is also a Wilson dealer. I would much rather buy a pair from Brian than Sunil (check the thread on the worst dealers in the country, a survey in which Sunil came out on top!).
I laughed when I read your reply regarding Sunil. He wasn't my dealer of choice initially but have come to understand him better. He can, and does piss off some customers easily. I met Brooks when he started doing turntables in Pasadena when Stereo Shoppe morphed into GNP audio. This was before Brooks and Sheila even met and got married! I guess I have been around for awhile? I have been trying to visit Brian and his store in Pasadena. Brian has finally "grown up" and wish him luck with his store. He can also get on one's bad side. Scott (Sunil's "right hand man" and Brian grew up together. It is nice to have all of the stores so close by to evaluate equipment. I have heard the stories regarding Sunil, but then again there are stories regarding all of them in this area that would be a soap opera for sure.
I have dealt would Sunil and all I can say is to stay away from him. I don't know much about Brian Berdan but I would say give him a chance. I used to deal with Brooks Berdan all the time. He was very fair and congenial. I think there is a store in Santa Monica that also carries Wilson. I am sure you can find it on the Wilson website..
Statman, I too first encountered Brooks at GNP, in 1984. He wasn't even part owner of the shop, but did all their turntable set-ups (and was involved in the design of the GNP speakers). GNP was the other retailer (besides Randy at Optimal Enchantment) in the L.A area selling Audio Research/Vandersteen/Cardas (those three were often sold as a system). It was at GNP that Brooks came up with his mod for the Oracle Delphi turntable (which is what put him on the map, so to speak), using the knowledge he gained while involved in race car design and applying it to tables. The suspension of a turntable share similarities, it turns out, with a car's suspension, being a tuned system with resonant frequencies and spring rates. Brooks had to sell what GNP was a dealer of, of course, so when I expressed interest in the VPI HW-19 and Rega RB300 (neither of which GNP sold), he realized I knew too much to be able to talk me into an Oracle with a Sumiko Premier MMT!
I remember that turntable as I had one. It was my last turntable purchased. The suspension mod was needed for that turntable. I am slowly returning to vinyl as I still have my LP's of course! Randy is very knowledgeable with Audio Research, and has been a dealer for many years. If he were closer I would use him more for gear. The west side was a goldmine for audio dealers in the "golden years". Made a few trips to Jonas Miller for product. Then Christopher Hansen, who reminds me of Sunil Then they all moved, and then went out of business.