Audio Research Reference Linestages


Just want to hear if anyone else have a similar experience that I do.
Some 8 years ago I bought my first ARC Ref linestage.
It was Ref2 mk2, which I first enjoyed very much, but soon I found the bass to be to close in the soundstage and the treble too far away which never allowed the soundstage to get really homogenous and create the real music event.
When comparing with a Conrad Johnson LS17 it was very easy to hear that Ref2 mk2 had some issues with it's soundstage.
But I'm a fan of ARC's high energy "big" sound so I bought a used Ref One (later model with Infinicaps and detachable powercord), and it easily beat Ref2 mk2 in every way.
There I had the perfect soundstage with great dynamics.
It simply sounded more complete and homogenous than Ref2 mk2. Still not the last air in the highest treble that C-J LS17 have, but the rest was much better with Ref One.
Recently I tried to replace my Ref One with Ref 3, but after 3 months I gave up.
I found Ref3 to lack dynamics and the perfect soundstage of my Ref One. It simply sounded less involving and a bit lame compared to my Ref One.

Anyone else that have kept their Ref One simply because the find it to sound better than later ARC Ref linestages ?
flex2
Hi flex2,

Mind tell me what is your others associated gears?...
Main rig:
ARC Ref One
ARC VT-150SE (mid and treble)
ARC 300.2 (bass)
Linn Akurate SACD
Exact Power EP15A
Shunyata Hydra
Powercables from Shunyata and Elrod
Interconnects Wireworld Platinum Eclipse, MIT Oracle 2.1
Loudspeakercables MIT MH-850CVT Evo Shotgun and Magnan Signature
My own design of loudspeaker (based on Thiel & Partners later cheramic drivers and Eton bass, quite similar to Avalon Isis except for the diamond tweeter) and Infinity IRS Epsilon
Vinyl Rega P25 with Ortofon MC-10 Supreme
ARC PH5 for RIAA + a prototype of my own design.
Personal listening:
Sennheiser HD650 and Beyerdynamic DT-880 (600 ohm version)
My own design of headphone amplifier with crossfeed.

TV-rig
ARC LS12
Restek Tensor (excellent solid state poweramp)
Mark Levinson No.36
Exact Power EP-15A
Interconnects Wireworld Gold Eclipse 5.2 and MIT Magnum M1
Loudspeakercables Kimber 8TC
Loudspeakers KEF Reference 107.2

Living room system
T+A V-10
T+A D-10
Interconnect Wireworld Gold Eclipse 5.2
Loudspeakercable MIT MH-770 CVT Twin
Dynaudio Confidence 5

What about your own system ?
Hi Flex, it’s been awhile for this topic, are you still using Reference 1?

lawrence 
I’m reading this thread and saying to myself no one is mentioning the 5se or 6 ? Not realizing it was from 2011. Wonder what the original OP and others who have offered options feel now with there newer line stages. 
I’m reading this thread and saying to myself no one is mentioning the 5se or 6 ? Not realizing it was from 2011. Wonder what the original OP and others who have offered options feel now with there newer line stages.