Dear All,

I got hooked by the SET sound and am considering selling my Audio Research based system (REF 5 SE preamp and REF150 power) and Wilson SOPHIA 3 speakers. In exchange I would buy a level 3/4 system. M3 phono balanced input pre, P3 Tonnmeister power and AN E AN-E-SPe HE 98db or  AN-E/SPx ALNICO 95 dB speakers. 

However, considering the good quality I already have, I fear being a little downgraded. Wonder what is your opinion. 

My room allows corner placement, and has 30 m2 with 2,4 m height ceiling. 

Best regards,


That sounds like a positive move to me overall BUT have you had a chance to listen to this AN system you're considering?

Dera jond,


I had the chance to listem no a similar system. Lexus loudspeakers (94 dB)and M2 preamp amp.this system is more musical and engaging than mine. Tonality is great,  the Rithm and speed of music is better. My system is more precise and with better sound staging. The AN soundstage seems to blend all the performers while my system separates them. Voices are more focused in my system, but more like a point in space. In AN voices have more a body than just a point. 

What makes me think is the exchange of loudspeakers. I feel I am exchanging a top notch of technology for an old and plain model which plays very very well. The AlNiCo option, which I haven’t heard, somehow narrows this gap, but are more than twice the price, so I wonder. 



I’ve been down both roads. Ref5se/Ref75se/Wilson Audio Sasha 2/all transparent wire; Audio Note Tonmeister Meishu Silver (w/Audio Note 4300 tubes)/AN-e spe he/all Audio note wire.


They both have their pros and cons and I provide the following input only to assist, I have no vested interest and encourage you to hear the Audio Note gear in a familiar environment so that you can make the best decision for you.


Audio Research/Wilson thoughts: the pairing is hard to go wrong with. Alot of sonic strengths, some weaknesses and a few observations. no offense intended but I would rather have Sabrinas/Sabrina 2’s than Sophia 3’s. I never fell for the Sophias. The Sabrina is Just a more balanced, nuanced speaker. The ref150 isnt as sweet or musical as the ref75se either in my opinion. Hard to fault ARC/Wilson combo but it isnt as juicy or wet sounding as Audio Note. With that said, it strikes a nice balance between tubes and solid state. Goldilocks….


Audio Note thoughts: The Tonmeister/Audio Note An-e spe he is a fine sounding combo in the right room. Your room is fair sized at around 16 ft by 20 ft. IF your room and the audio note speakers couple correctly, it has tremendous potential. It will run out of volume on the Tonmeister if you listen at loud volumes and I found the AN-e spe he to be less efficient/sensitive that their stated specifications. I also found that this sytem can sound pretty good in almost any room but to get the best out of it requires more fussing with placement and toe in than you may think. Every move enhances one area(bass) and might adversely affect imaging and vice versa.   And this may be controversial but the Tonmeister (I owned it twice) isn’t as amazing as many would have you believe. I owned a Meishu tonmeister silver with stock 300b’s and another with the audio note 4300’s and I just didnt get it. I thought my initial Tonmeister wasnt very magical, I rdered another with the 4300’s and just couldnt see what the big deal was. It was nice, sounded on occasion special but in general…I couldnt recommend it to anyone looking for set magic. It doesnt sound that set to me. After my second Tonmeister silver purchase, I wish I had order the OTO se silver signature because I had an OTO se signature that was amazing. I wanted more of that magic and in my opinion the Tonmeister was a step backward. My 2 cents.

The Arc and Audio Note based systems can be exceptional but now for the real news: I found BOTH the Arc and the Audio Note systems were better with Devore O96’s. The O96’s were more beautiful sounding than the Wilsons to my ears on my Arc/Wilson setup and the dynamics and the colors were amazing and vivid. I found the O96’s more versatile and complete sounding than the An-e speakers on my Tonmeister system. YMMV. The thing about Audio Note speakers that is both a blessing and a curse: corner placement. Not only can they be placed in corners, you MUST place them in corners or the tonal balance is midfi to my ears. Others will tell you to not be afraid of pulling the e’s out into the room. Thats your call but they lose alot in my estimation. You are out of luck if you dont like the severe toe in required to get any imaging out of them.


I love each of the brands you are considering or have mentioned, they each have alot going for them in the appropriate system/room. I have moved on to other gear but I still own and enjoy Decore speakers in one system and Audio Note an-k spx se super K’s in another system. I may still order that OTO SE Silver Signature as I deeply appreciate the el84 tube strengths and that amp is likelt the pinnacle amp for that tube. Best wishes with your decision.

@ghasley ,


thanks a lot for your great information and opinion. 
I believe it will be very important to listen to a similar system in my room. It is a living room and not a dedicated listening room. That is also an advantage on the side of the AN, which are less room imposing. The Wilson need to be at leat 1 m inside the room. Corner placement won’t be a problem. In fact it is desirable. I am afraid it can bet a little boomy, but only listening. As I have solid brick walls, I think it will be an advantage. 

I am satisfied with my system, which has Transparent cables all around  I got hooked with SET’s listening to the O/96 with JADIS 300B monoblocks  Great sound indeed, but the O96 won’t fit my room, because I need corner placement. The problem with SET’s is that it can be adictive!  Listening to the system in my AN dealer the system sounded great! But it had room treatments and it is a must to try and have a listen on my own environment  

Another concern is the power . I listened to a A N E Lexus 94db with a P2, with 8 watts and it seemed ok. But I also must listen in my room. 

Another question I have is the use of silver versions  I opted (in my mind) for the AN-E/SPe HE because it is level 3 and the Lexus are level 2. I didn’t hear them. I also got a quote for the P3 silver but don’t know if there is a great advantage and if 5hose options don’t make me choose a more expensive cable on the V series, instead of copper cable. 

your comments helped a lot. Thanks!

@ghasley : good review of two different systems! I think the OP should just sell the Wilson's and get the Devore 096's. Keep the ARC gear and get an Audio Note SE amp for alternate listening. No need for an AN preamp!

I think member jasonbourne52 is  on to something and I agree.  I would try the Devore speakers and if you like them with your current ARC electronics, you just saved a boatload of money.  If still in doubt, try the AN electronics.  I just don’t see how those AN speakers are so expensive seeing as they are based on the Snell speakers which were not that expensive in the first place. I just don’t see how you can get real good bass out of speakers with an 8 inch woofer, no matter how far they are stuffed into the corners. 



Since corner placement is of primary concern, AN-E’s are worth a try. In addition, the signature versions of Audio Note electronics are the sweet spot in the line up. I would take for example a silver signature level 3 over a base version level 4. You dont have to run silver interconnects or speaker cable but you can always upgrade to those later if you want to squeeze out more performance. The E-Spe’s are wired with silver wire but have copper voicecoils so you dont need to go crazy with silver ic’s and speaker cable unless you want to eek out the last 1-2% of performance. In my opinion, the 8wpc from a 300b set is barely enough for the spe he’s depending on your listening preferences. I listen at low levels but like dynamic snap when called upon. YMMV.


I also concur with @jasonbourne52 ​​​​@stereo5 that you havent heard how good your ARC gear can sound yet. Far from it. Frankly, your 5se preamp is so good you will have to spend $$$$$ to better it within Audio Note. You might even consider hanging on to your 5se if funds allow. Its a special preamp that will be in high demand for many years to come on the preowned market and maintain its value. And good luck finding another one if you change your mind and want it back.


Any of us who have taken a deep dive down the Audio Note rabbit hole will attest that its great gear, it does what it does very well but if you are buying new, it depreciates far more initially than you may think. A big haircut awaits if you want to reverse course. A really cool option for you might be for you to demo a ref80s amp with the audio note E’s. Then you could sell your ref150 and buy the ref80s. The ref80s has a triode mode and I would be very curious how that system would perform with the AN-E’s. If you are demoing the e’s and they don’t quite float your boat, you could reverse course and pick up a pair of Sabrinas...they are a bit more placement agnostic than the Sophias IMO. I have a friend who has Vandersteen Quattros(I dont recall the version naming conventions) with a similar ARC setup and given the adjustable bass on those speakers, he has them very close to the walls/corners with fine results.


Good luck and as always seems to be the case, be careful when your setup is predetermined by domestic/decor priorities. You will have a wide sweetspot with the E’s in your room but that sweetspot won’t be as sweet as you might think. They sound pretty good no matter where you happen to sit but all of that toe in that is required, I repeat required, for the Audio Notes will compromise your presentation in other areas. With the E’s in my systems and rooms, I found myself feeling that they don’t suck musically and are a terrific speaker for a normal domestic setting. Just please don’t slip into the trap that some of us slip into when we think we are going to have dedicated listening room performance in a non-dedicated listening room. That won’t happen.

Great advise from you all! Thanks!
@ghasley , you said it all about the REF5SE. It is indeed a great and special,preamp! One of the things I feel about this business is that I am exchanging a very special preamp for an inferior one, although great sounding. A little bit the same about the Sophia’s, being changed for very plain AN E model, because a level 4 model more than doubles the price. it is a great idea the ref80 issue. I will give it a try.

At the end, it is a question of liking the sound of AN and I do a lot. The JADIS with the O96 really impressed me. I felt music and emotion in their presentation. I coul hear the effort made by a singer to pass the emotion. Believe me, it was unforgettable. I could go for this combo, JADIS with Devore. But I think it will be too much for my living room. I posted a picture on my profile with the system in the room. A corner placement would be great for the room. The Devore will be bad for the room.

I also must say that the AN system didn’t impress me as much as the Devore/ Jadis. But I liked it a lot. Where I starting from scratch and if money wasn’t an issue, I would buy and live happily with the AN system for the rest of my life (if one can say that for sure).


@pfmaudio I agree with you and you are thinking about the right things. One thing you might consider, pick up the phone and call Mr. Devore. Tell him what you heard when you first heard his speakers, tell him about your room and your desires for placement. I have seen photos where John built front ported O96's for a customer. Heck, that may be all you need to get the sound you are after is to have a pair of O96's built that way.


My personal opinion is that if you are looking past the AN-E spe he then you should consider the higher models in the context of an all Audio Note system. Its the AN specific synergies where you milk the last bit of elegance from the system. I am far from an Audio Note expert as I determined real quick that it can be painful as you move up the Audio Note food chain. If it were my money, and it clearly isn't, I would upgrade to a ref80s and have some O96's built with front ports. You could stick with your existing Transparent cabling, experience some amazing dynamics tonal color and texture and sink in and enjoy your music. Besides, the O96's are absolutely built to an heirloom standard, they are beautiful in room and are terribly easy to live with. While O96's may not be everyone's cup of tea, what speaker is? One of the things I really appreciate about the O96's and Devore Fidelity in general, you will see them driven by inexpensive tube integrateds, class A solid state, SET's, lower power amps, higher power amps and they appear to check off boxes for those buyers. They really are versatile. With that said, you might find the transparency and texture that ARC delivers would mesh nicely with AN-E's and they might sound amazing in your room. Hopefully you have great dealers who will find a way for you to see which direction works best for you.


Best of luck...


pick up the phone and call Mr. Devore. Tell him what you heard when you first heard his speakers, tell him about your room and your desires for placement. I have seen photos where John built front ported O96’s for a customer. Heck, that may be all you need to get the sound you are after is to have a pair of O96’s built that way

This is an excellent suggestion! Front ported O-96 speakers that will quite likely work with corner placement as @pfmaudio needs for his room. Get the Jadis 300b amplifiers to drive them and keep the ARC REF 5SE preamplifier. I can imagine this combination sounding splendid. Other combinations recommended here are also terrific options.


Your comments on this thread are very informative and interesting. Hi pfmaudio, Jadis amplifiers are beautiful looking and sounding. I’m sure they worked magic with their 300b implementation. I have zero doubt that the ARC REF 150 SE and Wilson pairing is very nice. But Jadis300b/O-96 I believe would be "special "😊👍


That’s a big change.  I’d be sure about it somehow before committing fully.  Can you keep the old stuff until the new stuff passes the grade?

The AN E's are a copy of the Snell Type E. I have a pair. I don't believe the hype that the AN E's are so great! Certainly not worth the high price! I'll take the 096's any day of the week! 

Just my opinion I've heard 096's, in a Shindo system, not in my own room. They sounded great but I prefer my AN-J's a real sleeper in the AN lineup.

@OP,  I like the rec by Mr. Bourne above.  How possible is it for you to keep two systems or have options open so you can go back and forth?  That may be something you aren't interested though.  

After you audition the Audio Note system IN YOUR ROOM, have your dealer replace your Wilson speakers with the newest Magnepan speakers. Listen again to BOTH sets of HW.

Yes, you may want more booms, so get a sub if you think you need it (older Decca orchestra vinyl could us it).

Listen for a few days with each system.  Bet you keep the Audio Research and buy the Maggies if your room is right and the dealer sets them up correctly.  If he/she doesn't move them until you don't hear speakers, but only music.

THEN you will get it.

Cheers, and happy listening with whatever you end up with.

@richopp if the OP remains committed to corner placement, there is zero chance Maggies ever darken his door. Secondly, its a bit of a strecth dont you think for you to recommend speakers like Maggies when the OP is considering 8wpc SET amplification?

In my opinion : I do like the cd-players,dac and poweramp of Audio Note. The préamp AR  is very good ! The poweramps less. I do prefer AN :sound is very good ! One of my favorites !

You are running from one end of the Baskin Robbins flavor bar to the other…

I think the best advice you got was keep the REF5se w semi custom Devore.

But the pleasure principle is paramount, go for it !

Like my buddy with Viking horns and Jadis says : “ I know it’s not accurate, i don’t care. Every violin and snare is immersed in honey butter scotch “… he may have said scotch… but his toe was tapping, who am i to judge.

My one bit of advice…listen for hours, then leap

@charles1dad , When I heard the O96 with Jadis the preamp was a REF6, so the REF5Se will indeed work very very well with the JADIS, you’re right. 

@tomic601 , yes I am moving from one world to a different one, although choosing a tube amplification base like ARC started because I always liked the sound of tunes, even ARC, who narrows the gap between tube and ss. However, I want to change from high power pentodes to low power pure class A SET’s. It’s a move form the middle to the other extreme. 

@ghasley , great ideia. I Will send John an email regarding this and try the Ref80 on triode mode. 
However, I believe what had me hooked on the JADIS and O96 was the synergy between the two. Not only the sound of the O96 but also the sound of SET’s by JADIS. 

Another try is changing only the power and speakers for the AN and in the future waiting for an used AN preamp ( I saw an used Phono M6 in Choice HiFi, but when I called it was already sold). With this option I would reduce the inicial cost. There’s an issue with this solution. I wanted to reduce the number os boxes in the room. With the M3 Phono, I would sell my ARC PH7, using the phono stage of M2 plus a SUT for my MC cartridge.This way I would be in audio heaven. As I have my TT and phono preamp away from the loudspeakers, power and preamp, I need a 20ft cable ( I am using Transprent Reference SE) and I believe it is a weak point in the system. My idea is to put the M3 near the TT and SUT and then connect to the power with a 20ft cable. It will be better solution. But I can always do it in the future. 

I also must say that the AN system didn’t impress me as much as the Devore/ Jadis


This comment from you really solidifies in what direction you should head. Our interaction with listening to music is an emotionally deep and engaging one. Always choose the audio components that stir your musical soul and move you the most. It’s an utterly individual decision and as personal as anything can be.

I can sense that you are acutely aware of this. You currently have a very fine audio system (One that many would be proud and happy to own). Yet the Jadis 300b/Orangutan-96 got to you and I can understand why. I believe that you’re on the right track (For what pleases you most) and you’ll get this sorted  out.

Best wishes,


I like the AN stuff having just demoed AN a month or so ago. I bought a pair of Charney Companions to pair with my Art Audio Jota/Lamm LL2. Charney I think is better in all categories. I'd have been happy with AN but what I have sounds as good as anything I've ever heard with that sense of immediacy or palpability or whatever it is that makes the SET/low impedance combo so compelling. 


Hi, I started this hifi journey a couple of years ago. Last year I has the opportunity to experience AN and sold all my gear and build an all integrated AN system: AN Meishu Silver with E4300 and rest all NOS tubes, ANJ/Spe speakers, AN Cables all around, and a simple DAC. Marveled at what I get. 8W of pure haven. So much so that I have an order for a new AN Meishu Tonemeister Silver SE Integrated, and AN CD-5 CD Player and an AN 4.1x DAC. I have found that the AN Dealers do a lot of the speaker placement in your room to get the most of the system. My room is 15 x 13, and it is a dedicated room. 

I have heard Wilson speakers with Mcintosh, with VAC and with AR gear. The sound is incredible, but is a completely different presentation. If you are looking to direct what you are hearing, I believe you will be better served with your current system. If you want to turn on the music and wish you can continue listening for days on end AN is your route.

Don't know where you are located, but if in South Florida, Soundlux Audio is your to go place for AN.

Good luck.

Post removed 

@pfmaudio Take a look at the Volti Audio Rival. It will address your room placement preferences and constraints. It is also easy to drive and will work well with your move to SET amplification. Front ported. Corner friendly. Multiple finishes / looks. Crossover(s) are adjustable, which allows for room tuning, etc. I also believe it offers the type of "sound" you described you are looking for.

Nice to see mention of Charney as an option.

Volti Audio Rival 2

[Note: Reposted since the forum 'was down' (for me) while I was editing.]


I like Jason..52 idea. I know a lot of people keep different components or speakers to change up the sound. That being said it all about if you like the sound in your room. I do have some sellers remorse sometimes. I hope you can heed his advise and keep both. 

Post removed 

I also very much like Charney and Volti Audio speakers if the OP wants to get into horns. The good news @pfmaudio is that you've obviously been able to listen to a lot of this gear. As others above have told you trust your ears if you think something sounds great then it does. And none of the gear you're looking at is of the artificial showy nature than can impress in a quick demo. This is 1=all equipment to give you long term satisfaction. It's a fun process I'm a bit jealous have fun with it!

And none of the gear you're looking at is of the artificial showy nature than can impress in a quick demo. This is 1=all equipment to give you long term satisfaction


I agree 100% that the components that have caught his ear are of  the caliber capable of impressing today, tomorrow  or 10 years down the road. The Jadis or Audio Note 300b amplifiers paired with a Charney, Volti, O-96 or an Audio Note speaker can achieve this long term satisfaction,  Patience with selection and then proper set-up and you are good to go. No doubt in regard to the excellent choices available. 




I am located in Porto, Portugal.

My system is quite good and gives great musical moments.  But it is true that with the hearing I had with AN I got more emerged into the music and it was easier to listen. I believe my taste lies on the AN side, even tough I love the ARC sound, specially it’s truly outstanding and enormous soundstage. Wilson has the ability to disappear and is a truly great speaker. AN has a great tone and rhythm, an impressive bass for the size, although I am afraid it might get a little boomy. As   @jond said, I’m having great fun in this and it’s great to hear all you guys experiences and opinions.  
The main issue with AN, besides the price, is the absence of a Mono switch, which I value when listening to Mono LP’s and my turntable only allows for one arm. 

AN UK  or Japan?

personally stop researching while back who is who ? made the SET move long ago, Contacted Robyatt listened his Tektron gear I've got smitten by it, never go back to SS, HYBRID, PP , Whatsoever, 6J5 Preamplifier truly remarkable value, suck it and see .

I'm across the pond in the UK. Firstly, I do love ANUK systems and they are hard to fault depending on which level you buy into. But, I have another recommendation for you to consider, a company that came out of the principles of Audio Note UK but developed their own signature sound and now based in the USA.  

I've had Snell speakers J's & K's which Peter Quortrup would recommend with his Audio Innovation Valve amps back in the 1980's. I've had Audio Note J's & K's speakers, but never feel in love with E's.   

A ANUK dealer back in the day was Gary Dews from Border Patrol Valve amps, know running his operation out of Maryland USA. He created 300B SET amps to improve what he believed was the initial principles set out by ANUK but to drive the newly emerging Living Voice speakers by Kevin Scott. I auditioned the first Meishu and Border Patrol 300B and ended up with buying the BP300b, and have been on a Border Patrol Valve amp journey ever since.

I would recommend auditioning a Border Patrol system with either Living Voice Auditorium speakers or Volt Audio to compare against a pure ANUK system and let your ears be the judge.

I still use ANUK Cables and AN Dac, plus a BP Dac in my system but eventually built my own speakers.     

@david_ten I have immense respect for your postings, which are typically quite mindful. Are you and @ethereal_beats merely stating that Living Voice speakers generally deserve a look? If that's what you are saying, then I agree. They are wonderful speakers worthy of consideration and Gary is a gentleman's gentleman. If you are saying the OP should consider these for his/her application, I vehemently disagree with suggesting a rear ported speaker such as Living Voice for corner placement (unless they were designed for such ala Audio Note).

@ghasley I should have been more careful / specific and better in making the point I wanted to, in my post. Thanks for pushing for clarification.

I merely meant to state that it was great to see a mention of Living Voice,...they rarely see the light of day in posts on this forum.

My recommendation for Volti from my earlier post stands...primarily because they are front ported...and address many of the priorities of the OP.

I have a different position on Devore...but refrained (and will continue to) to be civil. : )


@david_ten That's what I figured...also, we both recognize that no one speaker checks all boxes. 

@ghasley  Exactly. And what works for each of us can be radically different.

I have to say I'm enjoying this thread. Hope more offer their advice and perspective and choices, if different than what the OP has identified.


I've gone with all Coincident and Esoteric . No vinyl . No computer audio .

Biamping with 2 sets of  monoblocks . Couldn't be more pleased .

There is one issue which I didn’t mention and is also a concern to me. What woul de the equivalent in AN to the system I have?

To the Wilson Sophia a level 3 or level 4 speaker? (AN-E-SPe HE or AN E SPE ALNICO, taking into account that I don’t want another box with external crossover)


To the REF5SE the M5 or M6?

To the REF150 I believe it is the P3 tonnmeister. Upper levels are monoblocks. 

the question is not easy to answer, because the sound of them is very different. 

if I want to change for a same level system where shoul I go? 
perhaps this is a no question, because if I like more the sound it doesn’t matter if the level is the same or not. What matters is the pleasure I get from the system. But anyway I wonder. 



Disclaimer: The answer to your question is, of course, it depends. Since in my opinion, it is easier to segment the amplifier side of the conversation than the preamp side, I will offer my opinion there to start. There is no comparison on power/wpc, apples to oranges. My observations are in the context of a system with appropriately paired speakers.


The Audio Note SE versions and/or the SE Silver or Silver Signature versions of their amps will subjectively exceed the qualitative purity of performance of the ARC Ref150. PP vs single ended. For instance, I would take a P1/P2 SE Silver or Silver Signature over the Ref150 for tonal purity and texture. I would take a P1 SE Silver Signature over a the base P2 PP or base P3 Tonmeister. You really need to pick the speaker and then the amp, especially since Audio Note has so many variations of a particular theme.


I may be out of step with others but I would NOT purchase an Audio Note preamp below the M5 or M6 level coming from where you are coming from AND, even then, I'm not sure I would prefer it to your Ref5se. I will readily admit though that I prefer Shindo preamplification over ARC and ARC over Audio Note, especially in the context of a price band, so I am clearly biased. (I also prefer the Shindo Cortese 300b over the Tonmeister by a wide margin. Ive owned both and don't have any axe to grind.) I recognize that you are in Portugal and Shindo may be extremely difficult to source there. You may feel completely different though. For giggles once when I had the REF75se and Sasha 2's, I connected my 9wpc OTO SE Signature to the Sasha's and all the superlatives applied: the tone was superior, the bass was more musical, the midrange simply amazing. Normal listening levels...I was quite surprised. Now I'm not recommending this combo, it just showed the commitment to the Audio Note power supply implementation.


In short, if it were me, I would pick the new speaker, see how it sounds with your ref5se/ref150. Then drop in a demo audio note amp (or Jadis or whatever pairs best with the speaker you choose) of your choosing with the speakers and your ref5se and see how it sounds. I believe the ref5se is pretty special and you will have to spend alot of money in the Audio Note line to potentially exceed its performance. I say potentially because if the ref5se were being manufactured today, it would be a $15-20k preamp, its versatile, its fully balanced, it is warmer than current ARC pres, it has a really nice and linear remote volume control. It would be the flagship preamp for many manufacturers today.


I hope I didnt confuse the issue more but I would be remiss if I didn't strongly communicate that the strength of your present system is your ref5se.


I hope I didnt confuse the issue more but I would be remiss if I didn't strongly communicate that the strength of your present system is your ref5se

  • Good point and this would be the last component of the current audio system I'd replace. And again in the context of what @pfmaudio is seeking sonically you simply can't misstep with the mentioned Shindo,Jadis or AN amplifiers (With suitably chosen speakers). An interesting discussion for certain. At the minimum several well paved paths to get to Rome.
  • Charles . 

@ghasley ,


great point! We are on the same page about the REF5SE. This thread is being very useful to clear my ideas about the right move. I believe having a Shindo is difficult here in Portugal. It’s a dream and I believe I coud import it directly from Germany, but it’s risky without hearing it first. I believe Art Dudley reviewed the Sophia’s with a Shindo 25W amp and loved them. But it’s risky not to have a dealer in Portugal for service. 

I can try the AN E with a P3 Silver, which was my initial thought and see how it works. I believe I manage to have a demo in my room. And if one day an used M6 appears on the market ( I missed one for two days) I’ll get it. This move will allow me to keep the value of the ref 5 SE and if the demo goes fine have a starting point on the for the move to SET’s

Hi about a year ago i made a similar system change like you plan too. Going from a moderate efficient speakers and huge SS  monoblocks to High efficient speakers and to single ended tube monoblocks. (80W/8Ohm)

I think its likely easier to find superb sounding poweramps with small wattage than superb sounding mega wattage poweramp. 
you are looking at the right path, I am Sorry i didnt do it years ago.

Like many already wrote i too think the ARC Ref5 s.e. is a great preamp but i would strongly recomend to drive it with DR tubes and a good fuse as well as Stillpoints Ultra 6. (Like the rest of the equipment)

I had both the 40th Anniversary and the Ref 10 and they really excelled with these tweaks.

Another isue is weather you will go ballanced or singleended all the way.

My speakers are 100db/1W 8 ohm flat but still like min 80-100Wclass A or min 150AB if i want to shake the house so i would warn about too small amps if you like volumen at live levels.

Stay away from 4 Ohm speaker they stress the amps too much and best if you have min 10 db headroom, this eases the sound pretty much and huge trancients are played with ease.

Therefore IMHO all AN speaker are all too small and so are there poweramps.
Happe lisining


Therefore IMHO all AN speaker are all too small and so are there poweramps.

A sweeping broad brush statement if there ever was one. 😊 A clear example of to each their own.




an interesting experiment for you try, just for fun. A friend had a difficult room setup and had his Sasha Daws in a room that required placement closer to a wall/corner. They were boomy and completely overloaded the room, tonal balance all wonky. We devised a plan and fitted a flexible hose from a shop vacuum securely into the rear firing Wilson port and rerouted the port output to the front. The hose for each speaker was then terminated into a repurposed subwoofer enclosure where he could adjust the bass by adjusting the quantity of dampening fill in the enclosure. It shouldnt have worked well…but he still uses the contraption. People always ask what brand of subwoofer…LOL. Its an easy experiment to see if you can reclaim some floor space without losing the music.


This might give you some idea of room gain adjustability that your particular corners will project.

@thastum What monoblock SET amps provide 80WPC? The highest wattage SET I'm aware of use 845 tube which may provide somewhere around 20WPC.

I believe there are 833 amps claiming 150 wpc.  Also, the ultra rare 1610 can probably do 80 wpc.  I tend to prefer the lower wattage, non-transmitter tube SETs, but 211 and 845 amps can be quite nice sounding. 

Wavac SH-833 monoblock power amplifier Specifications


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The Wavac Sh 833 mono blocks,

Sidebar 1: Specifications

Description: Direct-heated-triode, single-ended, class-A tube monoblock power amplifier. Tube complement: one each WE437, 6550/KT88, SH-833. "Effective" power: 150W (no distortion percentage specified). Frequency range: 20Hz-100kHz. Input sensitivity: 1V. Input impedance: 100k ohms. Signal/noise ratio: >100dB (no reference level quoted).

As @larryi noted , very likely the 1610 tube is capable of considerable single tube power.


BTW the relatively common and available 805 is a DHT output tube capable of 50 watts pure class A SET.