Comparing pre amps and the upgrade dilema

I presently own a Blue Circle BC 3.1 Galatea. My previous reference was a ARC LS5mkIII. I have been thinking of upgrading to a BC 3000 or a LS25mkII. And have also considered the LS16mkII, That is a downgrade at least with price.
I no longer use balanced and care very little about a remote.
I loved the sound of the LS5mkIII and in hind site should have held on to it. Does the current ARC pre's sound similar?

It is not a straight foward thread. But make what ever sense out of it you can

Sometimes I end up purchasing a piece that I used to own, because I miss it. Accept that this will happen sometimes. I'm on my second thiel 04a, have owned 2 AI M3a's, and after owning CJ 11a and Premier 12's and selling both over the past few years, now I'vegot a CJ 11a on loan from a friend and with these new speakers - Thiel 1.6 - and the First Sound Preamp, WOW....

When people ask me what single component most affects the sound, I say preamp. That is my experience, that the sonic signature of the preamp is huge, so huge it strikes me as even more significant than the amp or speakers. Ultimately the quality of the system is due to proper matching between components and room setup....

Sorry I don't know if the new ARC preamp sounds like the old.

I own an LS 5mkII and when making the upgrade to it compared it to the others you mentioned

The LS5 is more engaging and musical than the newer Arc pieces.

I saw one on ebay this week.

you guys are so right...the preamp is the soul of the system.
I had an LS5II for 6 years then sold it which was dumb so I turned right around and got another. Then I sold that for a MK III for just a couple hundred $$ more. The MK III is much more refined than the II...particularly with a more natural top end. It was finally the BAT VK31SE that was a significant step up from the LS5.

I started with a 30SE but it was lifeless on the top and yet far more resolving and a more natural 3D presentation than the LS5. But then I upgraded to the 31SE and WOW....what a magnificent product! The super beefy dual power supplies in the BAT bring on a bass rhythm that was lacking in the LS5. After owning the BAT now for several months, it would be very difficult to return to the LS5 and that is itself one heck of a product. Pure and simple the BAT calls far less attention to itself as a piece of audio gear. So go try one of these out.

The LS16 is not at all in the same league as these. And I did hear the LS25II and it was quite nice but it too was too forward compared to the at-ease presentation of the BAT.

I can swap cables and amps and eve speakers and happily live with many combinations. But I too have become incredibly finicky about what preamp locks in the magic of my system. It does seem to make the biggest difference to me as well.