Einstein The Tube vs Audio Reaserch REF5

I am seriously considering only these 2 preamps for my set up Tannoy Westminster + Manley NEO500 + McIntosh CD1100(it has preamp section already)in near future.Einstein Mk1(now used 2650euros)Mrk2(4000 euros)Mrk3(6000 euros) or AR ref5 used (6000 euros).I heard Einstein mrk3 and it was orgasmic experience,awesome bass,never heard it in my system before(that was with McIntosh2301 + McIntosh cd1100 which I had for a try for couple of days,but too expensive for me so Iam purchasing 1 year old Manley Neo500 for a lot less + cd1100,maybee late I will switch to 2301's).I still don┬Ęt know about preamp though.Ithink I would not go wrong with any of them,but visualy I like Einstein better.Any thoughts?
impedance matching w/ ARC gear is important; would not work well w/ Mcintosh, but no idea on input sensitivity of manley.

did own eisntein mk1 which is a very nice preamp, responds well to NOS tubes, upgraded power cord and footers. biggest issue i had w/ it was how little of the volume control was usable---very coarse (pot shunt arrangement). ARC is miles ahead in that regard. both are wonderful pieces.

i now own ref 5se, which is a wonderful piece.

nothing but good things to say about factory support from both.
Input impedance for your Manley Neo 500 Classic is 116Kohms via single-ended and 270Kohms via XLR at 1KHz (although it does dip down to 20Khz/38KHz respectively at 20Hz in the low bass region). You should be fine matching it with the ARC Ref 5SE, especially if you connect via XLR interconnects. I have no view on the Einstein pre but just letting you know that from an impedance matching perspective, you should be ok with the ARC Ref 5SE in combo with your Manley amps.

By the way, since you have Manley amps, have you considered a Manley preamp?
Yes,I would consider Manely preamp.I will be using xlr cables McIntosh and Harmonix.Tommorow I am going to the studio to get McIntosh cd1100 which has preamp section,but I have heard almost the same set up only with Einstein preamp and that was so much better then with preamp in cd1100 but it was also satisfying if not compared side by side.
Wow, 500w is a lot of power to drive Westministers.
BRF.Yes and no.We had a session with 2
McIntosh 2301 in my house,they are very powerfull 300w per channel.We listen loudly,big room,at no time ontheir meter showed 250w and in a moment when more instruments and big tympani joined very dynamic musical collage it jumped suddenly to 300w and that extra power was great,it handled these dynamic changes with ease,no distortions just beautifull music in concert level,our jaws dropped to the floor.Listen The Enid - live in Hammersmith,song one and you will know what I am talking about,starts slowly but the climax is ... oh no words for it.
I now own The Tube MkII. I have no idea that there is a MKIII version.
Anyway the Einstein has bass that was prodigious. Much better than the Nagra PLL, First Sound, Ayre K1xe and K5xe I once own. It really shines especially on acoustic instruments portrayal.
It seems strange a 98 db sensitive speaker would draw that kind of power. Is this speaker`s sensitivity rating accurate?I`ve heard speakers this sensitive go well over 100 db SPL with 20 watts in good sized rooms.This room must be huge.
Charles.Yes big room,occasionaly high listening volume.
Wow thats a monster amp to drive westminsters Be careful , Not only is it not great sonic wise to have not have enough power thus over-driving the amp , it is just as damaging sonic wise to have too much power thus under driving the amp . This even comes more into play with Tubes . Something seems off Im driving my Westminster SE with Shindo and drive them VERY well with 10 watts
It is true that with many transistor and push-pull tube amps, if they don't make enough power, their distortion is actually *higher*. With higher power amps that point is often between 5 and 10 watts.

A good reason to go balanced is the advantage of being able to run really long interconnects, so you can place the amps close to the speakers and avoid sonic degradation on account of the speaker cables.

The balanced line system was created to get rid of interconnect cable colorations. It works really well! However in order for that to happen, The preamp must support the balanced line standards (which have been in place for decades).

Most high end audio balanced preamps do not support the standard! As a result with such preamps you will encounter variable results as far as interconnects are concerned.

Here is the standard:

1) pins are: pin 1 ground, pin 2 and 3 are signal.
2) Ground is ignored- the signal occurs only between pin 2 and 3 (this is where most high end audio preamps have a problem- as soon as there are signal currents in the shield of the cable, the construction of the cable becomes critical).
3) the cable will be a twisted pair for the signal with a shield (tied to pin one only)
4) the output of the preamp should be capable of driving a low impedance load (2000 ohms or less) without loss of voltage, without increase in distortion and without loss of bass (this is the other big area where high end audio preamps have a problem, and also results in cable sensitivity).

Note: this does not mean that the output impedance of the preamp is this value, it means that it can *drive* this value. If there is a question, both the 1KHz output impedance and the 20Hz output impedance should be well below 300 ohms!

The actual standard is 600 ohms and you will have a lot of manufacturers of balanced products tell you that since the amps being driven have a much higher input impedance, that this does not matter. Such is incorrect if you want cable immunity! It is the higher impedance nature of single-ended preamps and amps that spawned the interconnect cable industry. Such is not needed for balanced as long as the standards are used.

Now some people want proof of this sort of thing- after all what I am saying here is that the interconnect should not have an audible quality in the system. So here is the proof. The first manufacturer of high end cables was FMI in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Robert Fulton, the proprietor, created the first cables in which in was claimed that they made an improvement when installed in a system. That was the late 1970s.

However in the late 1950s, the record labels were turning out recordings that are revered to this day (the better your system gets, the better these recordings sound). In many cases the microphone signal had to go over 200 feet to get to the input of the tape recorder- how did they do that without an exotic cable? The answer is the low impedance balanced line system.

So- if you want that same cable immunity that the recording and broadcast industry has enjoyed for the last 60 years, then your preamp should support the same standard. This takes the cable out of the system equation, and also its cost.

BTW, phono cartridges are a balanced source and should enjoy the same cable immunity if set up properly. If you have ever wondered why the phono system has that extra ground wire that no other single-ended source seems to have, that is why- its actually a balanced source that is being treated as if it is single-ended, but you have to do something with that ground...
Wow Atmasphere,thanks for your wide explanation about balanced line.