help me decide: VTL 7.5 or ARC Ref 3

Hi, I am currently contemplating these two preamps. My reference is the Einstein The Tube preamp. Both of these sound pretty close to the Einstein. I would greatly appreciate feedback from owners of either preamp (past, present, future). Also, which one is more tubey? I have heard the Ref 3 and it sounds great. I have not heard the VTL 7.5 but have heard incredible things about it.

Thanks in advance.

As a big Usher fan I have to tell you way to go! The BE 10/20 are amazing!

I had the 7.5 in my system and I switched over to the SLP 05 and I thought it was dramatically better than the 7.5 wider deeper soundstage, more liquid, more involving.

For the price difference you could buy the Cary and the new AMR CD 77 probably the greatest value in high end cd players ever to exist!

The SLP 05 is in an entirely different league compared to Cary's past preamps which were no where as transparent or balanced in performance, and it is a good deal at the price.

Also the Acoustic Zen cables are excellent you can get better performance for less money with the new Synergistic Tesla series.

I haven't heard the ARC in my own system so I can't comment but it is supposed to be a great preamp although the traditional ARC sound tends to be more analytical.

Tboooe, I had both pre's and preferred the ARC, sold the 7.5. I did recently hear VTL 5.5 MK2 and actually preferred it over my recent 7.5, my 7.5 was the original and apparently the MK2 is suppose to be an improvement.

You really need to have it in your own system and not go by what others have to say because your system will be different sounding than mine and others.

I have on order a Supratek Sauv. line stage that is suppose to be better than my Ref3, I guess I will find out.

Regarding what Audioorcle said, I have not personally heard the Cary SLP 05 in my own system but in others and what I heard was a great pre. I also want to hear this in my system. The AMR cd player that he mentioned is also suppose to be amazing, the build is absolutely top notch, the information that I have received is that this one piece unit is bettering allot of expensive players costing up to $12k. This could be a real bargain at $8500 list if true. I will have to get one and try it out also but a little down the road.
Hi guys: one question. What is an AMR player ?
Thanks for clarification.
Abbingdon Music Research CD-77
Thanks for the info about AMR. I just want to point at Ayon Audio Polaris pre amp. A friend of mine just exchenged his VTL 7.5 with the Ayon Polaris - MILES better (MUCH wider and deeper sondstage, better timing, better musical flow, MUCH more transparent, nicer hights and much more natural mids). CanĀ“t comment on the ARC.
IMO the newest version of the 7.5 is not even in the same class as the ARC 3. The 7.5 killed the ARC in my auditioning experiences. There is also a dramatic price difference between these two pieces that is being overlooked here. The ARC 3 is really more on par with the 6.5, both soundwise and pricewise.

At this level though you really can't go wrong with any of these pieces. They are are excellent, and make making a final decision very difficult.
Any thoughts....seeking pre amp for system...have listened to Ref 3, LS 26 and VTL 6.5...current version....this is to drive a group of Ayre this point the VTL seems to be best choice...has the air and detail/image/sound stage of Ref, but control at low end...this is for Rockport any advice before I pull the trigger is appreciated....
I purchased a 7.5 Mk2 in August and use it with a CAT JL-2 Sig Mk2. It is the best combination that I have heard with my Eidolons. It is curious that the 7.5 works better with the CAT amp than the latest CAT Ultimate Mk2 does on the Eidolons. I used to own ARC (SP9, LS-1, PH-1) in the early 90's and switched to the CAT because I felt that it sounded much better, but at that time I had Martin-Logan CLS IIz's and 2 Vandersteen subs. I have not heard the Ref 3 in my system so I can't comment on your question specifically.
Well I have owned Ref 3 for almost a year then I switched to the VTL 7.5. My 7.5 is the original not the new Mk2. The Ref 3 did some amazing things that were pretty impressive, especially in the area of detail and transparency and I really had no complaint with it. However when I switched to the 7.5 I then rcognized some weaknesses in the Ref 3. I had everything I had with the Ref 3 and more. Better dynamics, pace, musicality, transparancy and most of all soundstaging/ imaging. This has really peaked my interested in the whole VTL company. My vote is for the 7.5 over the Ref 3.
I have compared them side by side (with several audiophile friends): 1st/2nd and 3rd (latest) version of ARC Ref 3 , VTL Ref 7.5 (older version) and Cary SLP-05 .

Overall winner is : 3rd version ARC Ref 3 which is much more dynamic , more transparent & detail than older version. (most natural , musical , more "you are there feeling)
2nd : 1st/2nd version ARC Ref 3 with NOS National 6L6 upgrade on power supply section -> most warmth , very pleasant on ears .
3rd : VTL Ref TL 7.5 Series I (most dynamic , a bit forward)
4th : Cary SLP-05 (most transparent & detailed , a bit cold)
5th : 1st version ARC Ref 3 without any tube upgrade ( original comes with 6L6 tube as stated on tube positioning sheet)
6th : 2nd version ARC Ref 3 w/o any tube upgrade : 6550C tube on power supply but tube positioning sheet state as 6L6 ( sounds worst , congested , very weak on low frequency , confused) .

Also in my experience : I couldn't find any after market power cord suits ARC Ref 3 better than original one.
Power cord tested : Nordost Valhalla , Transparent Powerlink MM & Kimber Palladian PK-10 .

It was test on system : Musical Fidelity KW SACD , Cary CAD-211M Anniversary , Vienna Acoustics Mahler .

Opinions may vary on different system .

I owned both, and the VTL 7.5 first version was so superior compare to the Ref 3 that it makes me hard to believe how other audiophiles prefer the Ref 3, there was no comparison. I wonder in what hi-fi systems they have been hooked up.
Though I have not personally heard either, from the available data, the VTL *should* have better pre-amp performance, namely better noise performance. From the known literature, the VTL has a shorter signal path, which is in-line with the typical audiophile desires. I believe the Achilles' heel in the ARC topology is the choice of integrated circuit for remote volume control [These devices are readily available from Digikey for a few bucks. These IC's contain numerous active elements (op amps), of which are in the signal path]. The VTL has only a "95-step 70dB discrete relay attenuator for all attenuation functions" - ripped from the website.
I would think for a $10k unit a more robust solution would have been implemented for the actual signal attenuation. The chosen design is quite inexpensive, and is a poor choice IMHO, and as always YMMV.
I have not heard VTL or ARC, but I am extremely happy with my Cary 306 SACD & Cary slp-05 combo! I use my Cary slp-05 with Theta Citadels. Before that I had Theta GenVIII. Cary slp-05 is better!
I can not understand some say the cary slp-05 is cold....!? Must be something wrong in that system!