The only way to tell would be to have access to all 6 components and the rest of your system. Otherwise, you're just guessing. How do you know the Ref 75 is a better match than the XA30.5 for your speakers?
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Keep your preamp, upgrade to DirectStream and get a more powerful ARC amp than the 75. Alternatively, you could get rid of your preamp, run the DirectStream as a DAC/preamp and get a more powerful amp than the Pass.
The Pulsars have low sensitivity and need some power. The effect of more high quality power is subtle, but musically important.
In my experience at the level you now have, great improvements are unlikely. As to which I would upgrade it would be the pre amp or the DAC. The new PS audio DAC has some very nice reviews. Most of all do you really like your speakers? They make the biggest difference over any good component IMO. Happy hunting and listening.
Wow! That would be an awesome system!
The reviewer of the ARC 75 (TAS? Stereophile?) claimed
this amp is unstoppable (seemingly unlimited power).
I'd be sure to audition with your speakers first.
Then try with Revel 208's or Bryston Model T.
Don't be afraid to crank it up as this is why you're
paying the big bucks (grace under pressure).
Keep us informed...
Most of all do you really like your speakers? They make the biggest difference over any good component IMO.
The speakers are great; I'm not contemplating a change there. Specifically, my listening room is better suited for monitors than floorstanders (12.5" front to back). I'm not sure I can find better monitors than the Pulsars even at a much higher price.
Looking at what you've got Rrolack, I hope you tried direct connection between The PS Audio Dac and your X30.5 poweramp as Paul McGowin has said the dac has what he calls "Resolution perfect volume and balance controls". Maybe upgrade this to DirectStream.
The output impedance of this PS Audio dac at 100ohms is able to drive the lowish input impedance of the XA30.5 far better than either pre, it's much lower and stronger than the ARC preamps at 850ohms and 300ohms.
And it has a switchable in output level of 1.4v or 2.8v
Try the 1.8v first and if loud enough up to full on the dac's volume control leave it there if not switch to the 2.8v
This will give you the most transparent and dynamic way to transfer the music of the source to the poweramp/s, and if as good as I think it will be you can make money out of it with the sale of a preamp.
Remember what Nelson Pass said about removing the preamp.
A Quote from the master Nelson Pass
"We’ve got lots of gain in our electronics. More gain than some of us need or want. At least 10 db more.
Think of it this way: If you are running your volume control down around 9 o’clock, you are actually throwing away signal level so that a subsequent gain stage can make it back up.
Routinely DIYers opt to make themselves a “passive preamp” - just an input selector and a volume control.
What could be better? Hardly any noise or distortion added by these simple passive parts. No feedback, no worrying about what type of capacitors – just musical perfection.
And yet there are guys out there who don’t care for the result. “It sucks the life out of the music”, is a commonly heard refrain (really - I’m being serious here!). Maybe they are reacting psychologically to the need to turn the volume control up compared to an active preamp."
unless you are loving something that tubes add to the sound of your system, going direct from either PS Audio piece to the Pass would seem a logical step to try. You might end up being completely satisfied with your current DAC and be able to SELL the ARC 26 ... then you will have $$$ in your pocket rather than an $11k expenditure
Get a record player. I have nothing against digital and I play plenty of CDs. But IMO,if you respond to vinyl, it will bring you more enjoyment than more expensive amps. Look into it. My suggestion is - instead of buying 11 grand worth of stuff, buy a Music Hall MMF7 for $1400 or so and try it. If you don't like it, you can sell it for $800 or so and move on with your life. It's a lot smaller gamble than what you're thinking about. Yes, you'll need a phono preamp, so add $400 or so, but you're still under 2 grand for the whole thing.
Setting aside equipment for a second, what KIND of improvements would you ideally like to have? Are there areas of your system you wish to improve? Dynamics? Attack? Detail? Noise floor? Midrange?
Just curious...sometimes, if you like your existing system, then instead of changing out major components, you might find great improvements in helping the existing equipment perform better. Surprisingly, isolation, good grounding, sometimes mass damping can have shockingly good effect on already good equipment (which you have).
I have a PS Audio Premiere Power Plant and replaced all the power cords with their cords. That made a wonderful improvement, not too subtile and very satisfying. I have vibration dampers under every component, and I could hear the improvement with each one! I also use a Qol, and I really love it. So, here are some more ways to play with sound...enjoy!