Jadis JPS2 vs ARC REF 3 vs Aesthetics Calisto Sig

Hi there

Please describe sonic differences among these three excellent preamps.

From myself I can add that ARC Ref 3 is great preamp that is not like any other previous ARC model. It had best soundstage, imaging and bass resolution I ever heard from preamp. But I never heard JPS2,JP80 or Calisto. I didn't include Hovland because it lost to Calisto somewhere else at Audiogon in comparison.

Thank you
I hope someone can answer your question.

I think it would be a minor miracle for anyone to be able to assemble these three (very expensive) high quality preamps into one system and have the necessary time to address all the sonic differences.
Albert points out how logistically difficult this would be.
It is tough enough to do this with just two products.

I have just attempted such a task to quantify and describe the differences between the Callisto Signature and the CAT Ultimate. This has been over the course of the last two weeks, several hours almost each evening. I did this for both the line stage performance and the phono stage in the CAT comparing to the Callisto's companion Io phono stage. And I repeated my tests several consecutive nights to assure I got the same results. I simply used different music as one starts to go nuts after hearing the same song over and over and over.

With both of these models using a lot of tubes (6922 and 12ax7), there is an endless road of tube combinations to try and get each of these units to perform their "best". And how do we know we ever got to that point?

And then there is the issue that each might work well with a different power cable....or a different IC to the amps. We try to be fair by using the same power cable to each but maybe this is not so fair afterall. And what about complimentary vs. similar characteristics with the rest of the system? How far do we go to get to the point of making a decision that we are satisfied with? Obviously, the more cables we have available to try and the same for tubes, the more opportunity we have to approach the ideal combination but this is a lot of work.

For preamps that use the russian super tube, the logistics becomes easier as we have few if any options. But that removes the chance of tuning the system to one's priorities.

Sooner or later, the only thing to do is to put one in the system and if it gets you attached to the music like nothing else, then declare that as the winner and enjoy your music.

That is very good advice. Still, I bet lots of people besides me want to know whether you have any general comments about the respective characteristics of the Aesthetix and CAT preamps! ;-)

Would it be fair to assume that you had so many variables in play that the exercise didn't yield any clear favorite? Personally, I wouldn't bother to second-guess the designers of expensive equipment on their tube choices, at least for the sake of a basic competitive audition. Therefore I was wondering if you had started with a simple A/B comparison of the stock units with original tubes and identical cabling. If so, did you get any useful information at that point?

Thanks for indulging my selfish interest here. As you might recall, I'm trying to find a good match for my CAT JL-2 Signature Mark II amplifier; and CAT and Aesthetix were high on the list of want-to-hears.

"From myself I can add that ARC Ref 3 is great preamp that is not like any other previous ARC model. It had best soundstage, imaging and bass resolution I ever heard from preamp."

Well I am no dealer and nothing to sell as the PITA Stan and Judy seeem to suggest about others but I do endorse and agree with the statement above. I love that preamp and would find it difficult to part with it
Sorry Stan, Albert has no cables to sell as I bought all of his PAD dealer allocation through 2009. And now I can sing the praise of PAD vs. all other cables as junk. By then the Jena Labs will have even more hype so I will sell all the Purist and change to this and skim off of that dealer.....of course until the next cable comes along with all the hype. Isn't this site grand! And think of all the extra little bonuses I will get....just like being an audio magazine reviewer.


Hi Bob - If you'd like to send me a note offline, I will give you a brief writeup on what I have learned so far with the Ultimate vs. the Callisto Signature.

I will stick to Jadis 80mc since it already made its name to history book as one of the best pre-amp.
I spoke to two owners of CJ ART 2 preamp. They both compared CJ to ARC Ref 3. Both of them prefered ART 2. The answers were

1)"ART 2 was more musical"
2)"Ref 3 was too bright for my system"

By the way second owner prefered Shindo Giscours (US$25K) to CJ ART2. When I asked what areas Giscours surpassed ART2 the answer was "texturing, image density, frequency extension, better harmonics"