Mark Levinson 326S or Audio Research Ref 3 ?

I have a Threshold Fet 9 preamp which I want to change. I bought this one years ago and choose it because I thought it would temperate a little bit the energy of my power amplifier an OCM 200 which is very fast and almost a little bit agressive sometimes. (Londspeakers are Infinity Renaissance 90).

Now I want to upgrade my preamp and I was thinking at the M.L. 326s or the A.R. ref 3 ... what would you advice?

Thanks for your help.

I do not care what anyone says about tubes and solid state having sound qualities that are converging, tubes will always have tube qualities and solid state will sound like solid state. Which do you prefer?
Look at the Jeff Rowland Design Group Capri pre-amp with phono stage added for around 3-grand total. Look for Guidocorona's review hear on A'gon with a direct comparison to ARC Ref.3. I have a friend that just bought a Capri about three weeks ago and it put his ML on the UPS truck. Clearly worth consideration in a system such as yours.

gee, i love jeff rowland gear- i have a JRDG-consummate preamp sitting in the closet right now. having said that, i just replaced an EMM-Lab DCC2-SE with a levinson 326S. the EMM pre-dac sounded just a bit sterile to MY ears- but this could have been more a synergy issue with my system than anything else. however, i couldn't be more pleased with the added smoothness and touch of sweetness with the 326S. i also have ML-33H amps, which i refuse to dump- no one can, with any degree of credibility, come up with something that is going to make better music (other than tubes, of course).
and no, i am not interested in FM acoustics or something else that costs enough money to give me a stroke or a heart attack, thank you very much. anyway, i don't think that stuff is as good as the swiss say it is, with all due respect. there is only so much room on the head of a pin for angels (or demons).
as for the ARC-3, i think ??? nothing, it is supposedly a great piece. However, system and room synergy is going to swing things in ways no one else but you are going to have to contend with.
I think the 326S is an excellent preamp; it's extremely quiet with a solid hold of the low end and a nice clear midrange. However, it still has that Levinson sound which some may feel is "musical" but it's something it imparts on everything particularly in the treble (very much a Transparent cable effect for lack of a better description) but frankly, its not something that's extremely obvious; it's only when I compared it to my Wadia direct that I was able to put my finger on it. For the price though, it's probably in the top echelon and I could definitely live with it and enjoy it.

With regard to SS and tubes in the first reply, try the Ayre KX-R and then see if you still have the same mindset.
thank you everybody, I have definitively to try the Capri ... amazing review from Guidocorona who owns an A.R. ref 3 !!

it would be perfect to have the ML, AR and the Capri together to compare them directly on my system, but this is of course impossible
The Absolute Sound magazine has reviewed the Ref 3 and says it is among the best pre amp ever made. I do not think there is any doubt of this...
07-06-08: Philjolet said:
"The Absolute Sound magazine has reviewed the Ref 3 and says it is among the best pre amp ever made. I do not think there is any doubt of this..."

I believe that GuidoCorona writes for TAS and owns a Ref 3, so you'd put a lot of stock in his review of the Rowland Capri.

please pardon my ignorance... you guys have it covered...

My vote is AR ref3..although I dont own either,have listened to both..IMO ,Levinson products have never sounded musical so thats a no brainer 4 me