The BAT should be superior sounding and the tubes should last for years....are you leaving them on all the time?
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I looked at all three and I can tell you the 2200 is better sounding than the 2300. As far as the differnce between BAT and McIntosh it is a totall different sound. I think the 2200 will sound very good with the 402. I have a 402 and determined that the sound I was looking for was in Auudio Research and bought an LS26. It was tough as I am a long time Mcintosh owner. I most likely will stay with the 402 as I am extremely pleased with it. But I think unless you canget into the C500 or C1000 catagory the ARC will provide the most bang for buck. If I do sell my LS26 I will most likely buy the C500.
Thanks for the replies. When the BAT pre is not in use, I put it on standby (I believe the instructions state that this is correct usage for the unit). However, I only turn the unit off if I'm away for several days.
Theo, I have always been interested in an ARC pre-amp but assumed it was a bad match for Mac due to the output impedence. I was even considering saving up for a used Ref 3 as there is an abundance on the used market at around $5500-$6k (great price for a world class pre but still out of my range). I have a CD3 mkII as my source and am very impressed with the ARC sound (not so much the looks). I was wondering if you could provide any additional details with the ARC/Mac combo. Thanks in advance