McIntosh C500t vs Audio Research REF 3

I recently had the opportunity to try a REF 3 in my system, and to say the least was very impressed. Floored at the level it brought my systems performance too. But I have always been a Mcintosh guy. I am trying to decide between a C500T which I cannot get my hands on for a home demo, and the REF 3. Has anyone ever tried or compared the two. I have McIntosh MC402 and Revel Performa F32's on the 2 channel side. Also using a LP12 with Troika and Linto along with Ayre C5xe-mp. Just can't break that McIntosh love and without hearing it it is hard to decide. Thanks in advance. Also did a search and only an old thread with no responses came up.
I took my time and choose the right preamp...C500T. I could have easily gone
with Jupiter Series: Callisto Tube Line Stage. Just a excellent component. The
AR REF 3 I did not audition.

While I don't have full range speakers my components by far make up the
difference in great sound. Part of that is the C500T ultra low noise floor that
allows the micro details to play through my Dali Helicon 300 ribbon-tweeter
combo. Instruments paint a sonic picture across the soundstage especially
percussion and voices. I prefer instrumental Jazz and more recently Electronic
which can present decayed instrument sounds with transparency to provide a
totally difference sound experience. If you like micro details like I do such as
hearing breaths, cymbal decay, and fingers plucking instruments. C500T!

Migrating to computer audio the C500T adds another layer of detail and
soundstage when used with a great DAC. I'm still evaluating different setups:
stand alone DAC or single box CD w/ digital inputs.

Synergy is another factor in selecting C500T because I paired it with my two
MC275s. Changed 4-12AX7A and fuses to improve on clarity as another level
of detail.
I have used a 402 with my Ref 3 and it worked great! So great that when I stupidly sold the first one, I missed it and bought another.
I just added the C500t with MC601s. The whole system now is fully balance and synergy matching perfectly b/c they all came from the same engineering team and manufactory.

Now. Great sound by far with ALL different kind of music. I never understand why people believe in MIX to MATCH???