Preamp for ARC-Proac System - Is Balanced Best???


Hi Folks! I need some advice bad! I've been auditioning every type of amp out there for my Proac 2.5's, and the ARC VT100 mk2 tube amp keeps coming out on top. As many of said, you can't go too wrong with this amp. I've currently got a Rogue 66 preamp, Cardas neutral ref speaker cables, Harmonic Tech truthlink IC's, and a Cary CD308 CDP. An audio engineer friend was over last night and he looked at the amps schematic and said "Beautiful design, but you should be feeding this in balance mode rather than single ended. This amp was really made for balanced input". Looking at the tube topology, this appears to be so. So my questions are:

1) Should I expect a significant improvement in sound running it in balanced?

2) If so, please offer suggestions about the preamp. Optimally it would have a phono stage and a volume remote, and both single ended and balanced outputs - but I'm willing to compromise as needed. Especially the phono stage. If the price goes down sufficiently without one, I can get an external one.

Thanks. Thanks. Thanks!
peter_s
BTW - price point, about $1500.
Definitely go balanced if you have any balanced sources. A balanced preamp with a single-ended source will still be better but not as good as all-balanced. ARC has made a lot of excellent preamps, with and without phono, which would be a good match with your amp. Just do a search and see what's available.
I don't have any balanced sources. I'm interested in the ARC tube preamps, but have read that some sound "overly analytical" (???) and that some of the pre LS series have excessive gain for CD sources. Are there any I should avoid, or others that are prefereable? When did the remotes come into vogue?

A cheaper route, to be considered, would be to send my Rogue 66 back to Rogue and have them turn it into a Magnum (can't hurt for $250) and install use Jensen balancing transformers which they state are super-wide bandwidth with very little else added ($200). I wouldn't have the remote, but I'd have phono and balanced. Any thoughts on this?
Actually, in my experience the people who refer to ARC as "overly analytical" like to have their music on the warm and sugary side of reality, so it's not surprising to hear this. I tend to think that they are simply less euphonic than many other tube preamps.
I DONT KNOW ABOUT BALANCED OR NOT
BUT I DO KNOW ABOUT THE EXCELLENT MATCH BETWEEN ARC AND PROAC
IN FACT THEY USE AN ARC LS 2B MKII AND AN ARC REF ONE IN THE PROAC FACTORY TO TEST AND CONCEIVE THEIR PRODUCTS (they use Primare as well)
I have myself Proac future 1 (and i' ve auditioned the 2.5, 3.3 and 3.8 extensively).
The best matches are with tube preamp and ss power amp (i've heard 2.5 with pre-, power tube amp ARC: clearly less good).
All the people i spoke to whilst auditioning, seemed to agree on a slight benefit when using balanced outputs.

I'm myself shortlisting into buying a preamp: from the preamps i heard, i preferred ARC ref1 before CAT SLI sig before ARC LS 2B MKII. I will hear ARC LS15 in 2 days.
Hope i was any help,

francis
Francis -- try CAT Ultimate if you want to surpass the ref1 (my opinion).
Since Rogue offers remote control as an option w/ the 66, why not have them do that? Also, ARC gear is a matter of taste. It does have a slightly thin, threadbare, "white-ish" face to it (at least the many pieces I've heard). I've found this to be true just as Conrad-Johnson has a slightly thick, full, "burnished" sound. I've not heard anything from C-J in 5-6 years, though. The 2.5s have a wonderfully transparent and full bodied sound (sounds contraditory but is true).

I also own 2.5s and have had them for over 5 years - they're not going anywhere. I've always used tube amps which work just fine. However, if ProAc uses primarily one set of amp/pre-amp to design speakers, why is there no real "family sound" to their speakers? I mean, could the 2.5s and the Futures sound any more different? And I couldn't bear to be in a room for more than 5 min with the Tablette Sigs. There certainly is no "ProAc sound" as there is with Spendor, B & W, Revel, etc.