The place of ARC Ref 3 in my system has been taken by a Jeff Rowland Criterion linestage. Guido
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I think you will find there are a great many Ref 3 owners out there that are delighted with their pre and have little or no interest in making a change. I, for one, am going to stick with mine despite the reports about the Ref 5 or other potentially better pres reported by other AGON members. I don't doubt their sincerity, I'm just very happy with what I have and will enjoy my system and the music every time I turn it on.
The Vandy 5A and all ARC combination has magic indeed. High definition tube amps mate very will with the glorious mid range of these speakers. I was very lucky to discover this in audio shows some years ago. As a result, I have not been on the equipment marry-go-round seeking the holy grail that so many in these forums report having to do.
Relaxing and listening...