Question For Those In The Know About Audio Research Power Amps


I've flirted with ARC gear over the years, owning an LS5 preamp some years ago but never trying their power amps.

I've always had the idea that ARC tube power was a little lean and sterile and not in the Conrad Johnson style of presentation, with tube bloominess and that glorious CJ midrange.

Of course, I realize not all ARC amps sound the same and that some are warmer and more tube-like than others.

Anyway, I recently purchased an ARC Reference 110 SE, and really like a lot about what it does. Stage depth and imaging are excellent, it's detailed and dynamic. As if to reinforce the negative stereotype, it is a little on the lean side, but not horribly so. It's a musical amp overall, and that's what counts.

Questions -
1 - this was sold to me as a "SE" model, which I understood to mean that it was modified to allow the use of KT150's, which my amp has. Was this an 'official' factory modification, and if so, is the SE designation something which can be used when I try to resell the amp? I can't seem to find others running KT150's referring to their amp as the 'SE'. Or is the SE designation relating to a different upgrade altogether? 

2 - is this 'SE' amp backwards compatible with any other tube types?

2 - what's the next model up from the Ref 110 that might exhibit a little more tube bloom (warmth) than the  Ref 110? I wouldn't want to lose the wonderful transparency and soundstage ability of this unit, but if it could be fleshed out a little more then that would be a plus. The amp is only a couple weeks old, to me, so I'm still trying cables and supports etc, to see if there's more to be had, but I would say at this stage that this is a pretty amazing amp.

Any insights would be appreciated!

Thanks
Rooze

rooze
Rooze, Please list your system, speakers’ preamp, source, cables have you tried the amps different impedance taps?
Is there a carpet or area rug? Size of the room send a room set up pic with a link otherwise, there will be a lot of stabbing in the dark.

rooze
I recently purchased an ARC Reference 110 SE ... this was sold to me as a "SE" model, which I understood to mean that it was modified to allow the use of KT150’s, which my amp has. Was this an ’official’ factory modification, and if so, is the SE designation something which can be used when I try to resell the amp?
I don’t see any reference to the SE model designation on the arcdb site, which is usually pretty reliable. Nor does it mention using KT150s in the Ref 110.

I suggest you contact an ARC dealer or ARC directly to get a definitive answer, but it looks to me as though you’ve bought a unit that has modifications not approved by the factory..
@audioconnection 

Origin Live Resolution MKIV with all factory upgrades
Origin Live Illustrious tonearm with hybrid silver upgrade
Zyx Ultimate 100Z
Allnic Audio H-1202 / iFi iPhono3 (both review samples)
Allnic Audio L-5000 DHT with V-Cap upgrade (Linestage)
Cambridge Audio 851C (used as transport)
Aurender N100H
Sim Audio Moon 380D Dac
Thor TPA-60w monoblocks with KT77's.
Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor M
Castle Harlech floorstanders (in use)
Dunlavy SC-III (haven't tried them yet with the ARC)
3 x Aerial SW-12 subs
2 x HSU VT-2/VT-3 subs
SRA Platform for Allnic L-5000DHT
Symposium Acoustics SuperPlus platform for turntable
ESP The Reference Power Cords
Various cables - Synergistic Research, Tara Labs, Harmonic Tech, Acoustic Zen etc. Preamp to power amp is a Audioquest KingCobra with an Acoustic Zen Matrix XLR on the way.
Various tweaks and room acoustic treatments.

@cleeds - thanks for the suggestion and for checking out the arc website. I couldn’t find anything there either.

@erik_squires - thanks for that link! I’ve been googling but didn’t come across that particular thread. [EDITED - It seems to be conclusive on other ARC amps getting the 'SE' sticker and the KT150 seal of approval, but not my Ref 110. ]