REF3 with VS115

Hi folks
I wanted to buy a ARC LS 26 and a VS 115. I heard the combination and it sounded really good.
However, I got the opportunity to buy a second hand REF3 (first owner, less than 1 year old) for less money than the LS 26 (new).
Now I wonder if the REF3 is too much for the VS 115?
Am I in for a disappointment due to a mismatch or should I grasp the opportunity?
Thanks for your insights.
I'm no ARC expert but this is a no brainer, it will only help the VS-115 sound stage, overall openness etc.,etc. grab it ASAP!!! BUY IT!!! BTW I own a VS-115 and dream of paring a Ref 3 with it but for finance reasons probably will buy a used LS-26
Pardon my ignorance, but what’s a VS115?
HI, it's Audio Research's newest amp, uses some ARC Reference 110 technology at a lower price, hopefully with a sound that's close! On the same continent would make me happy.
grasp the oportunity! I don't think you will be dissapointed.
Hey Jotra, by all means the REF 3 will enhance what you hear from the VS-115. Many posts comment the REF 3 is one of the very finest, if not the finest, pre-amp made. I have the LS-26 / VS-115 combo, and I got the LS-26 before the VS-115 and put it into a system with a moderate priced ROTEL solid state amp. I was floored by the immense improvement in detail, soundstage, everything musical! I lusted after the REF 3, but like many others leaping to that level of performance might have meant having to wait much longer to move my entire system up-the-ladder.

I'm loving my all ARC front-end, but will have to wait a bit to add a reference class ARC component. If you have the resources I'm sure you'll be delighted.
Bobvin did you get the scale I sent? How many hours are you at now?
I have this exact combo and, after a problem with the 115 was resolved, I am quite happy with the sound. I listened to both the 115 and the Ref 110 and feel good about my choice.
Hi Chucktone.
Could you please elaborate on the problem with the VS115? Was it in any way related to the REF3?
The 115, after approximately 150 hours of use, suffered a fairly catastrophic failure. A capacitor, or perhaps a resistor (it has been a while since high school physics), became overheated and flamed out rather dramatically. I returned the unit to ARC, via my local dealer.

It took quite a while, several weeks, for ARC to ultimately resolve the issue to my satisfaction. They sent me a new unit, which had the suspect part (and its boardmates) mounted much higher off the board, thereby hopefully solving the overheating problem. I've only run the new unit for a few hours, without any problems.

At no point did anyone indicate that the problem might have been related to the Ref 3 or any other components. I also have a CD-7 so obviously I am a fan of ARC products. As for the VS 115 I hope to get many years of good performance though I am inclined to look at a REF 110/210 or something else should any other problems occur.

My local dealer was very helpful and understanding throughout the process.
Hi Chucktone
I hope I am not inconveniencing you if I ask you some more about your amps.
Yesterday I got the opportunity to listen to the REF3 in my own home. It is a awesome amp. I can use it for another day and a half.
The only doubt I have is the enormous bass energy. I have very energetic speakers in the bass region and the REF3 does nothing to diminish that.
Dave Mitchell wrote in this forum that the VS115 also has quite some bass energy.
So I wonder if the REF3/VS115 combination has a tendency to throw the bass in your face.
What are your findings?
Thank you for your insights.
On the back of the amp try other speaker taps 4 ohm 8 ohm Etc also moving your speakers around try first either 6 to 8 inches forward or backwards you could be just agitating a room node.
one or both should do the trick
Cheers Johnnyr
Audio Research REF preamps have big bass.
REF3 supposedly addressed the sort of fat, sometimes overripe bass of previous REF1 and REF2 models but it should still have some serious slam in the lower register. Which is good. In some systems. If your speakers already do that, it may become too much of a good thing when you add electronics that emphasize the bass as well.

Try changing speaker placement. You CAN reduce bass with cables, etc. But you need to find out first if the bass you are getting is bad, or is it just something you need to get used to for few days and you won't be able to return to how how your system sounded before.

Keep us posted.
I wonder if the bass on the Audio Research REF amplifiers and all of their reference components have an enhanced bass sound also.

When I purchased my Audio Research REF CD7 (moving up from a CD2), I noticed the increased bass in the player immediately.
ARC has bass to begin with. Their REF tubed stuff does bass like best of solid state, or even better.

Mitch, did you notice it with REF3? You may not have because you owned REF1 and REF2. All of these had crazy bass. It's just that with every generation of REF preamps it improved, right? Bass with REF3 should be faster and more detailed than it was on previous REF models. But it will still be BIG.

I had REF1 and it had bass that would punch you in your chest. Try listening to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture on telarc with REF3....but watch out for those digital cannons!
In my system, the REF 3 and 115 seem to do bass just right, certainly not overblown. My speakers, Dali MS5's, work well with this amplification, though they certainly need a large room. In a smaller space, I suppose the bass might be a bit overwhelming which, again, is more a function of the speakers than the preamp/amp combo.
Audphile1...yeah all of the Ref preamps had bass in spades, so the Ref3 fell right in line with its predecessors in that regard....I really loved my Ref2 mk2 and it was an outstanding preamp...I was shocked by how much better the Ref3 is, I didn't think it was possible to improve upon the ref2 mk2 so much.

I think I'm talking myself into purchasing a pair of Audio Research tube amps....I've always been a solid state amp guy.