Replacement for MP-1: ARC Ref 3 or EAR 868?

I have sold my Atma-Sphere MP-1.II to buy a single box unit to use with an Atmasphere MA-2.2. Looking at ARC Ref 3 and EAR 868 (will trade in EAR 324 phonamp). Need 2 balanced inputs and 3 RCA inputs and one balanced output.
Any comments on these 2 preamps or other suggestions of preamps of this caliber? Need fully balanced preamp to mate with MA-2.2.
I own an ARC REF 3 -- it is an outstanding preamp -- versatile and very musical, with the best sound stage and imaging I have ever encountered. However, the bass response is still defintely in the "tube" category -- some folks find it a little soft and blurry, especially at lower volume levels. I imagine the rest of your system will have a big impact.

I have never owned an EAR preamp, but I do use an EAR 834P phono preamp -- it is more satisfying than any other phono preamp I have ever owned, and works well with a wide range of cartridges. Extrapolating from that, I would expect the 868 to be a very good preamp, as well.

There is one other thing I would consider at this kind of price point -- customer service. I have never had to deal with EAR, but I can tell you that I have experienced ARC for both in warranty and out of warranty repairs, and as far as I'm concerned there is no other company like them left anywhere. They maintain full part stocks for everything they have ever sold, and repairs are made and equipment returned very promptly. Out-of-warranty repairs are done for very reasonable prices, as well. For me, absent a big sonic difference (Which you can only judge for yourself), ARC always has the edge when I'm looking at an expensive equipment purchase.