I have the ARC LS-2B (SE and one balanced in, two balanced out),MkII version with $500 optional remote, optional black finish. I'd been out of audio for several years and looking at the Stereophile recommended component issues, I decided the top units for the money were the ARC LS-2 and LS-3. I bought the LS-2 on the recommendation of a local dealer, and of people who had owned them in the past. Mine has an NOS Amperex 7308 tube, and I'd say it is a great unit and everything good that was said about it is true. I've read of the LS-5, but don't really remember what was said about it. I personally would not go the Sunfire route, although I'm sure there are some who would disagree. Sunfire is Bob Carver designed, and while he admired tubes for years before actually making and selling any tube components, Carver made their name in mid-fi gear. Audio Research made their name over several decades, by advancing the state of the art in preamps and power amp design. I don't think you can go wrong with ARC components, especially if you like a clean, detailed sound. Unfortunately for me, I decided to get back into vinyl in a big way, so I bought a used CAT Signature just a few weeks after the ARC was purchased, and an older Quicksilver pre after that. I'm using the LS2B Mk II for the line stage right now, and using the phono stage (from the tape outputs) of the CAT or Quicksilver for phone. Not very cost effective, so the ARC is for sale.
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