Tube Curious - Preamp Suggestions

I'm considering replacing my SS preamp (Parasound JC2) with a tube preamp. I enjoy my system but it leans a bit towards the analytical side. I'm looking for a more musical presentation.

The ARC Ref 3 has piqued my interest and is within my budget. Any opinions on how my system may change (for better or worse)?

Pro-Ject RM10.1
Sonos Music Streamer
Oppo Universal disc
Bryston BDA-1 DAC
ARC PH8 Phono preamp
Parasound JC2 preamp
Bel Canto Ref 1000 Monos (to be replaced with Pass Labs XA60.5)
B&W 804D
"Mapman - When you say you use the sp16 with the same amps, are you referring to the Bel Canto's or Pass Labs?"

Bel Canto. Check my system link.


Teh Ref1000m has input stage specifically designed to handle a tube pre-amp. That was one of my considerations for buying it.

I would wonder if your goal is to move away from a more "analytical" sound if a move from BC to Pass would move things further in the wrong direction?

My move to BC from other SS amps prior (both used with same ARC tube pre-amp) was in accordance with that same goal. The ARC/BC combo provides a very good balance between being musical and being detailed I would say. Analytical is not a term I would use to describe it. If it were me, I would try that first before committing to an amp change, given your goals.

In any case its always best to make one change at a time and then give it time to soak in before deciding whether to move on or not.
An used MP-1 is a tube preamp that has the detail that you are looking for, lacks the analytical quality and yet is very revealing, and is balanced which works nicely with the Parasound.

It gets the detail by having a direct-coupled output. It also plays bass better for the same reason. Of the preamps mentioned this far its also the only one that actually supports the balanced line system (I can expound on that if anyone is interested).

An old customer of ours is selling one. I can put you in touch with him, PM if interested.

disclaimer: manufacturer.
I agree with the ARC assessment by Jmcgrogan2, as I have owned and or auditioned many ARC preamps and warm and full is not their sound in my experience.  Big, open, dimensional, fast, but articulate and to the lean side, and less palpable are words that come to mind. I liked the Aesthetix Calypso better, and felt it to have great texture, warmth, great detail, but not as much as the ARC or as much space, but better body and fuller bass. Try both with your amp and system, then you will know.
"fuller bass"

Is it better bass though?

My bass currently since moving to ARC sp16 is very clean and sounds just right. It sounded lean in comparison to most everything else I've used beforehand in comparison at first mostly because it is more clean and articulate. I struggle to get equally good bass results elsewhere.

I think what is best is part a system/room synergy thing and part user preference.

ARC set up well is a good place to look for full, good clean bass. Might not be everyone's cup of tea though. Few things are.
With no price guideline, I would steer you toward two very good preamps, the first would be the Lamm LL2 Deluxe which is line level no remote, the most honest preamp I have ever owned and if your budget is less, sell your AR phonostage and buy the Audible Illusios three B with the John Curl phono boards,if you are like me and vinyl is your first choice. You don't list the cartridge on your system so give that a little consideration as well.