Tubed Linestage

I may be upgrading from a ARC PH-3SE to an ARC PH-7. My sound has a bit of an edge to it, which the upgrade may fix. I was wondering about going to a tubed linstage and bypassing my current linestage solid state preamp. I currently have the ARC 3 going into a Theta CB3, then into 2 Krell KMA-160's with a couple of MAXX II's at the end. I read where it was suggested that ARC equipment doesn't mate well with Krell. Any comments or suggestions? I'm looking for a warm, yet clear sound. Oh-I'm using a Clearadio Emotion with a Maestro cart on the front.
Hi...I am surprised to hear that ARC does not mate well with Krell...i have auditioned ARC Ref 3 with Krell at one of the city's top audio dealers...they do it all the time. No problem...sounded great. I have also extensively auditioned Maxx II, krell and ARC Ref 3...i was auditioning the Maxx IIs at the time.

Why are you going ARC 3 into the Theta? i would have suggested that might be the culprit of edge. The ARC Ref 3 straight into the krell into the Maxx IIs should actually be fantastic...
My ARC PH-3SE is a phono stage only. It has to have a linestage preamp. I don't know if the ARC & Krell are a mis-match, just saying that's what I read in a blog here on Audiogon. My thread was a question-not a statement. Has anyone heard of a mismatch between these two, and does the tubed linestage sound like a remedy for my edgyness, or does the proposed PH-7 sound like it may be the fix?
Hi Handyman,

Just a thought. I used to have a ARC PH3-SE for many years. I had it modified by the Great Northern Sound Company and rolled NOS tubes in it. Though improved from stock it always seemed to have a certain "edge" or detail to it as you describe. I believe that the contibutor to that sound was that I left the unit at its stock 47K loading all the time I owned it. I was never proficient enough to solder the supplied resistors in place to change the loading nor did I seek someone out who could. The ARC PH7 has the ability to change the loading to preselected loads from either the remote control or the faceplate.

Only since owning my Nagra phonostage which has the option to change the loading did I hear the difference this can make to the overall musical presentation.

My only regret is that I did not pursue this when I owned the PH3. I believe now this was the source of discontent I heard with this phonostage.

BTW when I auditioned the PH7 against my GNSC Reference modified PH3 with NOS tubes. I consistently preferred the PH7. Tried this two times and reached the same conclusion.
There are some great modded Jolida's, do a google search. Also, the Pass Labs Xono has gotten great reviews for years because, it's really good.

I have a modded (PartsConnexion through Underwood HiFi) PS Audio GCPH, that has beaten all competitors over the years.
The edge you are hearing is a result of your power amps. I have owned KMA 160s, but before the KMAs I had a KSA 80B. Sonically speaking the KSA 80B was much better than the KMA 160s. If you remember that the KMA 160s were this amp that could programed from a KSA 80 to a single KMA 160 mono block. It was bit more involved than programming. You had to send the amp back and the factory would re-configure the inside of the amp and put on a new rear apron. What Krell did was bridge the amp. I simply sold the my 80B and bought a set of KMA 160 monos and they had lots of edge and were very hard sounding. At that point I sent them back to Krell and had them set up a KSA 80Bs and bought an electronic crossover and re-configured the system. The Krell 80B was a delight but the KMA 160s were simply a nightmare. Sell those amps and find your self a set of Threshold Mono blocks same money much better sound. PS I have owned many Audio Research pre-amps tube and solid state and they all have been first class in their sound. Smooth, rich, transparent, and powerful.


>>I read where it was suggested that ARC equipment doesn't mate well with Krell...

I have never heard that before. I ran an ARC PH-3SE and LS-16 into a Krell KAV-250 powering my Apogee hybrid ribbons for years, and I thought that it sounded great. Although I ultimately replaced the Krell amp with a refurbished McCormack unit, I can't say that there was a mismatch between the ARC gear and the Krell amp. If you like the Krell sound it will be fine. If you don't, it won't.
I used to use a FPB 600 and tried an ARC preamp with it and really loved the sound. It's what convinced me there was something to the tube sound. Audition in your system first if possible but I think you'll be fine.
Hi Handy,

I think you are starting to see a theme here...ARC and Krell are not known to any of us who've posted as having bad synergy. And i have actually spoken with people who've actually elected to go with the combination. Good luck!
I appreciate all of your responses. The subject (krells don't match with ARC) came from a comment from a fellow audiogoner. It appears they have been out voted. One thing I have noted when reading reviews of the most recent ARC preamps, 17, 26 & 27 is most reviewer's say they have lost some of that classic warm tube sound. ******* Any comments on this subject?*******
I wrote my last comment before reading responses to my other thread. The Aesthetix Calypso seems to get a lot of recommendations and has "glowing" (pun intended) reviews. Looks like I'm in the market for a Calypso.