Tweaks for a new ARC preamp?

Out of touch audio fan updating (a bit) a vintage system. Preamp is an Audio Research LS2MKIIB with remote which has been mine since 6/1994. Currently on a Siemens and Halske 6922 Cca grey plate with grounded tube cooler and the unit on spikes.  Sony XA5400 ES CD/SACD run balanced through to 2 Sumo Andromeda 2A amps with one amp each running an Acoustat 1100 ...  one channel on panel, one channel on base module.  Secondary source is a Sansui TU-9900 that has the works done by Mike Williams at Radio X including Burr Brown op amps.  All cabling is Straightwire Maestro or Virtuoso and the CD to pre to amp legs are run full balanced.  Room is treated by Acoustic Sciences

Strongly considering a strong deal on a brand new Audio research LS17SE and would like to know from those who have some much more current experience than mine about tubes (other than stock), power cords, etc., as possibilities for the new pre, should I execute the purchase.

Present system has great dynamics and soundstage, imaging is excellent but timbre and musicality are areas I expect to improve upon the change.

Have you listened to PrimaLuna?

Also, have you listened to the newest ARC? It's not the same. :)


I have not listened to it in my room but have read many reviews. The only store in town with PrimaLuna doesn't allow in home auditions so that's same same, if I was interested in them.  I appreciate your thoughts but don't understand how it relates to the questions I asked.
Herbies Audio Lab tube dampers and great PC Stealth V12. Enjoy!
I would try swapping cables, starting with the Sony to ARC, before replacing the preamp.  My memory of that period Straightwire was that they were detailed and slightly bright.
I owned an LS2 mk2 for a long time, upgraded to an LS25 mk2. This was a HUGE step up. ARC preamps have come a long way in the last 20 years. I found a deal on a demo LS 27 a couple years ago. I had planned to upgrade, but after having the LS 27 in my system for a week I thought it was a sideways move. I eventually moved up to a Ref 5se which is an incredible preamp.

 I have heard the 17 in my system but not the se. It was a nice preamp. If you are thinking of buying new I would probably opt for something like a used Ref 2 mk2. Use a  Shunyata power cord, something above the Venom and replace the stock fuse with a HiFi tuning or Synergistic.

 The newer ARC preamps use the 6h30 tube and not the 6922. The jump was made between the LS 25 / Ref 2 and LS25 mk2 / Ref 2 mk2. I have had both the LS25 and 25 mk2 in my system. The difference is not small. 

OP has a nice system indeed.  I concur w/ lostbears, in that, the Ref5SE is the best tubed pre-amp currently. Superb.
Thanks guys...

Onhighwy61.....  thanks for your response.  I spent quite a bit of time.. probably years, rolling speaker cables, rolling interconnects, rolling tube(s) to get to where I am now.  Now, having said that, some cable prices simply strike me as crazy...  as do current prices for top 6922 Cca's in Siemens and Halske, Valvo and such from the late 1950's and early 1960's.  Just had to pull out a 1958 Valvo White Label pinched waist 6922 Cca that lost all metal, chimes etc.  I just don't want to deal with $400 tubes that last a couple of hundred hours anymore.  I have a couple of Siemens and Halske 6922 Cca's (grey plate holy grail series) to use but after 16 or 17 years of using these "classic" tubes they just don't last very long. When I could buy all I wanted at $40 a piece or so it didn't matter much..  then it was $80, then $200 now there just isn't a rear source for the real deals.  Continuing to operate a 6DJ8 machine on premo 6922 Cca's is not the way to go.  As Duran said..  "No Mas, No Mas".   As far as Straightwire...  they are in my system because they were the best, link by link, of everything the Cable Company could send (preview) me, friends could loan me, and so forth.  They are not in the system as a blind choice...  and they are hardly budget cable at the Maestro and Virtuoso level.

Lostbears....  I really agree with you on many things here.  I started with the idea I would checkout a used LS26 ..  in the $3500 out of pocket range.  Used LS 27 in the $4500 range is not where I would go first.  While we can probably agree the pre controls most of the sound I also want to hear how the rest of the "vintage" system handles that.   The days that my local techie dragged tube amps over to audition and left disappointed were decades ago.  To get to the nitty gritty I was offered a brand new (3 year warranty) LS17 SE @ 1K$ under the price of a a used LS26, and more than 2K$ under that of a used LS27.  I f it's a flop I can use it for trade-in material at what I have in.  After the same pre for 22 years should I ignore I can probably bundle the two them for a used 26 later if I don't like the 17 SE?  On the really good side I had planned to use Shinyata on the power cable side and go beyond the Venom already. 

FWIW to you guys....   I have used (many years) a metal finned tube cooler,
to which I solder a lead and alligator clip to chassis ground. Not only do I get the vibration reduction benefits, the temperature reduction benefits (measured in house with a temp gun) but you also get a reduction in both electronic and RF noise and an audible reduction in background noise, or as we like to say, a darker background.  Now I will need, 2 of them, a bit larger than those for the 6922.

Anyone on spikes., lead ballast and such?

Any of you ever try Pearl Metal Tube coolers?  Anyone ever try keeping a barrier of sheet copper between their CD/SACD and pre?  This is all cheap stuff you can hear...   also dive shop..  2, 3 and 5 pound belt weights.  Paint black and put some felt stickies on the bottom and move around the top of your component.  You will be very surprised.
midareff1 OP
8 posts
08-18-2016 10:16am
Any of you ever try Pearl Metal Tube coolers? Anyone ever try keeping a barrier of sheet copper between their CD/SACD and pre? 

Pearl tube coolers. Yup, tried em. Nothin, honey. The Copper weave Ensemble tube socks, yup. Nothin, honey. Viscoelastic rings, yup. Nothin, honey. Ebony, yup. Nothin, honey. Herbies tube dampers? Bingo!!

As for copper shielding you'd be far better off using mu metal around the transformer. 

Well, at the end of the day the LS2B MKII ran the 17 SE right out of the room.  Not even close.  Sold to a jerk on eBay who returned it against my wishes at 600 hours and then resold to dealer.

Have always played with tubes...   anything 6DJ8, then anything 6922 Cca finally settling on NOS Siemens and Halske 6922 grey plate about 15 years ago.  NO such animal around today so on the review of another Audiogoner I purchased 2 Volstead Rockets and 2 Reflector 6N23P's.  I felt my 6922 Siemens 1959 Cca Grey Plate was getting too long in the tooth (read: weak) I decided to finally try the Russian.  It was a bit screamy at the interview but it seemed to paint colors on blank canvas so I decided to break it in.  Screamy gone by hour 2, MONSTER base, delicate highs and great detail.  I may own this pre forever.
i have both a SP17 and a comparison.....except they are both very coherent and musical....
IMO they both benefit from Ayre Myrtlewood blocks under them....but that could just be my cabinet...
the 17 went to my brother after evaluation...
Look for a Furutech cord the best match for ARC there is one for sale now on Audiogon jump on it ASAP!!!
Well, it wasn't an SP 17, it was an LS17SE.  If there is anything, and I mean anything the LS2B MKII has taught me over the years, and it's almost 25, is that it's sound and musical involvement is directly related to the vacuum tube in it.  Chinese or AR 6DJ8, yawn, Bugle Boy, Valvo...  I could go on but I have had them ALL in here at one time or another in the last 15 years.   It used to be simple, a Siemens and Halske grey plate 6922 from late 1950 to very early 1960 was King, until a pinched waist 1959 Valvo took over.  The real problem with these vintage tubes  ...  and there are no good Siemens and Halske 6922 Cca's left, is that they don;t last but a few hundred hours at best.  Too old, vacuum about compromised and heat cycles kill them and they get weak in the highs and bass.   Seems a 1975 Reflector silver wire is a fine replacement for that, maybe even a better replacement since I have one now painting a beautiful stage in the middle of my room with great detail and a bottom end to die for.
Anything that can't be shot out in my room can't come here.