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Hello EKanit. You have already made two superlative choices with both the Proac's and the ARC amps.Without any doubt, they are a synergistic pairing;and have been demo-ed together by both respective companies in trade shows and countless dealer showrooms around the world. For good reason I might add, as they never fail to capture the heart & soul of the music.I whole heartily concurr with Mr Wood's recommendation of the LS 5 mk3, as it is surely the logical choice and a really no brainer here considering the system mix .OH sure, there are many fine choices in preamps out there, however the common denominator here is the system synergy with the LS5 being as a known factor in the math. No trial and error anxiety here,no guessing game either. It just sounds right, the proverbial plug and play and forget about the gear. You may wish to roll the tubes to "voice" it in your rig in your room,however Mr Wood's choice of the nos russian military tube is another sensible and logical alternative to the pricey nos alternatives.That said: my experience with ARC preamps was strictly with the SP-series preamps sp-3a,sp-6b,sp-8 mk2 and the sp-10mk2 wherby the 8 and 10 employed the 6dj8/6922/7308 family of tubes in the phono stage as well.The phono stage of my SP-10 was just brutal on that tube, very critical to the quality of tubes for both noise and musicality in the phono stage. Replacing the 8 tubes was never any fun. The miltary 6hneb's or 6hnev's were a real godsend for sp-10 owners. Their line stages were never really hard on the tubes though and I don't believe the ls5 is either. It is actually the same general topology of the line of the SP-8 series. Hope this helps and all the best in your search.
1st off, congrats on the start of a killer system! I would definitely recommend you stay in the ARC family for your pre. I've heard the 2.5s with a VT100, and the synergy the system had with an ARC LS16, was better than if we subbed in costlier preamps that I usually preferred.
I don't know if you need a phono stage or not. But I'd add an LS7, or a SP9 MkIII to the list. On the SP9 I'd highly recommend getting the 3rd version, over versions I or II. Either of those can be had for under 1K. The SP10 is clearly better, but you'd have to pay quite a bit more for the difference.
If you can't audition any of the ones mentioned here yourself, I'd relist your question but add your musical tastes. That way, you can get input from members who have similar ear to yours.
Good luck on your search.
I've tried several preamps with a VT50 that is similar in sound to the VT100, but lower in power. The Placette passive worked quite well as a budget choice if you use short, low capacitance cables. Transparency and resolution were high points here since the ARC equipment also excels in these areas. I know that it's a heresy of competitive brand mixtures, but a Conrad Johnson preamp (e.g., Premier 17) also worked quite well when I tried it. Other solid state preamps I tried lost some of the tube magic in the midrange and soundstage, so you might want to stay with a clean, high resolution tube preamp with good bass to keep the specific assets of this wonderful power amp.
My VT100 MKII is coupled with the LS25 MKI (NOS 6H23 6922 tubes). In my system, I prefer the tonal balance and the overall performance of the LS25 MKI to the LS5 MKII. The LS5 is also a very good preamp.
As a reference you can view my system at the following site:
I'm using ARC LS15 with VT100 MkII. Sounds very good. LS15 requires XLR (Balanced) interconnect to connect to the 'direct' input/output.
ARC LS25 and ARC Reference will be even better
Other recommendations that make a big difference to your system:
1)use 'Svetlana' valves 6550C and 'Russian' for smaller valves
2)Also I'd suggest you to use NBS Master III cable. It is relatively expensive but makes a big difference. Or at least Cardas Golden Cross. Do not use Audioquest.
Hello. Nice choices. I noticed another person mentioned the ARC SP9MkIII - I've had one for nine years - with a D125 tube hybrid amp (which does sound quite like your VT100MkII - I auditioned this extensively a few years ago, and found the overall musical picture similar, although your amp has a shade more detail and transparency). The pre-amp has been utterly reliable and has a fantastic phono stage. Some units have a remote too. I also tried the LS15 and that was good too - again no signficant improvement on the SP9MkIII, but it does come standard with a remote.
All the best.
First off, you have great synergy with ProAc and the ARC VT100 MKII. I have been a ProAc fan for years and have used a VT100MKII with 4 different pairs of the ProAc Response series speakers including the Response 3.8 and now the D80. I would agree with the others here that have recommended an ARC tubed preamp. I personally use an ARC Refererence 2 MKI which is a fantastic match for ProAc and the VT100. Of course you might want to spend less for a preamp but any of the ARC preamps would probably be a good choice depending on the price and whether or not you want remote control. Tube rolling also makes a difference and I use the same tubes in my Ref 2 that Woodburger uses for his LS5. I would also suggest that you use the balanced inputs of the VT100MKII since it sounds better that way in my opinion. Therefore I would look for a preamp that has balanced outputs like the LS25, LS5, or the Reference series. Good luck.