The SP9 MKII is the best
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I have owned sp8 sp9mk11 and sp11.I would say the 8 and 11 are similar with the 11 having much better slam. the sp9mk2 is more lean and closer to a solid state sound in my opinion. I had no problem at all with any 1 unit.My choice would be the sp11 mark 2 if you can get on that has been serviced(factory)recently.Probaby cost 2 grand for a perfect used peice. Just imaagin what this piece would cost in todays market! Hope this helped
I owned a modified SP-6A for 10 years before selling it. It had leaky eletrolytics and ARC wanted 800.00 to fix it! I currently have an SP-8 revision 3 (yellow capacitors) It is in my opinion much better than the 6, richer, better detail, better bass. I am familiar with the SP-9 original not the latest. I am not fond of this piece. I did listen extensively to the SP-11 years ago and found it had a very deep and detailed soundstage. But if you want the best of ARC you have to go with the SP-10 Mk2 (I am currently looking for this piece) Great phono stage and probably the most musical pre-amp I have ever heard. I guess I am going to buck up and pay the used market price for this unit. You can't find them on the cheap.
I recently updated my SP-9MKII to MKIII specs. The first thing that grabs you is an immediate increase in bass power and slam. Upon further listening, it possesses much greater mid range detail and high frequency delicacy/air. When listening to my favorite LPs/CDs, I found myself laughing at hearing so much deeper into the source.