You probably wouldn't go wrong with any of these amps and I don't have any hands on expreience with the first two however I have owned two ARC pre-amps(one a SS pre and the other a hybrid) and I love them. Firstly, the build quality is almost to the extreme, but more importantly, is the sound. They have that beautiful combination of inner detail and all the minute nuances and the ability to project all details from the very, very soft to the extreme loud passages with ease and complete revelation of all the music. They tend to be neither hard nor soft but realistically right.
Whatever your choice, all the best and good listening.
i havent owned rouge audio but i have owned the other 2.
the local dealer in southern cal ( wont mention thier name) but they have stopped carrying rouge because of reliablity issues, he mentioned that 1 out of 3 had to be returned. that is a 33 % failure rate.
the reliability between arc & audible is very good. the later arc version ( ss and tube) are a little more accurate than cj and audible.
alot depends on tube vs solid state, budget and remote control, etc... after living with a remote control, it is now mandatory. something to consider in looking.
i would set a budget and ask for suggestions and go from there. there is ALOT to choose from.
hope that helps !!
It's hard to go wrong with Audio Research, which has very good sound, great reliability and terrific customer support. You might try to pick up an LS15, which I'd say would make you very happy. Try to get one of the later units because it would have the Infinicap upgrade.
The local audio/video shop quit carrying Rogue because about every other unit was defective. And Audible Illusions has some major customer support issues. Happy listening.
I sure do like my Blue Circle Audio 21.1 with upgraded tubes.
It should be mentioned that the different tube preamps will have different flavors. The ARC being quite accurate with what I consider the perfect amount of tube sound, which is slight. You can go from there. There are some that will make the details less prevailant and the bass softer. These can have very lush and enticing mids though. If this is your first tube gear you may want to stay away from the shock of the very tubey pre's of which the ARC is not. I agree with the above poster that an ARC LS 15 would be a good fit. You're going to wish you'd tried one sooner, you'll hear why.
Thanks for the tips and info. ARC LS 15 seems to be quite popular in the used equipment market.
BTW, has anyone compared between LS15 to LS16?, or even the older LS2 preamp? I am justifying if it is worth considering the LS16 if I stretch my budget further..
Any comment would help.
Well, don't mean to sound like a broken record, but since you own a McCormack amp, I'd consider getting an Audible Illusions unit (M3A if you have phono, L-1 otherwise). Mates very well.
i just picked up a PSE HL-1 ( hybrid unit).
it is really, really nice. i would reccomend it if you can find one. it has a remote and is very well built.
also, i would really consider a arc ls2b mk2 over the 15. it is very, very dynamic and the bass is outstanding and only requires 1 tube (tube rolling can be $$$)
also, the BAT 3vki is a GREAT unit and great customer support.
if i wouldnthave found the pse i would have went with the bat or the arc ls-2bmkii with remote.
I have the L-1 and it mates very well with my McCormack DNA-125.
One thing you need to be aware of is that the McCormack amps are a little bit sensitive. Not a problem, they just are. So don't yell at them! Seriously, you want to look at pre's with lower gain or those that have gain controls like the L-1. (FYI - your front end output also figures into the mix, I think 2 volts output is considered average??)The Blue Circle mentioned above I think has 28db of gain, way too much for your amp. Not sure about the Rogue or Audio Research. FYI - The L-1 has alot of gain but since it has left and right gain controls it is not a problem.
I currently have an Eastern Electric Mini Max for demo (great pre!)and it has 20db of gain. I cannot go past 9:00 with the volume control. It does have a smooth volume control and not steps which helps so this is something else to look for. If looking at a pre with a stepped volume control, the more steps the better as it gives more "volume settings" than lesser steps.
Passives are also pre's to look at. Usually more detail, transparency and tonal accuracy but many say at the expense of dynamics and musicalness (word?). I had a passive but like you wanted tubes as I wanted the fullness and bloom of tubes. The passive sounded flat to me even though it was more transparent and detailed with better separation.
There are alot of good pre choices for matching with your amp. Relax and enjoy your search.
Take a look at the new Belles 21A. I just picked up one, and I'm having a blast playing it. Initial thoughts: great dynamics, nice soundstage, no part of the freq range bloated or lean, tight bass, pretty transparent and fianlly, musical.
And then, it's fun to hear the affects of rolling two NOS 12au7s in and out of the preamp.
I just picked up an Audio Research LS-7 Hybrid preamp to try out. I think I got a good deal for one.
Still waiting for it to ship to me. I am only worry that the preamp might have a problem with too much gain with my setup.
Anyway, is anyone familar with the modification done by Great Northern Sound Co.? I heard that they have good reputation with ARC modification.
Also, I would appreciate if anyone would like to share their experiences with me on the LS7 preamp?
Once again, many thanks to fellow audiogoners who had brought me advises.