Who has heard the new ARC ref 2 phono?

What's the verdict?
I just read the Specs.

6h30's providing all the gain. oh dear - YUK
What is the price?

BTW it uses FETs for additional gain in the max setting.

I am interested!

MSRP $11,995.00 as posted on the ARCDB site.
Did you also notice that a new Ref 5 linestage is in the works as well? Didn't Ref 3 just came out like not that long ago?

I took a look at the Ref 2 phono specs and was really excited as it has everything that I am looking for in a phonostage. (except the price tag)

But a friend pointed out that Viktor from BAT is not a big fan of using 6H30 supertube in a phono section. And if anyone can speak about 6H30 supertube with authority, I would think it would be Viktor.

Ref 3 was launched in 2004.
Downunder, What don't you like about the 6H30 "sound"? I like to think that circuit design trumps the choice of tubes in creating the sonic character of a piece, but I must admit there are tubes I do not "like" based on my own DIY efforts and listening, e.g., the 12AU7 and often the 6SL7. Yet these are tried and true warhorses, and I am sure they can be made to sound great in the right setting.
What's the problem with the 6H30 in a phono stage? Something inherent in the tube design?
Hi Gpgr4blu
I'm not a circuit design guy, but the 6H30 (and I heard it in earlier BATs) sounded very 'jumped up' too 'hot' it lacks fluidity and the only way to 'tame' this behaviour apparently is by the use of shunt regulation. I think 2nd generation BAT and ARC do this when using the 6H30s now, It is very 'fast' and 'clean' sounding in the correct circuit designed for it.
The 6H30 is not as warm as, say, a NOS member of the 6DJ8 family. Or put differently, the 6H30 tends toward neutrality. Those preferring extra helpings of second order harmonic distortion may tend to back away from the 6H30. CJ used it in their ACT2 preamp and then went back to 6922s in their GAT. ARC uses the 6H30 in the power supply of their very successful PH7 and two 6922s in each channel of its secondary gain stage (initial gain via FETs - sounds like similar architecture in the new model). Interesting that the two manufacturers are going in opposite directions, re the 6H30, but perhaps each in accord with their house sound and design philosophies.

I've heard some really sweet airy old 6DJ8s and 7308s in preamps. While some folks have a tidy stash, its harder and harder to find quiet NOS tubes among those, 12AT7s, etc - I mean phono stage quiet. Even so, if your thing is tube rolling, you're out of luck with 6H30 devices - I found only the smallest satisfaction from the now pricey DR versions.

In my experience the 6H30 tends to be a quiet tube and it has a higher transconductance than, for example, a 6922. This means fewer tubes needed for an equivalent or greater gain, and correspondingly less tube noise. In the end I suspect the circuit design and power supply, rather than tube choice, have the biggest sonic influence.

ARC has really been on a role in the new century - I look forward to their new phono stage.

Basically what the others have said. each preamp where the gain is 6H30 to me sounded somewhat sterile and unmusical.

will be interesting how the REF phono sounds as the PH7 sounds quite good.
I have always wondered why the BAT VK-P5 and VK-P10 phonostages do not use the 6H30 tubes, as they are used in all of the SE series preamps, including the REX, as well as the VK-D5SE CD player....
Hi Sdrenslow
you say:
>>> I have always wondered why the BAT VK-P5 and VK-P10 phonostages do not use the 6H30 tubes...<<<
I actually think both are 'older' designs and pre-date the serious use of that 'MIG-fighter' tube.
Also until more recently the realisation of an improved power-supply circuit for 6H30 was not fully realized. Tube socks and what else was used to make them sound more 'harmonic'.
Only once the power-supplies issues were resolved did it improve this 'over-cooked' characteristic.
I've heard the VK31SE and it still didn't do it for me then. Those tubes, said to be very long lasting/robust yet the reason given in this case was that the tubes had 'gone'.
It sounded like a tube trying to do solid-state, as bad an idea as some SS amps tried to sound like tubes.

I guess similar events must have put some people off 6H30's, include me for the time.