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Like all audio, there really is no " best ", just what perhaps might be best for you or me. A matter of preference amongst a handful of qualifiers in our budget range.
I have lived with an ARC LS-27 for a couple of years and really like how it sounds in my system. ARC is generally pretty pricey, and is not every mans cup of tea and I had not owned an ARC product my entire audio-life until the LS-27.
I do notice that ARC does introduce new products fairly regularly, the LS-27 now being replaced by the LS-28. Yes, I have read some reviews, yet I don't put a lot of stock in reviews generally and have always much preferred the opinions of yourselves out there whom have actually made direct comparisons.
May I be able to ask any of those out there whom have lived with an LS-27 preamplifier and might have been curious the give the newer LS-28 a test drive yourelves to see if the " improvements " stated in common reviews actually are worth the move or just marginal at best?
thanks, in advance to anyone who chimes in :>)
Always gratefully appreciated....
Not sure if you have a turntable, if you do look into the SP20 it's there new full function preamp with phono stage. I'm using it with a pass x250.5 amp and Wilson watt 8's. it's an outstanding system. But I have to say I just might want to try the 75se.
The LS-27 was in production for 7 years that is quite a long time. ARC products typically have a 5-7 year life cycle. About right IMO.
The latest crop of ARC products are a big step forward from the previous generation that they replaced. This in not hyperbole they have made major improvements in every aspect of the designs, circuits, power supplies, parts, chassis and of course cosmetics. Livio Cucuzza has done amazing work with the ARC aesthetic. I own a Reference Phono 3 and consider it the best looking piece of equipment ARC has ever produced.
The LS-27 is a stunning performer but the LS-28 is better in every regard. It really shines over the LS-27 in areas of bass impact and grip, overall resolution. But the biggest improvement is the increased sense of timing, the togetherness of everything, it simply sounds more integrated and pulled together versus the LS-27. The LS-27 sounds confused by comparison.
I thank you very much for this informative and thorough reply. It is obvious in your descriptions that indeed the LS28 is move forward in both aesthetics, yet more importantly, sound ! I sincerely appreciate your comments here and as I said, I tend to seek the advice of end users over reviewers. It's not that I do not trust reviews, it is simply I feel that the opinions of consumers, in my opinion, have found to be more honest. I am going to make a date with my dealer and find out for myself.
I have also had my eye on a Reference 75SE power amp as well which my dealer did tell me would work very well with my LS-27, but thats another story :> )
Again, thank you my friend
I had a very pleasant conversation with a few of you all on this subject a short while back and have some news.
Anyone considering a move from an LS27, which is indeed a very nice preamp I might add that served me very well, into an LS28 yet was concerned as I was that this move might be only marginally better, I am here to tell you the differences are not subtle.
Fantja. Wherever you are. Thank you for your commentary on this. I took my LS27 to a very well respected ARC dealer in my area to compare an afternoon of music in a showdown. The strong trade in value of my LS27 and the immediate sonic improvements that were easily discernible in the newer LS28, in particular areas of complex arrangements being untangled, bass impact and soundstage, amongst many other easily heard improvements , I come humbly to tell anyone considering making this move, the performance of the LS28 is much closer to the Reference 6 than you might think and a substantial move forward over the LS27
A very happy camper indeed !
Thanks to all who chimed in
According to my local ARC dealer he auditioned the LS28 and compared to the REF 6 and he concluded that the LS28 may give the REF 6 a run for the money . He tried it using the newly introduced VT80 and REF 75SE
Well I would have to concur with your dealer. I recently purchased both a new Ref 75se and LS28 and feel that in relative retail prices compared with the upper echelon ARC gear, I do not feel short-changed one little bit. This is not to say the upper line is not without question better, yet in my opinion , not far enough ahead to justify the costs. I am enjoying this combo very, very much 😌
Glad to help.
The REF75SE is a killer amp perhaps the best small wattage amp ARC has ever produced. I have owned two first the original REF75 and the REF75SE since last fall. The difference between the two is not subtle. I encourage anyone that has the REF75 to upgrade to the REF75SE. The changes ARC made in the amp is far more than a switch to KT150 output tubes and new coupling caps. There are improvements in the power supply, input stage, and much more.
The REF75SE will be an excellent match with the LS-27. Depending on your speakers and the rest of your system it may be a better upgrade than the LS-28.
Sometimes new ARC products do turn out to be incremental improvements over what they replaced. The SE upgrades for the current amps and the new preamps, phono stages represent more than just incremental improvements they are a big step forward.
Yes my brother, I have also heard this from a number of dealers who carry the ARC brand. My dealer told me this as well, that the Reference 75SE amplifier has actually
interfered on the interest and potential sale of the 150 and G series amplifiers.
Although I do not have extensive experience with the ARC brand, it has a presentation that is "right for my taste" and their seems to be a level high of consistency from product-to-product. I think it would be a safe statement that the Audio Research products are very well respected throughout the industry on the whole.
Thank you again for your valued input, much appreciated
IME, the Ref5SE pre-amp is the best value, for your money.
Have you compared them or is your assessment based entirely on price? The Ref 6 is clearly more a re-design than a uograde and the reviews have been unanimous that the jump up in sound is remarkable. Though admittedly not a major review mag, the AudioBeat review is by a guy who owns a Ref 5SE
Thanks! for sharing- theaudiobeat.com article.
I've decided I need the Ref6. I believe that once you reach a certain point the preamplifier is the second most important component in the chain-after the source and more important than the choice of speakers. After a certain point of competent design, loudspeakers are flavors and mostly depend upon optimum placement. I believe 95% of loudspeakers in avid audiophile's rooms are placed shy of optimum in their rooms. But without a top-drawer preamp things go awry. I've owned passive and tried "no-preamp". A top preamp sorts out the music and makes it appropriately dynamic. I believe my oresent tubed preamp is competent-a 25 yr old Audio Prism Mantissa-and it's not outdated, but it's time to take a few steps up the ladder.
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