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  1. #1
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    Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    The REF6 is officially now been updated to the REF6SE ($17,000 US Retail) and is in production now and will start shipping by the end of December or early January. There are no more REF6 units available and all current production is the REF6SE.

    In January, ARC will make available a REF6SE Upgrade kit, consisting of vastly improved and higher quality capacitors, internal wiring, and a few other parts. The SE Upgrade kit price will be announced at that time.

    For those that wish to have Audio Research perform the upgrade, the retail price is $3,000 and ARC will do all of the labor and testing to company standards along with the typical service warranty.

    Additionally, we are proud to announce a special edition REF750SE. The REF750SEL (MSRP $37,500 EA) will replace the REF750SE effective immediately with first shipments in December 2019. We will build 20 serialized pair of this limited-edition model. Numerous component upgrades throughout yield dynamic sonic improvements: improved dynamics, bass impact, spatial dimensionality, purity and focus, speed, coherence, and transparency. The metal product label will state "SE Limited". Also, please note that no update kit will be available to convert the REF750SE to a REF750SEL. The changes are too substantial to make a field upgrade feasible. The REF750SEL is only available as a new unit direct from the factory.


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  2. #2
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL




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  3. #3
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Iíve got a REF6SE on order. Rep told me it takes the REF6 scary close to REF10 level.


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  4. #4
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Iíve got a REF6SE on order. Rep told me it takes the REF6 scary close to REF10 level.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Of course, a REF10 SE is probably on the horizon as well.

    Ken
    "No summit worth climbing is easily attained."
    --------------------------------------------
    Source: MSB Select II DAC with Two Mono Powerbases, Femto 33 Clock, Renderer V2 Digital Input Module and Roon Nucleus Plus
    Amps: Vandersteen M7-HPA Mono Amps
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  5. #5
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    New owner of a ref 6 pre bought used (also bought a pair of ref 160mís).
    Does the upgrade come with a new tube set ?

  6. #6
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Does anyone know if a new tube set is included with the upgrade done by audio research ???

  7. #7

    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Hi Mike,
    As I understood the ARC email promo I got, the new REF 6SE is based on the new architecture that ARC rolled out with the REF 160M and 160S? Does that mean that they will be upgrading the REF 10 to a REF 10SE and will current REF 10 owners be able to upgrade like the current REF 6 owners or will the new top of the line pre-amp be more like the REF 750SEL, which is not permitted an upgrade for current REF 750SE owners?
    Also, do you know what ARC plans to do with its REF 3 Phono -- will there be a REF 3SE Phono and will current REF 3 Phono owners be able to upgrade or will be a totally new phono stage? thanks, Larry
    Rockport Avior Speakers; ARC Ref 10 Pre-amp; ARC REF 75 SE amp/Boulder 2060 amp; Galibie Stelvio turntable with Kuzma 4Point tonearm and Van den Hul cartridge; Boulder 1008 phono stage; Ayre QA9 ADC; Light Harmonics Dual Dac; Nordost Frey 2 power cables and speaker cables; Nordost Heimdall 2 interconnects; Shunyata and Nordost power conditioning.

  8. #8
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Welcome to the forum!

    Quote Originally Posted by Biketony View Post
    New owner of a ref 6 pre bought used (also bought a pair of ref 160m’s).
    Does the upgrade come with a new tube set ?
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AX Mark II, Job INTegrated.

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    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos. Absolute Audio Labs PCF 25 amp (improved First Watt F7 super clone)

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES.

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  9. #9
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Quote Originally Posted by gasherbaum View Post
    Hi Mike,
    As I understood the ARC email promo I got, the new REF 6SE is based on the new architecture that ARC rolled out with the REF 160M and 160S? Does that mean that they will be upgrading the REF 10 to a REF 10SE and will current REF 10 owners be able to upgrade like the current REF 6 owners or will the new top of the line pre-amp be more like the REF 750SEL, which is not permitted an upgrade for current REF 750SE owners?
    Also, do you know what ARC plans to do with its REF 3 Phono -- will there be a REF 3SE Phono and will current REF 3 Phono owners be able to upgrade or will be a totally new phono stage? thanks, Larry
    No. REF 10 is done. No REF3 upgrade coming anytime soon.


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  10. #10
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Thank you for the welcome. Really enjoying my ref6 and 160m combo. I put myself on the upgrade list at audio research for the ref 6se upgrade. It doesnít come with a tube replacement. But for a additional $750.00 a new tube set would be tested and sent with it. Canít really imagine how this could get better but looking forward to it.

  11. #11
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL



    REF6EE arrived today. Paired with the 160Mís in Triode mode. Speakers are Fyne F-12ís.


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  12. #12
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

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  13. #13

    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Mike,

    Own the Ref 6. The innards of the 6SE looks identical to the 6. What's the change?

    Any impressions yet on SQ?

    BIF
    System description: VPI Classic "2.7" (basic Classic turntable plinth, with Classic 3 tone arm base and SS wand; upgraded stock Classic 600 rpm motor for 300 rpm motor); Lyra Kleos cartridge; VPI periphery ring and SS clamp; 35 pound maple TT slab base; ARC PH-8 phono pre; ARC Ref 6 linestage; ARC Ref CD-8 CD player; ARC Ref 150 SE power amp; Paradigm Signature 8 (v3)speakers w/ BE dome tweeters; Kimber Hero I/Cs; Kimber speaker cables.

  14. #14
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Quote Originally Posted by Bifwynne View Post
    Mike,

    Own the Ref 6. The innards of the 6SE looks identical to the 6. What's the change?

    Any impressions yet on SQ?

    BIF
    ARC is working on a paper to outline the differences and describe the benefits. The new capacitors and upgraded internal wiring are the core parts used in the upgrade, but these are highly proprietary and ARC will not divulge any specifics.

    The transient and pulse response is substantially improved, as is the overall speed and dynamics, improved and highly focused imaging, more accurate soundstage with more air and refinement, more powerful and accurate bass, and overall tonal improvements.

    My takeaway so far is that this is a lot closer to a REF10.


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  15. #15
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    ARC is working on a paper to outline the differences and describe the benefits. The new capacitors and upgraded internal wiring are the core parts used in the upgrade, but these are highly proprietary and ARC will not divulge any specifics.

    The transient and pulse response is substantially improved, as is the overall speed and dynamics, improved and highly focused imaging, more accurate soundstage with more air and refinement, more powerful and accurate bass, and overall tonal improvements.

    My takeaway so far is that this is a lot closer to a REF10.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The REF6 was not in the ballpark of the REF10 IMHO. I had both in my room and did a direct comparison. So the REF6SE must be a significant improvement over the REF6. Bravo ARC for improving an already fine preamp.

    Ken
    "No summit worth climbing is easily attained."
    --------------------------------------------
    Source: MSB Select II DAC with Two Mono Powerbases, Femto 33 Clock, Renderer V2 Digital Input Module and Roon Nucleus Plus
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    Power: Two AudioQuest Niagara 5000ís with AudioQuest Dragon and Hurricane Power Cords

  16. #16
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Put my name in at audio research for the ref 6se upgrade. Should be near the end of January. Really looking forward to the improved imagery.

  17. #17
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Mike, any additional takeaways from the ref6se ?

  18. #18
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Quote Originally Posted by Biketony View Post
    Mike, any additional takeaways from the ref6se ?
    See post 14 above. Not sure how much else I can add.


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  19. #19
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, Esoteric, Estelon Loudspeakers, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, Vivid Audio Loudspeakers, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

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  20. #20

    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Mike,

    It has been 6 months since your last post on this thread. Can you please share your personal impressions of how the Ref 6 SE sounds. In particular, I am sure all of us would like to know if the SE upgrade makes a significant difference in SQ.

    Thanks

    BIF

    P.S. -- I am on the ARC SE upgrade list. Greg, ARC service rep, says ARC may be ready for my Ref 6 in late September or thereabouts.
    System description: VPI Classic "2.7" (basic Classic turntable plinth, with Classic 3 tone arm base and SS wand; upgraded stock Classic 600 rpm motor for 300 rpm motor); Lyra Kleos cartridge; VPI periphery ring and SS clamp; 35 pound maple TT slab base; ARC PH-8 phono pre; ARC Ref 6 linestage; ARC Ref CD-8 CD player; ARC Ref 150 SE power amp; Paradigm Signature 8 (v3)speakers w/ BE dome tweeters; Kimber Hero I/Cs; Kimber speaker cables.

  21. #21
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Quote Originally Posted by Bifwynne View Post
    Mike,

    It has been 6 months since your last post on this thread. Can you please share your personal impressions of how the Ref 6 SE sounds. In particular, I am sure all of us would like to know if the SE upgrade makes a significant difference in SQ.

    Thanks

    BIF

    P.S. -- I am on the ARC SE upgrade list. Greg, ARC service rep, says ARC may be ready for my Ref 6 in late September or thereabouts.
    BIF - you will be delighted with the changes. Weíve been listening a lot. I was one who was very skeptical the changes would be that significant, but they are. Gone is the slightly ďnervousĒ sound (as Joe says) of the REF6. There is more meat on the bones, a more relaxed sound and frankly and overall sonic picture that is painted very close to the REF 10. I would call the REF6SE, a REF9. Itís that close.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, Esoteric, Estelon Loudspeakers, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, Vivid Audio Loudspeakers, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

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  22. #22

    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Thanks Mike.

    Too bad ARC doesn't want to do a Ref 150 SE "Mark II" upgrade with new caps and wire. I surmise that a Ref 150 SE "MK II" would come too close to the Ref 160 and put a squeeze on the new Ref 160 offering.

    OK , ... I too admit my skepticism that caps and wire would make all that much a difference. But if based on your "real" audiophile comments, there is a difference, then your anecdotal experience says a lot.

    BTW, since my rig will be out of commission during the time my Ref 6 is being upgraded, I asked ARC to look over my Ref 150 SE and CD-8 CDP. The other units are roughly 10+ years old and I though a check-up would be a good idea. ARC said ok, although probably not necessary if everything works.

    Last point. I caught a thread on Audiogon that reports some folks are having a bit of a hard time sourcing redbook CDs. Many A'gon members said a good place to pick up CDs is on Amazon. That may be. But I wonder if redbook CD media has run its course and if so, whether it is time to seriously explore streaming. My problem is that I am 68 years old and I do not understand the technical lingo re streamers, DACs, file formats and so forth.

    Any thoughts and suggestions?

    BIF
    System description: VPI Classic "2.7" (basic Classic turntable plinth, with Classic 3 tone arm base and SS wand; upgraded stock Classic 600 rpm motor for 300 rpm motor); Lyra Kleos cartridge; VPI periphery ring and SS clamp; 35 pound maple TT slab base; ARC PH-8 phono pre; ARC Ref 6 linestage; ARC Ref CD-8 CD player; ARC Ref 150 SE power amp; Paradigm Signature 8 (v3)speakers w/ BE dome tweeters; Kimber Hero I/Cs; Kimber speaker cables.

  23. #23
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    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Quote Originally Posted by Bifwynne View Post
    Thanks Mike.

    Too bad ARC doesn't want to do a Ref 150 SE "Mark II" upgrade with new caps and wire. I surmise that a Ref 150 SE "MK II" would come too close to the Ref 160 and put a squeeze on the new Ref 160 offering.

    OK , ... I too admit my skepticism that caps and wire would make all that much a difference. But if based on your "real" audiophile comments, there is a difference, then your anecdotal experience says a lot.

    BTW, since my rig will be out of commission during the time my Ref 6 is being upgraded, I asked ARC to look over my Ref 150 SE and CD-8 CDP. The other units are roughly 10+ years old and I though a check-up would be a good idea. ARC said ok, although probably not necessary if everything works.

    Last point. I caught a thread on Audiogon that reports some folks are having a bit of a hard time sourcing redbook CDs. Many A'gon members said a good place to pick up CDs is on Amazon. That may be. But I wonder if redbook CD media has run its course and if so, whether it is time to seriously explore streaming. My problem is that I am 68 years old and I do not understand the technical lingo re streamers, DACs, file formats and so forth.

    Any thoughts and suggestions?

    BIF
    BIF - Iím not sure CDís have run their course. Sounds like vinyl in the early 2000ís when most proclaimed that vinyl had ďrun itís courseĒ. If youíre looking to get into streaming, a simple one box solution like those from Lumin are the way to go. For a more ďanalog soundĒ, there is also the MSB DACís with the Roon Renderer modules. Another option is the new Esoteric streamer coming out next month. You just need to ensure you have an Ethernet connect in your listening room and fast internet.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

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  24. #24

    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Quote Originally Posted by Biketony View Post
    Put my name in at audio research for the ref 6se upgrade. Should be near the end of January. Really looking forward to the improved imagery.
    Biketony,

    Did ARC complete your SE upgrade yet? I put my name on the list months ago but COVID changed the timeline. ARC is hoping to upgrade my Ref 6 late September.

    If ARC did complete your SE upgrade, can you share comments on how it sounds?

    Thanks

    BIF
    System description: VPI Classic "2.7" (basic Classic turntable plinth, with Classic 3 tone arm base and SS wand; upgraded stock Classic 600 rpm motor for 300 rpm motor); Lyra Kleos cartridge; VPI periphery ring and SS clamp; 35 pound maple TT slab base; ARC PH-8 phono pre; ARC Ref 6 linestage; ARC Ref CD-8 CD player; ARC Ref 150 SE power amp; Paradigm Signature 8 (v3)speakers w/ BE dome tweeters; Kimber Hero I/Cs; Kimber speaker cables.

  25. #25

    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Bifwynne,

    I got both my upgraded 6SE and Phono 3SE back from ARC in the last week. The turnaround time was about a month door-to-door. A pleasant surprise was that the upgrades included a thicker (0.236 inch) poly top cover which ARC says is much less prone to warping although mine were both flat when they were returned to the factory. It has a nicely finished beveled edge and sits slightly higher than the side panels.

    It's a bit early to fully assess the changes in sound quality but from what I hear so far, it's a noticeable improvement. In particular, the 6SE's bottom end seems to have more punch and "drive" for lack of a better term. Vocals seem also more fleshed out, the soundstage is about the same width but "denser." It's somewhat harder to distinguish what improvements I hear with the 3SE phono stage compared to the Phono 3. I fully agree with Mike's comments above which better articulate what I'm hearing. In particular, "There is more meat on the bones..."

    Overall, IMO, the upgrade investment was worthwhile.

  26. #26

    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Quote Originally Posted by lem321 View Post
    Bifwynne,

    I got both my upgraded 6SE and Phono 3SE back from ARC in the last week. The turnaround time was about a month door-to-door. A pleasant surprise was that the upgrades included a thicker (0.236 inch) poly top cover which ARC says is much less prone to warping although mine were both flat when they were returned to the factory. It has a nicely finished beveled edge and sits slightly higher than the side panels.

    It's a bit early to fully assess the changes in sound quality but from what I hear so far, it's a noticeable improvement. In particular, the 6SE's bottom end seems to have more punch and "drive" for lack of a better term. Vocals seem also more fleshed out, the soundstage is about the same width but "denser." It's somewhat harder to distinguish what improvements I hear with the 3SE phono stage compared to the Phono 3. I fully agree with Mike's comments above which better articulate what I'm hearing. In particular, "There is more meat on the bones..."

    Overall, IMO, the upgrade investment was worthwhile.
    Lem321, ... thanks for the feedback. I take your point about the one month door-to-door turn-around time. I am hoping for a quicker turn. It may be that ARC was in slow down mode when your gear went in because of COVID.

    As mentioned, Greg thinks he might be able to get my gear in at the end of the month. In a much earlier pre-COVID conversation, Greg thought ARC could turn my SE upgrade in a week. We'll see. I'll report back.

    Lem, on another topic, you mentioned that you own a Ref 3SE phono pre. I own an ARC PH8. I don't know what (if anything) you used for a phono pre before the Ref 3, but would you care to comment, especially about your Ref 3SE. Reason for my asking: I am not sure if I want to go in the direction of direct streaming versus upgrading my existing CD and phono source media.

    Thanks

    BIF
    System description: VPI Classic "2.7" (basic Classic turntable plinth, with Classic 3 tone arm base and SS wand; upgraded stock Classic 600 rpm motor for 300 rpm motor); Lyra Kleos cartridge; VPI periphery ring and SS clamp; 35 pound maple TT slab base; ARC PH-8 phono pre; ARC Ref 6 linestage; ARC Ref CD-8 CD player; ARC Ref 150 SE power amp; Paradigm Signature 8 (v3)speakers w/ BE dome tweeters; Kimber Hero I/Cs; Kimber speaker cables.

  27. #27

    Re: Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

    Hi BIF,
    Prior to the 3/3SE, I owned an ARC Ref Phono 2SE which I really liked. In fact, I "gave up" the legendary Vendetta SCP-2D phono stage for the 2SE. I don't stream but do listen to CDs on my ARC Ref CD9. I find analog so much more satisfying to be honest but the bulk of my audio investments has been on the analog side (TT, cartridges, phono stages) and less so with digital so the comparison may not be completely fair.
    Wilson Audio Sasha v1, ARC REF 6SE, ARC REF Phono 3SE, ARC REF 250SE, ARC REF CD9, VPI TNT 6 with rim drive with 12" 3D /12.7 arm wands, Lyra Etna SL, Koetsu Vermillion, Lyra Kleos, Transparent Reference Gen 5 cabling; 5.1.4 home theater components integrated with 2-channel: Marantz 8802A processor, Krell 250a/3, Wilson Audio Watch 3 center channel and Watch surrounds, Golden Ear ceiling speakers HTR 7000/ATMOS, JVC RS-500 projector, Stewart Firehawk 123" screen, Panasonic DMP UB900 4K UHD player, JL f113, Monoprice Redmere HDMI cabling, Shunyata Triton 2/Typhon/Etron Alpha PC's/Denali 2000T/Furutech NCF outlets on 3 dedicated lines.

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Audio Research Announces REF6SE and REF750SEL

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