Audio Research Reference 3 Preamp ?

Audio Research Reference 3 Preamp ?

Postby jmcox » Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:05 pm

Would anyone care to share any impression that they may have gotten relative to the Audio Research Reference 3 preamp ?

Thanks
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Re: Audio Research Reference 3 Preamp ?

Postby 930turbo » Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:39 pm

Hi ,

Ive listened to it in a friend’s system and we have compared it to a VTL TP 6.5 Phonostage signature . We preferred the sound of the REF PHONO 3. Its quite good very black background , dynamic and detailed w/o being etched . Very flexible as well w/ 2 PHONO input, looading adjustments and a lot more . Unfortunately Ive not auditioned it in my system and directly compare to my REF PHONO 2SE .

Hope this helps ,

930
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Re: Audio Research Reference 3 Preamp ?

Postby Peer Gynt » Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:44 pm

AR have historically supported their older gear. But the support is neither cheap nor speedy, so keep that in mind.

There is one on eBay right now with opening bid request of $.01.

It says it is warranted, but no details are given. It will ship from Spain. I would not trust a European seller, but because others feel the same, bidding could be suppressed.

If you find one that’s recently been recapped and has good tubes, it probably sounds pretty good.

When it was new, it would have been considered especially good.

However, it is not a current model, and later generations do bring improvements.

Check to be sure the available input sockets (XLR or RCA) match your desired sources.
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Re: Audio Research Reference 3 Preamp ?

Postby Peer Gynt » Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:50 pm

930turbo wrote:Hi ,

Ive listened to it in a friend’s system and we have compared it to a VTL TP 6.5 Phonostage signature . We preferred the sound of the REF PHONO 3. Its quite good very black background , dynamic and detailed w/o being etched . Very flexible as well w/ 2 PHONO input, looading adjustments and a lot more . Unfortunately Ive not auditioned it in my system and directly compare to my REF PHONO 2SE .

Hope this helps ,

930


Is it a Ref 3 or a Ref Phono 3. The former is the line stage and they’re on to Ref 6, or the double box Ref 10.

The latter is quite nice and a current model, but it’s just Phono.
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Re: Audio Research Reference 3 Preamp ?

Postby jmcox » Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:24 pm

930 Turbo, I have the same question as Peer Gynt - was your impression based upon the line stage or phono stage ?
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Re: Audio Research Reference 3 Preamp ?

Postby 930turbo » Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:29 pm

Hi guys ,

Sorry for the confusion , my impression was w/ regard to the REF PHONO 3 . Im sorry guys I was half awake when I read the thread . Anyway Ive listened extensively to the REF 3 linestage in the past . Was not that impressed . I had a SP11 MK2 during that time ,it did not make me feel to make an upgrade during that time . Even the REF 5 was not impressive , I had it for less than 7 months . But the REF 5SE is much better . If I were you go for the REF 5 SE , prices are starting to tumble down .

Hope this helps ,

930
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Re: Audio Research Reference 3 Preamp ?

Postby jmcox » Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:01 pm

Thanks 930 Turbo that sounds like good info, thank you. I have another good friend that knows my tastes well and he also was nudging me away as well. Thanks for the impressions.
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Re: Audio Research Reference 3 Preamp ?

Postby Lewisranchmike » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:29 pm

I remember when I moved up from ARC LS17SE to Ref3 and I truly understood why they called it Reference series. Detail, seperation of instruments, soundstage width all phenomenal. IMHO a GREAT Preamp. I currently have a Ref5SE and the Ref3 was a great step along the way.

Best,

Mike in Austin
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Re: Audio Research Reference 3 Preamp ?

Postby jmcox » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:44 pm

Thanks for your additional comments Mike. I guess I was just somewhat enamored with the thought of owning an Audio Research preamp and I saw a Reference 3 for sale on Audiogon. From what you and 930 Turbo have said maybe I should hold out for a Ref5SE if one comes along. It's not like I'm in a hurry as I'm actually happy with my current preamp . . . . Just caught up in the Eternal Quest I guess . . . .
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Re: Audio Research Reference 3 Preamp ?

Postby Lewisranchmike » Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:48 pm

jmcox wrote:Thanks for your additional comments Mike. I guess I was just somewhat enamored with the thought of owning an Audio Research preamp and I saw a Reference 3 for sale on Audiogon. From what you and 930 Turbo have said maybe I should hold out for a Ref5SE if one comes along. It's not like I'm in a hurry as I'm actually happy with my current preamp . . . . Just caught up in the Eternal Quest I guess . . . .

Hello Jim:

Yes we are all chasing it and that is an AWSOME part of the game. And I bought the Ref3 as one of those steps because I could not get to the Ref5 at that time and it was a most excellent step along the way for me. My whole system has been a series of smaller steps and for me that is a great part of the hobby. Sampling equipment and getting experience and then moving up. The Eternal Quest if you will:0) I highly recommend the Ref3 step for what it is worth:0). BTW I had a Manley Chinook and that was an EXCELLENT step along the way to the ARC Ref 2 Phono. After the Ref2 Phono I went to Ref2 Phono SE. The Eternal Quest, man I love this hobby:0)

Best Again,

Mike in Austin
VPI PRIME, VAS Nova Gold, TerraStone Footers, Symposium Seque Iso, Stillpoints LPI, VPI Periphery Ring, Eagle PSU, Roadrunner Tach, Audio Sensibility Statement, ARC Ref Phono 2SE, ARC Ref 5SE, McIntosh MC252, KimberKable 8TC, Vandersteen 3A Sig
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