A civil discussion about the state of Audio Research

I invested considerable time yesterday expressing my thoughts as to the current state of Audio Research as a company from the standpoint of quality (positive) and customer service (negative) only to have the entire thread censored/deleted by the mods.
For the small subsection of this Country’s population that are home audio enthusiasts, Audio Research is an iconic brand. Moreso than any other company, AR was the torchbearer for tubes when the rest of the amp manufacturers were turning to solid state. Further, though there were a few duds here and there, I am hard-pressed to think of any other company that has made as many legendary models of amps and preamps that have withstood the test of time (imho only Krell, Spectral, and CJ come to mind and present era super-brands such as CH and DarTZeel lack the history necessary).
My point yesterday is that AR’s acquisition by a parent company has resulted in a dilution of brand identity-similar to when Volvo was acquired by Ford between ’99 and ’10 and suddenly cross pollination of parts and assembly took place. My second point is that unlike the car industry, audio is a niche industry and to refuse to interact with customers directly and to instead insist that the customer go through the local dealer is inexcusable. I think we would mostly agree that when one tries to call AT&T about one’s cable and internet service only to get a computer interface and then eventually a clueless third-party intermediary who barely speaks English in India, the entire experience is frustrating and inadequate. I have news (apparently) for the parent company of AR; the present system is not altogether different from getting a clueless intermediary in some remote country who can not really help you.
My local AD is not a top-notch audio salon. They don’t stock a single piece of AR gear in their showroom and primarily cater to home theater. They have one salesperson who has a history of owning AR gear and he only works part-time. More importantly, based on other accounts, I have no confidence that if I experience a catastrophic problem AR will treat me with respect and take care of me. I have heard nothing but the opposite. The human touch is gone. My local Devore dealer, a nationally respected one-man shop dealer-used to carry AR and thanks to several awful experiences since the take-over dropped AR and now sells VTL instead.
I am hoping that this thread results in a CIVIL and appropriate, mostly intelligent discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of AR and AR's future. If the mods wish to delete this post as well, fine, but I want a forum to post my concerns about AR and if this one won’t accommodate me, I will find another.
Again, for the record, I am the original owner of a Ref 6 and Ref 150SE and therefor have ~$30,000 invested in my amp and pre alone. A paltry sum by the standards of some, but not paltry to me.
I have had a few back and forth emails with ARC, first about purchasing a remote control for my LS15 preamp and the second time was about identifying the version of my newly acquired SP8 preamp. Lets see, LS is about 18 years old and the SP8 is about 36 years old. This was all in the past 6 months.
I'm not complaining, they helped me out on some older gear when they could have just said it was obsolete.
Heck, they will still service either unit. How many audio companies can claim that?
I want to say a hearty thank-you to Jeff Haagenstad of Exogal for putting his perspective into this topic. I appreciate the positive comments. But why not address the questions that remain unanswered; who is going to replace Ward Fiebiger with engineering of progressively better sounding designs? How is ARC going to dispel attempts by McIntosh to save money by sharing parts, designs, assembly processes and even circuits? I am NOT emotionally tied to ARC. I am not like that 65 year old Chevy Corvette fanatic who walks around with a Corvette ball cap and leather jacket at all times in public and has owned eight brand new Vettes. I am happy to switch to something else. I might. History teaches us that ARC’s future is tenuous at best save an independent buy-out/break-out. Will the factory remain in it’s original location during the next five years? I would be shocked.
Things have changed there.

My Ref5 has been at Service Repair for about 5 weeks. I actually received a notice on 9-17 that the repairs were completed and that I would receive a statement and the unit would then ship. I never received the statement and when I asked I was told the unit was in shipping and when it was ready I'd receive the statement. So far nothing.

Back in 2017 I'd sent a Ref 2 in for repair and turn around time was about a week. From repair complete to billing to shipping, 2 days. That's a metric I can't question.

The thing that got me to bring this up is not so much the exaggerated time line but that today I received my survey for the repair work even though my Ref is still waiting for billing and shipping.

I think what some of us are experiencing is what happens when a large company acquires a smaller company. They may well leave the core business alone, the guys designing and building the equipment, but try to meld other functions into the larger business. Things like customer service and billing and shipping will no longer happen with the original company but be handled by the acquiring company where those costs can be reduced by combining those functions between all the branch companies.

Sending a repair survey before shipping the unit is Big Company thinking. That's how large companies work. You and I know the survey results will be poor but big companies don't think that way. It's total Dilbert.

Me? I work for a large corporation that has acquired other smaller companies so I speak from experience. It's how things work in the real world.

I had the similar experience as monoogan when I sent my DAC9 for USB upgrade couple of months ago. The service was performed within 48 hours after they received the DAC.  But then it sat there in shipping and billing department for a week. When I sent an email to shipping department, there was no response for 4 days.  I end up calling my service advisor to get things moving.  
  i didn't read all that,   but
i owned a few ARC products  even after the Change over,   always had good response from ARC.  I'm probably older then you and never give manufacturers any lip.             i listen to some customers, It's like this 
  """Hay i spent 8 k  you better do this and that"""
  you won't get far Eddie