ARC amp differences.


I got a chance to listen to some Adonis Faber Serifinos the other day and absolutely loved them. They were detailed, but also musical. It was paired with a ARC VT-80. 

I was actually thinking that maybe I go up a notch and look at the ARC reference 80s but it was not available for demo. They did have the ARC 160s.

would it be to assume ithat if I like the 160s with the Serifinos then I would also like the 80s? If I like the 160s jugs that kind of power just overkill. My listening space is 20x14 and I will rarely try and super loud. 


if anyone has other tube amp recommendations pls feel free. I am looking for that slightly warm of neutral sound that holds the detail. 



I have Sonus Faber Amati Tradition speakers and have powered them with the Reference 160s and Reference 160m monoblocks. I also auditioned the Serfino. They sound great, really a perfect match. I have also heard the Vsi 70 and the VT80. My listening room is quite a bit larger, which is why the Amati are the right choice for me.

The Reference 80s would be a great choice although I would not consider the Ref 160s overkill. The architecture of the two amps is identical, the 80 just having less power. They have exactly the same sonic character. I run my Ref 160 in the triode mode, so they actually only put out 70wpc. The difference is subtitle but very important. They are more musical in the triode mode. The reference 80s also has a triode mode, it puts out 33wpc in that mode.

I guess, if you can afford it I highly recommend the REF 160s. But you are unlikely to be disappointed with either. I listen at relatively low volumes as well. But they can be cranked without compression or distortion. 

Also, if you go this route I highly recommend Transparent wires except for the amp… I went AudioQuest Hurricane on that (big improvement). While I slowly migrated to my system (see under my virtual systems) to this combination over forty years without knowing this. The Audio Research / Sonus Faber / Transparent combination is a known incredibly synergistic combination, that really captures the gestalt of music as well as the details. I get lost in it about three hours a day and need to drag myself away.

Jasonbourne obviously has a beef with ARC. I've never had any issues whatsoever.  Primaluna is not in the same league as ARC. And yes I've owned both. 

I recently heard the Sonus Faber Lilium speakers driven by McIntosh MC451 hybrid dual mono amps and MSB streamer/ DAC/preamp and it sounded, in a word, divine.

Oops, a clarification… the only non-Transparent wires I have is the Audio Quest Hurricane power cord on my amp. All others are Tranparent… cables, interconnects and power cords. I fiddled with different power cords for a year on my amp until I found the AudioQuest. It is perfect.