ARC REF 6 upgraded by ARC.

I have an ARC REF 6 I bought in 2019. I just upgraded my amp to the ARC REF 750. I now want to upgrade my REF 6. Does ARC still do this  I now I should call them to see but it’s Fri night and probably wolnt be opened til Monday. And I really would like to know before that. 

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xtattooedtrackman

From their website FAQ:

"Current products eligible for an SE Update

REF Phono 3

Yes but wait times are in months. You should email them. The upgrade is around $3K and well worth the money in terms of improved detail and soundstage.

@djcxxx   I personally don’t mind the wait. I’m just glad that they are still doing the ES upgrades. It will be worth it. I’ll call ARC soon to schedule the upgrade 

That 6E is my dream preamp. Do you send in the preamp and wait 6 months or do you get on a list and when your time is here send it in at the last minute and they get right on it and ship it back in several days? And if it's 3,000 for the upgrade what is the nominal price to pay for a used ref6? Rogue charges the same 3,000 to turn a 7 into a 9. Must be a standard fee they all agree on. 

@tattooedtrackman  I read Stereophile's review on the 6SE upgrade and I'd be a little concerned about the possible exchange of transparency for "body." Might be worth considering before you change the flavor of your rig.

@brunomarcs   I was thinking the same exact thing if u have to send in your 6 and wait 6 mon ? Or they put I on a waiting list and maybe 2 weeks before they get to u u send it in.  I’m think that. Also that’s a lot of amps to have for them to store until they are ready for u. And now like me that is my only pre amp. 

@noromance   well for me I will have a brand new sound anyway with the REF 750s from my Krell FPB 600. I never heard the sound of my REF 750s with my 6 until they come delivered to me. So I’m very excited about that and the 6SE. 

I don’t believe you have to send it in until they’re ready for it


 they don’t want to be storing a bunch of private gear

Congrats on your new system 🙂👍 those components are what I would consider the end of the upgrade ladder. I hope your reality is as good as my imagination. 

Basically you are in queue waiting for return authorization. Once you get that you have 30d to get unit to them and they start when received. Customer pays shipping and ARC prefers original packing. They want tubes but out of unit in original packing with the unit. No remote, manual, power cord. 

@gregdude Thank you very much. And definitely this is  what I would consider also the end of the upgrade ladder for me as well. I also hope my reality is as good as my imagination as well 👍👊💪

Your point of contact will be Greg Christensen. He's an affable young fellow. 

Greg said that since the scamdemic everybody is pulling their old gear out of storage and wanting it fixed. Apparently it deteriorates in storage. ie corrosion in the pots, cap bleed, etc. 

You will send an email for a place in the que, get an acknowledgement back, then you will get an email about 7 months later telling you you're getting close (30-ish days) to the ship-in time bit "don't ship it now".  About 45-60 days later you will be told to ship- when, where and how. 

That was my experience since August 2022 for an SP-15 refresh. Meanwhile you can enjoy your Ref 6 and fall in love with old recordings you rediscover anew. 

The 750s and an Anniversary preamp are my dream system. I just need to finish the kitchen remodel first before my anticipated upgrade. The anticipation is as much or more fun than the event. :)

Send it to me and I will do a better job then ARC.  Ask them what brand parts they will use in the upgrade!


Your point of contact will be Greg Christensen. He's an affable young fellow. 

Greg said that since the scamdemic ...

That's cute how you slip in a silly political gag, and then blame it on a guy from Audio Research. Clever!

@cleeds I guess the 1,000,000+ Fellow Americans that died are just another hoax to him.  When you are lucky enough that your distant relatives managed to get to America so YOU could be born here and say ignorant stuff like that, I guess he missed the line where brains were handed out.

No one HE knew managed to die, so I guess it all never happened.

How fortunate.  The NEXT one will be worse, of course, but unless HE dies, it will not have happened either.  Were his distant relatives here for the 1918 Spanish Flu when 600,000+ Americans died?  Naw, another hoax, I guess.

As we say in the south, "Why, bless your heart!"

I knew there was a reason I stopped reading and posting on these forums. Silly of me to return.

@yesiam_a_pirate   Thank you for the information. I really appreciate it. The waiting sounds fine to me as long as I know I can stil get the upgrade done. And like u said the waiting and anticipation is half the fun and exciting as the event. Also I bought my REF 6 from my ARC dealer in NJ. I sure I can take it to him for shipping out. I do have all the original boxes and packing. 

@tattooedtrackman I’m not joking. Go ahead and ask them what the upgrade is and what parts they will be using for the upgrade.


They replace 12 power supply caps and some/all of the internal wiring. The Nichicon GU 470ųF caps are around $5 each.

@bigkidz   Ok. U are not joking. But why on earth would I let u do the upgrade other than ARC ? Please explain. 

we manufacturer tube audio components and have offered repair/upgrade/modification services for 25+ years.



I would have to have known what they replace to do the upgrade before I committed 3,000. Rogue had my rp-7 which had a problem, and they tried to talk me into a 3,000 upgrade for it, twice they solicited me. I thought it was too much. I could sell the 7 and buy a used 9 and save a couple thousand than what I paid for the 7 plus the upgrade fee I would've paid! The money has to add up or I'm not Into it. 
now we know the 6E isn't worth there asking price? Im sure any competent tech could do it! How come the manufacturers don't come on these forums and solicit work or even gear? Dave and Troy is the only one. And I bought an evo from him. 

@brunomarcs   don’t understand what u mean by ) Now we know the 6SE isn’t worth there asking price ? ) 

@bigkidz   Also if u do the upgrade It will void any manufacturers warranty I have with ARC. I bought this brand new from them a few years ago. 

ARC have to make their profit. Upgrade is $5000.
Let’s say the most expensive guesstimates:
18 Nichicon GU(M) caps - $150, 5 hours @ $200 per hour, Wire $100. Overhead $750.
$3000 profit.

@tattooedtrackman how long is the warranty good for?

@noromance - I wish I could make $3K profit.  I guess we need to up our prices for upgrades!



You may do better selling your REF6 and buying a 6 SE.  Seems the delta is only about $2,500 if the AG bluebook is taken at face value. 

Also, shipping your REF 6 to Minnesota there and back will be about $600 more dollars plus crating and insurance. 

@yesiam_a_pirate   I bought my Ref 6 brand new. It only has 620 hrs on it. Sending it back for the upgrade I will be using my dealer for delivery. 

I agree with @yesiam_a_pirate ,  talk to your dealer about a new 6se.  Avoid the wait and get a new unit with warranty.

Been a Ref6 owner for about  a year, I'd have to hear an SE to prove it could get any better.  Paired with ref75SE amp and Quattro ct's.  I don't think I'd like the 6se if it was "mellower".

Another option would be to wait and have your pre updated to Ref7 whenever that happens.

Someone mentioned doing this yourself.

Back in the "very old" days, ARC sent out kits to us dealers for upgrading the SP-3 to an SP-3A1.  I did about a dozen for my customers back then.  I forget exactly--it was 48 years ago--but as I remember it was about 10 parts.  HOWEVER, upgrading to the D-76A amp was a COMPLETE change inside the case, so it had to be done at the factory.

I would guess your Ref6 upgrade needs the factory people to go through it and make sure everything is right.  It is expensive, but if you love the new sound, go for it.  As the saying goes, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” ― Benjamin Franklin


It's a tube preamp, not that complicated to work on, you probably would get more for your money with a smaller tech like bigkidz.

Ref 6 to SE upgrade is about 5k now excluding New tubes(7).I was not able to send mine back in 2021, so when I called again this month i received return authorization to send in the unit and it was ready to be shipped back ion 2 days.

@tattooedtrackman I mean that the upgrade for 5,000 doesn't seem worth it!  Someone said 18 caps and some wire?  $250 worth of parts? They made a huge profit when you bought the unit new from them . Why not take care of there loyal customers and do the upgrade for a moderate profit.  Do you really think they pay the tech 200 per hour?  Probably pay the tech per unit. But this economy has people raising prices because they can. 

5 K   is also  quoted as upgrade charge for 160M upgrade.

Don't know how many caps /wires or boards are changed.

@syd7865   On their websites under service. On FAQ on Service. Upgrades. It says new tubes installed as appropriate. 

Yes ,tubes are tested and replaced if necessary for a fee@150 per tube.Company prefers that you send in old tubes for upgrade, as Tube availability  is scarce these days. only big tube 6550 is included free of charge in upgrade.

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$5,000 upgrade to have each hour thereafter sound better the larger cost of trading in, well worth it to me. Ultimately it’s going to cost less that $.50 per hour.  I have heard the difference between the Ref 3 phono stage and the Ref 3SE. I already have a REF6SE… so do not need the upgrade. 


I agree with others that suggest waiting until the receiver/bankruptcy thing is clarified or otherwise taken care of.  It all could turn out to be fine, or not. If it does not turn out OK you could possibly lose your preamp in the event of a collapse.  

I would recommend you wait it out at least until the May 17 court date when things may be somewhat clarified.  There is no downside to waiting that is obvious to me.

@ghdprentice I have the Ref 6 and am getting the upgrade to the SE. How much better is the SE. I heard it is a big improvement. Also just bought the REF 750s I will be running with the 6SE. 


I went from a REF5SE to REF6SE so, no direct correlation.


However, I have heard long term the REF 3 phono stage and the REF 3SE Phonostage. I believe the internal changes we similar if not exactly the same as would be for the preamp (I think the two are nearly the same unit overall). The change was subtle but important. Greater detail and lower noise and higher dynamics. I would do it… as opposed to waiting for the REF 7.