ARC Ref 75 SE issues?

I'm thinking of getting this amp but on a recent thread about tube amps from January there were quite a number of posts on the reliability of arc amps. Anybody have this amp and can comment on its reliability? I was surprised.
It isn't that they aren't reliable, they very much are.  It is when a tube fails and takes out other parts inside the amp.  Most manufacturers use a fuse for the tubes but ARC chooses not to for a purer signal.  If another manufacturers tube amp fails, it is usually replacing the bad tube and fuse.  With the ARC, it is usually a trip back to the factory.  That Ref 75SE is quite a special sounding amp, I have heard it driving Wilson speakers and Revel speakers.  In both cases the sound was excellent.
+1, stereo5. 

Looks like you prefer the ARC ‘house’ sound. If you’re worried about the tube failure and associated repairs I wouldn’t consider the 75SE. Instead look at VT-80 or GS150. I owned both of them and they are excellent sounding amps and offer worry free operation. 

If you’re a tube roller, VT-80 offers quite a few options. 

Well this is very disappointing as I like my ARC pre(will there be problems?) was looking for a suitable match and the 75SE seemed exactly what I was looking for. This was surprising news.
Thank you all.

one thing for sure. the 75se is an awesome sounding amp by any measure. at used prices one of the best values in high end audio and those 75w have a lot of punch. within its power rating i believe that it will compare very favorably to anything. 

I own an  ARC Ref 150SE.  I also owned the VS 115 and VS110.  What was said above is generally true.  If a tube arcs, it often takes out a bias resister.  Been there and done that a few times.

That said, if you are handy with a soldering iron, you can replace the bias resister yourself. But even if not, there are many ARC service centers located around the country who could do the fix, even while you wait.  

If the amp is not under warranty and blows a resister, you can call ARC customer service.  They can send you replacement resisters and even a local electronics repair shop can do the fix. The resister is on top of the circuit board and is easily accessed.   

I happen to love my Ref 150SE.  So, finger crossed, I have been lucky.  No problems.  The main power tubes are KT-150s, which are pretty robust. 

Bottom line:  if you really like the Ref 75SE, do a little homework and find out of there is an ARC service center located nearby or a nearby competent electronics repair shop.  Fixing a bias resister is no big deal and does not mandate returning the amp to ARC for repair.


I do not hear the fans.  The amp is about 12 to 15 feet from my listening chair.  It may be that I am ignoring the sound or that my hearing acuity is not what it once was.

That said, I do not think the cooling fans should be a factor in your decision.   
Well I'm closer and am very sensitive to all kinds of sounds so the whirring of the fans even at a low level when listening to classical when the music becomes very quiet or even silent might distract me.
Thanks very much.
" If the amp is not under warranty and blows a resister, you can call ARC customer service."  Try doing it now... 

Manleys amps were made the same way. When I had a pair of Neoclassic 250s, a tube took out a resistor. Manley would send you out the resistors with pre-soldered clips on them so you didn’t have to send it in. You took out the old resistor leaving the stems soldered to the board, and clipped on the new resistor.

Worked like a charm. Perhaps ARC does something similar?

I gather from your comment above that ARC customer service is not responsive.  I hope that is not true.  In the past Lenard and Kalvin were just tops.  They have a new guy there now. I've spoken to him once or twice and he seemed ok, … but that was about a year ago.  
Hi guys, i don't want to take the thread off topic but I have a question.  I did have a problem with bad jfets on the left channel and paid 900 to get it fixed. Soundwise all has been well but I now have, after working perfectly for the last year, a slightly dimmed left VU meter. Is there an adjustable pot on board to adjust this or does it need to go back for another service? 
Does ARC have service centers and dealers to help with these repairs and questions? The factory service has been getting harder to deal with the last couple of years. Local service centers would take a lot of anxiety out of purchasing new and used ARC gear. Most of the failures are fairly simple but shipping equipment off and waiting for repair to replace a resistor or cap is not much fun.
your concerns are quite rational. buying expensive tube gear with poor factory service would bug me. that said it would be a concern for any high end audio company. luxury gear should come with first class service.