ARC Ref mark2 vc Supratek Chardonnay

I'm looking to upgrade my ARC LS15 and the two pre's I have narrowed the field down to are the Ref mark2 and the Supratek.I know there are a lot of happy Supratek owners on this site( I have posted in the asylum but get the feeling Supratek owners frequent here.) Have any of you directly compared these two pre's?I have talked to a couple of Supratek owners who are delighted. Would the chardonnay be a sideways step or a forwards one?I don't have a bias either way.I know thre is a ref3 on the way.
Accompanying gear- ARC CD3 ( balanced), Plinius SA100 ( soon to be Sa ref) and Shahinians.Music taste classical and jazz.
Thanks in advance,
You might want to post this question on the Preamp deal of the century thread where most of the Supratek owners frequent.
I think you're comparing apples to oranges here as the Chardonnay retails for around $2,000 and the Reference Mark 2 at $10,000. However, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if the Supratek outperformed the AR. The Ref Mk 2 is one of the most overhyped and overrated line stages on the market.
Wc65mustang: where did you get that info from ? are you an ex-Ref 2 mk 2 user ?

I'm just curious since i'm planning to get this pre.
Yes, you are right-I really meant the Cabernet.My question still remains. I have no agenda either way ; I clearly have no problem with ARC gear as can be seen from the rest of my system.I was hoping that someone with greater experience than me would be able to proffer some ideas on the sonic differences between the two. Looks are totally irrelevant as are marketing strategies of companies.I just want to become a bit more involved with music ; something the LS15 is just holding back.
>> Magnepanmike
"overhyped and overrated line stages on the market."

You shouldn't be surprised unless you're unaware of Supratek, Joule, BAT, VAC, and Aesthetix. ARC made its best gear in the mid 70s-early 80s and should have died with disco. Have you seen the hundred or so units for sale on Audiogon? Word is getting around I guess.
The Supratek Cabernet at $5K destroys the Ref 2 Mk2 at half the price. All of the manufacturers listed above have products priced below the Ref 2 Mk2 that are better from design, build quality and sonic standpoints.
In your own words "Wow"
Yep "word must be getting out........." PLEASE...... There are so many Ref 2's out there now because ARC is just releasing the REF 3. Here's the link: Obviously you don't like ARC and you are entitled to your opinion...... Unfortunately, everyone can see through your mindless claims.
Wc65mustang: I have heard BAT 51SE vs Ref 2 mk 2 and IMO the ARC blow the BAT away. I found the BAT to sound flat and uninvolwing.
>> Unfortunately, everyone can see through your mindless claims.<<
Hey I didn't insult you did I? But now I will. They are not mindless claims but you would hear the difference if you dumped those goofy 1.6 'pans. Mindless speakers indeed.

>> I have heard BAT 51SE vs Ref 2 mk 2 and IMO the ARC blow the BAT away<<
Perhaps with certain other components this could be but the Joule, Supratek, and even the Atma-Sphere MP-1 will smoke the ARC.
Before changing pre-amps, have you changed the tubes in your LS15. I have an LS15 and was amazed at how much better it sounded once I put in some NOS Amperex tubes from the early 60s. They aren't cheap, but cost far less than a new pre-amp. Just my 2 cents.
That's a tough one.Both aregreat units. I would probably lean slightly to the Supratek but would be happy with either. The ARC is a lively, super-detailed, exciting sound, if that helps. Some have said the sound can wear on you at times.

Good luck,

Muse Model 10 CD/DVD
VPI HW-19 with Sumiko FT-3 arm & various catridges
Phono preamp: Creek, looking for new one
Aesthetix Calypso tube line stage
mono pair of BAT VK-60 tube amps
Quad 989 speakers
Vandersteen 2Wq, stereo pair of subs
Various wires and accessories
Hi WC65mustang,

Just curious, can you give us any facts on how the Supratek, Joule, BAT, VAC, and Aesthetix have better design and build quality than the ARC Red 2 Mk2? I've seen the ARC Refs inside and out and they are built exquisitely (not to mention they are backed by some of the friendliest and most responsive service in the audio industry). Everyone's entitled to their sonic preferences, but what exactly makes all those other products better in terms of design and build quality?
I don't believe reviews I have to hear it and I have ar is beautiful but a sonic fog not natural but it has a sound so if you like that painting you buy it if you want reality well you know who I pick.