ARC Reference 6 or Cary SLP 05 with upgrade?

Yeah, it's me again. The Voyager has settled in nicely and I think I would benefit from a better preamp. A friendly local dealer dropped by today with a ARC LS28. That was headed in the right direction but was not close to a $12,000 improvement. I could probably swing a used ARC Reference 6, but somehow the Cary SLP 05 has caught my attention. Everything I read about it is very positive but I don't know if it would lend more of a full sound than increased transparency. Has anyone been able to compare these two directly? 

Currently: Bricasti M3 > Rogue RP-7 > LSA Voyager > Fyne F1-8

One of the things that appeals to me about the Cary, aside from cost, is it uses 6sn7 tubes which are now being manufactured by Lin Lai and have a reputation for great sonics.

Anyway, I await your wisdom. 


I got it with the upgrade.  Honestly when I buy anything I buy with resale in mind.  I tube rolling options are great the rectifier tubes based power supply is something I really wanted and would suggest for anyone buying a tube preamp.  The Cary is a collectible which is very important for resale fore everyone involved with this addition.  Signing off but think about it . 



Excess audio system gain is something that needs to be factored in. A high output DAC coupled with a high gain preamp (And higher sensitivity speakers) can result is a very limited functional range of use for volume control.


If you are looking for a fuller sound I suspect that your problem is your speakers rather than the amps. I have found that Fyne go overboard on transparency on most of their speakers. For a fuller sound I would suggest for starters Sonus Faber, Vienna Acoustics or Dynaudio, but I am sure that in the USA there a host of speakers that would do the job, speakers I've never had the opportunity to hear in Australia or even heard of.


I’m not looking for a fuller sound. The F1-8s are amazing with the Voyager amp. I have some minor concerns that it might be too full with the 05. But my much larger concern is too much gain. The 05 is a high gain preamp and I’m already restraining 350 watts > 91db speaker. 

Does anyone know what the gain is on the ARC LS28 and Reference 6? I think the Cary 05 is 17db.