Aric Audio and my system

Hey guys. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here. I’ve  been active while researching equipment and commenting on the gear I had. I just wanted to post my impressions since I’ve now had my amp and preamp for over a year and the supporting gear for a few months. 
I had an el34 tube amp and some Zu Soul Supreme speakers prior to researching 300b amps. After having looked for months at various options, I came across Aric Audio and decided to reach out to him. Being new to tube amps, I wasn’t really sure what my options were and what I even wanted. Aric was a great help in that regard. He patiently talked about each amp option and what sort of sound to expect. Following the discussions and a bit more research, I decided to have Aric build a Custom 300b PSET amp and Super 6sn7 Linestage preamp. I added whatever upgrades Aric suggested when I inquired which upgrades offered the greatest improvements. I figured that this combo was going to be with me for a long time and may as well since I may never do this again. 
I purchased a pair of Audio Note e/lx speakers and a Cambridge cxn modded by ModWright for tubes dac/streamer. I was pretty happy with the sound but felt I was missing something. I had a picture in my head of what I thought a system like this should sound like and felt I wasn’t there. Now having owned only one system in the last 23 years, Rotel amp and preamp with B&W speakers, I wasn’t sure if a tube system could achieve what I had envisioned. I put a couple of different tubes in the cxn and the Amperex were definitely an improvement over the Electro Harmonix. I decided to try a Topping dl90 to see what a Delta Sigma dac would do to the sound. There were aspects of each dac that I liked and would readily switch back and forth. At this point I was content but was still not 100% thrilled. I was hoping that an improvement in the streamer and dac might get me where I was hoping to be. 
The dac and streamer research took about 6 months. I was able to demo an Audio Note dac while streaming through the cxn. The Audio Note was a marked improvement over the other 2 dacs and gave me a glimpse of better things to come. I continued looking at dacs, which led me to the dac shootout thread here on Audiogon. After speaking with Scott, I narrowed the search down to a Rockna and Bricasti. I decided I wanted to use a separate streamer, which for a tech challenged person like myself, was easier and did not seem to have any shortcomings regarding sound quality. That led me to the Rockna Wavedream and LUMIN U2 mini. 
What I’ve found particularly difficult about this adventure is the fact that I’m doing it alone and based only on my ear, which admittedly isn’t that experienced. I know some will say that no one’s else’s opinion should matter, but it does somewhat. I wasn’t sure if what I read, learned and wanted actually came to fruition. I was trying to create a very natural, easy going sound that had resolution/clarity. The cxn was certainly easy to listen to and sounded quite natural. The Topping added more clarity and dynamics perhaps. Neither offered both. The Rockna and LUMIN added just that. They brought all the qualities I was looking for. I don’t want to spend too much time describing the sound. It’s just better in every way. Instrument separation, natural tone, wonderful timbre, a sense of space and resolution all showed tremendous improvement. Then I had an audiophile friend, who has Decware amp and pre with Zu speakers, arrive this week. He has had to listen to me for a year ride the roller coaster ride of swapping out equipment. We listened the first night to various albums. The second night he played albums that he is very familiar with on vinyl. He is also looking at a 300b amp and looking at Devore speakers for his next system so was quite interested in how my system sounded. He pointed out all the attributes I mentioned above. He was also quite impressed with the decay and timbre. I suppose I was happy to get a little validation. 
All in all, I’m so psyched to have found a dac and streamer that can bring out so much more beautiful sound out of the Aric Audio gear and Audio Note speakers. It’s truly a remarkable sounding system that I’m truly lucky/blessed to own. I just figured I’d share this since many of you have gone through the same sort of experience to reach where you are and could appreciate the journey. I hope you are all enjoying the music!



Thanks for posting your insightful journey. It comes as no surprise to me that a high quality DAC and audio streamer (Source) led to significant sound quality improvement. I have to confess that I cannot relate to those who claim the digital source offer little distinction between them. The “bits are bits “ mantra just has never been the case in my listening experience.

These front of the signal chain components are crucial. I don’t care what the measurements are, you actually have to listen and judge what you hear. You did this and it has certainly paid off. How well these audio components reproduce music and your involvement/engagement is what is most important and valuable.

Congratulations on your successful outcome.


BTW I imagine that the PSET 300b amplifier is a very nice match with the Audio Note speakers.It must be quite a natural presentation.


I heard the audio note speakers once and was very disappointed with the amp feeding them so I didn't get a good opportunity to experience them.  I like your system, agree with your tube choices, and would love to hear it.  

If you add up the comments on Aric audio on the forum, it is a landslide of positives.\

thanks for sharing.


Can you share what upgrades Aric suggested for the Super 6SN7 preamp.



Thanks Charles and Carlsbad. I’ve learned so much from the experience and can only imagine what others that have doing this for many years have experienced. 
Evank, I believe Aric listed my upgrades on his Facebook page. I know the caps were upgraded as well as the volume pot in the preamp. When I have time this afternoon, I will go back to my emails and give you a more specific list. 

And Charles, you are so right regarding the bits are bits debate. Anyone who could sit and listen to the 3 dacs couldn’t possibly agree to that statement. The difference between the Topping and Cambridge is quite noticeable. The difference between the Rockna and the others is quite significant. I would imagine beyond the Rockna there might be incremental gains but the differences were not incremental when I switched. 

Congratulations on your system satisfaction @earthbound.   I remember when Aric sold his preamps on EBay.  I’m so happy to see him break through.   Even his early gear, I thought was special.  

Hey, Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad you’re enjoying your system. On the Super 6SN7 upgrades, we went with Jupiter copper foil coupling caps instead of the Miflex, and the Khozmo motorized remote over the relay based. These added a touch more transparency to the sound of the linestage. The Miflex are very good, but matched with the amp, the Jupiters had better synergy. 

Best regards, Aric

Thank you for posting your experiences. Congratulations on preserving and asking questions until you put together the system that's just right for you. I've owned one of Aric's amps for several years and remain extremely happy with it.

@evank I actually did, about 6 days ago and it sold within 4 hours. Mike Wright from Stereo Times just submitted his review of the same to Clement Perry and now I'm waiting on the review to be published. 

Good luck with the review Aric. I’m sure it will go well. 
Glad you’re loving your amp jtcf. Which amp did you go with? 
Hang in there evank. I’ve seen amps and preamps come up from time to time on Aric’s site. Just check in every few days and be patient. I think you’ll be happy if you wait for one. 

earthbound so good to hear your journey has led you to such a good place. I've followed it both here and on the SHF forums and being an AN speaker owner too I knew you getting into DHTs was the right move. And finishing it off with a top streamer/Dac combo is icing on a very nice cake congratulations!

Thank you jond. Greatly appreciated. I look forward to visiting my buddy so I can hear his Decware mk3 with Zu speakers so I can compare. I was impressed when I first heard it and now have gone through this experience and would like to revisit the sound. I was surprised the difference between the el34 Synthesis push pull and and the Aric 300b. I did switch the Synthesis in at one point and enjoyed comparing the 2. I can see now why guys have multiple systems. 

Thanks! I had several conversations with the reviewer throughout the process and unless I had a terrible read, he absolutely loved the preamp as well as had groups of audiophiles over to listen and compare. Once in awhile, as Earthbound said, I do have components up for sale on Audiogon (not on my website), and just recently did sell the review preamplifier. I really do appreciate the interest though, thank you!


Congrats, and glad to hear all your efforts were finally rewarded!  Always great to hear about someone here achieving a happy ending, even if it is just audio.  Ehem.

Thanks soix. Nice double entendre! It’s not only great to listen to but a relief to know that what I was hoping for was achievable with the funds I had. Also, great to learn about an entirely new technology. Tubes can be a bit frustrating at times but now that I’ve found some good combos, I’ve bought a couple of back ups that will allow me to have the sound I love for years and years. 

Spoke with Aric today on the phone and I placed my order for the Super 6sn7 linestage. 3 to 4 week wait but it will be well worth it.

Right on evank. Congratulations. You’re going to love it. Please keep us in the loop when you get it. Always love reading others impressions. 

@evank, one of the many things to love about Aric’s preamps,is the ability to roll tubes.  I can testify that every tube that I have run in my ML II has had a different outcome.  They are so responsive to tube changes.  Enjoy your new preamp.  

I have some high end version of his Motherlode preamp.  It sounds sublime in stock form.  I did insert Linlai 6SN7 tubes and thought there was a clear sonic improvement to my ears.  Best damn preamp I have ever owned.

@evank very cool, I'm glad you saw it!

@ozzy62 thank you, much appreciated!

And many thanks for the kind words from everyone that's contributed to this thread.

Best, Aric

@jaymark Great to hear. I too have a GaNFeT amp, its the Orchard Audio Starkrimson Ultra as I read you have a similar amp in another thread as well as a pair of Lin Lai from Grant Fidelity

My Super 6sn7 preamp was delivered yesterday right as I was walking out the door to attend my own wedding so it will be a few days before I get it unpacked and set up.

Oh that’s no excuse. You can honeymoon anytime. But unboxing new audio, that should take a front seat.


What preamp are you using now with your super 300b?

I have been emailing back and forth with Aric regarding the custom 300b. I'll will most likely go with his Custom 6SN7 Linestagebut was wonder what others might be using. 

I am using a Hattor Audio “The Big” preamp. A great match with with Arics 300B.

Unpacked and hooked up in the system. Sounds very good and I expect it to sound even better with some hours on it.

I purchased Aric's Special about 4 years ago. Recently had Aric upgrade it to be similar to the Super. I use it with Aric's Transcend amp in rotation with a Pass XA25 depending on speaker used.  I will likely have Aric upgrade the Transcend in the future. Can't overstate how great Aric is to work with.