Audio Research Ref 5 and Krell amps


Just wondering if ARC Ref 5 preamp will mate well with Krell FPB 450 MCX monoblocks. My speakers are Revel Salon 2.

I would not ever use the word thin with ARC Ref series. I do agree that a lot of the improvement you hear is due to AE being so neutral that it gets out of the way and just presents the signature at all. The AE is a great of the best. I still believe the changes to the Ref5 SE will take the 5 very close to that level. I will wait and listen to both and then provide my findings. Enjoy your's a special component.

I am not familiar with your speakers or amps so tough to make a call. What I can say is that GNSC makes real improvements and will typically make improvements that ARC could not at it's product design price points. Sadly, Steve and ARC no longer play nicely together so upgrades no longer available. I have a ref 2 mk2 and VS115 both upgraded by GNSC and it is a great combo. I am replacing w/ref150 and 5SE. But the vs115 w/GNSC was good enough to not lose out to the Ref110. And I am not willing to sell these units

I expect the Older Ref amps (210/110) may sound better than your older classics...but if you are enjoying them now...I would not jump to and wait for a 150.. If the 120s give you enough power now...that should be perfect amp...the Ref 3 can continue to be control...I imagine your system sounds great now...a little more classic ARC...which isn't bad...enjoy while you wait.

The difference went far beyond the AE being more neutral. The attack was so much more dynamic it was amazing, I agree I never thought I'd use the word thin to describe the Ref 5 which was my own personal reference for a few years but compared to the AE? Hate to say it but it is!'s great to find a component that really works in your system

I will let the SE break-in some and then bring the AE over to compare. I won't be able to replicate your experience as I will use Ref 250 monos for the "cage match" and I think you use a 3 channel Evo. I use Transparent Ultra throughout... But speakers will be the same...Sasha right...wonderful speaker. I expect differences but not dramatic...much like the improvements the 250s provided over the 150...but will report what I hear.

Bottom line is you are happy regardless of whether 5SE is 95 or 99% of AE...all three of these preamps are great. And at this level we discuss relative changes...and the price people are willing to pay for those is highly dependent on individual preference...and there is no right answer...just some answers cost more than others. :)
Hi Tylercoupe:
I have Ref 150 and Sashas and am quite happy with the combo. But as you know the Sashas are difficult to drive in the mid- upper bass/low midrange between the impedance and negative phase angle. I'd like more thrust there but at reasonable cost.
When I had WP 7s and tried Ref 110s and 210s. I found, as you did with Ref 150 vs 250, that the lower powered model came close enough that I stuck with the Ref 110s. The biggest differences I found were a greater sense of dimension and ease with Ref 210s. I did not find the dynamics on the 210s to be more than 10% better than the 110s. Have you tried both amps with Sashas? Can you quantify the differences esp in the mid/upper bass?