Audio Research Ref75 se

Hey there! I’m new here :)

I have Vandersteen speakers model 2Ce.

now I came across a solid deal for an ARC ref75se.

sadly I can’t hear them combined, and a friend of mine told me it might wont have enough power to run my Vandys to their best since they are 86dB.

also if it can be a good combo for the vandy sound wise .

any suggestion about that would help, if not I have an other deal for Asthetix Mimas which I heard and was decent.. but I really like Arc and from what I read 75se is a superb amp, and I can get them for the same price.


thanks for the help!


Have been listening to Vandersteens for over 30 years starting with 2ci's to 2ce's and now Quatro CT's with numerous front end brands along the way. In my own system and in many dealer demos I've found ARC tend to be very synergistic and bring out the best in Vandersteen speakers. Agree w/others above should be more than enough power presumably you're listening at moderate sound levels (otherwise 2ce's would not be a good choice).

But as others have noted the ARC REF75SE may be more amp than required for the 2ce's. Personally I'd say that if you plan on staying with the 2ce's long term, you might be better off with SS amp and perhaps using tubes just in the preamp stage.

On the other hand, if you like the Vandersteen's sound and considering trading up to Treo or Quatros (which are both quite a step up IMO) in the not too distant future, then the REF75SE would be a more justifiable investment. 

Pay close attention to reminder about need for balanced XLR's and be willing to familiarize yourself with tube gear which requires more maintenance than SS. If you're going for tubes ARC is a wise investment, probably more so than some other tube brands mentioned above which can be more, let's say finicky.

Good luck


I have Vandersteen model 2 signature series iii.  Very revealing and can show you the difference better amps/sources give you. Not sure how your series speaker responds to gear, but also not sure why posters are saying too much amp for speakers- to me that's like having too much horsepower in you car-may not be able to use the excess horsepower all the time, but sure is fun to have anyway!  You can always upgrade speakers later if they sandbag your system. 

I have had a bunch of integrateds including Rogue Cronus magnum ii (tubes), a Krell 400xi, Krell Vanguard, a Mcintosh 6900, Naim Supernait 2, Ayre ax-7 and finally for the last year, an Audio Research dsi200.  The key for me was a passive pre amp with Vandersteen.  The ayre ax-7 had a passive pre, but ran out of steam at higher volumes for me.(may have had another issue internally tho) The AR is my keeper which has a passive pre as well, and has the power for very accurate, deep bass that the rogue tubes didnt have. It showcases the Vandy's "honest" sound as well.  Friend of mine ran a Creek 4330 se with his model 2's and it was fantastic as well(also a passive pre)

Johnny Rutan from Audio connection recommeded to me the Aesthetix mimas, anything AR, as well as the Ayre ax5-twenty.  He is a Vandersteen guru and you could reach out to him for advice possibly. Very nice guy. These are my findings- hope it helps!

I’ve had a REF75 and a REF75SE for several years in my system and agree with all the points mentioned in the discussion, it is an excellent amp. It is a low maintenance model (for a tube-based amp) and it can drive many brands/models of speakers really well (I had Monitor Audio Platinum II which impedance curve can go low and it had no problem driving them). Obviously if your speakers have low sensitivity and you have a very large room, you may be disappointed if you want to crank it but many people who have listened to my system have been surprised of this was ’just a 75W amp’. Bass is strong and detailed but still ’rounder’ than with a SS like Bryston. But in term of sound refinement, it is much better than most options at this price point. Its replacement model is out so it’s possible to get the REF75SE for less money on used market and like someone said, a REF75 + KT150s give you 90% of the SE version for far less.

Synergy is important to get the most out of it (had paired it with a REF6 and the combo is great unsurprisingly). I’ve moved up the ladder since then but really enjoyed my time with this ARC combo and resell value is very high. Highly recommended.


I heard the Ayre VX-5 Twenty lovely amp really precised fast and natural.

vs the REF 75 se... and that one would be my AMP.. it just blew me away i felt like the speakers aren’t there anymore and every thing felt so right and musical.

even tho i have to admit that the ayre was doing better at some segments . the ARC was just more musical.. maybe im just a TUBE head idk :D

It had more life to it and the vocals were by far superior

Probably why, now that I can finally own whatever I want (after fifty years of working, financial constraints are removed), all my gear is Audio Research. Each piece adds a more “real music” sound and end to end ARC is wonderful.