Preamp comparison - Rogue Perseus and ARC LS25 MKII

I was fortunate to pick up a LS25 a couple of weeks ago and have been giving it a thorough listen.  Really nice preamp, my first ARC piece of gear.  It's been fun switching between it and my trusty Rogue Perseus.  Probably not a fair comparison with the LS25 over 3k more when new.  But it is what it is.  Using my Rogue Atlas Magnum tube amp and Snell type D speakers.  

Right out of the box I could tell the difference.  The LS25 is just a little more refined, the word polite coming to mind.  The Perseus gives music a bit of bite and texture, an added fullness and bass presence also. The soundstage is just a touch more open as well.  The LS25 has a slight edge in clarity, with more attack. 

I've always read that ARC tube gear is considered to be not quite as 'tubey' as most.  I think I now know what that means.

Now trying to decide which to keep.  I will do more listening to be sure but I am leaning towards sticking with the Rogue and passing along the LS25.  You all might think I am nuts (most likely I am) but I do enjoy the richer and fuller presentation of the Perseus.   

A question for those with ARC experience:  might tube rolling in the LS25 add a bit more of what I am looking for? 

Ideally, I would like to find a tube pre that combines the attributes of both - clarity with great texture and fullness and an open soundstage.  Any suggestions for tube pres that might fit this description are welcomed.



Don’t do quick comparisons. Listen to one preamp for at least 2-3 days then switch. 
As to tubes, when I had my LS25 I liked EH better than Sovteks and tried Amperex as well. What tubes you have in it now and how many hours in?



I agree.

I would go on to get to know them so well that your subconscious chooses. Long relaxed sessions, for days with one or the other. So… when listening to music (not to the system)… an idea bubbles up that you would like to hear the other one. Over time you will settle down to the one that is more satisfying.


Commonly, one system is “flashier”… so your technical analysis says that one is better… but in reality the one that gets the gestalt can be more musical and much more satisfying.

You are correct about Audio Research not being tubie. They have always tried to balance high levels of details and the midrange bloom and realistic detailed realistic bass.

Thanks all for the replies. 


I have thought about some new tubes for the Perseus in the past.  You've just reminded me!  Like I said, it would be great to keep the fullness and richness - bloom I guess it is - with just a touch more clarity.  It could be that the Brimars are just getting a bit long in the tooth.  Honestly, I don't know how many hours are on them.  Although, doing a little research it seems that they are supposed to be on the warm and full side to begin with.  Brent Jesse's website is a good read.  

I will reach out to ARC and see what they say.

More listening to come.  Having a good time with the comparison!

Thanks again


That's a great question.  I'll have to open it up and take a look.  I was too anxious to get it in the system and start listening and didn't open it up!  According to the previous owner they should be stock.  No idea how many hours.


The LS25 MK II uses 6H30 tubes, there isn't a lot of options as far as tube rolling.

I use 6H30-DR tubes in mine but these have gotten hard to find and are big $$.