Price for ARC PH3 SE and PH5

Intend to buy a phono preamp. What is reasonable to pay for these stages? Any other stages that are better bang?
I can't answer the second question (how they compare to other offerings in that price range), but the first question is easy to answer: Look at the Audiogon Bluebook for typical pricing and trends for virtually any product. Also, follow the ads for a few months and see how they typically run, and how long they take to sell. That will give you an idea of the market.

I think I would be more conserned with the difference in comparing the sonics of both...Sometimes the older desings are better than the newer ones...Its not always about the used prices....Make sure you do your homework on the Sonics of each piece. ( along with cost ) ...Good luck with your decision........

What ever you pay it's going to be worth it ... I am sitting here enjoying my PH3 SE and even though I have put a bit extra into tubes, I couldnt be happier. So brings a good point; a pair of 6922's can run anywhere from $10 to several hundred, so there is more to it than just the price of the phono stage. I was lucky ... I spent 2-3 months looking and figured about what the average price was and then pulled the trigger. The tubes that where in it where spent and not very high quality to start with. The sound was "not that great" I put a new pair of JJ gold pins and it was like night and day. Then I scored a pair of Amprex NOS 6922's at what I thought was a fair price and I hit the sound I was looking for.

I think I have about $1700 into it all said and done with. I added a good after marker power cable, two sets of tubes and tube dampers. Was it aveage ... who knows. I figure the blue book doesnt really tell the whole story. Am I happy with my purchase?

You bet ... in fact today is my birthday and I chose to stay home and listen to music all afternoon. It was supposed to rain - but the sun came out. I'm having a glass of beer and listening to Elton John. I'd wager there are people out there who would pay $1700 to feel this good.

Next up ... The Allman Brothers - Live at the Fillmore East. Good luck and I hope you score a great phono stage.

Cheers everyone !

The new issue of Tone Audio has a review of the new ARC PH6, but he also has on hand a PH3SE and a PH5 to compare with the PH6. It's a very well done review.

I have both a PH3 and a PH3SE and both are superb. I agree that tube selection is pretty important with these units.
I agree with the last 3 comments. FWIW, ARC described the PH-5 as follows:

"Sonically, the PH5 surpasses the PH3SE in every way. The PH5 has wonderful clarity, making music sound more immediate and simply more there, putting the musicians in your room. Higher resolution is obvious, but so is an abiding musicality. You will hear more little details, with a newfound ability to unravel complex passages and allow simple ones to stand in bold relief. Both macro- and microdynamics are startling, breathing life into the music and making it more exciting, involving, and fun to listen to."

Mofimadness raises an interesting point about the newly minted PH-6. I've never heard it, BUT, based on some conversations a while back with either Leonard or Cal of ARC -- I can't remember who -- I recall it being said that the PH-6 is very close in sonics to the now discountinued PH-7. If this is important to you, try to audition a PH-6 and/or call ARC for their current bead. Please note that the PH-6 retails for $3500, well more than twice as much as a used PH-3 SE or PH-5.

I did a quick review of A'gon Forum comments that compared the ARC PH-3 and PH-5. I can't vouch for these views, so take it FWIW:

"I've had them all.

1. The PH-3 sounds really good.

2. The PH-3 SE sounds even better.

3. The PH-5 makes the first two sound like transistor radios." 10/19/08

In another thread, some A'goners made these comments:

" 02-27-09: xxxxxxx
Have owned ARC's PH-3SE and Ref Phono units, have heard the PH-5 and currently own a PH-7. Believe the PH-5 to be a notable improvement over the earlier PH-3SE.
xxxxxxx (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

02-28-09: xxxxxx

I just got done auditioning the ARC PH3, the PH3Se and the PH5. I am buying the PH5. It was clearly better than both of the PH3 units. A used PH3SE is worth the little extra money over a used standard PH3.

The PH5 had better, (deeper and more controlled) bass. Threw a wider and deeper soundstage and seemed to integrate better with my system. Also having the remote to switch between settings, makes setup MUCH easier."

I also checked the ARC sale listings and see that a PH-3 SE is up for sale. I didn't see any other phono pre's listed, but they come up from time to time. Just based on a 10,000 foot recollection, I don't think used PH-5s sell for a heck of a lot more than used PH-3 SEs. Keep your eyes open. Check the Blue Book.

I own a PH-7 and LUV it. I think used PH-7s go for roughly the same price as a new PH-6. So, if you think you'd like to stretch your budget, give some thought to a new PH-6 or used -7.

Good luck.