Should I Sell My ARC REF 6 and Get A Pass Labs XP-32

So here's the question.  I love my ARC REF 6.  It's a great piece of equipment.  But  lately, I have been thinking that maybe I should switch from tubes to a Pass Labs XP-32, as I don't want to worry about replacing tubes in the future (like 5-10 years from now -- I know that there is plenty of stock now and I have a spare set anyway) as I approach retirement age.  Of course, other than buying a Pass Labs XP-32 and putting it into my system to see how it sounds, I am at the mercy of professional reviewers. The rest of my system: I have a Pass Labs 250.8 (so I think that there would be great synergy with the XP-32), MSB Discrete DAC with Premier Power Base and Wilson Sabrina X speakers, and a full loom of Shunyata cables.  Will the XP-32 be an improvement over the REF 6 for my system?  Should I sell the REF 6 and get an XP-32?

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@daveteauk, just to clarify, my valve anxiety is based on the availability of replacement tube sets 5-10 years down the road.  I already have a full replacement set that came with my ARC.  But in an ideal world, my preamp should be good for a long time.  I probably listen about an average of an hour or two a day and maybe 3 hours on the weekends.  The power tube should last about 2000 hours and the other tubes about 4,000 hours, I think.

@dave777tx, my Wilson dealer, Salon Audio in Miami, thought that the Sabrina X's would be a better fit in my small room than the Sasha DAW's, although I am not really down with spending $25K+ on some speakers . . . But of course, selling the Sabrina's makes it more like a $13K outlay.

It is definitely interesting how peoples' opinion diverges though.  Many people think that the XP-32 is very "tube-like" which is what attracted me to it over the ARC REF 6 as the "long-term,"  i.e., until I croak, preamp.  Others love the ARC REF 6 sound.  The bottom line seems to be that there is no way to know how it sounds with your system and room acoustics without actually putting it in.  I have noticed that despite the clear opinions of various people, When I make changes to my system, they are not "night and day" but subtle improvements -- audible for sure, but still subtle.  For me, and maybe this makes sense, I like the idea of not worrying about tube replacement and availability in the long run.  For example, in addition to long term availability, how do you even know that a tube or tubes need to be replaced in the ARC REF 6, without a tube tester or a catastrophic failure? The Pass XP-32 does not have those questions.

The other thing that is very important to me is soundstage.  I like a three dimensional soundstage (who doesn't) and my current setup has more soundstage width and placement of instruments but not as much depth.  That may be speakers or preamp or both, but my Holy Grail, like many here, is that depth of soundstage like "you are there."  I originally listened in the 70's to a system with Mark Levinson amp and preamp and stacked Quad ESL speakers and it sounded like the band was playing right in front of me -- although I am open to the possibility that was the weed that I had smoked that contributed to that, LOL!  Many people's take about the XP-32 as increasing "realism" and depth, which is another reason I have been focused on the XP-32.  

Obviously, yes. With this current market it simply makes no sense investing into high dollar AR gear.

However, good luck finding a buyer whose willing to pay you what it’s worth. It’s a shame what’s happened to AR. But PL gear will be selling for top used $ when PL is long gone. You do understand that right?


Your other option is to simply say to heck with all that’s happening and simply enjoy your gear while you have it, and deal with its market value at a later time. That too has a consequence, which I suspect may be the reason behind considering selling the AR now? Or perhaps not. Best of luck to you!


?   You mean because ARC was bought by a well intended, highly leveraged person and had to sell it to a great deep pockets owner?


If so, none of that is a reason not to buy or not to sell.

@ghdprentice, you’re absolutely correct. The current market state of ARC is. Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rug and haven’t observed all of these ARC related threads due to a tanking ARC market. Or perhaps, we can agree to disagree?