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?




Yes, we completely disagree. Audio Research is in absolutely no danger of going out of business.

I have corresponded with Trent Suggs shorty after he bought ARC and while owner. And I have a friend that recently spent over an hour with Valerio Cora, the new owner. Audio Research is in no jeapordy of going out of business, what so ever. It is a completely viable ongoing business. The difficulty arose from the fact that Trent bought the company with borrowed money and a cash flow problem with the tube costs and interest rates rising.

In fact, two friends of mine purchased ARC components while they were in receivership.

If there is some discount because of this event… great opportunity to buy. Even if the company went out of business… there is so much ARC stuff out there, some former employees would set up a company to support the existing stuff. Like Threshold an other iconic companies.

But, ARC is going no where, but on to greater things.

@moto_man looking at a picture of your system, I’d like to mention few things that can improve the depth of soundstage as well as overall presentation…

1. The speakers are too close to the front wall. If possible, move them so that they are at least 3ft from the front wall.

2. Spread the speakers apart some more, about 92” between center of tweeters

3. Try playing with toe in. What works for me in my room with the Sabrinas is the toe in that results in speaker axis crossing about 1ft behind my head

4. Add some room treatments - bass traps and first reflection points at a minimum.

5. Your listening position should be at least 1.1 to 1.2 times the distance to the speakers. 

Most of the above tweaks, except the room treatments, are free and definitely worth trying.

One other thing and this doesn’t impact the sound at all, but looking at the amp, assuming it’s powered on in that picture, the bias meter sits too low (should be touching the letter P)…but that’s just my OCD talking. You can adjust it. 


FWIW, I had a REF 5SE and then REF 6 paired with a REF 75SE amp for a few years. The synergy was excellent (obviously) and my system was great. However, a couple of years ago, I moved to Classé's new Delta series (Delta pre and monos) and never looked back. More details, more speed but without the downsides sometimes associated with SS. I thought I would miss the tube sound (although ARC's sound is very neutral not tubey). The move to Classé has been an improvement across the board (class A for first 35W). ARC have great gear butI cannot find anything I miss from my previous system and management of tubes is over. My 2 cents.