I've always kinda wanted an Audio Research preamp, one with a phono section. I started looking for an SP-8 or SP-10, but don't see any on Audiogon. Why so scarce? Are people hanging onto them, or what?
ARC preamps do come up from time to time.
I am not a big fan of the ARC marque because they
tend to use too many devices and parts compared to what is actually needed.
BTW, this is my first post to the Stereophile Forum.
It would be a lot nicer if the forum worked as easily
as posting and reading of rec.audio.tubes.
I probably will not be a frequent visitor to the forum because
of the forum's slowness, and its inablity to
reply to text within text as on Usernet news groups.
Why just the SP8 and SP10? The SP10 although good can quite demanding on tubes. Have you considered any of their later hybrid designs? I've owned an ARC SP11 almost since they were first manufactured and have enjoyed an excellent and trouble free performance
That's a reasonable question. Mostly because I had serious lust for the SP-8/10 when they were new, but they were well beyond my means. It's an emotional issue for me rather than a technical one. If it were just about numbers, it would be hard to justify replacing my Threshold pre. Thanks for the reply.
I have the SP 10. It is well worth seeking out IMO. I like it better than my old SP 11. Be patient and one will show up for sale eventually. Expect to pay around 2,000 depending on what tubes are in it and how old they are.
I would love to own a SP10 as well. Using the SP3A now in my reference system, and have been spoilt by that warm soundstage.
You might also consider buying an LS2 or LS2-B and adding a separate phono stage. Many of these were made over more than 15 years of production, and it is a very fine preamp (and only has one tube to change annually, not 6 or 8 tubes like some models). Watch on e-bay and other places...they are usually less than $1000 in good condition unless major upgrades have been done. I recently upgraded to the LS-16 Mark II, and my LS2-B is for sale in the diyaudio forums marketplace, by the way.
By the way, you should look at the Line Stage and Preamp sections of the ARCDB website; it has pictures, production dates, specs, etc etc for all AR products since the 70s. And yes, there are two reasons you do not see AR preamps for sale:
1) They are built like military equipment and last forever.
2) People don't get rid of them (unless they upgrade to another AR preamp).