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eattoride's picture
Last seen: 10 years 4 months ago
Joined: Sep 7 2009 - 5:52pm
Tube Preamplifier

I am looking to audition a few tube preamps to replace my Ayre K5-XE mp. This week if all goes well I will audition an ARC LS27 - I'll only be able to keep it for 2-3 days before I have to return it to the dealer. The LS27 lists for about $7500. What other tubed preamplifiers would be in the same league in terms of performance and price? Is there a better value out there? I do like the fact that the LS27 is made in the USA.

My amplifiers are CA-M300 Classe monoblocks. My music tast run from prog rock to jazz to classical.

commsysman's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am

I have had the LS-26 for a number of years now, and I love it. The sound quality and features are the best I have found.

The LS-27 is essentially the same.

It has unbeatable sound, and I love the fact that it has incredible flexibility, with 102 gain steps plus 3 gain ranges.

It also has balanced inputs and outputs on every channel; remote selectable.

Another thing that is very nice is the tube life hours meter.

You also have a large display you can see across the room, and a 6-step brightness and dimmer control.

One should be aware, though, that tubes don't last anywhere near as long as AR would like you to think.

My experience has been that the tubes go flat and the sound quality deteriorates in a big way after 800-1000 hours. AR certainly knows this, but they lie through their teeth. They claim thousands of hours, which is bullshit.

At least there are only 2 tubes to replace, so the cost is under $100. I am on my fourth set of tubes after 6 years. You can't leave it on all the time, or you will be replacing them twice a year. Warm-up time is short, so thats no problem.

You should be able to get the dealer to cut the price 10% with no problem.

If he won't, give him your phone number and walk away. He will do it.

Allen Fant
Allen Fant's picture
Last seen: 6 days 5 hours ago
Joined: Sep 12 2010 - 3:42pm
You cannot go wrong w/ ARC or

You cannot go wrong w/ ARC or CJ.

eattoride's picture
Last seen: 10 years 4 months ago
Joined: Sep 7 2009 - 5:52pm
Auditioning the LS27

Well thanks for the input. I've picked up the LS27 for audition, and the first word is WOW! The difference between the Ayre and LS27 is immediately obvious from the first couple of notes.

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