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Thinking of Audio Research Ref.6 to replace Naim 252

Discussion in 'audio' started by seadog7, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. seadog7

    seadog7 Active Member

    Thinking of a change of direction. Recently got a pair of ATC SCM40A actives, sold my Naim 300DR to get them.

    Now running NDS/555DR / 252/ Supercap2 DR / ATC SCM40A. The sound is actually very good, but I think a slightly smoother (coloured if you like ) sound of a valve Pre. would compliment my system very well.

    Looking very hard at the Audio Research Ref.6 preamp. (Or similar) From all accounts the Ref.6 should comfortably best the 252. The logical move to upgrade would be the Naim 552, however where I live the difference in price between a 552 and Ref.6 is massive (the Ref.6 is almost half the price of the 552).

    Anyone done a similar shift ? It will be my first foray into valves.........


    YNWOAN 100% Analogue

    I’m not really properly au fait with the current Naim amps but certainly the older amps were designed/intended to run short interconnects and long speaker cable. On the other hand, the Audio Research is expecting to be in a system with long interconnects (and short speaker cables). On the other hand, my experience of ATC speakers, is that they lean toward the dry, tight and pacy* - qualities that suit the Naim house sound better than that of the Audio Research....

    * this is even more true of the active versions.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  3. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    Gosh seadog , thats a mighty fine amp to try . almost 3 times the price of the atc at 14.5k new . exceedingly rare s/h but there is one at 9k somewhere i know

    I adore the ref 5se which i had once , only bit of kit ever that my wife did not want me to sell but i had a modwright 36.5dm [2 box version] which was pretty near it

    there are so many good valve pre amps , but i do know manicatel who uses a ss pre amp with his atc scm40 and he is very happy with it . have a look at page 2 here


    Guy who runs puresound sells a few L300 to atc owners
  4. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

  5. Olsen

    Olsen pfm Member

    I read somewhere a guy went from 552 to Allegri and pocket the huge amount
  6. thebiglebowski

    thebiglebowski pfm Member

    Having owned a Modwright LS36.5 I'd be more inclined to go for the LS36.5 DM

    ...Or even better the Ambrose One.

    hifinutt and htm_1968 like this.
  7. Dark Lord

    Dark Lord pfm Member

    The reference 6 and 5se are awesome and between a 252 and 552
  8. Salamander

    Salamander pfm Member

    My brother purchased the Ref5se, a fine sounding pre, unfortunately it blew after 3yrs 2mths and the cost for repair was between £4k - 4.5. Absolute Sounds did not care this was a £9k that was only usable for 2mths more than the 3yr warranty, not only that it took 1yr to get it returned from their repairers. Would now never purchase anything Absolute Sounds represents.
    Seadog7, if I were you I'd certainly give a passive a try and also two less recommended brands, Audionet and Accustic Arts but they are not easy to dem here in the uk.
    hifinutt likes this.
  9. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    What on earth went wrong with the Ref 5 causing that much damage? That price suggests an entire new main board.
  10. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    ATCs strengths are at odds with naim and you’ll not get the best out of either using them together.

    Something expensive from absolute sounds with glowing valves should be perfect.
  11. Salamander

    Salamander pfm Member

    I understand very little electonics knowledge but here is a message received from the person who purchased the Ref5se to repair himself.

    just wanted to let you know, that I managed to repair REF-5. I took me some time, as I worked slow when I had time, and I had to get some parts also from USA. The repair was quite complicated, as many sections were blown. The display module was blown, the control CPU board was blown, and also the volume section.I was able to repair all these parts, but normally at service these boards would be changed. It took me a lot of labor hours, so this repair would be very expensive at service.So, as you can see, it came in good hands, and will stay here for long time. I also got black face plate to match my other AR gear, so will send you photo in black, when it will be assembled.
  12. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Bloody hell.
  13. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    My ref 5 was at least 2 months at absolute sounds and got lost on the way back and then sold on ebay !! very long and stressful saga only sorted out in the end by some great wammers and the boss himself of absolute sounds ! still would like an arc pre amp though , they have a certain magic . I was hoping to get a ref 5se to match with my msb which would be a great match but its not to be at the moment .
  14. seadog7

    seadog7 Active Member

    I’ll keep looking, thank’s for the tips.
    I am also open to smooth , but with great PRaT, solid state Pre. amp. as well. The Brinkman Audio Marconi looked promising, but I do not think it does HT bypass (horrible website with no clear pictures or details on specs.) that I need to slot into my AV amp as well.
  15. Darren L

    Darren L pfm Member

    That's really poor service, I'm surprised at AS, they have been around long enough to know if a client is pleased they might tell a few people whereas if a client gets poor service, well they'll tell anyone that will listen, personally if I'd of got that reaction I'd of been all over their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, both distributor and manufacturer, putting an issue like this where thousands of potential customers would see, you can be sure the issue would have been resolved promptly.
  16. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Mildly surprised you can draw s.q. comparisons between valved and s/s pre-amplifiers, though it's only my experience prompting this.

    I went from 552 to E.A.R. 912 and the differences were night and day (the 552 being the night!:)). Okay, I had 509 mono's but the 552 was very compatible with these for years.

    IF a valved pre. would suit the ATCs (no experience of ATCs, only ProAcs with ATC speaker drivers), then look seriously at the 912, or even a lesser model. Any review you read will attest to its expansiveness and almost 'larger than life' presentation, and this is indeed true. Nothing lush here, but valved holography and musical insight abound. If you're a vinyl man, you'll not want any better than the two on-board mm/mc stages. Oh yes; English, decent servicing costs and proven longevity. Remote control models as well.
  17. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    yes , i hear good things about Ear support , great suggestion . There was a 912 recently for sale but incredibly rare s/h normally
  18. johnhunt

    johnhunt pfm Member

    I think if i was about ten big ones on that pre and read that I would buy something else.
  19. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Just get a good passive such as the Khozmo models. They do balanced ones as well if required. For £200-400 or so it will beat any active pre at any price. Unless you need to drive 30 metres plus of cable all an active pre can possibly do is add colouration, distortion, noise etc
  20. Darren L

    Darren L pfm Member


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