ARC Ref 75se vs. BHK 250

Paul’s recent post about nostalgia for equipment from the past, including ARC, prompted me to reflect on my own system. I’ve had an ARC Ref 75se for almost 9 yrs., in tandem with a Ref 5se preamp and Aerial Acoustics 7T speakers. I’m happy with my my system but after all these years I’m wondering if the PS Audio’s hybrid BHK 250 would offer a substantial improvement over the Ref 75. Has anyone has made the transition from Ref 75se to BHK250? If so, what was your experience?

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Very nice and very balanced sounding system. I’ve been extremely happy with my primary system and as such have no desire to change it significantly other than try different varieties of tubes. Once happy I’m set. My other systems I play around with a bit, but once dialed in I tend to keep them and enjoy the music.

Thanks. You make a good point about enjoying the music once everything is dialed-in. I’ve been a bit hesitant about tube-rolling with ARC gear. What’s been your experience?

I don’t have ARC, but cj and do understand the basis for your reluctance regarding AR amplification and tube rolling. For my cj Premier 11a my preferred output tubes are the pricey original GE 6550 tubes, RCA black plate 5751, and Sylvania 6FQ7. My daily driver output tubes are the Sovtek KT120s, punchy, solid and clean sounding. I should add my speakers are Genesis Vs which have a 400WPC dedicated solid state subwoofer, so the cj bottom end (82hz) is not challenged. My next favorite output tube are the EI KT90s long out of production due to the factory bombing during the Serb-Croatian upset. I don’t have direct experience with AR, but from what friends tell me they are rather fussy. I do like my Premier 11a, vocals, pianos, and jazz quartets are reproduced with aplomb. A great partner for the fussy Genesis V speakers.

I should add the Aerial 7T were always on my short list when looking for speakers. Now that Audio Consultants is long gone the Aerial line is rather hard to track down, which is a real shame. I do have a den system built around the Aerial 5T with Rel T5i sub-woofers. Regarding speaker design Michael Kelly knows his stuff.

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Nice system! I don’t have personal experience with CJ but Bill Hutchins (LKV Research) was partial to them and would demo his phono preamps at trade shows with a CJ amp before he developed his own amplifier line. I’ll read up more on tube varieties for ARC. The Genesis V’s must sound gorgeous! I bought my 7T’s in 2013 from Audio Advice in Raleigh, NC and they shipped them to me in Florida. They’re still for sale on Audio Advice website, in case you wanted to update the 5T’s.

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I’m good for now as the 7Ts are too much speaker for the space allocated. Thanks for the consideration.