Audio Research Ref 210 for Magnepan 20.1s? -- Sun, 12/12/2010 - 17:57

OK.  I need some advice.  I currently have ARC Ref 3 preamp and Ref 8 CD player along with a Pass Labs Xono phonostage with VPI Ref Scoutmaster/Dynavector XV1s cart and Pass Labs X250.5 amp with my Magnepan 20.1 speakers.  I love the ARC line and was considering getting the new ARC Ref 210s that my ARC dealer says will have the new KT120 tubes that will boost the power of the Ref 210s to the 250 per channel range which is what my Pass Labs amp currently does.  Will I have enough power given the tube design (the 610Ts are out of my range and I don't consider it an option)?  Will the music still be dynamic while making the highs and mids sweeter?  JV I hope you are out there and read this because I need your advice.  Should I make this investment?  Any help is appreciated.

SundayNiagara -- Sun, 12/12/2010 - 18:35

What kind of music do you listen to?

powerdoctor@hot... -- Sun, 12/12/2010 - 21:28

I listen to most all genres; primarily rock (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Pearl Jam, REM, Cat Stevens, Dire Straits) and jazz  (Miles Davis and others) and female vocalists (Norah Jones, Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos, Patricia Barber).  I like how the sound has been balanced since adding my Ref 3 and Ref 8.  If I decide against the 210s, my next thing to consider is the Ref 2 phonostage and whether it would be worth going for that over keeping my Pass Labs Xono.

SundayNiagara -- Mon, 12/13/2010 - 10:55

How big is your room? -- Mon, 12/13/2010 - 12:19

I run a one hundred watt triode mono block amps with MG 3.6's with an ARC Ref 3. The sound is great and there is plenty of power, I have demoed many years ago Ref. 300 amps which are rated around 280 wpc into 8 ohms and I really liked the sound with so much power I would have never clipped them. Thinking the new ref. 210 would be similar. If you like the sound of the amps I would say go for it. As far as your room size I am guessing it must be very deep using the 20.1's?

powerdoctor@hot... -- Mon, 12/13/2010 - 13:28

My room is 16' W X 26' L X 10' H.  I am also using Nola Thunderbolt subs.

powerdoctor@hot... -- Mon, 12/13/2010 - 13:28

My room is 16' W X 26' L X 10' H.  I am also using Nola Thunderbolt subs.

SundayNiagara -- Mon, 12/13/2010 - 13:55

based on what you have told me, I'd go along with sknutson and find a pair of REF300's, which are a much beefier amp than the '210's with more impedance-matching taps. In addition, you should also be able to use the new tubes, which should bring them to about 350 watts per side. Just be aware of the amount of power these amps draw and face the fact that you may have to upgrade your electrical system.

powerdoctor@hot... -- Mon, 12/13/2010 - 14:51

Currently I have one dedicated 20 amp circuit breaker for all my equipment on 5 outlets.  I am using a Shunyata Hydra 8 for most of my equipment.  Do you think that will be enough?  Do you think I could plug both amps into the Hydra 8 which is rated for 2400 watts?  Also, on my current Pass Labs 250 wpc amp, I never really use more than 1/2 the power according to the meter on the front panel.

Twochannelman (not verified) -- Sun, 04/15/2012 - 17:20

Hi Taj,
Issue 1: The power meter on your Pass is not indicating how much AC power is being drawn from the wall to power the amplifier. It is indicating how much audio reproduction power is being output at the speaker terminals at any given moment.

Issue 2: The Shunyata Hydra 8, assuming from what you state above as being correct, has a maximum capacity of (meaning that it can safely handle) 2,400 watts of AC power into and through and out of it to supply some amount of that AC power to your amplifier and - or other components; be it at normal listening levels or as they are designed to draw at a continuous full load output for test bench measurements purposes and UL listing requirements. With that being said, you can only be safe in this matter by contacting Shunyata or reading your owner's manual for the Hydra 8 to verify the total capacity is what you say it is and then adding all of the AC power wattage values together for all components connected to the Hydra, or that you intend or want to connect to the Hydra. Those values are usually stated on the back of each component either on or close to the AC power cord receptacle. If they all add up to less than 2,400 watts, then you will be safe in that aspect or context. However, it is never a good idea to fully load any electrical component or device of any kind as that severely stresses the component or device and could lead to failure due to such heavy demand over sustained periods and in general. A safety factor of 20% below maximum capacity (only 80% of maximum capacity) is usually the highest percentage that any manufacturer would really prefer. Keep in mind though that it is highly unlikely that the full load wattage values (again for AC power being drawn from the wall and not the audio reproduction power at the outputs of an amplifier) for your components will ever be seen as very few people use home audio equipment in such intense manners. A professional system might do that, but that is a different arena in many aspects.

Issue 3: Also keep in mind that the full load wattage values have the nominal (American) AC voltage spec of 120VAC with them, so you can either figure out how much current is drawn at full load for each component by applying the proper Ohm's Law formula of I=P/E (Current (in Amperes) equals Power (in Watts) divided by Voltage (in Volts) (such as 1,500W at 120VAC has 12.5A of current), or see if you can find it in that component's owner's manual. As with the full load wattage values, add all of the full load current draw values together and if they are less than 20 Amperes, then you will be safe in that aspect or context.

Again, and this is critical, and with all due respect to you, for your personal safety and that of your audio system components; asking the public (us in this case) if this or that should be ok or not (a mere opinion in many or most cases) can lead to some seriously unpleasant or even fatal consequences instead of correctly doing all of the appropriate math and contacting the manufacturer(s) if necessary to get all of the appropriate information that is needed to correctly mathematically prove as being safe or unsafe, OK or not OK, and by what amount or percentage. In short, and for your own safety, stop asking the public for their opinions if something should be safe or not and diligently get all of the facts via 100% reliable and correct sources (the manufacturers) and prove that is safe or not, and if it is safe, by what amount or percentage. You owe that to yourself and anyone in your home as issues 2 and 3 refer to your home's and an AC power component's electrical system capacity and load values drawn off of / passing through them; be it measured in watts of AC power or full load current draw. I mean seriously, do you think that your home owner's insurance claim is going to pay you any benefits if you tell the damage inspector from the resulting fire that you got your guidance from the opinion(s) of one or more of us in this forum instead of verifying properly as I have suggested ? Cover your butt and go about it the right way, please, via all of the needed facts and math. (said in respect and hopeful safety for you and yours)

SundayNiagara -- Mon, 12/13/2010 - 15:22

Here are the REF 300 specs: . to ARC customer service would be in order here.

JLeeMD -- Fri, 12/17/2010 - 19:03


SundayNiagara -- Sat, 12/18/2010 - 00:15

The DS450 is solid state!

Twochannelman (not verified) -- Sun, 04/15/2012 - 10:46

Hi Taj,
If I may be so bold as to be purely objective in support of you, you ask the public (us in this case) in this forum, "Should I make this investment ?" With all due respect (to you), that decision is strictly for you to make (with the proper involvement of your spouse if you are married) as it is not for any one else to decide for you whether you should spend your money or not. Period, and with no exceptions.
Otherwise, go to the dealer locator section of ARC's and Magnepan's websites and try to find a dealer who has the ARC Ref. 210's on display and who also happens to be a Maggie dealer with the 20.1's on display (you may have to contact quite a few dealers of both brands and possibly take a few hours drive), tell him about your interests and concerns, and ask him to set up a dedicated audition of that system for you all by yourself for a few hours so that you can find out for yourself if you would be satisfied or not; as your opinion and evaluation is the only one that matters in the end anyway. (again, with the proper involvment of your spouse if you are married) The sales person's opinion should not be factored in at all as he is obviously highly biased in favor of making a nice commission on a very respectful sale which inherently spends your money for you. As for whether you will have enough power with the tube design of the ARC Ref. 210's and if the music will sweeten up as you ask: those questions, and perhaps many others, should be able to be answered during and by the end of your audition by the one person whose opinion about such things is the only opinion that matters: you. (add spouse's if married)
If so, then you decide if you should spend your money on them or not. (again, with the proper involvment of your spouse if you are married) Even if the dealer does not have all of the other ARC gear you have for the source and preamp and the VPI TT as a source and the interconnects and speaker cables and power conditioning gear that you have and use, what is really of concern to focus on is the performance and sound and interaction of the ARC Ref. 210's with the Maggie 20.1's. If you are close to either company, ask for a factory visit to do exactly what you have in mind as both companies use the other's gear for voicing, evaluation, etc.

SundayNiagara -- Sun, 04/15/2012 - 11:51

They are now the REF 250 & 20.7!

Twochannelman (not verified) -- Sun, 04/15/2012 - 16:22

To the author of this post: I forgot / did not realize that it has been quite a long time since the 20.1's came out as we are now on the 20.7's after so many years of having the 20.6's. Please disregard my original comment about finding a Maggie dealer with 20.1's on display as I now realize that is practically impossible. However, and with that in mind, perhaps you could locate an ARC dealer near you and arrange to take your own 20.1's to his place for a dedicated audition session of a few hours with that dealer's ARC Ref. 250's on display or arrange for an in your home limited time period audition of his ARC Ref. 250's. (My error on the model # being Ref. 210's as I also originally stated.

Twochannelman (not verified) -- Sun, 04/15/2012 - 16:27

Does anyone have thorough and 100% accurate data on the new KT120 vacuum tubes ? My reason for asking is if the heater current requirement is higher than what a KT88 or 6550 draws, then a used amplifier may not be able to handle them without damage to the amplifier or may not be able to let them function as intended to bring out their best, or that amplifier's best.

SundayNiagara -- Sun, 04/15/2012 - 17:06

Best thing to do, is call Chris at ARC customer service and he'll give you the straight scoop on the use of the KT-120.

All content, design, and layout are Copyright © 1999 - 2011 NextScreen. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction in whole or part in any form or medium without specific written permission is prohibited.