Anyone with Aric Audio experience?

Over the past 2.5 years I have been updating my system which I originally started building  in the late 1990's to early 2000's. (My system is in my profile) Two of the last pieces of that era in the system is the VAC CLA1 Mk III Preamp which has been serviced twice these past 1.5 years, once for an upgrade to Mk III and once to replace resister's,  I also have a VAC Renaissance 70/70 amp which was updated to a Signature 1 year ago but this past week I lost the left channel output so it's going back to Florida with me from Michigan to get repaired while i am down there. (I just re tubed it too) I think that although these are both great sounding to this day I may want to keep them as spares for the future or as Kevin refers to them as Museum Pieces. 

I don't think I would be happy long term with solid state as I can run my speakers internally amped and the Wavelet as the pre, which I have tried and it's just not for me. Even with the amp down when i just run the VAC preamp and the speakers self powered  I prefer it that way. But immediately sensed something missing once the amp was taken out of the chain to be boxed for repair. I just prefer tubes. Well unfortunately I cannot afford to replace with up to date VAC components due to my restricted retired income and the cost. I don't want to take a chance on sourcing used units as I really just want to be done here and enjoy without risk.


I've researched  Aric Audio and this looks like a pairing I can integrate into my rig and be happy long term. Seems that I get the impression that those that have his stuff are happy from what I have gleaned on these forums. I am in communication with Aric via email to find the right Amp and Preamp to suit my speakers. Since I already have a 300B based amp was looking for something else he makes. Maybe with 20-50 WPC. My speakers require at least 10 and i am currently at 65 with the VAC.


So if anyone has bought anything from Aric how happy are you with them and have they been reliable and satisfying to your ears? This is going to take me quite a while to save for so I will just use what I have until i can buy their replacements. The good news is the speakers can be self powered and the Wavelet can be a preamp if needed. That was my contingency plan for "spares"


Thank you for any insight.

Happy New Year!


I haven't bought anything from Aric.  but I've been watching them for a while.  They make the type of amps I like, very simple hand-made, point-to-point SETs.  What I can tell you is I haven't read anything negative here in the forum and I've read a lot of positive.


I purchased a pre from Aric a few years back. I also purchased one of his preamps on the used market. The same great service.  He is awesome to work with, and he responds very quickly when any questions pop up.  

Yes, be assured that you will be getting something special with Aric. I have the 300B and 6SN7 line stage. I'm extremely satisfied.

I have owned three Aric amps and still have two of them. I currently have a “one off” EL 84 PP amp and a version of his Super 300B amp with some upgrades. To say I’m a happy Aric Audio customer would be an understatement. These are high quality products at fair and reasonable prices. The two things that set his amps apart from the pack are how dynamic they sound and how quiet they are. I’m talking about “ear against the speaker with zero noise” quiet. You’d think it wasn’t even turned on.

So yes, @aricaudio gets my highest recommendation for quality and customer service.

I concur with all that has been aforementioned. I purchased  the Special preamp from Aric as a demo model about 4 years ago and purchase his Transcend amplifier used from a fellow AGer a couple years later. Aric upgraded my Special to the Super last summer and I will likely have him upgrade my amplifier in the near future. Aric's products and service are exemplary.    


If you look, 75% of my Forum responses mention Aric Audio wholeheartedly. I first bought a MM Phono Preamp from Aric years ago and was so impressed with how musical, yet dead quiet it was, I then worked with him to develop and build a bespoke preamp that we deemed, The Motherlode. It was heavily based on Tube Research Lab's, The Dude. It is the only piece of gear that has remained in my rack and not touched, it is THAT special. Your trust and investment in working with Aric on a build or two, will find you richly rewarded. His gear is phenomenal, and his customer service is unparalleled. 

Thank you all, this is very encouraging. The Motherload II XL is on the list with one of his amps. Aric responded to my very detailed email and will be getting back to me later with his advice, he's building some amps today.  I appreciate the confirmation I am headed in the right direction.

I'm a happy customer of Aric's also.I bought a Transcend PP 5 or 6 years ago and would never part with it.I have it on every evening for an hour or two. Never had any problems with it.

Another thrilled customer here. I bought his Motherlode XL preamp and was so impressed had him build me a pair of the Super KT Parallel amps. Together they are dynamic, dead quiet, detailed, beautiful tone, and very musically engaging. 

Parts and build quality are first rate. I’m now considering adding his phono stage. 

I have the Phono/pre, Pre and Amp. For about 2 1/2 years now. Did not fail in my move from MI to MC. Flawless with an SUT. Are use NOS tubes from Brent Jesse.




I am a tube guy also, going through the ups and downs with tubes,you never know what’s going on when you turn the tube amp on..For playing around, tubes can be fun but for serious music listening solid state is the way to go. You don’t have to replace tubes and SS goes for decades…if you want a solid state that sounds close to a tube amp the First Watt amps made by Nelson Pass is the way to go…you will never have a problem… tubes are for fun,solid state for serious listening!


All I can say is you have owned the wrong tube gear if that is your take on reliability. I have been a tube guy for 25 years with very few issues. And my view is the polar opposite of yours. SS is good for casual listening, but tubes are a must to get to the heart of it.

I have had tube gear for over 4 decades and now feel good solid stste amps 

can do more much depends to on your speakers efficiency 

SS amps much better defined and for sure slam in the Bass .

much depends on your budget ,Coda 8 amp , which were Engineer's with Nelson Pass, or Pass Labs ,  Gryphon, Aavik,Ayre  Boulder ,and many others,

many too  use a quality Tube preamp with SS gear that is the most popular combo many Loudspeakers need ample current to get them singing .

then the tubes and quality of most power tubes from China and Russia leave a lot to be desired from when I grew up in the early 70-80s now even small quality NOS tubes are very expensive and hard to get with goodSS gear the key is the quality of your digital setup , for a great example the T+A 200 dac+ descreet class A preamp is a excellent combo can be bought under $7k new and is next on my list

exceptional performance ,the digital alone meets or exceeds dacs at $15k

do some research and see reviews on you tube your sourse dictates how your music sounds from the start ,like a turntable. No weak links in the chain quality

power cords ,Cables ,Ethernet hum ,and streamer $12-14k total is a solid average

which too is on par to a respectable turntable , with much more flexibility 

and sonically superior in several areas  and library at your disposal on Tidal,QObuz.


Silverfoxvtx1800: "I am a tube guy also, going through the ups and downs with tubes,you never know what’s going on when you turn the tube amp on..For playing around, tubes can be fun but for serious music listening solid state is the way to go. You don’t have to replace tubes and SS goes for decades…if you want a solid state that sounds close to a tube amp the First Watt amps made by Nelson Pass is the way to go…you will never have a problem… tubes are for fun,solid state for serious listening!"


My experience is different as well.  My Aric Super KT amps replaced Pass Labs XA60.8 amps and before that, X260.8 amps.  As much as I liked the Pass amps, the Aric amps have resulted in a new level of emotional connection to the music especially for serious listening.  Plus, they are just as dynamic than the solid-state amps I have owned.  But of course, all of this is speaker & system dependent.

I have Primaluna,Decware,and Dennis Had amps,they all have a nice sound but tubes do go bad and get noisy….when I heard the First Watt Sit-3 that was it for me and still is…..I put my tube amps on at times but always end up with the First Watt..especially with my Klipsch speakers…don’t have to worry about tubes loosing there grunt…I went down that NOS tube rabbit hole it’s nice to be done with that…

+1 @ozzy62 I've never had a tube go bad in the 30+ years I've been using them.Yes it happens occasionally I'm sure but never to me.I stick with reputable vendors and never buy from random eBay sellers.

  It's personal preference not that one is inferior to the other.

Not sure why this thread devolved into the tired turf war between tubes and SS. Both can be great sounding; both can need repair: such is life.

And now back to the OP’s question. Nearly a year ago, I bought one of Aric’s Transcend Push-Pull amps with a few upgrades--Jupiter caps, Edcor transformers, a TDK volume pot rather than the stock Alps, cherry wood base. Aric even installed amber LEDs at my request and talked me out of other upgrades that would have raised the cost but not necessarily the sound quality. He’s a good guy and a straight-shooter.

The Transcend PP is really a terrific amp -- great sounding, quiet, beautiful, and extremely versatile. You can run EL34, KT88, KT120, or my preference, KT150 tubes; and you can switch between triode and ultralinear modes. This gives you power-range options between (IIRC) 35-65 watts, pure Class A. I think it sounds better than the VAC 300.1a I owned for 4 years, albeit with far less power, and has a palpable SET-like suppleness (even in UL) that is not often characteristic of push-pull tube amps, but without sacrificing top or bottom extension. For context, I also run a 2A3 SET, 300B SET, a couple of push-pull Class A/B amps, and a couple of high-grade Class A solid state amps with various speaker combinations. The Aric is less expensive than most of them but not outclassed by any. It’s a keeper.

I got to know Aric and his equipment upon doing a review of his excellent Transcend Amplifier.  My favorable opinion and musical results with his preamp and amp are discussed at great length using Quad 57s and 63s with having the amp in various settings of triode and ultra-linear and EL34 tubes or KT150 tubes. Although I did not need to buy the Transcend Amp since I own two other amps from Conrad Johnson (Premier 8A monoblocs) and the Art Audio Carissa Set 845 which cost multiple times more than the Aric, I was inspired by Aric's understanding of music and tube designs to proceed to commission and buy the Aric Motherlode XL preamplifier to use instead of an Ayon preamp that cost more than twice as much.  I am still using the Ayon CD35II as a transport/cd player and DAC for streaming.

I endorse reaching out to Aric for your musical pursuits and equipment choices.

I know Aric. We've never met, but I feel like I know Aric. More importantly, I feel like Aric knows me -- his communication and customer service skills are on par with what comes off his bench. Across the last decade, I have purchased the following equipment from Aric Audio: Preamps (4) -- A pair of mirror image Linestage Preamps called The Twins, a Transcend Preamp, a C3M Linestage, and a Super 6SN7 Linestage; Amps (3) -- Transcend Push-Pull Mono Blocks, a Super KT 88 120 SE, and a Custom 300B PSET; Loudspeakers (2) -- a pair of Dynaltos, and a pair of Animus Loudspeakers. In every case the build quality has been excellent and the performance level, well, all punch well above their weight making them a steal at the prices he charges. He's a one man show so everything you see, he's crafted, built, soldered or stained it, and it didn't come off his bench until it had a dead black, ear-to-the-speaker background. When the SS vs tubes debate surfaces, relative to "serious listening", I just smile, but don't care to comment. I hope his business plan returns him to the familiar waters of building loudspeakers too, because both pairs that I bought from him further promote the idea that if it says "Aric Audio" on it, you're going to be very happy with it. He has my highest endorsement.

My experiences with Aric have all been wonderful, both the man and the equipment. My Motherload pre amp is spectacular. I recently compared it to a 6h30 pre and a Benchmark, in both cases the Aric had very similar level of detail retrieval, but brought an organic smoothness the others lacked. ( the 6h30 had a little tighter, more pronounced bass, but lacked the midrange and treble finesse)

I bought Aric’s kt88 SE used and as a low powered amp it is the most used between First Watt f3, f8.

i would not hesitate to buy anything from Aric!


All great feedback and thanks to all that chimed in. @jazzbobob  I read you review before you posted here as that amp and the Super KT SE is on my list of choices, Aric is steering me toward the Super KT SE which can get me 20WPC UL with KT150's but that Transcend Push Pull seems like a safer choice to me since I only have one chance to get it right.  iwonder how different they are? I also keep thinking that my VAC has more power for the time I feel I need it but I'd hate to be disappointed too. I do enjoy the dynamics I am getting now.

First, I would like to say Thank You to everyone who posted and I’m very glad to hear the positive comments, and thankful for the opportunity to stay busy building these products.


Regarding amp selection, I generally like to use the speaker’s sensitivity, impedance, and distance from the speaker that the end user will sit as well as the average peak decibels that the client listens at to gauge what amplifier choices will work. If there’s at least 6 db of headroom over the peak listening levels (which equates to double the power to both speakers), then I consider this a safe margin.


That said, at listening levels under 90 db at 3 meters from the OP's Legacy speakers, the Super KT SE is more than adequate as it can provide peaks of up to 100 db from them. The Transcend push pull absolutely would work as well and have headroom to spare for even louder listening levels. It also sounds stellar- more similar to the Super KT SE than different really, however with single-ended you get just a touch more inner detail and realism- and I do mean a touch, but it’s still there. I did also design the Transcend Push Pull to have more of a "single-ended" signature to the sound, while gaining more power than a typical SET, so if there are any doubts that the 20 watts using KT150s will be adequate, then the Transcend Push Pull would have an extra margin of power and very similar sonics. It’s that trade off between slightly better sonics vs slightly more power which is the major difference between SE and Push Pull in my experience.



Best regards, Aric

I owned the Super KT SE amp a few years ago. Like all of Arics offerings, it sounds much more powerful than its rated output. I used it with EL34s most of the time and those 12 watts were plenty with a pair of Cornwall IVs.

Thank you @aricaudio   You are talking me off the ledge. (Even though you told me this before) I believe I may be ready later this summer. Unless I get the Motherload first! :)

In respect to the Transcend Push Pull amp, as well as Jazbobobs recent review, and all the other previous comments about Aric Audio. I must say, the Push Pull amp is something else when using EL34s in triode mode with no feedback. This amp can definitely take you deep into the evening, and perhaps the Milky Way if you’d like.

Aesthetically, the amp’s blue lights are such a nice touch with the tube glow in the background. Gorgeous and unique amp by all accounts.