Audio Research versus McIntosh tube amps: anyone experience or compare both?

As stated in the title of this thread, considering both brands.  I'm looking for a new or near new tube amp to run my Joseph Audio Pulsar's.  Have been using a Pass XA25, which sounds a little lean with this speaker.  Looking for a touch of tube warmth and bloom, but still good detail.

Considering a new McIntosh 275 MkVI or possibly a preowned ARC Reference 75SE.  New ARC costs more than I want to spend ($6K range or less).  Preamp is ARC Ref 2 MKII BTW.

Would appreciate any insight for those who have experienced both.  Thanks!



I like searching for deals ; )

Echo Hi-Fi is a great group to deal with and have a BAT VK-75SE.

I have no experience with this brand but this seems like a nice option for consideration.  

Thanks guys!

Seems I should be looking for a nice Ref 75SE.  Prefer it in black……

Though I’m a little surprised nobody mentioned VAC.  Have given a little thought to a used 200iq.

I have been listening to JA Perspective2s with Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL pre and Pass X250.8 for few months now. I ❤️ what I'm hearing. When I demoed the speakers at my dealer, hear them with full Mac system, tube pre but SS monos but sounded bit veiled to my taste. 

@bobbydd I have owned several VAC amps... the least favorite of which was a Phi 200.  It was well built, but the sound quality was disappointing for the price paid.  McIntosh MC275 MKV was superior.   

Both the ARC Ref 75SE and the McIntosh MC275 are good choices... and resale value is high, assuring you will lose little to nothing if/when you choose to resell.


Here it comes from left field.. Ready? 

Pathos Kratos Hybrid Integrated- Class A PreAmp / Class AB Amp