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To Jeff Fritz,

I love your magazine, articles, and reviews of products.

I ordered a pair of new Rockport Technologies Avior speakers to replace my Thiel CS3.7s. Andy Payor said they shipped and should be here this week.

My current system is as follows:

ARC Reference 75 SE amp
ARC LS17 SE preamp
Boulder 1008 phono stage
Feickert Woodpecker turntable with Jelco tonearm and Ortofon Cadenza Bronze cartridge
Simaudio Moon Neo 280D DAC with MiND unit for digital and streaming

I am looking at upgrading my amp and preamp to get more out of the speakers. I was considering the following: ARC Ref 250 SEs with ARC Ref 5 SE or 6 preamp; Ayre MX-R (used) or MX-R Twenty monoblocks and KX-R (used) or KX-R Twenty preamp; VTL MB-450s with VTL TL-6.5 preamp; and if I can find a used Boulder 2060, maybe a Boulder (the new Boulder is too expensive).

I would greatly appreciate any thoughts you have on what you think would sound best with my system. My room is pretty big (it’s a living room that also opens into the dining room and kitchen with no walls in between, so about 35’ long and 20’ wide).

Thank you,
United States

As much as I like the Audio Research electronics, I’m not sure they are the best match for your new Rockport speakers, since they tend to be a little difficult to drive. After living with many models of Rockport loudspeakers over the years, I can tell you that they like powerful, stable solid-state amplification. With that being said, I have paired Ayre amplification with Rockport speakers with great success. The Ayres, particularly the Twenty models, would be terrific choices.

Another possibility, but one I have not yet heard, would be the newest Boulder electronics: the 1160 stereo amplifier and 1110 preamplifier. These models should be shipping by early summer and, since you already have a 1008 phono stage, might provide you with some synergy on the electronics front.

Congrats on the new Rockports. They will be much better than your older Thiels, I can assure you. Enjoy! . . . Jeff Fritz