Have enjoyed my SoundValves VTP-101 Preamp for years and recently came across an AudioResearch LS7....so I had to try it. I wanted to hear if the LS7 would reveal something in the music my "Budget" preamp might be missing. I hoped the ARC would be an upgrade to "the next level". Not quite so. The sound was thin and lacking compared to my VTP-101. I gave the LS7 more than enough time to warm up and replaced the four Sovtek 6922's with Amperex USA 6922's (The ones with the gold pins and Orange "Q"). I played a variety of material from different sources but it had no "Thump", no "Heart", no midrange and no fun compared to my VTP. The LS7 was clear as hell but didn't suck me in. The sound wasn't full and engaging. To say I was underwhelmed is an understatement. Not once did I feel it in my gut. No doubt, the ARC LS7 is a fine preamp when matched with the right amp, just not mine (Fisher SA-300B). I chalk this experience up to a lack of system synergy.