just some more food for thought:
From the orvis webpage specs:
to keep it apples to apples in comparison all specs are for the III model (based on 6wt line) and backing is 20 lbs orvis dacron.
price size line pick up per revolution yds of backing
Battenkill LA $198.00 5.25 oz 11" 50 yds
Battenkill MA $119.00 5.8 oz 3.25 " 75 yds
Battenkill SA $119.00 3.75 oz 3" 100 yds
so based on these figures the battenkill LA does have some advantages over the SA but the tradeoff is a pricier and bigger reel. as for the midarbor, not seeing much advantage (i must admit i own one). based on these specs, i would also submit that many other brands' LAs are really more in the midarbor range (ross BG 3.75", Lamson litespeen 3.75", Abel super -6 3.75", Tibor everglades 3.75", etc.)