Audible Illusions L2 Preamplifiers

4.5/5 (2 Reviews)

Product Description

  • Dedicated Outboard Power Supply
  • L&R Stepped Attenuator Balance Controls
  • Vacuum tube preamplifier

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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Gonzalo a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: December 22, 2006

Bottom Line:   
I have lived with this wonderful piece of equipment for a few years now; It replaced a Threshold T-3 that was very musical and extremely fast, however on soun d peaks, it roughled about the edges a bit, the Dynamics both macro and micro are oustanding, the timbres are true to the sorce and wonderfullly musical, bass slam to spare, (very uncommon of tubed gear), bass is rich, deep articulate and very generous without ever sounding boomy ot toobey, you know . . .
The female vocals are rendered with such spectral presentation it is to keep it short wonderfully present.

Depth perception is exceptional, width is also wonderfully natural and instruments presentation is very clean and exactly delineated, used with all sorts of amps, this preamp loves higher impedance amps but it will do with 20Kohm input imedance juist fine.
Temaed with Aragon 4004MK-II, temaed with Sunfire Cinema GRand (2 channels using only), wonderful top end smooth oiverall spectrum, and finally the best was heard with a Threshold 5000-e from the new Threshold generation running single ended, simply exquisite.
Easily one of the best values in the marker for a 2 channel stereo preamp.
One of the finest at any price. Period.
Only thing is no headphone jack like the opriginal L-1.
Other than that the L-2 is just leagues away form electronic sound very real and extremely smooth, articulate and dynamic.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by lemoco a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 27, 2005

Bottom Line:   
The L2 line stage is a wonderful sounding line stage right out of the box. It is warm, detailed, and effortless. And after using the L2 for more than 3 years, I’m still using it, and enjoying it. It is a very nice sounding unit for the money. But the unit has one fatal flaw – a design flaw. While the Audible Illusions web site claims that 6922 and 6DJ8 specification tubes, other than the stock Sovtek tubes, can be used in this unit, fact is, they can’t. The unit was designed to operate at higher plate voltage attributes specific to the Sovtek tubes rather than then operating parameters of the specification. My particular unit has destroyed, in a couple of days, every NOS 6922 and 6DJ6 that I have tried other than the Sovtek tubes.

So if tube rolling is something you think you might want to experiment with, this is not the unit for you. If you stick with the stock Sovtek tubes – and they are quite nice sounding – the tubes will last about two years. I put a pair of Amperex Bugle Boy 6DJ8 in this unit and they completely changed the sound of the unit. It was breath taking, but alas the tubes were fried after two days.

The digital processor bypass switch is really nice to have. It allows my analog sources and digital sources to share the main speakers without forcing my analog signals to pass through digital components. The L2 allows me to pass the digital signals though the line stage out to the main amp – very handy. On the down side, there is a loud capacitor discharge that occurs when switching the bypass off. If the L2 is not muted when this is done, it will pop loud enough to clip the power amp.

Using a subwoofer with the L2 was something of a challenge because the sub-woofer line level inputs have to be phase adjusted to the main speakers. But the L2 does not invert the phase of the line level out. In other words, with the L2 you switch the phase at the speakers - red to black, and black to red. But that meant the line level phase that the sub-woofer is expecting is actually 180 degrees off. So rather than subtle adjustment on the dial, I had to crank the adjustment back 180 to get it back to were it should be.

The tuner inputs on my unit were defective from the factory, but a local audio shop said they could fix it for about $80, and the main volume pot has developed quite bit of play, but so far it has not affected the functionality of it. The only other negative I’ll offer is that factory service is…well forget about it – you’re on your own. The up side is that there are a lot of people in the audio business who love theses weird AI units so when you do fined someone to work on it, you will get more than you pay for.

I partnered my L2 with a Graham Slee Era Gold phono stage, a VPI Scout with a JMW-9 tone arm and a Grado Master cartridge. I push the whole thing with a Bryston 4BST through a pair of Paradigm Reference 100 studio monitors, and a PW-1200 sub-woofer.

So, if you know anything about entry-level audiophile gear, you already know that all of my components are in the “Bang-for the Buck” category, and I don’t think you can buy a better sounding line stage for the money – but be sure and try anyway.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $2395.00

Purchased At:   Freds Sound of Music

Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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