Audible Illusions Modulus 3a Preamplifiers

4.66/5 (41 Reviews) MSRP : $2495.00


Product Description

High-end Single ended tube Preamplifier with Phono Stage.


Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 5 (41 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mannypr55 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 5, 2012

Bottom Line:   
I am taking the time to write this review in order to inform all those out there who are in the process of building a High End audio system at a moderate price level . First my credentials are from someone who has been in audio for about 30 years and believe me when I say I have heard it mostly all . I have had in electronics from dynacos mark VI amplifiers to brystons , belles, counterpoint , quicksilver and a host of other equipments .
After having gone threw bad times in which I had to sell of my system , after some years I was in the position to start all over again building a new system . Even though I have learn that everything in the audio chain is important , the closer it is to the source the more important , the source being the most critical . After looking around I got my hands on a almost perfect condition Audible Illusions Preamp Modulus 3A with the gold phono board for 1,100 dollars . Without having to use hyperbole , the Audible Illusions , lets just say is one of the best and musical preamps I have ever heard. It uses top quality parts , some of which are design and specifically made for AI . It is a straight Class A preamp that uses two tubes for the line stage and two extra tubes for the phono stage with the gold board given you a moving coil high gain stage with gold traces for the signal for high quality conductance of the signal. For phono , with the gold phono board it is capable of giving you 92 Dbs of gain . The increible thing is that all that gain and the preamp is totally silent , no his or noise of any kind with just a very slight tube electron rush that is only audible if you put your ear inches from the driver.
What does it sound like ? One word ? Accurate and musical . If it does have a deviation from neutrality it is just slightly warm sounding in the all important lower midrange . It is extended at the top and the upper midrange and lower treble has a lot of energy if it is on the recording . It doesn't smooth out the highs in order to give you a smooth sound as some do , but rather it mirrors the source faithfully . The soundstage if your other equipment permit is wide , deep , tall and with layering and focus .You can hear and sense space between instruments if it's on the recording . It's bass is extremely powerful . So much so as to surprise my friends when they come over to hear music . So what we have hear is a preamp that sounds world class for a modest outlay of money . Just one word of warning . If you are looking for a tube sound look elsewhere as this preamp does not sound tubish , it is extremely neutral and revealing . At 2,800 dollars that the preamp goes for with the gold phono board for moving coil cartridges it is a great bargain , at the price you can find it on the used market , it is the proverbial steal .

Opera audio turndot Cd player
Audible illusions Modulus 3A preamp
Mccormack DNA 125 amp and counterpoint NPS 100 amplfier
Spica TC-50 speakers with modified crossover and Magnepan 1.6
Project turntable with ortofon moving coil cartridge
All interconnects are JPS LABS with JPS speaker cable and all electronics use JPS power cords

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2005



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by alexs a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 12, 2009

Bottom Line:   
I was looking for a preamp with a built in phono stage. I am starting to believe that the simpler the system the better the sound. I decided that my EAR 834P and my Cary 98L can be replaced with a full function preamp with far better results, eliminating complexity, potential electrical anomalies and a set of cables. As we all know there are not too many full function preamps available today. I ran across a factory reconditioned M3A for a good price and I decided to go for it singt/sound unseen based on the many positive reviews.

When it finally arrived, I removed the EAR and the Cary from the system and plugged in the AI. I let it warm up for 15 minutes and played some Diana Krall Live in Paris. I can only say that I was shocked at the improvement of the AI over the Cary. Every aspect of audio performance was vastly improved. Detail, soundstage, dynamics (macro and micro), smothness, lack of irritants etc. is orders of magnitude better. How can this be? After all the Cary is also a Stereophile Class A recommended component. Hmmm...

Over the coming days I listened to many different CD's and yes, everything sounded much, much better. My reservation came when I played vinyl for the first time that first evening. Overall the phono stage sounded flat, boring and lacking in any sort of life. I ended up keeping my outboard shono stage just in case. However over the next two weeks of suffering through boring, lifeless vinly, things started to change. Slowly but surely things started to improve. After about 30-40 hours, I can honestly say that the phono stage of the AI is now sounding much better than the EAR and is every bit as good as the line stage. I have since sold the EAR and the AI phono stage is continuing to improve.

The AI is very suceptible to vibrations. I have mine on Vibracones along with tube dampers on all the tubes. These two tweaks make a signifcant difference as does a good power cord.

At the current price point, I really believe that this is a revolutionalry product. I have owned Krell, BAT, Threshold, CJ preamps and I will say that the AI is by far the best I have personally owned. I do not believe that the AI can be significantly bettered by anything under $20K. Highly recommended!

My system consists of

Reference 3A MM DeCapo i speakers
Cary 2A3 SE mono power amps
Esoteric SA60 digital player
Transrotor Atlante turntable
SME IV tonearm with Furutech cable
Benz Ebony H cartridge
JPS labs Superconductor 3 interconnects
JPS Labs Superconductor 2 speaker cables
JPS labs power cords on everything


Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mc240 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: February 19, 2009

Bottom Line:   
The Audible Illusions Modulus 3a is an excellent musical performer, with a sound that is transparent and neutral from top to bottom. The phono stage is excellent, possessing a more open, detailed, yet sweet sound than the Rogue Metis that it replaced. Dollars spent for musical enjoyment would place the Modulus 3a at the very top of the value curve. Also the construction quality is first rate, with an all aluminum chassis. But that said, this preamp is not for everyone, for various reasons, including tubes, no remote, a phono stage, an external power supply, and dual volume controls.

The Audible Illusions Modulus 3a can be purchased for $900 up to $1600 on the used market!

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jonathan silva a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: August 23, 2006

Bottom Line:   
This is a great pre-amp.Simplicity along with a very well built circuit lends itself to a very open nutral quality.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   audiogon



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Andres a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 29, 2005

Bottom Line:   
Quite good for the price (new or used). I have owned some preamps, line stages and pasives like the Classe Six, Pass Aleph P, Pass X2.5, Placette pasive preamp. In this moment I am using the Modulus 3 with my old but almost new Aleph 3 amp, my upgraded Esoteric DV-50, and my Audiophysic Virgo III loudspeakers. when I try the Modulus the first time I have noted a weak and soft bass but when I turn off the capacitor switches inside the M3 the bass performance go from weak and soft to tight and powerfull, this preamp is as transparent as my Pass X2.5, but may be the Pass have a little better bass, but the modulus 3 is more warm and less analitacal than the X2.5. Both amps are very very good. By definition this preamp is very transparent, the sound is not all tubey, I think have the best of both worlds, solid state and tube.

Systems:

Esoteric DV-50 upgraded (audio section)
Audible Illusiones Mudulus 3A preamp
Pass Labs Aleph 3 amp
Audio Physic Virgo III loudspeakers
Interconnects Alpha Core TQ-2 and Kimber KAGC
Loudspeakers cables AQ Dragons

System 2

Rotel CD as transport
Wavelenght Cosine tube DAC
Pass Labs X2.5 preamp
VAC Auricle stereo amp
Totem M-1 loudspeakers

Same interconnects
Speaker cables AQ Argent

Table

Clearaudio Solution
Two Rega RB-600 arms
Krell KPE phono preamp
Red Rose Rosette (well is made in china but is quite good) phono preamp.
Clearaudio Victory H cartridge
Benz Micro L2 cartridge.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   nd




Reviews 1 - 5 (41 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


Modulus 3A a tale of Woe!

I wanted to post my experience in trying to order and receive a modulus 3a from Audible Illusions. I placed and order for this product on Oct 26th. I was told it would be two before I would receive delivery. At the end of two weeks I called my dealer to see where we were at, and he placed a call to ... Read More »

Read More »





Axiom Audio:



MS 1400W: