Audio Electronic Supply AE-3 Preamplifiers

4.76/5 (21 Reviews) MSRP : $599.00


Product Description

2 channel preamplifier. 3 RCA inputs, RCA output. Single-ended Class A Triode.


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Reviews 1 - 5 (21 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by matt a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: May 18, 2006

Bottom Line:   
Very nice little pre. I use it with the aes superamp. Some say the combo is bright. I have not found that to be with my system. I dont see why you should spend more money on a pre, unless you want the best of the best, like cary slp98, conrad johnson art, and the likes.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2006



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

Date Reviewed: March 29, 2005

Bottom Line:   
I agree with the last review 100%. I too have built, owned, and used the standard AE-3 tube preamp. It has the basic desireable sound of a tube preamp, but lack resolution and ultimate detail. I have always wanted the DJH signature version and when I saw one come up for sale I grabbed it without haggling the price because they don't stay around long.

The DJH version of the AE-3 are similar only in name and the tubes used. It is superior in every aspect and is true audiophile preamp. The difference is not subtle. I have compared this preamp to many more expensive and sought out preamps and the AE-3 DJH is simply better. I have taken this little preamp to stereo salons as well as audiophile's home systems and have shamed many a preamp with the DJH's sonic excellence.

This preamp is superb and worth considering, but don't wait too long if your buying used, as they don't hang around long.

I am currently using it with the Pass Labs Aleph 30 poweramp. It has excellent synergy with this 30/30 watt class A poweramp. The preamps 20db gain is a plus with lowish powered amps, too.
The only drawback is the limited 3 inputs and on output if you use it with 2 channel H/T.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2004



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

Date Reviewed: February 25, 2005

Bottom Line:   
Pursuant to a casual friend's recommendation, I built my first AE-3, with pretty much all the upgrades. I had then been in the market for a preamp recently, like a Counterpoint 3000 (impressed with the sweet sound, but the cost to upgrade was not worth it I thought). He then added in the 6CA4 rectifier for me, to make it theoretically on par with the AE-3 DJH, Dennis J. Had's signature piece. I have thoroughly enjoyed the warm and great sound of my homemade AE-3 pseudo-DJH. I think it's a steal for the money, though it lacked a little in soundstage and transparency. Then, over the years I've used several other preamps. Last week, I saw this true DJH listed in Audiogon, fully equipment with the remote and tube upgrades. I was hesitating to get the same unit. But, in the end, I sunk down the $1K and brought the baby home, counting on the fact that I already knew what I had, it'd be great if it's a true upgrade. Boy, did my jaw drop when I first turned it on. It was a night-turning-to-day upgrade. It's much more dynamic, preserving the sweetness of my home-built. The soundstage improved tremendously, the bite, the pin-pointing position of the performer or instrument in the soundstage, the improved depth of the soundstage. I actually was debating if I should also consider the Cary SLP98P, since I still have vinyls. I did a little research, and decided that the SLP would be too velvety and laid back for me. What a gem. There is not a SLP98P DJH, so the AE-3 DJH must mean something special.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



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

Date Reviewed: September 6, 2002

Bottom Line:   
After many years of a ss preamp, I felt that my system was missing good upstream data.I changed out amps, speakers but something was choking out sonic bliss.

I knew that a tubed preamp would bring this happiness to me, but which one? I searched many reviews and posted many questions concerning different manufactures and Cary was always the front runner amoung the rest. During my quest I found that Dennis Had the owner of Cary had another company he started Audio Electronic Supply (AES)and the reviews on their preamps were outstanding.

I found a AE-3 factory assembled used on the internet for $400 used and was I blown away by the sound from this little charm, it made my whole system sound as if I just upgraded all the components. This AE-3 came with the standard caps and tubes, and upgrading to the oil caps and NOS tubes will only better the sound.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   on line



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Thornton DeRosa a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 22, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Purchased the AE3 used from a fine gentleman who built the kit with Hexfred diodes and upgraded volume pot. The stock Chinese tubes sounded worse than my original solid state set up, so I replaced them with NOS RCA GTBs. For small $$, the sonic difference is immense. No doubt premium NOS tubes would be even better.

System:
AE3
Denon DCM 370 CD
Yamaha RX 770 as amp only (85wx2@8ohms)
KEF Coda 8 speakers
Kimber PBJ speaker cable
MIT Terminator 4 interconnects


The AE3 made a dramatic improvement in this mid fi system. The Yamaha is a high current design with plenty of headroom but it can be a tad dry. The AE3 did far more than warm up the sound - everything is noticeably better (imaging, soundstage, resolution). Most important, it now sounds much more musical - like night and day.

Very minor quibbles - I agree with the prior reviewer that the blue light is unnecessary and a distraction. When I upgrade the caps, I will cut it off. The volume pot is intermittently scratchy but no big deal - smooth handling eliminates the noise. Yes, if you listen with your ear two inches from the speaker cone one barely hears some noise between songs or with the pot all the way down. Other than for a mega $$$ system, it's a non-event.

I highly recommend the AE3. It is a keeper, and my system will be upgraded around it. Not sure what "class" the AE3 is in, but I cannot imagine better performance for the $, especially if purchased used. As for being a giant killer, I have to leave that to those who actually own the giants. However, it seems reasonable there are $2000 and above units that give 5-10% better performance.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001




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