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Joule Electra LA100MKIII
12 Reviews
rating  4.92 of 5
Description: tubed linestage


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Reviews 1 - 5 (12 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

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

Date Reviewed: June 22, 2005

Bottom Line:   
God I like this preamp. I bough it used as a la-100mkII for around 1200$. After the listning I was so amazed that I bough it wihtout checking the tube lifespan. They where all weak and where also original from 1999 (they lasted 5 years, not bad). I called Joule Electra and had a nice discussion with Judd Barber. The price for the upgrade to MKIII was pretty tempting so I send it to him. 1 month and half after , I got it back upgraded and retubed and I started to listen to it for a long time. From mkII to mkIII the improvment are noticable, not big but the mkII was for sure the best preamp I had never heard so the mkIII is simply amazing.

Compared to the la-100 mkIII most preamp i tried where deceptive, including a AR reference one.

My system consist of a mcintosh mc-2100 amp, a pair of esl-63 from quad, a esoteric d1 dac and a meitner transport. It's by far the best setup I had in my life and the joule is a big part of it.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $1700.00

Purchased At:   Used as a la-100 mkI

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Joseph Ede a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: December 28, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This is the music lover's preamp, if anything else were to be better than this, then I cannot imagine what that would sound like, because for reaching the ultimate, this does sound to me as being the ultimate.

Huge soundstage, open, musical and natural. The guys below are all totally right in what they say. This is the last preamp you would ever want to buy and maybe even the last one you will ever want to hear...

My equipment :

Joule LA-150 Preamo
Joule Mk 160 Grand Marquis monoblocks
Audio Aero Capitole CD Player
Sonus Faber Amati Hommage speakers
all this running on Zcable

This is the ultimate combination...feel like moving my bedroom down to the living room and live with this equipment

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $3200.00

Purchased At:   Joule-Electra

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Aris Theocharis a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 6, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Runs cirlces around my Sonic Frontiers Line 1 preamp. Far better top end, instruments more fleshed out. But I miss the wonder slow stepping volume control. Humm is not acceptable for a product in this price range. While I am sure that the transformer sounds best as the designer says, he should have doubled them up, which would reduce their load. That would keep the transformer from protesting so much. Doesn't produce the detail or frequency extremes of say the CJ Premier 16, but still immensely listenable.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $2500.00

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ryan Coleman a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 22, 2000

Bottom Line:   
i formerly owned a Stereophile class B preamp (CJ Pf2L) and there is absolutely no comparison. the joule sings, breathes, slaps, claps, stomps and romps all over it!

i routinely use a bill evans XRCD as a test cd (as some of the notes he hits can sound bright given my system). it now sounds natural--like a piano does, without the electrical / digital artifacts that were present with the CJ.

treble information has become much more natural--i think about how cymbals sound in real life, and how they normally sounded through my system--with the joule, they've become much more splashy with all the decay that they normally exhibit live. makes for a very realistic presentation.

i'm quite amazed that the bass (depth, articulation, and speed) has improved considerably moving from a SS pre to the Joule (which is tubes). wonderful lower octaves.

but the midrange is king, and the joule wears the crown. i don't know what to say beyond the fact that this is the most natural sounding midrange i have ever heard (and i've heard pre's that cost $5K+). (well, maybe the CTC Blowtorch is better, but that's it!). vocals have every nuance that you'd expect in real life. guitars have bite but also articulation that i never heard before. horns (sax, trombone, etc)--forget it. clean a permanent space in my rack for this thing. i'm done upgrading

don't get me wrong, the CJ was / is a nice piece. but the joule is amongst the best preamps made (regardless of whether or not its on the stereophile 'recommended components list'). its a one-time buy: get a joule pre, and i'm thinking you won't have the itch to upgrade your preamp for a very very long time.

hat's off to judd barber. genius at work.

merlin VSM milleniums w/ bam
Joule LA 100 mk2
CJ MF 2100
denon DCM 560 cdplayer
mac mr67 tuner
JPS ultraconductor ICs
JPS super speaker wires
SCE HRS & TDS passive audiophile units after cd before pre (helps overcome the cd player's modest quality)

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John Barthol a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: September 10, 2000

Bottom Line:   
Simply put, If you are in the market for a preamp in the
3-5K range, audition this one! Tubes are not tubes when it
comes to audio. I originally purchased the BAT VK-200 for
amplification and was very pleased with the sound of this
amp, especially for the price I got it for. I thought the
BAT preamp (5i) would do it justice but after hearing the
BAT and Joule side by side there was no comparison. The
BAT sounded more solid state than the Joule. It lacked
the air and and ambience of the Joule. Jud Barber of Joule
Electra is very helpful when it comes to tweaking the unit
for your particular system. My system was a bit on the
warm side anyway, but he sent me some instructions on
adjusting the filament voltages on the 5751 and 6350 to add
more zip on the top end. The filament voltages on the
tubes are actually shipped lower than the specifications
suggest. This tends to add more warmth to the presentation.
It actually blew me away right out of the box although it
was a bit broken in already. After the tweak, it is
simply breathtaking, especially on piano, classical guitar,
and female vocals. Now I am wondering what Jud's OTL's
would do to my system. Hope my audio budget will someday
allow this.

My system:

Joule Electra LA-100 mkIII preamp
BAT VK-200 amp
Harmonic Tech Pro-Silway IC's
Vandersteen 3A speakers
Sony DVP-7700 DVD/CD player
Auditioning (Bel Canto DAC-1/Perpetual Tech P-3A) DAC

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Purchased At:   Goldman Audio

Reviews 1 - 5 (12 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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