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Audible Illusions Modulus 3a Pre-Amp User Review

Audible Illusions Modulus 3a
Audible Illusions Modulus 3a
40 reviews
4.65 of 5
MSRP: $ 2495.00

Description:
* Circuit Design is Dual Mono, Class-A, Single-Ended Triode, open-loop.
* External Power Supply, housing three separate supplies, prevents unwanted AC-induced distortions.
* Main Chassis has five-separate, fully-regulated FET power supplies in addition to separate filament supplies.
* Audio Circuit has no Cathode Followers or Buffers.
* Standby Soft-Start Circuit prolongs tube life and circuit components.
* Automatic-timed muting with tri-color LED.

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Rating
Reviewed by:

alexs

(Audio Enthusiast)

Review Date
March 12, 2009

Overall Rating
5 of 5

Value Rating
5 of 5

Used product for
1 to 3 months

Price Paid:  $0.00

Summary:
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

site: www.audibleillusions.com

From Audible Illusions

MODULUS 3A FULL-FUNCTION STEREO PREAMPLIFIER

Nineteen years ago Audible Illusions began production of the first Modulus preamplifier, a component that set new standards for sonic performance and reliability. The Modulus 2, introduced in 1985, carried the promise even further, quickly becoming one of the best-selling tube preamplifiers ever made. With the introduction of the Modulus 3 in 1992 and the M3a in 1995, our Modulus preamplifiers have earned a reputation for sonic excellence, construction quality and reliability.

To date over 18,000 Modulus preamps have been manufactured with over 150 excellent product reviews from audio critics around the world.

Adhering to our circuit design philosophy that “Simple is Better” and based on the proven superiority of single-ended, triode-tube designs our engineers continue to refine the preamplifier. Elimination of cathode followers, buffers, negative feedback, paralleling tube output stages, designing new film capacitors and exploring better mechanical interfaces are but a few innovations that has made our company a pioneer in modern-day tube technology.

Today the M3a is one of the few full-function preamplifiers made. For vinyl record and CD lovers alike, this preamp offers unparalleled musical performance. It is the finest preamplifier we have ever made and continues to be the benchmark by which many others are compared.

Control Functions: Dual-Mono, Left & Right Stepped Attenuator Volume Controls, Tape-Source, Subsonic Filter, Stereo/Mono, Muting, On/Off

Input Selection: CD, DVD, Phono, Tuner, Video, Auxiliary, Tape

Output Selection: Main (2), Tape

Optional: Internal, gold-plated, left & right channel circuit boards for low-output M/C phono cartridges. Mirror-Polished, Nickel-Silver and 23k Gold Faceplates. Also, Clear-Anodized faceplates and control knobs.


Features:

  • Circuit Design is Dual Mono, Class-A, Single-Ended Triode, open-loop.
  • External Power Supply, housing three separate supplies, prevents unwanted AC-induced distortions.
  • Main Chassis has five-separate, fully-regulated FET power supplies in addition to separate filament supplies.
  • Audio Circuit has no Cathode Followers or Buffers.
  • Standby Soft-Start Circuit prolongs tube life and circuit components.
  • Automatic-timed muting with tri-color LED.
  • Control Knobs have low-light, backlite Illumination.
  • Separate Volume Controls are Precision Stepped Attenuators.
  • Proprietary gold-plated RCA jacks with Teflon insulators.
  • All circuit boards are hand-soldered with silver-bearing solder. All polypropylene and polystyrene capacitors are proprietary designs of Audible Illusions.

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