A review of the Audible Illusions L-2
Now that most of the breakin has been completed, I would like to post my impressions of this preamp.
Number one on the list is that it is quieter than the L-1 or M3A. There is basically no noise being reproduced except for the slightest amount of tube rush with your ear to the tweeter.
It seems to be somewhat more dynamic. Contrasts of high and low sounds are better delineated. It also plays louder without the small bit of compression that the M3A has at loud volumes. It has also lost that small bit of bass bloat the L-1 and M3A exibit. The bass is very tight and tuneful. It is really excellent for a tube preamp. It sounds more like a transistor preamp in this reguard but with the sweetness of tubes that transistors seem to lack. I suppose you could say it is more neutral (which I think it is.) The volume control setup is the best yet. The dual pots of the L-1 are gone and have been replaced with level switches that select a resistor for attenuation. The steps are well placed. The overall sound level is controlled by a master volume that is remote operated. It is an excellent setup and easy to match volume and levels.
I feel that the L-2 is an improvement over the L-1 as well as the M3A. Its sound is better balanced, more extended at the frequency extremes and has increased transparency and resolution. It certainly allows sounds to go way beyond the speaker boundries.
The preamp throws a huge soundstage although the soundstage height may not be as high as it could be. This is a tough call because of so many other variables. This could easily be a product of the amp, cables or source (and source material). Sometimes it is really hard to grab the synergy's that are taking place. I can say this, in my system, it does a wonderful job and doesn't leave me wanting that little bit more of whatever. I really believe this is the first time I can honestly say this.
This is a preamp that is worth checking out for sure if you are in the market for a $2500 preamp. It is also extremely well built.
Vandersteen 3A Signatures
Pair of 2WQ's
Belles 350A amp
Sony xa777es cd/sacd player
Harmonic Technology Prosilway III interconnects
Acoustic Zen biwire of Satori
Richard Grey power conditioning
a pile of room enhancements