AES AE-3 Mk II - is it phase inverting?

Does anybody know if this preamplifier is phase inverting? I am auditioning one, but do not have its manual.


The best person to ask is Gerald Walsh:
Cary Audio Design
1020 Goodworth Dr.
Apex, NC 27539
919-355-0013 Ext 105
919-355-0010 Fax

It looks like the AES website has been abandoned. Maybe they're folding operations back into Cary. If that's the case, it would be nice if they provided product manuals for AES gear.
The AE-3 Mk II is a non-inverting preamp. I have one and quite like it. Let me know if you'd like a pdf copy of the manual.
Thanks, Ewmac. Its funny, a search found several posts from folks that thought it was phase inverting. Have you been happy with your unit? This has more top end than I expected, and it almost seems a bit bright, but it could be my source or living room.

And, have you had any problems with the 5AR4 tube? I hear a lot of complaints about the current production tubes. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as there is no "leader of the pack" at this time.


Glad I could help. Most of the posts of those that actually listened to this particular preamp were positive although lukewarm to its performance. I don't really remember any mention of whether or not it was phase inverting.

In any case, in the two plus years that I have had the AE-3, its performance has been very satisfying and rock solid. It originally came with Ruby 6SN7s and 5AR4. I managed to get an NOS NEC 5AR4 and have gone through a few 6SN7's until I settled on the reissue Tung-Sol 6SN7GTBs. Other than the original Ruby, I haven't tried any of the current production 5AR4s so I can't really comment on them. I only used the Ruby 5AR4 for a few months until I got the NEC and, during that time, had no problem with the Ruby at all. You should be able to find Japanese NOS 5AR4s that were made with tooling from Mullard or GE that perform excellently without having to pay dearly for NOS Mullards which seem to be the holy grail of 5AR4s.

The only time I found the AE-3 to be bright was when I swapped in some EH 6SN7s, but I also had a quad of the EH 6550s in the amplifier I was partnering with it at the time. Other than that one instance, I haven't found it to be bright at all.

Overall, I have to say that I really like this preamp. It's very responsive to tube rolling and worthy of serious consideration. The only advice I have is if the unit you're auditioning is relatively new or lightly used, it will still need some time to fully break in the capacitors Dennis Had and company used in this preamp. Until they do, the unit may sound a bit constrained. Once the preamp is fully settled in, just kick back and enjoy the music.