Audible Illusions 3A or Modwright SWL9.0Signature?

These two pre-amps are too close to call. Both have received excellent reviews. However, from the aspect of dynamics, accuracy and especially MUSICALITY, which pre-amp might have the edge???.... Also, though it is almost twice as expensive as the above units, how does the Rowland's Concerto pre-amp rate?? There are hardly any reviews of the unit.
I owned an Audible Illusions 3A many years ago and many, many preamps ago. I currently own the Modwright SWL9.0SE Signature. It's one of the best preamps I've ever owned or heard. I have never missed the AI 3A, not even once...if that helps you any?
Thank you for your response. I am curious how the supplied remote is calibrated. Is it at least one 1 db steps?? Does the volume increase rapidly or gradualy?? How in your opinion is the Modwright superior in sound quality to the Audible Illusions?? Cheers, Jim
Hi Sunny

I currently have in my system the SWL9.0 Signature and it is excellent. I don't know the AI-3A but if it anything like the Modwright I would be shocked. The 9.0SE is pretty transparent and betters any Levinson or Krell unit and certainly many highly recommended CJ preamps I have had in the system.

I can only highly recommend the 9.0SE as an excellent preamp at the price and if it were double the price it would still be a bargain!

After taking a peep at the innards of the Modwright, I can see why it could sound better than my 3A. I didn't find any pictures of the Rowland's innards. That huge transformer and the exclusion of electrolytic caps is a good indicator. Since there is not enough room inside my 3A for those "mods", I'll have to consider a Modwright.
Many thanks to Dcarol and Orpheus 10 for their helpful comments. FYI, since the time I submiited this thread,I am still batting my head against the wall. I "had" pretty much narrowed the search to AI 3A,and its upgraded brother 3B....and the Modwright SWL 9.0 Signature.

Along the way, another member who once owned a AI 3A, claimed it lacked dynamics. He also heard my speakers, Acoustic Zen... Adagios, but not the Red Dragon Audio M-500 class "D" mono blocks I just purchaed last week. He really like the Adagios and felt the AI3A and its line stage only brother (L2B) were "a tad below the quality of the speakers" He recommended either the VTL 5.5 (now discontinued) or the Convergent Audio SL-1 Ultimate which has gone through 6 upgrades since 1994,and currently sells "new" for approx $5600. He was serious about these recommendations, and seems to know his away around high-end.

The VTL 5.5 became 5.5 series II before it bit the dust for their new line. At least, I found a review on the VTL from 2001 in Stereophile that praised it from A to Z. The Convergent Audio pre-amp, I need to check for reviews, but who can know which upgraded series sounded the best. Both are tube pre-amps. I also ran across a Ayre pre-amp K-5xe(mp) which is the latest rendition of that series.

Dcarol's and Orp10 comments give me more info to make some decision soon. I don't expect a VTL 5.5 to come around soon( one sold quickly with their phonostage this week) or CAT-5 Ultimate....and both, even though, used may be out of my price range

For the record, I have the Acoustic Zen Adagios and Red Dragon Audio M-500 mono blocks( burning in as I speak). Also, a Rega Apollo.... Speaker cable is Hologram 2. I temporiarily using the pre-amp stage of a Creek SE5350 Classic integrated which drove the Adagios before plugging in the RD mono blocks.... Jim
If money is a problem, the 3A is a no brainer. I replaced the 400V 100uF capacitors plus found room for a Solen metalized Polypropylene 100uF 400V and I'm happy as a clam. My 3A has all the dynamics I want. Those capacitors are easy to replace.
Have you given consideration to the Modwright LS100? MWI's most recent pre reportedly takes up where the 9.0SE left off.
Do you plan on buying new or used? Someone is asking $1250 for a L2B, which is a 3A without the phono, but they don't have remotes. Those capacitor replacements are for re-newing an older 3A.
I can second Sandstone's comment that the Modwright LS100 pre is worth some consideration. I recently got this preamp and I use the same Acoustic Zen Adagio speakers. I've liked what I've heard so far.
While I am 100% satisfied with my 3A, if I had $2200 to spend for a new pre, it would be the SWL 9 .0SE. with warranty.