Audible Illusions M3A update

I am considering sending my M3A back to Audible Illusions for the newest version. The cost is $1250. My question is this. Has anyone out there had the opportunity to compare the sound of an older version of the M3A with the newest version? I am told that many improvements have been made, such as bigger power supply (which in now better shielded). New volume pots, improved line stage, etc. Can anyone please give me an idea as to wheather the improvement in sound is worth investing in the newest version of this preamp.
Slowhand- Sounds like an expensive "upgrade". Have you thought about selling your unit and then buying the new version instead? The cost difference can't be that much and it might have a higher resale value as a "new model", not an upgrade. Just a thought. As a side point, many years ago I sent my modulus in for an upgrade (2B to 2C) and was extremely unhappy with the three month wait and constant excuses when I was told to expect a three week turn around. If you do decide on the upgrade path, try to get every assurance before you send it in that it will be completed and returned by an acceptable date. I hope that they have improved their response time. (I was so displeased, I sold the unit as soon as it got back without even taking it out of the box and have not owned another piece of AI gear since then). Goodluck with your pre-amp endeavors.
I had my M3a updated in Sept, it took a little longer than quoted, approx 2 months longer to be exact. The improvements were worth the wait in my opinion. The noise floor is lower,the power supply is completely noise free. I used the Aux input for CD prior to the upgrade, which was limited in gain settings, usually at the nine o'clock position. Now I use the CD input, which has a different configuration and it sounds as transparent as the Aux input. To my ears the sound seems lighter and more transparent, including the MM Phono stage. The stock Sovtek tubes sound pretty good, allthough I haven't tried my Tungsgram or other NOS tubes yet, plenty of time for that. Since upgrading from a 95 model with non stepped attenuators I have been listening to music more and tweaking less. My system consists of Watt/Puppy 5, Monarchy SE100 Deluxe Amps, Well Tempered Classic/Grado Sonata, Kinergetics Stereo Subs, Cal Audio Icon MK 2. I looked for other preamps with the same features and cost and could not find anything comparable. I like the dual main outputs, subsonic filter, and Phono stage and I really don't mind the dual gain knobs and lack of remote. Talk to Art Ferris if you need specific data as to the technical improvements, he was very helpful to me. Good luck.
No, do not under any circumstances send it back. They have a track record of taking months longer than expected to do upgrade work. I personally had this experience and it was agonizing. Ultimately Art felt bad about this and sold me a new one at maybe 60% of list, and returned my old one intact. The new one had the updated circuitry and yes it does sound more transparent, tighter, cleaner, BUT, the overall character of the sound is the same and if you are not comparing side by side you may or may not miss the improvements. My older unit is a 3A with continuous volume control and I found the "steps" too large on the new one so I sold the new one to a friend who loves it.

Bottom line: if you want the new one, sell your old one and buy a newer one.
AI will adjust the gain between notches if you request it. I mentioned the course (too large) differences between volume notches--at the lower volume end--to Art Ferris in a letter when I first got my 3A just to find out if there were alternative attenuators with finer notches. AI will adjust the gain notches to your specs, but I don't believe they offer ones with more steps (like Aesthetix). AI will need some info from you first. I decided that I did not need to change anything.
I also read some where that Art has tried very hard to improve the turn around time for repairs, adjustments, and upgrades. He knows that his company has taken some hits in the "community." (I don't know if things have really changed.)
I have a current Mod 3A and love it. Sounds better than a more expensive pre-amp I used for the 3 years before I switched.
You can get a new Mod3a for $1250 by simply sending your old Mod3 or 3A back to AI. Give them a call to see if they are still doing this. I wound up going through a local dealer who was willing to give me the same deal.

I was under the impression that they stopped doing upgrades a while back, but maybe things have changed again. AI are still notoriously slow, which is why I preferred to go through one of their major dealers who says he can get them to move more quickly (a relative statement) in the unlikely event that something goes wrong.

Wish I knew about adjusting the steps on the attenuators before I purchased, but knowing AI I'd probably still be waiting. I've pretty much adapted and fiddle with triode/pentode settings on my amp for low level listening.

The latest Mod3A just slays compared to my Mod3 (and I was happy with that for many years). I was surprised at the Sovteks that came with my amp. Completely different than the stock tubes of several years ago. Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio supplies AI with select Sovteks and they aren't bad at all -- very good on the bottom. I have since put the Siemens back in.

With the trade in pricing, you just can't go wrong with this pre-amp.