Oppo, I didn't realize the CJ was an amp... Never-mind!
- 45 posts total
- 45 posts total
Great thread. Wondering if comparing the AIM3A with ARC SP-16 might be a better match price wise. I own both in different systems. Both very good for the money. Better certainly can be had but at a price. I've never heard an SP-11 but would love to. Got both of my preamps used so they were just barely affordable for me. I also have a Counterpoint SA-1000 that I think is really good for the money. The Counterpoint and ARC are much easier to tube roll with. Not so with AI. I use the EH 6922's and have not had any problems. I would not advise NOS. I stupidly burned through some NOS Telefunken 6922's in about a month!!!! I've had the AI for 15 years, Counterpoint for 17 years and the ARC about 5 years. No problems with either.
The AI 3A is a much better sounding unit than the earlier 3. The 3 was not much better than my 2D. The 3A has excellent clarity, is dynamic, punchy, clean bass that has texture and nuance, and sounds just plain beautiful in MY system. Here's another reason to go AI--I owned my first AI 2D for 20 years. I bought it while specifically shopping for my affordable under $1000 speakers 25 years ago. Idid not want to buy a new preamp, BUT...the audio store I went to often in the Chicago suburbs used the 2D to demo both speakers I was interested in. The sound was so good in that room compared to what I had experienced with either speaker. Ones I knew well with the same amp and tt/arm/cartridge I already owned. The ONLY difference in the store's system and my own at the time was that 2D preamp. I really could not believe it made the difference in the sound MUCH MORE than either speaker did vs. my own system minus the 2D. I NEVER thought of upgrading it until A'gon was discovered 5 years ago by me--I was pretty internet unsavvy at that time.
I started buying and selling stuff like an idiot at a slot machine. About half the purchases were to my liking in my system and half were not. The AI 2D always remained. The 3A is a very good leap in sound quality, with another decent increase if you buy AI's best matched output tube set ($225 for 4). Dead quiet at very high volume levels--not obscene however--I don't go there yet--will have tot try and see though). I now have a very good idea of what my idea of great sound is and have been lucky with the experimental buying trying and selling process to NOW have JUST what I was listening for. The only real drawback with the 3A is that it does not have a remote--you have to get up off your lard arse and walk to the preamp to mess with it. I now no longer have one--a lard arse, that is. Isn't that a blessing in this day of fast food, buffet restaurants, and minimal working out by the general population--can you tell I'm a PE teacher? Although my lust to improve got uncontrollable, I loved the sound of the AI and the 3A with the John Curl phono is fantastic. I DON'T FEEL THE NEED TO UPGRADE MY PREAMP EVEN THOUGH THE REST OF MY SYSTEM HAS HAD MULTIPLE UPGRADES. Spend more, do it again when the bug strikes--it IS A CERTAIN KIND OF SICKNESS. Personally, I want to enjoy the sound at a price I can live with and not be too embarrassed when someone comes to my house and has been out of work for awhile and sees my stereo, knowing it may have cost more than he made this year because of a layoff that cost him his job.
The sound of my system, in my opinion, and other's too is pretty ridiculously good and if I can't be satisfied for a very long time as long as nothing breaks, I really shoot be shot. The AI 3A, in my system is that good--if it sounds like crap to you or in other's systems, should that rather make any difference to me? However, if you don't think it is good sounding in your particular system, I would have to say it is a system mismatch. I didn't say there weren't somewhat better sounding preamps made if cost is NO OBJECT, but the term blows away the AI 3A (not the 3)I believe is total exaggeration.
As OF 2 weeks ago, I added 3 sets of RTS Couplers--one each to my Modwright 5400, my AI 3A, and my Edge M6 amp with Star Sound Audio Point mod to the trans(awesome)and stuff on Sistrum racks. The change the couplers did to the sound in all positive ways was at least the equal of good from a Nad 502 cd player to a super modded MW cd player--except times 3 as in it's clamping 3 separate components.
I KNOW most have never heard of these tuned clamping devices and to tell you the truth, I really don't care. BUT...after they have been install on your rack (Sistrum racks are designed like the couplers--to drain vibrations away QUICKLY from your vibrating equipment without deadening the sound) so the equipment's sound can be better heard rather than mechanical noise coming through. If you don't try these, not my loss. I have nothing to do with the company now manufacturing them, but just lucky to have scored 3 used pairs someone no longer needed--he still uses 3 pairs on his stuff.
Long post, I know. And somewhat off the mark for the topic at times. Jeez, it must be DORKWAD!! I need a life sometimes.
If you had nothing to do for the last 15-20 minutes other than reading this, I'm sorry. If you liked it completely, you're one sorry dude. KIDDING--don't take it personal.
Should have previewed that last batch of drivel--lots of language errors, typing errors--did I mention I'm a PE teacher? Got to laugh at my own self too. As I told my principal several times after yet another screw when he asked me, "What the f--k's wrong with you?" And I'd put in his place with a kind, but accurate assessment of his question and say, "What the f--k's wrong with you? You hired me!!!" That usually ended the yell fest with an embarrassed principal saying, "You got me on that one." I'm more mature now, and don't use that f word anymore. So-o-o-o, the moral of this little paragraph is, consider the source and remember my moniker--dorkwad, when reading these things.