Personally I would wait, do you like your current AI? Really like it? If so the new one won't disappoint you plus you wont be taking a chance on a brand that doesnt mesh well with your gear. I have put a different pre in my system after selling one I thought I could best and it was a let down and I didnt keep it very long...
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@georgehifi, (or anyone else that’s interested)...one of the buys of the century are refurbed units from AI:
What is a Factory Reconditioned Modulus? Audible Illusions allows M3A owners to trade in their current preamp for the latest model M3B. Of the units sent for trade, the very best are selected for the refurbishment program. These units are carefully inspected, checked, measured and adjusted. Any suspect parts are replaced and matched to factory specifications. The units are cleaned and preened to look virtually new.
After they have met the high standards of Audible Illusions, a fresh set of tubes is installed and they are packaged in a new box with new manual and accessories.
What makes a Factory Reconditioned unit such a great value? Unlike other used units on the market, you have the benefit of knowing that your unit has been fully evaluated and certified by Audible Illusions. The designer himself, Art Ferris, personally checks EVERY factory reconditioned unit. You’ll be comfortable knowing that your preamp is operating at peak performance and is backed by a factory warranty. With a Factory Refurbished unit, you know what you are buying, and it’s a unit that performs as it did when it first left the factory.
Contact Galen at Galen Carol Audio. The units only run about $1500 USD. He gets them from time to time and they usually sell very quickly. He sometimes has other models too.
I’ve seen and heard several of these units and they indeed look and perform like brand new ones. An incredible buy on a great preamp...
Just to let your know Mike, the 3A’s last ones used with cosmetic issues and one with scratchy volume pots in Au went for $2000-2100aud that’s about $1500usd, the last few in the US from what I searched went for around the $1500usd mark. Canada $1800cnd. I wouldn't accept any less than a $1K trade in.
One is a 3B (Modulus) Which is full function pre amp, (has built in phono) the other is just line stage pre amp. “L3A”. (With volume remote)
The one I’ll be handing in for the trade in value is a Modulus 3A. (it has the phono stage too).
And I’m glad I made the change. I’m sure the phono is nice on the new 3B, but having no remote would be a real bummer for me, as I listen to a lot of digital audio too, and there is a lot of volume variations on song to song also. I’d be getting up after every different song....
@georgehifi...usually Art has you hang on to your unit until the new one is ready to ship. I’m pretty sure the OP still has his original M3A. Art also gives a very excellent trade-in price, so I’m sure the OP will trade it in.
I spoke with Art, and I am going to get the line stage instead of the 3B. (It has the remote volume)
Also, just to avoid confusion, both units are 3B’s. You have the M3A or B which is a full function preamp with phono, but NO remote. The L3A or B is a Line Stage Only WITH remote.
I think I got all things squared away. I spoke with Art, and I am going to get the line stage instead of the 3B. (It has the remote volume)
In fact Art told me the 3B was ready to ship to me in Monday ! That’s 6 weeks! That’s pretty darn good turn around time !
Anyway he said the Line stage would be ready by about end of March for me. I’m really happy now, as I know I wouldn’t be happy without a remote volume control. Thanks everyone for your help !
The AI 3A is one of the best pre’s I’ve heard, mainly because they run the tubes very hard and don’t have the greatest life span for a tube pre.
Get a tech to install one of these, one of your volume control pots will become a dummy and this will take the place of the other to do both channels. Should take an 1-2hrs to fit.
I was an AI dealer way back in the day. I’ve known Art (not Al) for all that time. Even back then, delivery was hit and miss. I really do believe Art "tries" to be honest in the lead times, but it usually is a lot longer.
AI is a very small company that only has a few employees, (IIRC, just Art, his wife and maybe two others). The preamps are built "when ordered". So there really isn’t any inventory of units.
Art was going to retire a few years ago, but customers, industry insiders and others convinced him to keep going once he moved to Florida. So he opened a new facility, but it’s rather small.
Also, ordering tubes or other parts can take awhile.
I love my preamp and really don’t think you can do better for anywhere near the money, (just my opinion).
The new L3B has a remote, if you don’t need or would be willing to buy a separate phono stage.
It’s, of course, your call if you want to move on.
Your need for a remote control is one thing, the wait time for the 3B is another. I also had a Modular 3A, mine had the John Curl phone boards and when I accepted the offer to trade mine in on a new 3B I jumped on it based on my love of the Modulas that I already owned. The 3B had just been introduced and for me this was a no brainer as I had no reason to look elsewhere as I was planning on this to be my retirement preamp, 14 months later and at least 20 excuses I received my preamp. I loved the preamp but decided to sell it and moved on to a Lamm LL2.1 pre and an Allnic HE1500se ll phono and am living happily ever after, albeit at almost 3 times the cost but just didn’t want to deal with Al again. With all this said, I do like Al and he builds one he’ll of a preamp but he doesn’t seem to have a feel for reality. Good luck and hoping for the best. Enjoy the music.