Melos SHA Gold Vs. Audible Illusions L1.

As I have the chance to buy both
for the same price,I kindly request
advice on the matter as I have to take
a quick decision ( I hate those when buying
audio equipment, don't you !?).

Go with the L-1. If you research "" for Melos products you'll see comments which will lead one to believe that Melos may have had the worst customer service in the entire univerise. I mean we're talking real horror stories here. Also, there is some question as to whether Melos still exists. They disappeared from their New Jersey base and many months later resurfaced in, I think, California. Perhaps to get away as far as possible? Still, to the best of my knowledge, no new products from them yet.
Now, the Audible Illusions L-1 can only be described, in my opinion, as heavenly. If you don't need a phono stage,get it. Separate power supply, world class quality headphone amp, line stage based on the famed Modulus 3A, excellent build quality, and available on the used market for about $750-$800.
Or, buy both, live with them for a while, keep the one you like best. I believe the SHA Gold has remote and the AI does not, which would be a big factor for some people, me included.
I have had the AI 3, L1 and Melos Sha Gold B, the Melos has remote control,is balanced, and has a great headphone amp built into it and overall just sounds better. If you have not dealt with AI just wait, their customer service is nothing to write home about. My experiences with all three units was very good. Te Melos folks are located in Las Vegas, Nevada.
I preferred the Sha Gold B over the other two.
Melos is out of business and alot of their parts and non-completed amps and preamps have been put for sale on E-bay by a liquidator.
when melos went outta biz, the bank seized all their assets & sold it all to the folks currently auctioning it off on ebay. two of the engineers working for melos bought the rights to the name & are offering service & upgrades for melos equipment. melos audio restorations is alive & well in las vegas - 702.248.6745. they did work on my music-director preamp, no problem at all.

i bought the melos pre because i loved an sha-gold i'd heard a few years ago - amazing sound at the price, imho. for *me*, i'd buy the melos w/o even bothering w/the audible illusions. (of course, i *am* spoiled by having remote-control for wolume & balance - i now woodn't even consider a preamp w/o at least a remote wolume control!) several folks i talked with - dealers included, one who could sell me the audible illusions, said "get the melos", when i told them of a used one i was considering...

but, if i was in your position, drubin has the best adwice - buy 'em both, & decide for yourself. both products have a following, & yule have no problem selling the one ya tink isn't as good. i actually did this, buying my melos a week after buying a cary slp98. while i liked the cary a lot - better than the rogue 99, which has gotten strong positive reviews - i sold it after hearing the melos. the melos was in another league altogether, imho...

good luck, doug s.

I have a Melos Maestro (New model SHA Gold) and I enjoy the sound very much. I have had no problems with the unit and would recomend it to anybody. I have not heard the AI 3a or L1 to compare. If you buy a SHA Gold do a tube change to Amperex 7308, it is a nice upgrade. Sedond is correct Melos does still exist in Las Vegas and they are very helpful.