need help with an audible illusions mod 3a pre-amp

I would first like to mention that this is my first post and I’m hoping for some great feedback, help!

I have been adding to my audio system one piece at a time. My latest piece is an audible illusions mod 3a pre-amp. I have a nice pair of KEF 104/2s, a REL sub and a music hall mmf7. Currently I have the preamp plugged into my Denon receiver and I’m using that as my amp. I realize that the Denon is the weak link.

After listening, to my music hall mmf 7 plugged into the AI mod 3a then into one of the line inputs of the Denon, I’m not hearing much of a sonic change compared to that of Denon’s phono stage.

Is it because of my receiver? Is the denon changing the sonic signature of the Audible Illusions pre-amp?

I have the denon on Pure Direct, which is supposed to bypass all the digital gizmos of the receiver, but it’s not a huge change.

Any ideas??


Hi Chris
Pure Direct mode disables the video and tone control circuitry, but the signal must go through the Denon's built-in selector switches, volume control and line-level preamp.
So in fact, you are comparing two preamps in series to one preamp (Denon).
If you hear no deterioration of sound quality when adding the AI preamp plus one interconnect, then the AI preamp is doing a great job.
I suggest that you buy a power amp and assemble a second system around your CD player and preamp, strictly for two channel music.
In general, A/V receivers are not optimized to play music, their signal path is too complex. They are designed to do dialogue and movie sound effects pretty well.
I hope this helps
When you get around to purchasing a separate amp, then the AI3 will be difficult NOT to hear. It is truly a giant killer in many respects.
So Denon's pre-amp is essentially canceling out the AI3?

Can you recommend a good, not super expensive amp to go with the AI3?

Thanks for your help.
Blue Circle amps (see the bc22 here on Agon) are designed with high gain preamps in mind (like your AI M3A, and BC preamps too). I am very partial to the Blue Circle sound, but I loved my AI M3A when it was here! It throws, or I should say, allows the amps to throw (BC amps here) a huge soundstage! Killer preamp for the $$$ for sure. I think the BC22 would let those KEF's throw a huge stage! (the soundstage a Blue Circle amp throws, with musicality, and PRaT, is part of their magic for me:)