You really need to hear them all for yourself paired with the amp of your choice. Most people would be happy to own any one of these three preamps; but then the people in these forums are not "most" people.
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I owned a Mod3 for many years and still own an LA-100 (and an ARC LS-25, FWIW).
The AI is a great sounding piece: it's full/rich in a typically tubey way. It's relatively inexpensive and has a very nice phono stage. Unfortunately, AI is legendary for poor customer service, so buying an older used piece may be a recipe for trouble. Also, ergonomics (no remote, dual volume controls) may not be for everybody.
My impression is that the Joule sounds less overtly tubey, and more transparent to the source material. It is a bit leaner in the mid-bass than the AI. I got the sense that, like the AI, it might limit the system's ultimate "thump" and power around the 50-60 hz kick drum zone, but it's hard to say that with real confidence.
OTOH, the Joule never goes to the "analytical" side of things and keeps a bit of tube flavor. My ARC LS flirts with a more SS presentation, but it's generally considered the ARC most inclined to do that, so I'd warn against assuming that's true of the SP you're also considering.
The Joule strikes me as a good balance between classic SS and classic tube sound. If you really want more tube richness, the AI might bark up your tree.
I am the proud owner of both a Modulus 3 and 3A in my 2 systems. The Modulus preamp is very rich sounding, offers deep bass, smooth mids and pristine highs. They are best used with 6h23neb tubes as it seems to bring out the best in them. AI's customer service is much improved. I have spoken to Art Ferris (owner and designer) on many occasions and their turn around time is about a week. I recently sent my 20 year old Modulus 3 preamp in for a minor hum issue and AI not only fixed that, but replaced some caps to bring the unit up to current spercs. They did not charge me for replacing the caps! Their service rates are very inexpensive too.
My next pre will definitely be the brand new Modulus 3B sometime down the road.
One reason I kept the Joule was that I liked the sound a lot - especially into my primary speakers at that time, Verity Parsifal Encores. IMHO, the AI was a better match for my other main speakers, Merlin VSMs. Both of the above observations subject to choice of power amplifier.
The VSMs ended up in a second system which - as a practical matter - required a remote controlled preamp, so the AI was sold off.
Therefore, I would't read too much into my choice of which pre to keep.
I think it's really a matter of features, ergonomics, system matching, brand confidence (good to hear that AI seems to be getting better) and personal "sonic" preference in this one.
the reviews are not imparcial on the AI MOD 2,3 I have own
AI,ARC,ARTEMIS,JOULE,COUNTERPO WANT SA5.1 I GONNA KEEP IT SIMPLE JOULE LA100 MK2 AND COUNTERPOINT SA5 SOUND AL
TUBE COERENT AND NATARAL AND TONE CORRECT VERY MUSICAL
AIRY TREBLE LUSH MID AND CONTROL BASS OF COURSE SA5 AND JOULE ARE PURE TUBES FROM THE POWER SUPPLY TO THE OUTPUT
AI MOD3.ARTEMIS ARE HYBRID SEMICONDUCTOR POWER SUPPLY AND
2 TUBES DRIVER THEY TEND TO SOUND MORE TRANSISTOR SIDE EHAN TUBES LEAN MID EXTENDED TREBLE WITH A LITTLE PUNCH AND
A LITTLE BIT EXT BASS NOT TIGHT YOU CAN EXPERIMENT OTHER
BRAND TUBES YOU GET A LITTLE IMPROVMENT MOD THE AI AND ARTEMIS IS A BAD IDEA(CHANGE CAP)THE MID GET LEANNER AND 2 DIMENTIONAL ARC THE SP TUBES ARE GOOD AND WARM MAYBE TOO WARM ARC LS SERIES SOME ARE GOOD BUT THEY BETTER THAN AI AND
ARTEMIS ARC ARE MORE NATURAL TRANSPARENT BUT UNRIABLE THEY
FAIL IN FET CIRCUIT A LOT YOUR BEST CHOICE IS JOULE AND COUNTERPOINT THEY ARE THE REAL MC COY VERY NATURAL SOUNDING