Rowland Criterion vs Joule-Electra LA 300ME

I have an all MBL system (101E's and 9008 amps) and am looking for opinions on which of these great pres might work the most magic in my system. I know the Criterion is not out yet,but with it being battery powered, you have to assumme it will be exceptional. Same goes for the Joule-Electra.
Husk01, do you happen to know the input impedance of your amps? The output impedance of the Joule-Electra is selectable between 350 Ohms & 1200 Ohms. . . the spec page did not specify if it supports fully balanced operations or if it is single ended only. Criterion has a very low output impedance of 60Ohms in both balanced and single ended mode. J-E channel separation is 84Db if I read correctly, Criterion is 99.5. Are you planning for a fully balanced system? Of course specs tell only so much. . . in the end it is all about system synergy and personal prefs. Guido
Guido, I believe the Joule is single ended only. I am leaning toward Rowland because it does not look like Joule offers HT bypass, which I need. I like the fact that I can leave it on 24 x7. I am not sure if you can do that with a tube Pre. I don't want to wait for a pre to warm up.
The Joule is single ended in stock form. I know in the past I have seen for sale here a balanced version of one of the Joule preamps, but single ended is the rule. An HT bypass has been offered in the past, not sure about the LA-3000ME though. I had an LA-100MkIII and it was meant to be left running all the time via its stand-by setting to keep it warmed up when not in listening mode. I'm pretty certain that feature has extended up the Joule line. I saw and heard the LA-300ME at CES and the face plate hasn't changed much if at all versus previous models. However, the interior has undergone some significant changes.

That being said if you desire balanced then IMO Rowland would be the way to go. I have owned the Capri now for a while and its an amazing little preamp. A lot of preamp for the money. I heard the Criterion at CES in the Rowland suite and liked what I heard.
Good choice Husk01. . . Criterion seems to have a very advanced theater bypass. . . essentially you can select which connectors to assign to the bypass functionality, both through remote control and on chassis menuing system and display. Tomorrow I'll buzz JRDG and will find out if C has finally reached General Availability, or if they are still fiddling with the firmware. Guido
Guido, I look forward to hearing when Jeff will finally be shiping.
Husk01, why would you assume that the Rowland Criterion has to be exceptional sonicly because it's battery powered, the power supply is an important factor in a linestage, however there's alot more in the overall design that will effect the overall sound of any preamp. No disrespect to Guidocorona who is pretty enamored with Rowland gear in general, but I found the sound of the Rowland Capri to be quite ordinary, not bad for the money, but nothing special. For example, for just a tad more money I found the Audio Valve Eklipse to be on a much higher level then the Capri.

Another question that your post raises for me is why the Joule-Electra LA 300ME costs almost $10000.00 more then the standard line stage? I know Mr. Barber put the best parts he could in this linestage compared to the standard, but the same case and circuitry is used, so how do you justify another ten grand just on better parts? I also auditioned the standard linestage after reading the thumbs up review of it ny Harry Pearson and was not very impressed ny its performance in my system.

Just want to be clear that why anyone likes one piece of gear more then another comes down to personnal taste and system synergy, I just believe there other preamps that could out perform either the Rowland Criterion or the Joule-Electra LA 300ME for alot less money.
Thank you Teajay, I agree completely with you that we are deeply immersed in the realm of personal preference. And this is why I am as narrow as I possibly can in my own findings. . . e.g. I may say that I personally prefer component A over B in my own system using criteria 1, 2, 3, but I won't say that A is better than B, or that A is an absolute 'best'. In particular, as I have not auditioned Audio Valve Eklipse, I am not in a position of stating my preference for one or the other. If you have been able to compare a well broken in Capri with an equally broken in AV, please let us know more, as audiogoners benefit from as many real findings as possible.

On the subject of Criterion, as I have heard it in only one system (not even my own), and very few people have heard it this far besides me, it is not particularly useful to summize a priori that it be more or less subjectively preferable to other devices, regardless of my own hopeful enthusiasm, let alone 'better' or 'worse'. Future may tell. My only suggestion is to keep an ever open mind. . . whilst audiophilia continues unabated (grins!) G.
Teajay, What other pre's would you throw into the mix?
Am I wrong or depending on finish is the Capri $1700 - $2000 less than the Audio Valve (MSRP $4799). If that is the case I wouldn't say the price of the Audio Valve is a "tad more." Performance wise I can't comment since I haven't heard the Audio Valve.

As for the Joule, list is just under $15k. I believe the previous model, the LA-150 MkII is a little over 5k, but there is now a Signature Edition of that preamp so I'll assume its priced somewhere in between. I would agree with Teajay in that that I can't see the difference in cost based on parts alone. The new LA-300ME is using Elrod wiring, some pretty meaty Mundorf caps, an assortment of other Mundorf and V-caps, and has the option of being supplied with Bocchino or WBT Next Gen Silver jacks. I'm probably missing some stuff, but I'd have to be missing a lot to make up the difference.

On the other hand it does sound exceptional IMO and that would be worth something to me too.