Good Info, Art seems to have picked up the Pace of late,
Makes some fantastic units
I have the L3B with Remote
The Audible Illusions M3B preamp sounds amazing!
I have known about the Audible Illusions preamplifiers for a while now but for some reason I never pulled the trigger on one of them (or heard them). That changed a few months back when I purchased the Audible Illusions M3B from dealer (Audiojunkie11 on Usaudiomart/ spbajaj on Audiogon) an authorized AI dealer. Wow, I wished I had gotten into the brand sooner. I’ve had a Shindo Masseto, EMIA Autoformer (passive), VAC preamp in my audio setup (all wonderful preamps in their own way and can highly recommend those too). My power amp is the Dartzeel NHB-108 Model 1. But, the AI M3B is special (to my ears and in my setup) - it brought a certain "oomph" to the music (I am not a bass head), but it had the right amount of bass foundation (to give music its backbone/structure) and its dynamic agility brought excitement to the music. Its generous articulation of soundstage and transparent portrayal of the sense of space made it sound like Live music. And it is one of the more natural/organic sounding components I have heard without getting overly lush/rich. It sounds good to the ears and realistic at the same time (without the exaggeration of tonal colors and an over-smoothing of the sonics). And you get all this at its current high value price - to be clear, it is not cheap, but by hi-end audio standards, you would have to spend 2-3x the price of the AI to get the music excitement it elicits. I was at the recent Pacific Audio Festival (in Seattle) and had the chance to hear many pricey high end audio rooms - most sound very very good, but after a while, they all start to sound the same. If the M3B was showing, I would bet that room would have stood out and provided a different voice that would have been positively received.
I don’t have any financial interests in the company or in my dealer, but just very happy and excited at the sound I am getting, and partly kicking myself for not getting into the brand earlier. Well, perhaps you only know what you are missing after you have tried a few other options.
Yes, there are reviews on this very forum that indicate that AI is slow and sometimes unresponsive.I had an issue with my power supply, and my dealer and AI took care of it promptly (and took care of shipping too). I would recommend buying from an AI authorized dealer. My guess is that AI is operating at a smaller scale these days and is probably prioritizing working with their dealers directly. Spbajaj sells both new and factory-refurbished AI units , and so can meet different price points. He is passionate about audio and cares about your audio satisfaction, and literally spent hours chatting with me to understand my needs. If you are considering an AI preamp, I highly recommend buying from Spbajaj (on Audiogon) / Audiojunkie11 (on Usaudiomart).
I had my M2A serviced by Art last fall. He was at the mercy of his supply chain and I called him weekly but I finally got my unit back with new switches and tubes.
AI definitely has an underrated reputation! Then again, this unit was class A way back when. Easily still competitive in this day and age.