The new Audible Illusions L-2, an improvement?

You bet! I received my L-2 on Christmas day (no, it wasn't given to me that day, it arrived by Fedex!)
Right out of the box, this preamp had a special quality to it. It sounds so right.
I have used many preamps over the years. I was using a Audible Illusions L-1 and I have owned 2 M3A's over the years. I must state without reservation that this is the most neutral and well balanced preamp to come from this company.
After a 100hr run-in, I have found this unit to sound dynamic, transparent and imaging is amazing. It is definitely a giant step over the L-1 and M3A in my opinion. Sound comes from a silent background, dynamics are natural without jumping at you, imaging is pin point and the frequency extremes are more extended. There is an overall ease to the way this unit presents sound. Nothing is forced and it does loud better than AI's previous units. The soundsatge has proper height, depth and extends well beyond the boundaries when the recording allows.
If I was going to design a preamp that would satisfy my particular desires, this would have been it.
On a technical note, this unit features dual outputs, home theater pass through and a myriad of inputs on a well laid out back panel. The dual attenuators are stepped and the volume control is now powered with a remote. It is the best setup I have encountered to date. The remote allows for precice adjustment. It rotates slowly with NO over or undershoot. Couldn't ask for more. My compliments to Art Ferris on this design.
All controls are backlit with a faded blue light(more of a glow actually) and it has a red LED that is activated when the unit is in standby or warming up. Once the unit is up and running, the red light goes out and is replaced with a blue LED.
The unit looks AI all the way (it looks similiar to the older L-1.) But, it is as up to date and any preamp out there.
I must thank Art Ferris publicly for getting this preamp to me. He said I would have it before Christmas and I did (even after Fedex held it up for a day) I have talked to him on numerous occasions and he is a very approachable gentleman. I can't ask for more. He kept me informed of the preamps progress during manufacture and the numerous upgrades he has installed in this very fine preamp. I really think Audible Illusions has another winner on their hands.
My system:
Vandersteen 3A Signatures
Pair of 2Wq's (crossed over using the Model 5 filters- the way to go in my opinion)
Belles 350a power amp
Audible Illusions L-2
Sony Xa777es Cd/Sacd player
Harmonic Technology Prosilway II's
Biwire Acoustic Zen Satori speaker cables(true bi-wire-4 cables)
Richard Grey power conditioners
Thanks Bigtee, for the mini review and for making me drool! I'm anxiously awaiting my L-2, which is coming next week.

Quick question: What tubes are you using?

I hope the units will be delivered soon,my friend has been waiting since January 2003 for his unit.He has a deposit down.Every time he calls,he is told that they will be shipping soon.Congratulations to those who got one,the tale of delivery time is still unfolding.
Tpsonic, Be advised that all-old backorders have been shipped. Suggest your friend or have his dealer contact us regarding this matter.
Thanks, Jerry-AI's Service Mgr.
1marker, Suggest you give me a a call for update on your new L2. We are currently installing graded & matched Electro Harmonix/6922EH tubes in these preamps.
Regards, Jerry-AI's Service Mgr.
Hi Jerry,

I talked to you on are waiting for me to send you the serial number of the unit once I get it next week. Are the EH tubes better in any way than the NOS Russian military 6H23, or even the grey plate Russian 6922 that AI recommends on the website?? A lot of people have had good things to say about the 6H23s.

Mark, We also supply the Russian-Military 6H23EB tube but primarily for M3a's with the low-output MC phono boards. Be careful when purchasing so-called 6H23 NOS tubes. Many of them are not the real thing. Give me a call and I'll tell you what to look for. Also, don't forget to call me when you get your L2. Need the serial number to confirm that it is one of the early-models. If so, your entitled to a free update. Regards, Jerry
I would like to add one caveat to my mini review above. When I say the the L-2 is better than the M3A, I am refering to models built before 2002. I am sure Art Ferris has incorporated upgrades into the M3A since my last audition. In no way do I wish to discourage a purchase of the M3A and its excellent phono board. It is and always has been a fine preamp.
One other item of interest is Audible Illusions will have a phono board for the L-2 (which I understand will be field installed). This will certainly add a great option to those contemplating a great preamp.
My comments on the L-1 stand since production was discontinued with the introduction of the L-2.
For those of you that continue to wait on the L-2, I guarantee it will be worth the wait. Talk to Art or Jerry and I'm sure they will get it resolved for you. They are good guys.
I will post a longer review after I have had a chance to live with this preamp through its total breakin. I can say at this point, my opinion has not changed. I look forward to being with my new toy everyday.
It seems that AIs' best intentions are not translating into delivered units.Talk about delays... Tomorrow,tomorrow,there's always tomorrow-or next week.The following?
These units are obviously being delivered by a mule or bicycled around the country.People contacting AI are being given the run around.My advice is not to do business with them,unless you like being JERKED AROUND.I will surely report ,if my friends ever get their units.They have had deposits in for a whole year.I wonder what would happen ,if they wanted their money back??????
It'll be worth the doubt about it.
Tpsonic, In response to your comment on 12/31/03 you were advised that all L2 backorders had been shipped and to have your friend or his dealer contact us regarding this misunderstanding. Too date we have not received a reply from either party.
Regards, Jerry-AI's Service Mgr.
My friend has contacted AI several times over the last three weeks.It is either being burned in or being shipped.Though he never can get tracking numbers-proof that it was shipped.He leaves messages,e-mails and the like.You should be glad that he has not lost his patience-yet.I would hope that providing a shipping date and tracking numbers upon shipment would cure any and all questions concerning "delivery ".
Tpsonic, Your comments remind me of some dealings I had with a rather insolvent (unknown to me at the time) audio dealer - he took my deposit and for some reason the cable didn't come etc and finally when it came 4 months later the manufacturer "only sent one cable", not a set. Same for some tubes I ordered. Then he went out of business - having spent mine and other customers deposits to keep his business afloat. Seems like the gentleman from AI may be politely suggesting that the problem may be with the "dealer". The excuses I am hearing sound like dealers excuses - not manufacturers excuses. FWIW you ought to check with your friend and find out exactly with whom and when he is having his conversations - if it is AI, which I doubt, then you have something to cite to "Jerry - AI's Service Manager". This way you will help him find out where the actual problem is.
My friend has been contacting AI directly.He has seen the posts and said "if this helps me get my unit,I will be extremely pleased".Hopefully he will post upon completion of this transaction-when & if.I will not be making contact with Jerry directly.That is between him and the customer.
I don't understand the problems you are having. Both Jerry and Art have been most responsive to any inquiry I have ever had. I know they have production delays from time to time but I feel they are not willing to compromise the product by rushing it out. I ordered mine in May of last year and knew there would be a wait. AI made some improvements to the L-2 which slowed production. I talked to Art several times and he was always very, very responsive to me. He explained the production delays and I knew he would get it out as soon as he could. He called Friday before Christmas and told me I'd have it at Christmas and I did. He 2-day shipped with Fedex. I was impressed.
AI is a small company and these are hand built units. It takes time. Talk to Art personally if you haven't. I'm sure he will clear up the problem as soon as he can. You know AI builds other products also. They only build L-2's at certain times. AI quickly sells all of their limited production and others have been on long waiting lists. I know it can be frustrating at times but trust me, the unit is worth the wait. If it is an oversight on AI's part, I'm sure Jerry or Art will get it worked out.
I agree with Bigtee....Heck, I've been called by Jerry on Sunday no less to talk about my preamp! I'm curently getting my L2 upgraded to latest specs, and I feel that their support has been wonderful. Have your "friend" talk to Jerry or Art directly to get this resolved ASAP.