What's your tube pre doing?

This is a very special weekend for me. I have had the chance to listen to what I think is one of the best bang for the buck preamps out there. Let me start from the begining. I sent my current LS7 to a dealer friend of mine to have some paper in oil caps installed(jensen). While this is being done a friend of mine let me borrow his AE3 for the weekend. This unit has the oil in paper caps,kimber upgrade,etc. I also have a AI S120 amp that prior to the AE3 sounded ok with the LS7. Holy soundstage batman! This triode thing is what my amp really needed. How can something so small sound so great? Sweet spot-doesn't exist. Music is EVERYWHERE. The owner to whom this great pre belongs could not sit still. He walked around my listening room like he was on fire. As I write this I'm listening to Miles live around the world and I can tell you this cd NEVER sounded like this with the LS7. I'm not knocking AR but you AE3 owners know what I'm talking about. I should have my pre back on Mon and I will see what my caps do. But to be honest the AE3 is on my short list. Dennis Had if you read this I want to thank you for a very well designed piece of gear. And all for less than a grand! Wow I said enough- thanks for letting me preach. What's your pre doing?
Very simple: AE3 is using minimalistic circuit with very small gain and considered to be very transparent with minimal colourations of sound.
You should also try no-preamp(meaning passive preamp). I realized that I would have to spend at least $2000 for a descent preamp to outperform my current passive setup. AE3 was also on my choice list since it has a minimal gain and maximum transparency. Still in these case the demand from a source has to be the highest.
I thought I would be selling my AE3 when I purchased a Tact RCS 2.0 with internal DAC and volume/pan control. I expected to go straight to my SET amp. Wrong - without the AE3 the sound took a giant step in the direction of SS sound. Put the AE3 back in the chain and I was back in SET heaven. (YMMV)
Looks like the "Triode" things is taking American one at a time........... Once you understand the truth, you cannot go back to regular tube or ss amps. Help spread the word and the SET amp revolution. Ask all your audiophile friends to audit your SET amp system and show them what real music are.......... May be you should try some very well designed SET amp from aboard..........and prepare yourself from another shock of your lifetime......
Hey gang thanks for the input. I don't understand why companies who specialize in tube gear are not on this sonic bandwagon. It can't be cost. The AE3 is under a grand! Today is Sunday and alas my days with the AE3 are almost gone. I have my eye on a pair of RCA 6sn7's for my friend who has given me the chance to hear real music. That's the least I can do. Enjoy-that's what this hobby is all about no?
Sorry South 43, but what is the AE 3?
South, i can't remember who it was, but someone else posted a similar question about Cary vs ARC a while back. I and several others stated that we thought that they were on somewhat opposite ends of the spectrum tonally ( the Cary's are warm and full, ARC's tend to be leaner ) and that the Cary would have a much more expansive soundstage. Looks like you at least agree with the "big soundstage" part of those comments : ) Sean
Rwd the AE 3 is a Audio Electronic Supply tubed pre. It can be found at: www.audioelectronicsupply.com . I am in no way afilliated with them, just wanted to inform you.
Sean I don't know if I would call the AE3 warm. Full yes but I think in my rig the AR tends to be warm. Like I said I'm not kicking the LS7. It opened my ears to better sound that gave me a starting point. A audio dealer told me a long time ago: Stop listening to the gear and start listening to the music. With the AE3 in the mix that's exactly what I was doing finally. Good listening!
I'm trying to establish a reference point (other than the LS7 which I've not heard). South43 (or anyone), have you heard the Bel Canto SEP1? Jeff Fritz at Soundstage did a glowing review about 3 years ago. This is also a Class A single-ended triode preamplifier with a big soundstage.


The SEP1 is listed at $3,750 but a new unit is available for $1,295 on A'gon. I've had some great results recently running 2 Bel Canto EVo200.2 amps in bridged mono, so I'm in the market for a pre that will complete the package.
Sorry, speaker-wise, I've got a pair of Talon Khorus on their way (the originals, not the new X version). Also a pair Talon Peregrines, Newform Research 645R's and Martin Logan Aerius. At the moment I'm running the Newforms with the EVo's using 2 channels from my B&K AVR 307 receiver as the pre. I'd like to use the EVo's (and whatever pre I end up with) in a 2-channel audio only system - experimenting with the above speakers until I settle on a favorite.
I have an AE3 in the bedroom I love it. Clean, clear smooth and the wife loves the cobalt blue light. :o)
Hi Wmcmanus, I have not heard the Bel Canto but I suppose the end result should match what I heard from the AE3. Of course I going with the fact that both are of the SET format.