The new LA-450 Marianne Electra Memorial Preamp is for audiophiles who must use balanced amplification and demand the best. This state-of-the-art fully balanced line stage is based on the success of the recently introduced LA-300ME , winner of the "2010 HP Editor's Choice Award". It incorporates exotic capacitors through out and signal wiring designed specifically for Joule Electra by well known cable designer David Elrod of Elrod Power Systems. The signal path capacitors are a mix of Oil and Teflon V-Caps as well as Mundorf Silver, Gold and Oil which represents the very best capacitors available to the High End Audio Community, today. It has many other outstanding technological innovations.
"The LA-450 ME has has two, four tube each, balanced signal boards. It has the four balanced inputs (XLR). There are two balanced outputs as well as a single ended tape input and out put. One pair of the balanced outputs may have an optional separate volume control to facilitate the integration of another amp for the subwoofer. This volume control is a shunt to ground design which does not degrade the sound and may be used for either amplifier. Also, one balanced input can be optionally changed to the single ended input (RCA) which will have its own board and circuitry for the best sound.
The LA-450ME has almost identical chasses as LA-300 but is essentially two preamps in one case. However, in contrast to LA-300ME, it has dedicated power supply with two separate transformers (one per channel) to handle the larger load as well as two dual triode regulator tubes. This power supply has the astonishing energy storage of 300 Joules.
Unconstrained dynamically, the LA-450ME allows music to emerge with uncommon grace, speed, control and finesse. This preamp is designed to function in large scale systems and couple with even the most demanding amplifiers and loudspeaker to yield truly "great" realization of any musical program.
LA-450ME Marianne Electra Balanced Memorial Preamp is arguably, the most capable balanced line stage on the planet
All Tube Design including separate tube regulated B+ supplies for each channel - dual mono construction
Separate regulated DC filament supplies
Four inputs including Tape In/Out - dual output jacks
All inputs - "Virtual Direct"
V-caps & Mundorf Caps, Elrod Wire, WBT NextGen Silver Jacks, Vishay Resistors
Highest quality capacitors in power supplies
Tape loop does not require buffer stage for isolation
Separated mute relays for each channel; auto and manual mute
Separate passive volume and balance system with 'shunt to ground' input (not in signal path)
Rear mounted selector switch for short signal path and
Multiple contacts in signal path
Adjustable battery bias for gain stage
"Tri-flex" elastomer suspension for signal board
State-of-the-art "Sound Coat" and "Ear Isodamp Vibration" isolation materials
Warranty Parts & Labor, 3 yr
Input Impedance 36 kOhms
Output Impedance Selectable: 200 Ohms & 600 Ohms
10 Hz - 100 kHz (+/- 0.5 dB)
I've had a number of preamps in my system before: Supratek Chenin, Chenin MkII, Cortese; Nagra Pl-P;
Doshi Alaap, BAT Rex.
Joule- Electra clearly belongs to a very select group of the best line stages- it is significantly better, than some of the units on my list.
I could go on and on about it's "audiophile" qualities- dynamics, resolution, imaging, etc., etc. And of course, it does it all in spades.
One quality, that really stands out, is it's capacity for emotional involvement- in the right system you will forget about the components, and will be glued to your listening seat.
This is almost brand- new Joule-Electra LA- 450 ME linestage preamplifier with Platinum Upgrade.
It is in absolutely mint condition, just a few months old. I don't think, it's even fully burned-in yet.
it does have an optional SE input ($600 option), and you can also use SE output, that does preserve the balanced signal.
After a couple of months of the ownership, I had Joule- Electra to perform " Platinum" upgrade- $1995 option, which elevated the performance to a significantly higher level.
This upgrade consist of the upgrade to the power supplies as well as to the signal path circuitry.
One part, mainly, is the installation of Bybees Music Rails (see - www.bybeelabs.com) to the high voltage power supplies of the preamplifier. A Bybee Music Rail is a highly efficient polishing filter that reduces power supply noise throughout the audible spectrum and up to about 100 KHz by the extraordinary 45 dB. (i.e. approximately 200 times)
The second part of this upgrade consist of .the installation of new VH Audio Copper Teflon capacitors (CuTF). Per request of VH Audio, we did extensive evaluation of these capacitors (see - http://v-cap.com/simon-thatcher.php) and found them to be superb in Joule-Electra preamplifier in selected positions. Specifically the treble is substantially extended and much more silkier and bass even deeper and tighter. The images became more three- dimensional and sound stage enlarged.
One of the beta testers reported: “…. My system was cold, after 7 days of power turned off - conclusion is: Right from the first note – [ upgrades] are phenomenal!!!! So MOREEEEEEEEE details, so much more VIVID sound, so much more presence, you can see actually full 3D size of instruments. For the first time I did not want to analyze sound - I just closed my eyes and enjoyed..... This is HUGE upgrade - I can not recall such improvement with any component change in the past ( except maybe going from digital to analog). I did listen only digital which sounded believe or not , almost good as my analog! Enough said! “
Another commented that “…the imaging became substantially more three- dimensional and level of minute detail increased dramatically, almost spooky…. In terms of definition, I have been astonished by the improvement on acoustic guitar : now I can hear the mediator's contact with chords and metalic resonance of the chords has became more obvious. …”
I also have to mention how quiet Joule- Electra is- my speakers are 108dB sensitive, and it is "dead- quiet"!
The reason for sale has nothing to do with a quality of the sound reproduction. I finally purchased a turntable, and decided to go with a full- function preamplifier, to avoid having a separate phono stage, extra set of cables, and the hassle of a possible compatibility issues. Now I have VAC Signature IIa preamp, as a replacement for the Joule.