Opinions on tube preamps-Joule Electra, Dehavilland, CJ, etc.

DawgfishDawgfish Posts: 2,531
edited June 14 in Electronics
I'm looking to upgrade my tube pre with something in the $1000-1500 range. I'm currently looking at a Joule Electra LA-100, JE LA-100 Mk3 with modded caps, a Dehavilland Ultraverve 3, and Conrad Johnson PV-15. Anyone have experience and/or opinions on these preamps? Is there a big difference performance wise with the JE LA-100 original model and the MK3? I can get the original a good bit cheaper, but if there is a substantial increase in performance between the two, I'll gladly pay the additional coin. Also does anyone have any other suggestions for a good tube pre in this price range? Thanks!
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Comments

  • marvda1marvda1 Posts: 3,224
    edited June 14
    I own the ultraverve 3 with upgraded caps (mundorf silver/gold/oil).
    the best thing I can say is find one bad word about the preamp on the internet.
    you can a lot of 6sn7's when you only need one.

    if you can get one for $1500 jump they don't come up that often.

    Amplifiers: MasterSound Compact 845, Ayre v6xe, Consonance Cyber 800, Usher R1.5
    Preamp: deHavilland Ultraverve 3
    Transport/Dac: Cayin Venus cd-100i, Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkI
    Speakers: Rosso Fiorentino Volterra
    Speaker Cables: Analysis Plus Black Mesh Oval 9, Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Interconnects: Analysis Plus Copper Oval-In Micro, MG Audio Design Planus Cu2,
    Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Power Cables by: Cullen Cables, 6sons Audio, Swiss Cables
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 15,145
    edited June 14
    You might also consider Brown Audio Labs in that price bracket. Actually, I think his preamp is $1900 but that's new.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    Don't rule out the Eastern Electric MiniMax tube preamp. Hard to find, though.

    Peachtree Audio has a hybrid preamp with a single tube that can be toggled on/off...also a built-in DAC if that fits your needs.
  • DawgfishDawgfish Posts: 2,531
    Thanks for the input guys! I really appreciate it!
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,192
    edited June 15
    Dawgfish wrote: »
    I'm looking to upgrade my tube pre with something in the $1000-1500 range. I'm currently looking at a Joule Electra LA-100, JE LA-100 Mk3 with modded caps, a Dehavilland Ultraverve 3, and Conrad Johnson PV-15. Anyone have experience and/or opinions on these preamps? Is there a big difference performance wise with the JE LA-100 original model and the MK3? I can get the original a good bit cheaper, but if there is a substantial increase in performance between the two, I'll gladly pay the additional coin. Also does anyone have any other suggestions for a good tube pre in this price range? Thanks!

    there's a ton of good tubed pre's in your price range. Some already mentioned. Just depends on your tastes/preferences.

    As to the Joule question on the LA-100 VS. LA-150. Each model has different iterations....MK1/MK2/MK3 with some slight changes to each. Both the 100 and 150 sound great. The 300, if you can find one, would be heaven. The la-100 mk3 is a sought after model. Actually they all are really, and I'll tell you why.

    They get it right. What I mean by that is...the whole musical spectrum sounds just right with no emphasis on any particular area. They have great PRAT, dynamics/detail is all there and no sloppy bloated lower bass like some overly warm tube pre's can deliver. Highs are clean and airy with no harshness.Tubes are still relatively cheap for them, as far as NOS tubes go and they are built well. Obviously much also applies to what you hook up to them too.

    I have an original LA-100, numbered I believe at 79 of the first production run. That puts it at roughly 25 or so years old. I use it almost every day, is quiet as a church mouse, no hum or hiss, and with new NOS tubes in it, still plays beautifully. To me, any time you can find a Joule, any iteration for around a grand or cheaper....run to grab it.

    Not taking anything away from some others mentioned either. That Ultraverve 3 is super nice. Backert labs has a nice pre too. Vac or VTL should also be on your short list.
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    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
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    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
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  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,987
    Nice endorsement for Joule preamps, Tony! Makes me want to get my ears on one.
    tonyb wrote: »
    They get it right. What I mean by that is...the whole musical spectrum sounds just right with no emphasis on any particular area. They have great PRAT, dynamics/detail is all there and no sloppy bloated lower bass like some overly warm tube pre's can deliver. Highs are clean and airy with no harshness.

  • halohalo Posts: 4,497
    I used to own a VTL 2.5 pre. Best preamp I’ve ever owned. Keep in mind that a set of NOS valves will up your purchase price depending on the tube compliment for that preamp, respectfully.
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,587
    I own a JE100 mkIII that I had in my system for a couple of years before sending it back to Rich at Signature Sound for a complete update/overhaul. Was speaking with Rich last night about a direct comparison he's been doing with his 300. His opinion is it compares vary well with the 300, which is about 3 times the cost. The Joules sound really good as is, but, can be upgraded easily for even greater refinement.

    I heard the Brown at LSAF and would consider them, but, I'm not sure they're in the same range SQ wise as the JE. Like TOny said, there are many good pre's in this price range.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • maxwardmaxward Posts: 190
    Like tonyb, I have an original LA-100, S/N 42. I concur with everything he said. At the time I got it, it was the single biggest improvement I made to my system. That said, I have not heard any of the others mentioned here except for the LA-300, which was owned by the guy I bought it from. His brother owned the one I bought and turned him on to Joule-Electra, and he also owned a pair of their mono amps. A nice system he had!
    Thorens TD-160C; Sumiko Talisman S; Jolida JD9; Marantz CD-53; North Star Intenso;
    Joule-Electra LA-100; Balanced Power Technology AC conditioner;
    Odyssey Khartago monos (with most factory upgrades); Magnepan MG 3.6R
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 40,663
    Former Joule LA-100 MKIII owner here. Buy it!

    The CJ is very warm.

    Never heard the Dehavilland.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • DawgfishDawgfish Posts: 2,531
    Thanks everyone! I've been leaning towards the JE from the get go and most of everyone's opinions seems to support that. The Dehavilland has me very intrigued, but I believe I'm going with the JE LA100. It's a really good deal!
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,192
    Dawgfish wrote: »
    Thanks everyone! I've been leaning towards the JE from the get go and most of everyone's opinions seems to support that. The Dehavilland has me very intrigued, but I believe I'm going with the JE LA100. It's a really good deal!

    If you do, talk to me about tubes for it. ...if it doesn't come with some great ones already.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
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    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • DawgfishDawgfish Posts: 2,531
    Thanks Tony! I just pulled the trigger on it. I'm not sure what tubes it has in it, but I will definitely let you know when I receive it. Thankfully I do have a large stockpile of 5751s including RCA, Sylvania, and GE tripple mica black plates so I'm good there. I've never used anything with the other tubes the JE uses however so I'm curious to see what other tubes are in it.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,192
    The RCA and Sylvania 5751's , triple mica black plates are usually what most use in them. I have the RCA's in mine right now with a pair of Sylvania's as back ups. I forget which brand of the power supply tube I have in there. When I got mine I just re tubed it all with the best suggested NOS tubes from other Joule owners and they were spot on. Brent Jesse is only a few towns over from me so I buy my tubes from him.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,587
    I'm using a NOS Raytheon 5751. Played around with a few different setups, including 12ax7's, before hitting on the Raytheon. Now that it's going to be back in the system I'll probably play around again and see what I come up with. Was thinking about leaving it as is after all the work that was done to it, but, I know me better than that.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • DawgfishDawgfish Posts: 2,531
    edited June 18
    I like the Raytheons also, particularly the windmill getter. What are y'all using for the 6350, OA2, and 6em7s? I've got a pair of Sylvania black plates for the 6350s on the way. Tony I prefer the RCA triple mica black plate 5751s to the Sylvanias also, at least in my current equipment. Both are awesome tubes!
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,192
    Yep, the RCA's seem to have better overall bass response, tighter, more articulate.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • DawgfishDawgfish Posts: 2,531
    So I got the Joule in yesterday and it was just what I was looking for, it had the mid-range and top end of my current pre, but with much better bass and mid-bass definition. Bass guitar notes that sometimes got lost in the wash during complicated passages are now clearly defined. That was my only complaint about my system before inserting the Joule. Now bass guitar notes and definition are a strong-point.

    Oddly enough, when I checked out the tubes, the line stage tubes were both GE 5751 triple mica grey plates. Isn't one of these supposed to be a 6350? I have a pair of 50s Sylvania 6350 black plates on the way. When looking at the unit from the front, is the front or rear linestage tube the 6350? Looking at pics from the web, it appears the 6350 is in the rear position, but I want to make sure.

    The 0A2 and 6EM7s are all RCAs so everything looks good there. I switched out the GE 5751s to RCA triple mica black plates and it was a big improvement.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,192
    edited June 20
    Glad your diggin' it , now you know what we mean by saying they get it "just right". Very musical pre's that can satisfy just about anyone looking for a tubed pre. Which exact model is this one again ?
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • DawgfishDawgfish Posts: 2,531
    It's the LA-100 like yours.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,192
    Ok, I made the same mistake regarding the 6350's. Both the gain stage and Mu follower were designed for 5751's. Least the owners manual says so. The gain stage was optimized for a Sylvania 5751 and the cathode stage for the RCA 5751.

    I have all RCA's in mine, but you can always experiment. I think it wasn't until the MK3 iteration that the 6350's came into play. So really, you don't need the 6350's. I made the same mistake and ordered the 6350 tubes. The first iteration of the la-100 uses all 5751's.

    I have a complete owners manual for the LA-100, supplied by Mr. Wagner, so if you'd like a copy, I'll make ya one if you can't find it online.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,192
    Just to be sure, when you pop the top, you should see ….

    2-5751's
    2-6em7's
    2-oa2's
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,192
    tx6vgyjhxrwa.jpg
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • DawgfishDawgfish Posts: 2,531
    Thanks Tony! I appreciate that! Do you know which 5751 is the gain stage and which is the cathode follower looking from front to back?
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,192
    edited June 20
    I believe it's the front as the gain stage and the rear as the mu-follower, don't quote me on that though.

    Really though, not much of an issue since they both use the same tube. You can try the different brands in either position to see which floats your boat more. Like I said, I have RCA's in both positions in mine, but really it's just a matter of which flavor you prefer.

    PM your addy if ya want a copy of the owners manual. There are some pretty good quips in there along with great info on the tubes and operation. Judd Barber was very specific about why he did what he did, and about the tubes used. Never one to sit still, he was always tinkering with the circuit to squeeze more out of it. His original circuit in the LA-100 is very good on it's own merits.

    Sometimes I wonder, if Judd was still around, and given todays technology and parts available, the pre amp he would have put out today.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,192
    I might also add, that these Joule pre's really shine on bigger speakers. Their characteristics are just more prevalent, in a good way. Smaller speakers tend to hide a bit, everything the Joule can do. Just my opinion there, having gone from using one on big speakers to small bookies....with the same associated gear/cables.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • DawgfishDawgfish Posts: 2,531
    Thanks Tony! Really appreciate the info. I'll PM you soon. Right now I'm playing the Joule through a fully modded set of CRSs and it sounds great! Sounds like it's time to hook them up to my SRS 2s....
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,587
    Don't forget to switch the polarity on the speaker wires either at the amp or speaker terminals. I've forgotten a few times when switching components.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,192
    kharp1 wrote: »
    Don't forget to switch the polarity on the speaker wires either at the amp or speaker terminals. I've forgotten a few times when switching components.

    Shouldn't make a huge difference. I tried it on my LA-100 and preferred the normal way a smidgen better.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • DawgfishDawgfish Posts: 2,531
    edited July 2
    ^^Same here!^^ Tried both ways with my LA-100 and the sound to my ears was slightly more natural running in normal polarity. I'm really enjoying this pre. It has exactly the type of sound I like; detailed yet smooth!
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