Cary/Audio Electronic Supply AE-3 Best UPGRADES?

I have a AE-3 Pre and I love the thing, but I know she could do better.

I am interested in changing out the stock Kimbercaps with Caps that open up the midrange and provide more resolution. I have heard Auricaps are good but I'm really not sure......where to get caps and which values I need for this unit....the soldering is not a problem. Anyone have any suggestions?

I replaced the stock chinese tubes with Sovteks not too big of an upgrade but definetly an improvement. I don't have the money right now to invest in NOS tubes. Unless anyone knows of any affordable suggestions.

Lastly I think the volume pot could be changed out. It hisses a bit at 12:00. Anyone have experiance with this? Any suggestions?

When I look over all that could be replaced I ask myself is it worth it? Should I just put my money into a Cary pre-amp or the New AES DJH version?

I would like people to share their experiances with listening to and tweaking this pre-amp.
Ag insider logo xs@2xsquiddy
For what it is worth, I have the AE-3 DJH and am very pleased. You may want to hold on to your AE-3 until you can get a good deal on a DJH version. I have not seen many for sale here on audiogon but I would consider snatching one up if you can get one used for under $1000. You also may want to call AES or Upscale Audio to see if they have any demo models available to sell. Finally, you can always see if they are willing to apply a trade-in credit of your existing AE-3 toward a DJH (or other) model.
I have the AE-3 and wanted to open up the midrange also. I emailed Kevin at Upscale Audio and he recommended Sylvania chrome tops tubes. In my system it worked great, well worth the cost. Good Luck in your quest.
AES recommends the Jensen copper foil caps. I was contemplating a similar upgrade to my AE-1, so would also appreciate further comments.
I believe that if you send the unit back to AE/Cary and they will upgrade it to the DJH for just the difference in cost new. I know they do that with their Superamps. Though AE recommends the copper foil caps, I heard they can sound a bit too liquid and mushy. For a cleaner and more detailed sound I would go with the auricaps. I've heard of people replacing the stock pot with an Alps pot, and you should also look into stepped attenuators, Dact perhaps? Also many people have had great success with a volume pot shunt mod. You may want to search on AudioAsylum for details. i don't own a AE-3 but I did a bit of research into it when I was deciding on a pre, I went with the Foreplay.
Sibelius, have you compared your DJH to other pre-amps? How would you charecterize the sound? Though I'm happy with my Foreplay, I'm considering an eventual move to the AE-3 DJH. I'd really like a remote.
I had the chance to listen to every preamp in the AES and the Cary line, along with many other brands, side by side and without a question the best was the AES DJH, better even than Cary's top of the line. I highly recommend upgrading to it. Also, on the DJH you have a rectifier tube. It is astounding the improvement in sound by rolling tubes. Definitely roll the tubes, the best I have found for the DJH, yes I bought one after the testing, was the old Sylvania VT-231 6SN7s and a Mullard rectifier. I have tested pretty much everything in the 6SN7s, the only other that comes close to the Sylvania is the old ECC32 Mullard - the old shoulder style bottle. Completely different sound that creates a huge center image with depth, but for most of my music I like the clarity of the Sylvanias. In rectifiers the mullard is hands down better than the supplied one I got with the DJH, but I haven't tried everything yet there. Also, with the DJH you can get a remote! I love mine. Basically my preamp search is over with this great piece of equipment.
I also talked to Dennis Had (What DJH stands for) who designed this preamp and he agreed it was the best preamp they had to (including the Cary line). But he said he is working on another for the Cary line that will be better yet, but also with a price of $3000.