conrad-johnson Preamps

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I.Greyhound Fan

Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #20 on: 22 Jul 2021, 01:42 am »
JakeJ, I feel your pain.  I needed a knee replacement last year but had to wait due to COVID.  I am now scheduled for October.  I just had emergency arthroscopy on my knee last week as the loose cartilage got stuck in the joint and locked my knee for 4 freaking days.

lazydays

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #21 on: 22 Jul 2021, 03:11 am »
Yes, I guess it must, I just bought a Premium 17LS fresh from a visit to the factory for a tune up.
The previous owner found it to be too SS sounding for his tastes, he wanted that tube golden glow sound for classical music.

We'll see how it goes, I'm going to use either this or the deHavilland UltraVerve3 with the Magnepan 3.7 system and the loser of the great tube preamp shoot out of the century wil get used with the spare 1.7s.



I have my suspicions as to how it's going to go but I won't know for certain until next week.

I did talk to another ex-Joule owner and he said pretty much the same thing, tends toward the ARC end of the spectrum and that's pretty much the deHavilland.
I already have a Sonic Frontiers and an AVA (both of which I really like) but a little variety never hurt things.

You are so lucky!! I bought a completely factory rebuilt PV10al a few years back for less than $400 with shipping. I like that sound, and do not find it to be thick and over rich. To be exact it's pretty close to what I like (maybe ever so slightly brighter). This one being a line stage; it didn't have the phono card, and I'm fine with that. Later on I snared a Quicksilver line stage for a tick over $300. It was in great shape, but not as new. It's darker in sound, but also has the OEM tube set like the CJ. Even later I bought the Odyssey Candela, and in many way reminds me of the CJ, but with an even more detailed sound. I've never been in love with the Candela because it lacks the number of inputs I want (plus no tape loop), but the sound is excellent. It's dead in the water waiting for me to get off my butt and buy a new tube set! My favorite tube preamp is still the good old Sonic Frontiers.
gary

SteveFord

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #22 on: 22 Jul 2021, 09:50 am »
lazydays,
Which Sonic Frontiers?
I was looking for the 3 but none to be had.

lazydays

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #23 on: 23 Jul 2021, 06:26 am »
lazydays,
Which Sonic Frontiers?
I was looking for the 3 but none to be had.

been years ago, but I'm thinking number one or number two. It was big and very clean sounding. I only used a turntable with it, and drove Meadowlark speakers. Got into a money jam, and you can guess the rest! Another oldie that I liked was the Counter Point. Almost bought one, but talked myself out of it.
gary

Kw6

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #24 on: 23 Jul 2021, 03:28 pm »
I own a Et3se and love it! Before that I use to own 17LS2 which I regret selling!

SteveFord

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #25 on: 24 Jul 2021, 12:11 am »
Everything I've heard about it said it's really good.
Tomorrow I should see the FedEx guy's hairy little chicken legs SO I'm looking forward to this weekend.

I buy stereo gear so infrequently so this is really the last great push before retirement.
If I keep my butt in the chair and work like crazy I should have everything completed by the time the my Mighty NY Giants are not going to Disney World this year.

SteveFord

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #26 on: 24 Jul 2021, 04:34 pm »
It is here, it's pretty stout and it's too wide to fit into the cabinet.
This is going to be a bit of a production!

twitch54

Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #27 on: 24 Jul 2021, 06:26 pm »
let it be the centerpiece and reside on top !

FullRangeMan

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #28 on: 24 Jul 2021, 08:00 pm »
JakeJ, I feel your pain.  I needed a knee replacement last year but had to wait due to COVID.  I am now scheduled for October.  I just had emergency arthroscopy on my knee last week as the loose cartilage got stuck in the joint and locked my knee for 4 freaking days.
I was on a similar prob but solved it with gelatin and collagen supplements, very inexpensive.

SteveFord

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #29 on: 24 Jul 2021, 08:41 pm »
No choice in the matter, it joins an old Well Tempered square motor and a Rega Saturn.







SteveFord

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #30 on: 24 Jul 2021, 09:02 pm »
As for the sound, it met my expectations and then some.
It has the dynamics of the Sonic Frontiers and AVA Avastar with some NOS tubes, the soundstage is very similar to the deHavilland but the sound is crisp and the it's not weighted towards any part of the spectrum, it's all just right.
Say, that could be an advertising slogan, that's kind of catchy.

It's also more detailed than any of the other ones I mentioned.

It got off to a rocky start, remote doesn't work maybe it's dead batteries?
Yep.
I put on a CD-R of Roxy Music's Avalon and Bryan Ferry sounded recessed and a bit like a chipmunk warbling away in the woods!
Hmmm...
The owner's manual says give it a good 15 minutes so I let it play and then we had a brief power interruption which got me moving to shut off the tube amps. 
Hope it's not this preamp tripping the breaker but it wasn't.

Zappa's Apostrophe' sounded exactly like it's supposed to. 
The owner's manual is right, give this thing some time to come up to temperature.
I'm also not sure when the last time this was used, I know the factory went over it but it may have gone back into the box once he got it.
  (Spoke to the owner, that's exactly what happened after 15 hours on the new tubes).

I had asked the previous owner if the guitar comes slamming out on Tom Wait's Hell Broke Luce but he was a classical muscal buff and his response was, "I would say not!"
Guess what, I would say so because I listened to it!
Keith Richards comes through just like he's supposed to and there's another layer of tortured background voices screaming away that I wasn't aware of. 

This preamp puts you up close to the stage, maybe 15 seats back.
I think the previous owner was afraid that Patti Smith could spit that far so he was after a different sound.

For me, it's perfect.




« Last Edit: 24 Jul 2021, 11:09 pm by SteveFord »

sunnydaze

Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #31 on: 25 Jul 2021, 02:33 am »
Nice!    :thumb:

I enjoyed that read.  Makes me wanna get one!!

SteveFord

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #32 on: 25 Jul 2021, 10:10 am »
I woke up at 3AM and had to give a listen.
The owner's manual makes a big production about phase inversion (there's even a red sheet of paper about it stuck in there) and they said to try the speaker leads both ways so I did.
Just like the deHavilland, they want them flipped.  My Sonic Frontiers has a polarity switch and maybe it died from non-use as it doesn't do anything.

Everyone hears differently, everyone's system is different and everyone has different tastes in music.
I listened to Roxy Music's Avalon and then Zappa's Apostrophe' and Hot Rats.  I wonder why my neighbors never invite me over?  There's something funny about them.

This was a Hail Mary thing, I want to retire soon and I sure would like to get this system to sound the way I want it to before I escape.

All I knew about conrad-johnson gear was it was handsome, always got stellar reviews and was out of my price range.
This looked like the cheapest way to get a taste of the big boys and it just really worked out.
There is more music hidden in those grooves than I suspected and it has the drive and immediacy to be a really good rock and roll preamp without leaving you feeling beat up at the end of it.

One final thought: I'm told that this design eats tubes and tube rolling doesn't have much of an impact.
Right now it has the factory EH tubes, once those croak I'll go with Gold Lions, they're supposed to work well and last a while.


JakeJ

Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #33 on: 25 Jul 2021, 01:48 pm »
Suh-weeeet!  Looking good too.  I'll wager it needs to break in again since it went unused for some unknown quantity of time.  I recommend you do not wait to buy the replacement tubes but get a set soon and roll them in just to see how it sounds.  My curiosity would compell me to try and if the new tubes sound better then bonus and keep the old tubes for back ups.  If there is no difference then put the originals back until they wear out.

Happy listening.

Kw6

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #34 on: 25 Jul 2021, 03:18 pm »
I had the 17LS2 with JJ Gold Pins and never had a problem with noisy tubes!

SteveFord

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #35 on: 25 Jul 2021, 06:33 pm »
I pity the foo' who disagrees with JakeJ!

The seldom seen AVAnerdguy (I think that's what he used here) is hooking me up with some Sylvania JAN 6DJ8s.
I'll have 3 tube preamps, all with Sylvanias.
I guess I must really like them!

I heard from the fellow I bought it from, he said he didn't want to overhype the gear but he said it's as close to brand new as you can get.  I believe it, the first 10 minutes were kind of horrifying!  Oh, no, this thing is horrible...
Then it got better.

Time to quit fooling around and feed this one crazed monitor lizard or else he'll start misbehaving and everything will be overturned and on the floor.



jjss49

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #36 on: 25 Jul 2021, 06:44 pm »
i have had prem 17ls2, still have my prem 16ls2 as well as newer gen et5 and current et7-2

the tubes in these circuit are run at full voltage (to their spec), they are not attenuated by a reduced signal, so if there is any weakness or fault or noise in the tubes, you will hear it

but if you start with solid tubes that are known to be quiet and have full, balanced mu (transconductance), they should last a very good while in use

trouble is, there are so many used, improperly tested, noisy old stock tubes sold on various sites like ebay, etsy, reverb, and so on.... that often cj linestage users get a hold of a tube that shouldn't be in there in the first place, and then there is unhappiness

just so folks understand, someone with a hickok, tv7, b&k, triplett or knight tester can test for shorts and mu, but the tube will not be tested properly for noise... for that it needs to be in in circuit

...and yes, tube rolling does absolutely lead to discernable differences in the sound of the unit

JakeJ

Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #37 on: 25 Jul 2021, 10:40 pm »

i have had prem 17ls2, still have my prem 16ls2 as well as newer gen et5 and current et7-2

...and yes, tube rolling does absolutely lead to discernable differences in the sound of the unit


And I pity the foo' who disagrees with jjss49!  That's some long term experience with c-j preamps right there.

SteveFord

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #38 on: 25 Jul 2021, 11:11 pm »
I will pay attention.
That really is the strength of this site: the membership has a wealth of knowledge to tap into.

SteveFord

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Re: conrad-johnson Preamps
« Reply #39 on: Yesterday at 01:59 am »
The preamp is breaking in slow but sure and I'm spending a lot of time with a new (to me) Rega Saturn CD player.
I put on a bunch of the remastered Beatles CDs as what music am I more familiar with than that?
I did Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road and cranked the volume up to a respectable level.

I was sitting there, pretty much unable to move, thinking how to describe VTLs and Magnepans and Rega and SVS and conrad-johnson, what is the sound like?
It occured to me it wasn't so much of a sound, it's a drug.