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Conrad-Johnson It just sounds right

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Old 05-17-2017, 04:26 PM
Formerly YB-2 Formerly YB-2 is online now
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Default Chat with Conrad Johnson

Have been going round & round (mental exercise) trying to figure out where I want to go within the Conrad Johnson line. I've been 'waiting' for a nice Premier 16 preamp to show up on the market, but they are pretty scarce. I've seen a couple over the last year+ and both were 'expensive' (probably for a reason) for used gear. So, thinking I may spring for a new ET3SE, which will need no upgrade and will still contain some of the 'magic' of my favored 6922 tube. In talking to the folks at CJ, they tell me that as nice as the Premier 16 was ~20yr ago, they feel the ET3SE is the better preamp.

Also, I'm a triode rather than an ultralinear fan (think it sounds better for my jazz, classical & opera tastes). Am also thinking of a CJ Classic 60SE amp, with is normally configured in ultralinear with KT120 outputs. For a nominal fee, CJ will reconfigure and rebias for KT88s for triode operation. For my needs, 30wpc of triode, with its wonderful mid-range, is all I'll ever need.
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Old 05-17-2017, 05:53 PM
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:04 PM
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My offer on the ET3SE is "in". Still ruminating on the 60SE amp.
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Old 05-18-2017, 07:26 AM
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Hi Glenn,

I've never heard the ET3 or the SE version but I'm sure you'd be pleased with it. I owned the 16LS2 for a good number of years (it replaced a 17LS) and was always impressed by its musicality, a c-j trademark. The 16LS/LS2 was a one box version of the ART and the ET3 is described by c-j as a "baby GAT". The SE version will include th C1 Teflon caps as you know and converting the 16LS is an expensive proposition. I believe it was $4,500 when I inquired about it years back. They replace something like 26 capacitors.

Wish you luck on your offer.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:09 AM
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Thank you, Joe. Indeed. I was surprised at the expense of upgrading a used piece with the CJ PTFE caps. Less expensive & certainly faster to start off with something close. CJ did tell me that turn-around on recaps is running ~4wk, but varies according to work load.

Was successful and am now the owner of an ET3SE. Just waiting for the funds to be transferred. One would think that electronic transfers would be nearly immediate, but the various folks want to hang on to our funds for as long as possible, even in our low interest rate climate. A downside of computers (figuring everything to the 'nth degree'). Should have ET3SE in a few days, which works, as am leaving town until Monday. Will swap out the factory EH 6922 and install my favored Jan Philips 6922 shortly after giving the EH a listen.

Negotiations continue on the Classic 60SE. I may just give my Bryston 3B-ST a try to see how it sounds with the 'magic of tubes' feeding it.

BTW - invariably I see some sort of tube damper on the tubes in CJ preamps. I've never used them in any other preamp and am wondering if they are effective?
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Formerly YB-2 View Post
Thank you, Joe. Indeed. I was surprised at the expense of upgrading a used piece with the CJ PTFE caps. Less expensive & certainly faster to start off with something close. CJ did tell me that turn-around on recaps is running ~4wk, but varies according to work load.

Was successful and am now the owner of an ET3SE. Just waiting for the funds to be transferred. One would think that electronic transfers would be nearly immediate, but the various folks want to hang on to our funds for as long as possible, even in our low interest rate climate. A downside of computers (figuring everything to the 'nth degree'). Should have ET3SE in a few days, which works, as am leaving town until Monday. Will swap out the factory EH 6922 and install my favored Jan Philips 6922 shortly after giving the EH a listen.

Negotiations continue on the Classic 60SE. I may just give my Bryston 3B-ST a try to see how it sounds with the 'magic of tubes' feeding it.

BTW - invariably I see some sort of tube damper on the tubes in CJ preamps. I've never used them in any other preamp and am wondering if they are effective?
My ET3 SE is hooked up to a Bryston 2.5 SST2. Very pleased w/the combo. If your SE is new it's going to take about 500 hrs. to break in. Have fun w/your new toy.

Last edited by Forte 4A; 05-18-2017 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:36 PM
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Good luck with the ET3SE, Glenn. You're wise to stick with the Bryston for now because you may be pleased with the combo as is. Also as the previous poster remarked, if the unit is new you will find that the preamp's sound will change as the caps form. At least that's what I found with my Premier 140 when I had the upgrade done. Although, I felt that the initial sound was about 80% to 85% there straight from c-j after they made the modification.

I have used the O-rings that c-j supplies but never really heard any difference. They should in theory help with tubes that are a little microphonic. This was how I ran the tubes in my 16LS2:



Regards,
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:13 PM
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While I will give the Bryston a try, we did reach an agreement on the Classic 60SE, so that should be fun. Pic's when all is set up & running next week.
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:27 PM
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OK........... back home and ET3SE and Classic 60SE inbound.
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Old 05-22-2017, 05:16 PM
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