Best pre-amp with a C-J Premier 11a Amp


Would be interested in comments from the assembled xperts on above question. Ron G (new to forum)
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rongold
Best pre-amp with a C-J Premier 11a Amp

Hey Ron, g’day mate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn_CPrCS8gs
Your CJ 11a poweramp only needs 0.9v!!! in for full output, all sources can give this and some >2v.
So you only need a preamp with unity (nil) or very little gain, so the volume control will be 12 o’clock or more for decent level and not down near 8 o’clock.
And because the CJ 11a is 100kohm input impedance, it lends itself also very nicely to unity gain passive preamps.

For passives, make sure they are series/shunt variety at 10kohm or 20kohm input seeing you have a 100kohm power amp input

For active I suggest you look at the Schiit Freya which gives you all preamps in one (passive, active tube, active solid state) all with little or no gain. So you can pick your flavour of sound, switch between the three while playing.
It thas xrl and se inputs and outputs, and has the best mechanical volume controls there is, a 128 position relay switched with remote control, with 15day trial period for $699

https://www.schiit.com/products/freya

Schiit also has a very low priced passive preamp call the Sys, 10kohm series shunt perfect match with your CJ 11a, it’s not state of the art passive like the Freya has, but very good still for $49 and with 15 day trial. Get both!!!!! so you can send both or one back.
https://www.schiit.com/products/sys


Cheers George
This is even better the Texan cracks me up
https://youtu.be/5leA2XuiU80?t=7
Shindo or CJ would be my first thought. That era of CJ was pretty special. I thought the Premier 16 was a great line stage, and the Premier amps were really nice too. 
Thanks to George & others for suggestions. How about an Audible Illusions line stage?
How about an Audible Illusions line stage?
The 3A was a cracker in it’s day Ron, but the gain?? you will be down around 8-9 o’clock for big volume, it has over 18db of line gain, you hardly need any, and 3A's eat tubes, they run them hard.

I say, try the Schiit Freya, you can always send it back, if you don’t like it.

Cheers George
I used a cj premier 16lsII with a cj 11a and it was an excellent combination. You can't go wrong with a cj pre mated to a cj amp as system synergy will not be an issue and cj makes one of the finest pre-amps in the business.

Chuck 
CJ premier 16lLS has 26dB gain, relatively high but somewhat normal for CJ preamps. I wonder how much of the volume range you’re able to use before reaching ear splitting levels.
By the way, Schiit Saga might be a good option @$350 as well given it’s unity gain.
would agree with georgehifi, the 3A can sound good but is a pita to use. and those vol controls always get noisy over time.

I used to have a Prem 11a, ran it with the 3A, and a few others. Last pre I used with it was the PL Dialogue premium, which was a good match.

on the prem 11a, be sure to roll in some Shuguang nature sound outputs. they really brought the 11a to life.


Great suggestions. Thanks to all who took the time to share their thoughts. Will let all know when I decide😛
At long last I decided jump and thought my experiene would be helpful to others. For some 15 years my system was very simple & consisted of a series of mediocre CD players, an Adcom GFA 555II, played into a pristine vintage JBL Metregon, I was 2nd owner to most. I used an Audible Illusion L1 Line Stage Preamp, also 2nd owner. The AI Tube preamp made a huge improvement in the sound (to me). I’m 83 and my ears are not the best, but I’ve been listening to ‘good sound’ for 55 years‼️. Well, my current rig consists of a Conrad-Johnson Premier 11a (recently recapped by C-J). Speakers are Martin-Logan Aerius’. I have ripped some 1200 CDs to the cloud and play them back via a Toshiba Sattelite Laptop through an Audioquest Black Jitterbug & an Audioquest Dragonfly (red). I have an Arcam DVD-139 as well. Well, my AI L1 line stage preamp died & could not be fixed. So I researched other pre-amp, and there are a lot of good ones out there and several Audiogon Forum members offered several good suggestions, but in the end I leaned toward an Audible Illusions L3B because of my good experience with my previous AI preamp. The Honcho @ AI, Jerry was very helpful, and made me a financial offer I could not refuse. The build wait time was absurd, 12 weeks😩but Jerry always answered the phone & was encouraging. At long last the L3B arrived and was plugged in......and, wow! What a sound!. Clearly worth waiting for. The recent review of the L3A by Dick Olsher in The Absolute Sound was Spot On. I’d have to say I’m a happy camper and the Audible Illusion L3B was well worth the hassle & wait. Rongold
Years ago when I had a Premier 11A I tried several CJ tube preamps: Premier 14, Premier 16, CT6.  The CT6 was the best of the bunch IMO.  The CT5 might have been better but it was >2x the price.

Later I acquired a "lowly" PFR as part of a whole mess o' gear.  After I recapped it I thought that it was the best possible combination with the Premier 11A.  At least of the CJ preamps I had tried.  Quiet as nothing and it drove the tube amp to new heights.