CJ Equipment - Speaker Recommendations

Conrad Johnson folks:

I’m an owner of CJ’s premier 12 mono blocks and 16LS pre. Love the stuff. Problem is I’m struggling with finding the right speaker. Currently have Tannoy’s Turnberry SE’s. Love their look but think I can do better sound wise. I’m Considering moving up the Tannoy line to the Kensingtons (want to stay with that non-contemporary furniture piece look). Wife does not like a contemporary look..

Large listening area, prefer the likes of Diana Krall, Holly Cole, Melody Gardot, and classical and some classical rock. Like a sweet midrange and an overall warmth.

Any suggestions?

Thank you!
Hi Rbschauman,

Wow...great equipment! I have long admired and enjoyed CJ myself. Personally, i run 2 ways with CJ equipment...Sonus Faber, or Wilson. Some would say that SF is great with tubes (it is)...others might say a touch of the Wilson focus on linearity and slam work well with the warmer tubes up front. for example, Martin Colloms review of the mighty Wilson X1/Grand Slamm specifically noted that he was 'particularly indebted to" the CJ Premier 12s with the X1s.

With the former, you'll get magic upon magic in the mids, warmth, etc. With the latter, you might find a clarity (with a warmth) that can be quite startling and beautiful. After years with CJ and SF...i went to CJ and Wilson. YMMV. Good luck...great equipment.
Your 12's are very laid back. I think you need to keep that in mind when you are looking for a speaker. You could end up with too much of a good thing if you aren't careful. The first thing that comes to mind is Proac. They have a very musical but forward sound to them. Your 12's would probably balance them out very nicely. I would also check out DeVore and maybe Living Voice as well. Your 16 is great. Its a more neutral component and should work with just about anything.
I do believe an upward direction in the Tannoy line would prove to be satisfying, but I think you may have to go farther up than the Kinsingtons to match the quality of your other gear.

I have Tannoys, but they are custom built, using HPD 315 drivers (12" Dual Concentric), with new cones upgraded to the current Prestige line with "Hard Edge" surrounds.

The crossovers are custom designed and built, using top quality parts (Mundorf S-I-O caps, Alpha Core foil inductors, and Dueland resistors).

The cabinets are 150 liter, nearly two inches thick, and weigh about two hundred pounds each.

I use them in a large room (16' X 39'), with a cathedral ceiling.

The point of all this, that in using very high quality ingredients, even a thirty five year old Tannoy can be made to sound state-of-the-art, even in this day and age.

I encourage you to listen to models higher up in the Prestige line. You didn't mentiion how large a speaker will fit in your listening room, or your budget, but considering your other equipment, perhaps even the Kingdom Royals are not out of the question.

Happy hunting, and good luck, regards,
I had premier 16, with Premier 8, on Verity Parsifal's. The bass could be on the loose side, but it was quite good other wise. Your price range, new/used would be helpful. Loved the Parsifal Encore's, but they are not the most efficient....

Thank you for responding.

Lloydelee21 – I called Ed at CJ last week and he also suggested the Wilson (as well as a few others - SF may have been mentioned as well). In fact, I read that CJ has had Wilson speakers in their personal showroom. I’ll look into..

Dan – I really appreciate your thoughts on the Tannoys. I’ve been concerned that the Kensington will not offer much more than the Turnberrys I currently own. Although I have a large area to fill with sound, I’m limited in what I have available for a speaker footprint due to the placement of existing furniture, fireplace, doors, and windows. The Canterburys would be so cool but I simply can’t place that size of speaker. Even looked at the Yorkminsters and they’re too big as well. I do like Tannoy’s Prestige series a lot but am not seeing a solution. I’d love to see what your custom made 12” 150 cf look like…strikes me as though they may be right sized for my situation.. I also have a cathedral ceiling and a lot of space to project the sound.

Fjn04 – I took a look at the Verity Parsifal's. Way cool! I’ve not heard of them before but liked what I saw on them in the web – I’ll look further. Do they pass through Audiogon occasionally?

Thanks again all!
Hello RB,

The footprint of my custom Tannoys are 16"W X 20"D X 48"H.

They work in my room with no acoustic treatment at all, with a deep and wall-to-wall soundstage, with the speakers seeming to disappear. Imaging is extremely good as well.

You can see them on Virtual Systems, "Done For Now" with the name of "The Summit". I know that sounds pretentious, but my "Summit", is what I can reach with my resources, not climbing an audio Mt. Everest.

You can also email me at audiophildan@yahoo.com.

Here is another perspective: after years of experience with the Kensington and other models in the Prestige Line, I can say that Kensington offer most of all the qualities of Yokrminster, Canterbury and even Westminster. One of my best hifi-buddies has Turnberry. We have tested my amps on his speakers; Kensington is another animal. In the Kensington you have that magical transparency in the midrange that comes from alnico pepperpot tweeter. I even know a guy that had Yorkminster and changed it for Kensington, because he did not lose anything in the midrange, only tamed some of the bass. Of course you have to check them out with your nice amps, but I do not think Kensington will disappoint you.
I had Premier 12s and the 16LS a few years back and found excellent results from that wonderful combo with the Audio Physics Virgo and Avanti speakers. I believe they still have the Virgo in their line-up; of course its been refreshed since that day, and I haven't heard the most recent, but may be worth consideration as current specs and design carry the tradition. Lifelike midrange and highs with spectacular imaging. Best of luck with your search.
After reading a few of your posts and seeing some of your equipment I was interested in what you had ended up with. I have a CJ Premier 14 pre, Sota Star/SME V and a Sota Sapphire/SME III, Odyssey amps, Adiago speakers and love the set up. To many cartridges to list but love the Lyra Delos, Audioquest 7000 Fe5, Sumiko Talisman Virtuoso Dti.