I have owned a CJ Premier 17LS and am very satisfied with its sound and its look. You can read the reviews in Stereophile on May 2001 and audioreview.com.
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I've owned a Premier l4 since l996 and recommend it highly. The l7 would have to be significantly better (or I'd have to get a really good deal on it) to entice me to change. Except for an occasional tube change (and the last 6GK5s I bought cost just $6 each) it has been a great-sounding, flawless performer. I've seen them for well under $2K here, which IMHO is a real buy.
I upgraded from a PV12A to the Premier17LS about 6 months ago. 17 has a slightly "leaner" sound for a C-J (or any)tube pre but incredibly smooth, transparent and musical. Much more so than the 12a and much more detailed, airy and extended on top without being bright. The 12a sounded thick and bloated, by comparison through the upper bass to lower mids. Incredibly taut fast and detailed now without losing "slam" just bloat. An outstanding preamp, I LOVE it and would highly recommend it for any music lover. Not really a typical "audiophile" preamp per se. Doesn't overtly shine in any one area in other words. For example many people would say a particular preamp has the best stage, or slam or top end or bottom end or transparency etc. I truly don't notice those things so much now, or even when I first got it for that matter, I'm just drawn into the music SO much more that I sit and listen to entire discs through now whereas I didn't before because "someting" with prior pre amps made me say 'this could be better, that could be better' etc. So I guess that's the highest compliment I would give it is it's so well balanced I just enjoy the music and have no desire to change it.
FWIW, I've been running the 14 since 1997 with matched Mullard 6GK5s. Audible improvement over GEs, particularly on voice, piano and strings. Top to bottom, the 14 has more of what you hear with GE or other tubes that I've tried. I also had a 17 in the system for an extended audition and possible buy (less money than the 16), but OVERALL, the 17 didn't equal the Mullard-tubed 14LS; I found it less appealing through the upper mids and treble region--not as much "there" there. System: Avalon Arcus, Classe Ten (modded), Accuphase CD player and tuner, Luminous Audio Technology Synchestra Signature ICs, Symo Speaker cable, Shunyata Viper PCs and Hydra.
Thanks Gino, I got a premier 14 with both stock tubes and a pair of Mullard's and Hitachi's I believe. The stock tubes sound to me like they have a little more air and the others I mentioned sound beefier, maybe not as detailed. I see what you mean on voice though with the Mullards, sounds richer, like a you are there presentation. I haven't listened extensively yet so my opinion may change. Ever use tube socks? What benefits do you get? Thanks...