are u using a TT?
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Drop Bill Thalmann of Music Technology, Inc. an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bill is the former designer and chief technician at CJ. He now mods equipment, including CJ stuff and others. He has done work for me which was absolutely exceptional.
Bill has a wealth of info about CJ and would be IMHO the best source for thoughts on used CJ stuff.
Stay away from the PV-10 , try a PV-14, they usually go for around your price. The CA 200 is usually $3-4K and not a preamp. Its basically an integrated with a passive linestage. You're not getting it for $400.
Go to CJ's website, they have info on everything they have ever sold including specs and tube compliment. Don't forget some invert phase.
For $1500, almost all the vintage CJ PV series preamps are within reach. If you don't have a turntable, then any of the newer models PV10,'12, '14 and '15 have line stage only models.
The Premier series was a few more bucks. For that $1500 price, the Premier 2,3,10, and maybe the '14 (if you're lucky) fall within that range.
Which one is the best? I have heard a few and the older ones sound more "tubey". BUT, if you have Bill Thalman update one of the older ones, the sound gets closer to the more recent vintage.
That "tubey" effect that made your system sound great might only be found in the vintage items so you might want to concentrate on the older stuff.
CJ equipment is well thought of, if you don't like the sound of a unit you can usually sell it for a break even price (minus shipping) to the next person who is curious.
Electroid, the OP was referring to Canary Audio's CA-200 passive preamp, not CJ's CA200 control amp.
Cnary Audio CA-200 Passive Preamp
Joekapahulu, you do understand that the Canary unit you referenced is a passive unit, right?
Thanks for all the input. I dont need a tt for this system. I had never heard a tube pre b4 and liked the sound of it although I understand that the sound of the early models in this series sound different than the later ones. Not sure if I would like one vs the other more. Sound was definitely better than my current 30 year old SAE 2900 ss preamp/equalizer. I live in Hawaii and there is no real high end scene here so I am limited in terms of hearing stuff.
Interest in the Canary Audio was simply curiousity if I might like a passive preamp as that should "add" nothing to the sound and would have an improved shot at hearing the recording as mastered. I am using a Cambridge Audio 840c with an ATI 1502 power amp into Ohm Walsh 2-S100s or Spendor S3/5 speakers. Just experimenting to find a mix that I like. Went from a Mcintosh 5100 that was kind of nice but underpowered to the ATI. It delivered good power but was a little edgy so i am trying to "fix" that now.I couldnt tell if that was the pre or the power amp....
Electroid, you're going to get a diverse set of opinions. All (OK, almost all) of the CJ preamps are great; some more than others. My preferences in your price range are the PV-12 and the Premier 14. These will provide you with the warm, lush sound that CJ affectionados prefer. If you want to try something more neutral sounding the PF-R is a great solid state amp that still retains some of the signature CJ sound.