CJ Premier 5's - Opinions?

I am beginning to shop aroud for "new" monoblock tubed amps after some recent problems with my current (whicj I won't name out of courtesy, depsite pretty crappy support form the designer) CJ amps are highly recommended for my Sonus Faber speakers, SO I'm considering CJ Premier 12's. However, I do recall some enthusiastic discussion on Audiogon a while back on the Premier 5's,particularly in the XS Triode incarnation. Alas, I can't pull up the old threads.Since the 5's can be had at a better price than the Premier 12's. I would appreciate any thoughts/comparisons between the two, and any information you might have on the XS triode conversion (cost, where to get it done) and any other recommended mods on the 5's
hi Alex -

I have a pair like this that I was thinking of selling. Maybe we can strike a deal? ;-) they are excellent amps, I just have too many and have more efficient speakers now so don't need the power they offer. They are IMHO the best amps ever made by CJ, the only thing that comes close is the PR. 8XS, at $17000/pr. The CJ 5 with the triode mod (XS) is about as close to nirvana as you can get. 100-125 watts of triode operated EL34s, which by themselves are probably the best higher-power pentode as far as audio tubes go. (Have listened to 6550/KT88/kt66/etc. and prefer the EL34, personally.) The stock amps are great but with a few mods (trioded) they get even better. Mine were done by Bill Thalmann, the original designer who worked for CJ for about 20 years and now has his own shop. mods included: Cardas RCA input jack, Cardas binding posts. IEC connector for removable powercords, replacement of some internal wiring with cardas wire, mod to remove the biasing LED from the audio circuit so there's no possible way for noise to get into the signal that way (this is a mod he developed for the later CJ amps while he was there, and in place on the 8 and 12 monos, stock), and the aforementioned triode operation of the EL34s instead of ultralinear.

Sorry this sounds so much like a blatant ad. ;-) With NOS front end tubes (I use Sylvania gold-brand gold-pin grey plate 5751 and RCA clear top 6FQ7/6cg7) it really takes on some sweet sonics. I've found Svetlana to be the best modern EL34. With 8 per amp, going the Mullard route would cost almost as much as the amps themselves! (assuming you could find 16 good similar mullards...)

anyway, touch base directly and I can fill you in on more info regarding these amps if you want.

-Ed Sawyer
I presntly own 5's in triode version..used to own 12's (ultralinear) a couple of amps back but never compared side by side..I can't say which one is better for certain it may come down to your system..I love both these amps the 12's are warm, rich, lush and the 5's even more so..the 5's are effortless, even in triode mode they have plenty of power for my cls..never heard the 8xs wonder how they stack up?
Thanks, guys. The 8XS are well out of reach right now, and not available at the only hi fi dealer in town (Caracas, Venezuela these days). He does sell Red Rose gear, but $ 25 K for monoblocks is even more obscene than than Prem 8's - Mark has always liked to price himself "up there".... In fariness, the Red Rose integrated with the JM Lab Mini Utopias sounds pretty damned good in triote mode..but my Guarneris are only 86 dB efficient so that, though affordable, won't cut it in my largish room. Any perspective on cost of the mod to triode? I am definitely going to follow up on a deal with Ed, but in case that falls thru the occassional unmodified Prem 5's do show up on Audiogon (1 pair for sale now, and another one a couple of weeks ago)
Oh ya the 5's club. We need to get out more often A?Bill did mine a couple of years ago. I have the Svets, (new, came with) and Siemans(also came with--Thanks Johny) The svets were only in for 2 short sesions--as in 2 too many. Siemens are just so more envolving. Ok, so now we know my tube preference. My freind Joe Jr from Jersey had these same amps. While he had them, he also had several mega buck amps going in and out the doors including 8a's. Pretty much they are the equal of the 8XS minus the bass. It's the old caps vs transformers problem. The upgrade situation: (cost somewhere around 6/700)Before this, you couldn't get a normal spade on the "barier strip" Install 5 way posts.Installation of an IEC --right up there with being able to use today's normal spade---in sonic improvement. Yes the circuit work helps and lastly going to all triode. You have quite a piece of work. As good or better than most anything you'll find used for 5k. Assuming the 12's are a pentode using 6550's I think my 5 will eat it for breakfast.(burp) Ok, now what was the question? George