Conrad Johnson and Herron comparisons

I find very little when attempting to gauge qualitative, subjective view points, I'm sure there are those who've sampled preamps from both these quality houses - please share...

Showing 7 responses by jjss49

big question, hard to answer

you need to at least narrow to specific models

cj has made preamps for decades, within their own line the sound of the product has changed significantly over time
can't speak to the herron in comparison to the cj units
but tim herron makes top top notch stuff... his customer are super happy super loyal

re the cj units, if you can afford the delta by all means get the 5 over the 3... significant performance gap

interesting input - i actually run an et5 as one of my linestages, just love its sound... it does run tubes hard and the sound can vary a good amount with tube selection

with cj tube linestages now they are walking the fine line between tube magic/transparency and solid state clarity and edge... i tried a gat (v1) and thought it crossed the line

if herron’s linestage is right there or surpasses the et5 on its good day then it is indeed an impressive piece... not that that would be unexpected

you probably already know this but the et5 runs the tube filament at 6.3-6.4 volts so regular 6dj8 spec tubes are overdriven, and live short lives

i have found pcc88/7dj8’s of various makes last much longer, and can sound very nice, especially hungarian philips/tungsram and yugo tesla 32’s - i understand et and gat current production units are being shipped now with the 7dj8 tubes

perhaps the saving grace of the et5 is it runs that single tube, so tube rollin’ is easy and relatively cheap - i had the premier 16LS2 prior, the six tubes in series made one think a little harder about random experimentation :)

short answer on et5 and 7dj8 pcc88 - it completely solves the premature tube burnout problem, plenty of options for tube rolling, excellent sound, and a good bit cheaper than 6 volt versions to boot

cj has been out there in the market buying lots of better old stock 7 volt tubes i understand, as they have made the switch in their manufacturing of their higher end units with this issue

don't get too bothered by upgradeability of old gear... there is a limit to this... just buy smart, buy good gear that is always in demand, don't pay too much above fair market value for a piece, then use it, enjoy it, if you move on, you can resell without much, if any loss

good luck in your finding a tube pre you like

in 2007 i bought my cj prem 16ls2 for $3300... it has provided me with countless hours of joy and musical bliss, and fun, rolling tubes

it is worth at least that much today, probably a few hundred more, if i choose to sell it (not doing it...)

as a version two it is the last version of that unit - yes the newer models are just a touch clearer, zippier/sharper in tone but also leaner in the midrange and midbass - i got an et5 few years back as well... both lovely units, the et5 is a more modernized cj sound - they clearly are voicing their products somewhat differently as time passes - then i tried a friends GAT for a couple months - it was almost solid state like in sound, i did not like it as i felt it went too zippy and hifi in sound character

through all this, if i were to keep one cj pre it would still be the 16... for me it defines what the cj tube magic is...