Meitaflask we are CJ dealers with the ET 3 and we had an ET 5 on display.
The ET3 was good the ET 5 was way better.
The new ET 7 is supposed to be considerably better than the ET 5 the new replacement of the ET 3 is the same circuit in a newer box for more money.
The Naim preamp and digital which pieces do you have and how did you end up with this unusual pairing?
You may want to consider something like an integrated preamp dac which might give you two upgrades instead of one.
It really depends on the Naim models you have.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
I have been a CJ fan for years and currently own 2 models - a premier 14 and ET5 which you inquired about. The ET5 is airy, detailed, throws a wide clear soundstage with a very smooth revealing top end. I have used it with the stock EH and Philips tubes which CJ supplies. I prefer the EH out of the 2 and actually have a NOS semiens that I have not tried yet.
I like both units and am actually using my premier 14 with mullards currently. For me, it matches better with my Thiels and gives a slightly warmer, richer presentation. I have not heard the other models you mentioned. I like switching them in and out on occasion but may part with the ET5 one day as I prefer the classic CJ sound. You can’t go wrong with CJ preamps.
Audiotroy-I have the dacv1, a dac/pre unit. It can be used as a dac only, so I plan to buy a preamp, use the Naim as a dac only, then shop for a dac upgrade.
They just released a new model, ET6, it replaces the now discontinued ET3. The ET3 is a great pre and I would imagine you could find a good deal on a new one.
Oddiofyl- Yes, I heard the ET3 has been replaced by the ET6, but it sounds like (per audiotroy) I’d be better off with the ET5.
I've had both the ET5 and the ET3SE for a number of years.
ET5 is awesome...great holographic soundstage, that famous rich CJ midrange, decent tuneful bass, and lovely detailed treble with no harshness.
ET3SE is a great preamp too...just not as good as the ET5 by a long mile. I would say that the sound is similar, but the ET3SE is not as holographic, the bass is a bit muddier, and it does have some treble harshness...at least compared to the ET5.
I'd put the ET3SE at 60% of the awesomeness that is the ET5.
If you can do the funds, the ET5 is worth it IME.
Sounds like everyone is confirming the ET5 is much better than the ET3SE, which is kind of what I expected. So that ends that half of the discussion.
the question now is:
how does the ET5 compare to the ET7?
I have owned many. Take the ET5. You should not be sorry if you get it down to $3200. If you are inclined to go ET7 series 1 used. The you get a more complete and tighter bass. The new ET6 or ET7s2. Find the Conrad Johnson Dealer in Tucson Az who is usually o. US Audio Mart. He usually has good pricing in demo models. CJ sound is similar in all cases and the further up you go the more detail to the same CJ sound you get. I had them all and at $3200 used the ET5 was a great middle ground of content
I have a crappy old ET3!
It was a pretty good Preamp with great soundstage & ok highs
i upgraded to a Mitsubishi Cyro tube That was supposed to sound like a Telefunken .
my goodness , what a change
Highs are sweet & detailed from stock EH
very grainless & english gentlemanly of the preamps!
I have heard the ET5 with a Vandersteen Treo....It was good, but I think NOS tubes really are great with CJ
I think you cannot go wrong with CJ
All Conrad-Johnson components are hopelessly colored, distorted, and voiced so as to sound warm, syrupy, and lush to those who are weary of the distortions common to modern digital playback in Music Reproduction Systems.
Hi clearthink, the question is "Conrad Johnson preamp: ET5, ET7 (series 1 or 2) or ET3SE ??"
Your answer is that Conrad Johnson gear is a band aid brand to fix the damage caused by digital playback. Would you mind providing what gear you would recommend in addition to the gear you do not recommend?
@clearthink which ones have your heard? With what components?
You are obviously entitled to your take but the newer models with CJD teflon caps are anything but what you describe.
And FYI not everyone listens to digital.
Clearthink, have you ever had a c-j product in your system? To say their gear is a band aid for digital harshness is silly.....
Clearthink oh my God we are in agrrement with Odiofyl.
If you think that current CJ gear is syrupy you haven't heard CJ in years, older 80,90,s and 2000 era CJ products were like that.
Recent CJ series starting with the ART, GAT, ET 5, ET 3 all of these designs starting 2008 or so are remarkably transparent, with a very clean and uncolored midrange, the amps are also tight and fast
Still have CJ issues, a bit on the noisy side but oh so right sounding.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ CJ dealer
OP here. Just purchased a ET7 series 1. Being shipped, should get it early next week.
So, thanks for your input and comments, and I am signing off of this thread for now.