Conrad Johnson Premier 350 ss vs Premier 140 tube


Anyone compare these two amps? I have an MF2500a and I am considering upgrading to one or the other. I am driving Thiel 3.6's and also considering a pair of 7.2's. So I need to look down the road a bit when making this decision; any thoughts? My pre-amp is a CJ Premier 16lsII with an SCD-1 front end and Audioquest Volcano and Anaconda interconnects.

Thanks in advance

Chuck
czbbcl
As far as i know Premier 350 inhibits that infamous suckout in low/mid-upper/bass that plagues 2500a.Actually,that comes with bipolars.I personally prefer mosfets.I had 2 2500as in biamp configuration but was never happy.If it was my choice,i would go for the 140.Btw,350 looks almost identical to 2500a which i think is too boring.My advice:go for 140 or better off try getting early to mid 90s Premier tube amps.I would even take Evolution 2000 over 350.But of course your taste might be different.
Chuck, I know your a CJ man, me too, I've owned 2 CJ preamps and currently using premier 14. I also have the 3.6's and urge you to give Mcintosh C501 mono's a listen. I compared directly to the 350 and preferred the 501's. Just midrange magic with a great bottom end with detail galore but not etched or fatiguing in any way. Just an integral part of the music. They really put my Thiels in another league. The CJ 350 was very nice also, the deciding factor for me was the effortless ability to drive the Thiels no matter the volume level. They just have total command of the speakers. If your interested you better checkout the output impedence match with your 16 and the 501's, they are low at 10K and the 16 is on the high side.

I can't wait to hear your impression of the 7.2's when you get them...good luck.
Thank to the both of you for your feedback. I must admitt I do have a soft spot for vacum tubes. It happened when I purchased a Premier 11a and then subsequently sold it. Not enough power for my 3.6's but I did love that mid and high end magic. So I find myself gravitating back to vacum tubes. I also agree that the Premier 350 is rather dull and unassuming looking. Of course most of the ss amps just don't have the romance associated with that tube glow.

Chuck
Pops

I see that the Mcintosh is a sloid state piece. I went to their website and it looks like the c501 is a mono bloc design on a single chassis. Did you compare it to any of the Pass amps available?

Chuck
Chuck,

No I didn't, I don't have a pass dealer near me. I was so surprised when I heard the Mac's it really changed my perspective and I was a little relieved that I didn't have to compare 5, 6 or more brands to be really satisfied.

I've had a classe amp for several years so I really was leaning towards the new delta series or the CJ premier 350...until I heard the Mac's. The classe M400's sounded like the house classe signature, nice, polite, some bloom but just a little lean. There are some great reviews on the 501's and the 402, a 400 watt stereo amp. Alot of good press all over the place...FWIW.

Jerry
Chuck, they are monoblocs but not on 1 chassis if I understand you correctly. You get two 92 pound monsters.
I own the older premier 12 monoblocks and I think they are simply magical!
Jerry

Yes those are massive amps. The problem is my racking /entertainment center configuration doesn't give me any space for mon-blocs. Plus my wife isn't to accepting of this hobby and having large monblocs sitting on the floor would not appeal to her. Even the 140 is going to cause issues that I would have to address as it creates a lot of heat and needs good ventilation. The 350 would be much easier for me as it would simply sit were my 2500 does today. And I don't believe there are any heat issues with the 350 there certainly isn't with my 2500.

I agree with the other posters concerning the beauty of the older (now discontined) premier monoblocs. I loved my premier 11 and I am sure the 12's and the 8's for that matter were even better.

Chuck
I have owned the 7.2s driven by a Classe Omega Omicron (excellent combination), and now have the Premier 140 driving VSA VR-4 G3 SEs. I'm sure the 140 would sound very nice with either the 3.6s or 7.2s, although I would have some reservations myself knowing that I listen to a lot of rock and large scale classical at 85+ db. Thiels just love (quality) power. That said I am enjoying my Premier 140 immensely.
Tom_munro

Did you have the 140 driving the Thiel 7.2's? If so how was it? How did the 7.2's compare to what you have now?

I know Thiels love power which is why I am concerned with the 140. And why Pops is enjoying the Mac 501's driving his 3.6's. I listen to primarily Classical and Female Jazz vocals but not at extremely hig volume levels. Thanks to everyone responding to this thread.

Chuck

Chuck
Chuck, I've only had the 140 for a month or so. When I auditioned the 140 at the dealer it was driving a pair of B&W N802s which are known to be a power hungry speaker. I thought the 140 drove the N802s quite well. The 140 replaced a pair of JC-1s in my system.

The VR-4s don't have the same scale, transparency, or precise soundstaging that the 7.2s have, but in many respects the VR-4s are less analytical, easier to listen to, and have equal or better dynamic capabilities.
Jerry

Do the Mac's generate a lot of heat? You've got me thinking along those lines as well. I love tube amps but the heat and maintainence issues are a concern as is the power output. The premier 350 and the mc501's are very similar in price. My local CJ dealer also sells Mac and he told me there should not be any impedence matching issues between my 16 and the Mac's. However as I get more serious about purchasing I will call both companies to confirm. He also commented that they do not and will not stock either the mc501's nor the premier 350 so demoing them is not possible. Something about the two channel market being to limited in this area (Detroit) given the price of these amps.

Chuck
Chuck,

I can't get these amps to even get warm! no kidding, I listened to 2 full CD's yesterday as loud as I ever do and the heat sinks were barely lukewarm!

Jerry
FWIW see my post at the 11a thread you're on...
Zaikesman

Thanks for the information. I have also heard the same comment.

Chuck
Just a quick update:

I contacted both Thiel and Conrad Johnson and asked their opinion concerning which of these two amps they would recommend to drive my Thiel 3.6's. Both manufacturers recommended the Premier 350 over the 140. Primarily because Thiels require large amounts of power to sound their best. It is not that Thiels, specifically the 3.6's, are a difficult load but that they are a demanding load. Meaning that the have a relatively flat impedence curve (nominally at 4 ohms) which drops to about 2.5-3.5 ohms and stays there. The curve is so flat that they tend to look like a constant resistive load to the amplifier; a good thing. Another issue is the fact that their efficiency is at 86db per watt; a bit on the low side. Both of these attributes make the Thiels a demanding load to any but the gutsiest of amplifiers.
classe ca m400 monoblocks ,delta series(5000ea) ,to drive to power hungry thiels ,,excellent amps ,heard them drive both the 6's and the 7.2s,with a cj 16II made both these speakers really sing pre also mac 501 monos(4100ea) would be a good choice...rather then pay 7 big ones for the cj350,