I believe that C-J bought out McCormack so they both should sound very simialar.
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There's no reason to use an exclusive brand "A" or exclusive brand "B" system, necessarily. I happen to use a CJ preamp, the now discontinued PV11L, with a McCormack DNA.5 amp, also discontinued. Many people love the "sound" of tubed electronics, but are hesitant to jump in because of the annual (or so) cost of replacing tubes. The power output tubes on a tube amplifier, which have to be replaced more often than the line level tubes in my preamp, also cost more. I decided to ease into the world of tubed electronics by getting a tubed preamp. The tubes last about 2 years, and they are pretty cheap to replace (and very, very easy). I would suggest precisely the combination of a CJ preamp, with 1 or more McCormack Amps. I have actually heard the CJ PV 10AL, with a McCormack DNA .5, and the DNA 1, playing the Maggie 1.6 AND the 3.6, and I assure you, it is truly a great match. The PV 10AL is a great little preamp, I had one before I got my PV 11 (used). The PV 10 isnt quite as transparent as the 11 (or the current model the PV 12) but it has an amazing ability to give the listener the sense that there are actually musicians in the room. So, as always, LISTEN first, make your decisions later. CJ did acquire McCormack, as noted in the previous post, but their equipment doesn't "sound" any more similar than it did before the buyout. Both lines are being developed separately, however, they do seem to complement each other. GOOD LUCK!!
I tend to prefer tubes to solid state as well, but I must note that solid state is superior in some ways. The bass response of a solid state amp is much better than a tube amp , even large ones. I too have a mccormack amp (DNA1RevA/partial Gold), and am looking for recommendations for a good tube preamp for it.
I beleive that, as posted by a previous reviewer, a tube preamp with the McCormack is a fine system. I have a Sonic Frontiers preamp with the latest generation McCormack DNA-125 and it's a beautifull match. I had all kinds of very expensive mega-buck all-tube systems in the past 20 years. I dont agree that once you tried tubes you can never go back. Tubes have sweet sounds and have colorations, and if it sounds ok to you then it's a good buy. But tube power amps are a pain to own and use, and expensive when fitted with higher quality brands or NOS (new old stock) tubes.It made me sick to shell out $ 500.00 for a pair of tubes only to have it's internal coutdown start towards the day when I would have to replace them-again. Preamp tubes are virtually no-brainers for their sound and non-existent maintenance. They are truly worry free and inexpensive. And in my case, it's a fine sounding combination. They say once you own tubes you cannot go back? Hell, I went forward !!!! All of this is academic for me anyways as I will be selling my Sonic-McCormack combo soon to venture into home cinema. I will loose on the quality of audio reproduction, and I will miss the sweet audiophile sound, but what can I say...my upcoming 56" SONY screen will be begging for adequate sound, and I cannot afford two systems....Regards, hope this was of help to you.
Update: I tried out the AI Modulus 3A (a two month old one), and I found that I actually preferred my adcom 750 passive preamp. Part of this is due to the ergonomics. The 3A has very coarsly stepped non-remote attenuators. It added tiny bit of euphony, and removed a tiny bit of detail. The euphony was not worth the ergonomic difficulty.
Hi Korgwave; Good advice in above posts by G13, John_1, and Lags..... This subject has been discussed a lot here on Audiogon. I agree with (and use) a tube pre-amp (SF Line 2) and SS amp (McCormack DNA-2DX). It's a great combination-- I like the SS amp for its excellent bass control. As to your specific question, it seems to me that a CJ tube pre-amp and McCormack (or CJ) SS amp would certainly be a good place to start-- as G13 suggests. Cheers. Craig.