Help me choose a Conrad Johnson pre-power

I currently use a superb Wavac EC-300B SET amplifier. Whereas I thought this will probably be a very long term purchase, my Tannoy Turnberry speakers seems not very happy with the 10 odd watts that the Wavac produces. At this point I may have to give up the amazing Wavac and look around for a more powerful valve amplification.

I recently heard a CJ classic preamp + Premier 11 power amp driving a Tannoy and it was superb. I did not really expect a high powered tube amp to have such speed and coherence. I have come from the Naim/Linn background so speed and timing is paramount to me. That CJ combination did everything that a Naim does but infused a glow and natural warmth that is only a valve can do. The Wavac I use takes it to the next level by making it even more honest and pure. However it probably doesnt feel at home with my 93 db sensitive speakers.

When I look at the CJ line of equipments I feel lost among so many models. My budget is about $10k for a pre-power combination. I am more inclined to buy pre-owned so even the older models can considered.

Based on some research I have done on internet, here are the options:

1. Classic SE
2. ET3
3. ET5

Power amps:
1. Premier 11
2. Premier 12
3. Classic 60SE
4. LP125m
5. LP125sa

At this point the last thing I want is a mismatch in pre-power combination. I do not exactly know which pre-power combination would give me the best bang for the $10k sum.
The most obvious combination to me is the ET3 + Classic 60SE. Both are current models and matched to each other by the company. However my budget might permit me to go with ET5 or LP125m too. That is where I need help from the more experienced members here.

Please help me choose a pre-power from Conrad Johnson.

BTW, I listen to all kinds of music from Mozart to Metallica.
Hi John


I hear you ! I love the look and sound of a tube amp and have considered going that route; but my wife would not be happy. She saw first hand what happens when a power tube lets go as it happened right in front of us. It was a good thing I was there to flip the power switch.

I have not heard VAC equipment but I am sure it sounds great.

With kind Regards
Hi Chuck,

Yeah, I imagine that would be a bit scary. Do you have any idea what caused it? Did you just fire the amp up, or had it been running? I've been using tube preamps for over a decade now, but I only used tube amps for a couple of years, two different tube amps to be specific. Though I never had any problems myself, I have heard of others having issues. I would also be afraid of any collateral damage that an amp blowing up might do, like taking out a speaker. You didn't have the issue with the SLI-80 did you? Because one of the amps I'm considering trying is the CAD-120S to mate with my SLP-98P F1. The 120S has a LOT of tubes, 8 KT88's!

That's probably one of the reasons why I'm running a SS amp now myself. Though I do miss that tube bloom. Both of my tube amps were push-pull designs. My current speakers may be candidates for a SET amp, I have to admit that trying a 300B amp does tempt me. LOL!

A friend of mine has an Allnic T-1500 integrated amp, which also looks very tempting to try. As you can see, it costs a bit less than the VAC too. It doesn't have the power that the OP is looking for though.

You have several options, as well as upgrade potential. The Classic series is nice, but the ET is better.
MF2550SE with ET3SE
LP70 with ET3SE
Premier 11 with teflon cap updrade and ET3SE (this would be close to 90% of the LP70 option and would give you a low profile power amp if that is important)
If you want to pass on CJ, Octave integrated, or the new BAT integrated.
Your speaker is listed as 8 ohm. CJ only has one set of outputs usually set for 4 ohm, but can be factory reconfigured for 8 ohm. Do you know how the Premier 11 was configured? That is something to take into consideration during your search.

Yes it was and it was a capacitor and a diode that failed twice within a short period of time (94 days). And for some reason the fuse didn't blow the second time it failed and caused the power tube to light off.

The Allinic Amp looks good and I have read that it sounds good as well.