Help My

I just bought a used Conrad Johnson PF-R pre-amp here on Audiogon and I'm having some problems. My amp (Citation7.1) keeps overloading (the red indicator light goes on and off and the unit shuts itself off altogether then comes back on It does this even when there is no music playing through it. If I turn the amp on (the CJ is always on) and just let it sit there, after about five or ten minutes the problem begins. I do not have this amp problem with any other pre-amp hooked up to it, it only occurs when the Conrad Johnson is connected to it. It seems really strange that this would happen even when there is no music playing. Is there some kind of short circuit going on in the CJ? I wanted some expert advice before I contact the seller about this problem. I should mention that the pre-amp itself never seems to show any signs of distress and when I'm playing music it sounds fantastic.


Is there any DC offset on the output of the CJ?
Well I don't see any swithes or adjustments of any kind, but other than that I don't know what a DC offset is.
kr's question about possible DC on the preamp output is something to definitely check into; DC will put most amps immediately into protect mode. You'll probably need a scope for this test but a voltmeter might catch it as well. But before you go to the repair shop check your interconnects. A loose shield connection that makes / breaks at random could cause that amp to want to protect itself as well.
I don't think it's the interconnects as I use the same ones with my other pre-amps and there is no problem. When you talk about DC on the preamp output, is this a normal condition or a sign that something is wrong with the unit. If the unit is defective I want to notify the seller. I think he offered a 90 day warranty on it. The other problem is that love the sound of it and would really like to keep it. If the seller will make good for repairs that would be great. Does anybody know of a good place to send it for repairs? I don't know of anyone.


Definitly sounds like some sort of fault protection. I would get a watch and time it. Does this happen at the exact same time frame? Also, DO contact the seller. If he was good enough to offer the warrenty, use it!! Besides, he may know more about the unit since he did own it.
Steve notify the seller immediately describing exactly what's going on & our theories behind the intermittent fault. DC on ANY component's audio output line is *bad news*. Think of the audio signal as AC (an alternating voltage actually). Think of a battery as DC (a direct non-alternating voltage). (The "C" in AC or DC stands for 'current' of course referring to basic electrical household Current, AC).
When a non-alternating DC voltage (this is not the AC music signal) appears on the inputs of a direct coupled amp, the amp will amplify that DC as well. This high DC voltage apppearing at the amp output to the speaker will destroy a woofers' voice coil almost instantly; that's why DC is so bad when appearing on a signal line. This is an indication of an intermittent failing component within the preamp, probably nothing real serious buy needing repair nevertheless. The amp has sensing circuitry built in which sees the DC & goes into protect mode, to protect not only the speakers but the amp itself as well.

The seller may have been using this preamp with a tube power amp. Tube equipment is usually not direct coupled, rather it is capacitor coupled, which blocks the DC component. That's why he may not have known about this problem. The answer is to repair the preamp (replace the failing part) not to add a coupling capacitor. Caps are sometimes necessary but direct coupling is always superior when you can have it.
My own system is completely direct coupled from the signal inputs thru to the speakers.
I emailed the seller but the email has been delayed for some reason. I notice that the seller has some other CJ equipment for sale here and on eBay and offers the same 90 day warranty on these other units. After taking the CJ out of my system and putting the preamp section of my Denon receiver back into service, I immediatly packed up the CJ to send to Conrad Johnson for repairs. I didn't seem to notice THAT great of a difference when I first tried out the CJ but boy oh boy, I shure missed it when I had to remove it.

I called Conrad Johnson and the customer service rep. was extremely heplful even though I told him that I had just bought this unit used. He spent a great deal of time with me on the phone, asking lots of questions and in the end found that the intermittent nature of the problem was strange and needed to be looked at by a technician. So the preamp is on it's way to Conrad Johnson.

I probably should have waited to hear from the seller but the CJ rep. thought that it probably wouldn't cost much to fix and I like the sound of this preamp so much I just have to keep it. Who knows, maybe the seller will cover the repair costs.

For anyone interested I'll post what the techs at CJ find.
You may have spoken with "Knut" at CJ. He's a great guy and has helped me in the past with various CJ questions. I picked up a used CJ PF-R a couple weeks ago and use it with my CJ Premier 11a. It's a very nice preamp for my taste.. and I've gone through many a preamp in the past year including Adcom GFP-750, ARC LS16, CJ PV-14L, CJ PV-12L, and Classe CP-35. I like the CJ PF-R best so far. I haven't had any problems with my PF-R but its driving the CJ Premier 11a which *may* be capacitor coupled.... not sure.