Back in the late '80s, maybe early '90s, I took a Perreaux SA3 home for a few days as a loaner from Stereo Exchange while my Audible Illusions Modulus 2(?) was being repaired. Keep in mind that the Modulus was a tube preamp and definitely on the romantic side of things. To be perfectly honest, I didn't like the Perreaux very much; I was surprised since I had heard one of their amps which was popular at the time (2150b?) several times, and I thought it was pretty good. I found the SM3 to be very unnatural in the highs; very tipped-up, highlighted, and not very well integrated. Overall detail, sound staging, and image stability was very good, and there was a certain appeal and sense of purity to the sound in a hi-fi way. But I just couldn't get past the very forward top end. I liked the look of the piece as I've always been a fan of those low-profile designs of that time period. I would be careful about pairing it with your vintage Threshold amp, although I can imagine something like a Grado or a warm sounding MM cartridge sounding good going into it. The MC's that I used at the time made for a very aggressive top-heavy sound. If I am not mistaken, the SA33 is from the same time period as the SM3. Good luck with your decision.
Somut, I was just reading your system page and you mention that you once owned the Superphon pre. For what ever it's worth, and as follow-up to my previous comments, I also owned the Superphon around the same time period, and considered the Superphon more to my liking than the Perreaux (overall). Not as "HI-END" sounding, but not as aggressive in the highs.
FWIW, I owned a SM3 for a year or so and I agree with Frogman. Not my cup of tea either. I traded it in for an ARC SP10. No mistake there. The difference was huge. I had a Perreaux stack and the best component in it was the TU3 tuner which I kept for 20+ years. I also had a Threshold SA-3 which was much smoother than the Perreaux 2150B amp too. It (the 2150B) really was a 'sand' amp. Oh, BTW, my SM3 was mechanically unreliable as well. Back for repairs 3 times.
Thank for your input and guidance gentleman. I have decided to rather go with a Conrad Johnson Motif MC-7.
MUCH better choice. Nice preamp.
I wouldn't trust a Conrad Johnson over a Perreaux with a ten foot pole. A Perreaux would blow it away.
CJ get the best one you can afford Perreaux is not to great. Enjoy!
That's funny Efron, I mean the "blow it away" part. Sorry to hear about your bad experience with CJ. BTW I have a Perreaux 2150B amp in my garage that requires some repairs I'm not too motivated to do. It is an OK amp but an older design. I would much rather have one of the Class A SA designs from Threshold given a choice.
Actually the best way to say it is " Get the best Perreaux you can afford, as the Conrad Johnson is not too great to enjoy."
I just compared my Perreaux 350 to my friends CJ stereo power amp and to the both of us the Perreaux sounded much better in all areas of sonic importance. You can brag all you want, but at the end of the day, it’s the Perreaux that wins, and I should know, I did the comparison less than a week ago.
I'm sorry tubegroover, but yes, the blow it away part holds true.At least to me it does. I have owned the supper heavy weight Classe CA-400 at 120 lbs, Class A is the first 80 watts, and while the CA-400 is, was a great amp and still is, I decided to scale it down a little. My decision to buy a brand new Perreaux was after hearing it several times and borrowing it twice over the past 16 months. I was getting tired of all the heat the Classe was producing and it's weight was bothersome every time I wanted to move it. I also own the Classe CA-301 and this amp is Class A the first 60 watts at 106 lbs.
I won't go into all the amps I've compared my 350 against so as not to hurt anybody's feelings because you can see I've already hurt a CJ fan. However, this Prisma at 66 lbs is a lot more manageable and gives me the first 10 watts of Class A which is fine by me, but it's the sound that wins. I own it, therefore I feel I can comment on it, and 14 months of hard research got me to purchase this Perreaux, and I stand by my purchase. Until anybody can actually hear a recent model of the Prisma 350 you really don't know what you are missing. It's really not a good idea to bring an older model into the picture. The best thing I can say here is get yourself to hear a recent model of the Perreaux Prisma 350 and be amazed. This is what happened to me in my search and my 350 is currently on and cooking. It sounds wonderful and I'm very happy with it. I have no regrets, and would buy this amp again in a heart beat.
Wishing everyone all the best.
Exron you certainly didn't hurt my feelings as i've never owned a CJ amp. I have however listened to MANY of their designs in MANY different systems over the years and while I certainly accept your experiences with both and have a clear preference the part about "blowing away" without context just couldn't escape my comment, hope I didn't offend you either. I will certainly try to hear one if the opportunity ever affords it, happy listening!
I'm very happy to hear that I didn't offend you as I wouldn't want that. As far as my line about "blowing away", well, I guess I was a little excited of the fact that even I couldn't believe how good the Perreaux was. When you wrote without context, well we did compare both amps for over 6 hours and the Prisma 350 was better in all areas. Bass, mid-range, and the highs. I really don't want to get into a full review here, but this is just my opinion on the two amps. If anyone feels a CJ can beat a Perreaux, well good for them, but I know what I know, and it's my system, and my system sounds fabulous. I'm being nice here, believe me. This last paragraph was not for you directly, it was for everybody and you did not offend me at all. tubegroover, I wish you many years of happy listening in whatever system you have, and I'm sure it's a great one. I also want to tell you that I own a tube amp and it's the PS Audio BHK Signature 250 in my second system.
Perreaux dealers/retailers here in the U.S. ?