Preamp thoughts- Conrad Johnson ET7 S2 V McIntosh C2600

I still haven’t found a preamp I can live with after parting company with a Allnic Audio L-5000 DHT some months ago.

 I had a brief and enjoyable affair with a nice Electrocompaniet pre, which was wonderful in many ways, big, bold, warm and luscious - but ultimately lacking a little in resolving powers. A step up to their latest iteration is a tempting possibility.

Another short encounter ensued, this time with a more integrated solution, a Devialet Expert Pro 220 CI..... nope, not my cup of tea.

So, Conrad Johnson ET7 S2 V McIntosh C2600.

Anyone have any experience with both of these units and care to shed light on strengths/weaknesses one versus the other.
i like big, warm, bold but with extension, air, ambience, detail etc. My Allnic was almost perfect in so many ways but a touch too neutral. 
I’ve looked closely at a lot of preamps including Aric Audio, MicroZotl, Don Sachs, and now the more mainstream units from CJ and McIntosh.

Phono, DAC not necessary but I would like a pair of outs for subs.
Preamp to pair with Thor TPA 60 KT77 monoblocks, but other amps, including solid state will come and go (part time reviewer).
Speakers are Dunlavy SC-III or Castle Harlech or any of a variety of other speakers that come and go. Vinyl mostly, some digital via Aurender N100H / Moon Audio 380D. PSA P10 to keep everything clean.

Up to around $6k on the used market but flexible.

Thanks for any input!!


In general, I prefer the CJ products over the McIntosh but I would have no problem putting a McIntosh tube amp in my system, which currently has CJ tube's.
@jond  Thanks for the link. I did own the TA-1000 preamp at the same time as the Thor monoblocks, and whilst it's an excellent preamp, particularly for the low $2k's that it seems to fetch, it isn't the best preamp in that price range by any means.
The Thor monoblocks on the other hand....I've yet to hear anything that comes close. I've had some similarly priced SS gear that's well-reviewed and respected and the TPA-60's have been in a league above. So I'm just trying to find a preamp that makes me feel the same way I do about the power amps....
I sold a CJ CT-5 a while back and it had that nice liquidity that I'm looking for. So I'm thinking the ET-7 might be a safe shot. But then I've never owned a McIntosh and some of the reviews on their newer gear seem really positive....

@cellorover  - Thanks, that's good feedback on the ET-7MKII. 
Rooze. Glad to share some thoughts. IMO, the ET5 with a Mazda 7308 NOS or Cca NOS is better than the C2600 so maybe that is a baseline for you. The Herron gives the ET5 as good run for the money, and may edge it out. Then there is the ET7S2. As I said, it is a budget call. Enjoy the journey.

@rooze What did you end up going with? 

I've found myself in the same boat.  ~$6k used budget and I also owned a CT5 that I really liked and it paired superbly with the Luxman M800a, which I have incoming, when I heard the combo 12 years ago.  So I was thinking ET7 S1/S2 would be a safe bet.  But I've also enjoyed some of the newer McIntosh stuff, namely the MC452, so looking into the C2600 brought me here.

@eugene81 I had a brief spell with a ET5 then moved to an Emotive Audio Epifania. The ET5 was typically CJ, nice mids but lacking in resolving ability, just not very transparent.
The Emotive Epifania is the best I’ve owned. A notch up in transparency and dynamics than the Allnic L5000 DHT. A fantastic preamp. I’m thinking of another change pretty soon and the new Allnic L10000 is on the list. My days with CJ are probably over unless I downgrade at some point and go back to a CA200.