I have heard both items side by side in the same system, same audition. The Prima Luna was a complete system (cd player, pre, power amp) and the CJ ET3 SE was mated w/ the Classic power amp. Speakers were B&W 802. Cables/cords were Audioquest. While the PL gear was not bad at all considering it had its own cd player, to my ears, the CJ was a nice step up in terms of sound quality. Keep me posted & Happy listening!
Prima Luna is very nice for the money but I doubt it will better your ET3SE. I have a c-j Classic 2 SE and it sounds incredible driving my Quicksilver amps. Your pre is a Class A component, made in USA, premium parts and build quality, which will be evident when you go to replace the tube. My Classic proved to me that the preamp is the most important electronic component in a system. It blows away my last couple of preaamps , all of which were decent but the c-j was my most pronounced upgrade to date. If you want to "upgrade" change out that 6922EH tube with a Russian 6h23p-eb type 3 from Upscale. I had noise issues with a couple of the stock tubes, replaced with 6h23 and not only is it dead quiet but it sounds much better. That tube is super durable, I use them as drivers in my amps and they seem to last forever
The 6H23-EB is the only tube that will hold up in the CJ Classic 2SE, ET3SE and ET5 enough that I will warranty them for 90 days. And that tube is increasingly hard to get. Just a heads up. I would buy some back ups.
I have over ten thousand new old stock 6922's in stock, but only 50 of those 6H23-EB. How many owners of those preamps will be seeking them out?
The idea of 22, 25, or 27dB of gain means one thing: Problems. Do you know that preamps are usually REDUCING gain by 6dB in normal use? Now add 6dB to 22dB and you've got to 28dB of un-needed un-wanted amplification. Talk to any electrical engineer, and they will explain I know from where I speak.
So tubes that are good will go noisy or microphonic like yours did. Over and over and over.
As to comparing it to the PrimaLuna I already answered that question on another thread. Most preamps sound good. It isn't tough. There's no new designs. But the PrimaLuna at $2199 has so much more than the ET3SE. The $3199 model is another matter altogether.
I know....I'm biased...say what you want. I speak the absolute truth, with quite a bit of authority.
You're full of crap. Buying Prima Luna means having to deal with your ego, and the arrogance with which you wield it. I wouldn't subject an enemy to that. But don't take my word for it.
"I know....I'm biased...say what you want. I speak the absolute truth, with quite a bit of authority.
Look at this picture."
The truth has a different meaning in your world. The OP is asking about an ET3 SE and you link a picture of a Classic 2. Not only do you sound like a used car salesman, you act like one.
"The 6H23-EB is the only tube that will hold up in the CJ Classic 2SE, ET3SE and ET5 enough that I will warranty them for 90 days. And that tube is increasingly hard to get. Just a heads up. I would buy some back ups."
CJ makes preamps that burn through tubes that are difficult to come by. Its funny how you are the only one that mentions this. Doesn't seem to be a problem for anyone else. Maybe CJ should start outsourcing their production to China. We all know they make the best quality gear.
Zd542 sorry you got upset. I didn't say that was a picture of a ET3SE. If you look at the link it says what it is clearly. FWIW I put the picture of the ET3SE on the bottom.
As to your statement about nobody having tube problems in the ET3SE etc, go to the CJ owner's group here http://www.conradjohnsonowners.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=469
Their preamps sound very good and always have. The question in this thread is how two preamps compare. Any and all information about that is valid. How it's built including weight, technical data, or holes in it's engineering underpants is important
As to the comment about where something is made and China, I'm old enough to remember when "Made in Japan" meant junk. Now it's held up as the standard for perfection.
Do you know where Triode Japan's products are made? Ayon says "Austria" on their gear. Google that question and see what people say. Is Cary made in the USA? Certainly some of it is. I've been to China more than once and I've seen German, Austrian and US products either being made 100% or being manufactured there then final assembly (putting the circuit boards into the casework) being done "at the factory".
But at the end of the day I have never sold a Chinese brand that I've had a good experience with. So I don't. Apple is made in China. Not a Chinese brand. PrimaLuna is made in China. Not a Chinese brand. It was the first brand to say it honestly and to tell the whole story of how it's done and where the parts to do it come from, meaning from name-brand Western suppliers like Alps, Takman, Fujitsu, SCR/Solen, and so on. Experts talk about the quality often. Art Dudley said in his Stereophile review "These are the best-built amps I've ever seen.... Somebody built these as if it mattered"
I will also go on record saying that in my opinion preamps have become a place where manufacturers can make better profit margin by using fewer parts.
To address the original question; I have a Prima Luna Dialogue Premium Pre and Power amp. I have never heard a Conrad Johnson, so I can't comment on those, but I can tell you out of every piece of gear that I have ever owned nothing even comes close to sounding as purely musical, without anything added in, than my Prima Luna gear. Tube magic. I can't believe that it doesn't cost at least twice as much as it does. It's that good. Don't just take my word, several reviewers have have compared Prima Luna to the best gear, at any price. With the sound and build quality I can't imagine anything that the Prima Luna won't be able to hold it's own against. What more can be said?
P.S. Kevin isn't arrogant, he's confident, because he know's what he's talking about. Upscale Audio is a great place to do business with. Kevin always gives me top dollar anytime I trade something in. I bought my Prima Luna gear, and many, many tubes from Upscale and I've never been steered wrong--just got unbelievable deals. I couldn't be happier. +1 for Prima Luna
"P.S. Kevin isn't arrogant, he's confident, because he know's what he's talking about. Upscale Audio is a great place to do business with. Kevin always gives me top dollar anytime I trade something in. I bought my Prima Luna gear, and many, many tubes from Upscale and I've never been steered wrong--just got unbelievable deals. I couldn't be happier. +1 for Prima Luna"
I know it doesn't look like my comments are justified based on the information in this thread. I would agree. But a while back Kevin made some comments in a different thread that were done in extremely poor taste. I wouldn't even consider quoting him here given the nature of his comments.
I picked up a bunch of 6H23-EB's from Kevin last week. Thank you so much Kevin. They are awesome in my GAT. I also bought some KT-150's for my Jolida 3502. Can't wait to try them. Nothing but awesome service from Kevin and Upscale Audio.
Thanks for the kind words. And Zd542, I don't know what comments I made, but back in the day, there was a lot of that. Frankly that's why most industry people don't get involved in forums anymore, including me. No data, just meaningless sweeping comments and insults. I'm just not into that. Principles before personalities.
I am not trying to put down anyone's purchase either. I will however point out things as I see them, like everybody should. I have a lot of experience in this stuff as many of you do.
If a company is making something that has holes in it's underpants either for engineering, build, or price it should be discussed. It's our money guys. I want all the information I can get when I lay down some jack. I count on information from people with more experience than me when I buy certain things. That's why I like Amazon.
"04-10-15: Upscaleaudio Thanks for the kind words. And Zd542, I don't know what comments I made, but back in the day, there was a lot of that. Frankly that's why most industry people don't get involved in forums anymore, including me. No data, just meaningless sweeping comments and insults. I'm just not into that. Principles before personalities."
Principles before personalities? I find that hard to believe. I'll say just about anything, but I don't feel comfortable just quoting what you said. It wasn't too long ago either. I'll give you some hints and you can choose to remember it if you want to.
The thread started out as a discussion on Prima Luna. As the discussion progressed, some of the comments started to get negative in that not everyone had a good experience dealing with you, in one form or another. But, for the most part, the comments seemed genuine. It should be noted, that I was part of the discussion. I've bought some stuff from you in the past. Nothing big or expensive, and I did notice you have an odd personality. I remember you saying some really odd things to me when I had you on the phone. They were nothing terrible, but I couldn't help but think that these type of comments aren't something you would normally say to someone you really don't know.
Anyway, in the middle of all this, you jumped into the discussion, and started to do some damage control. I didn't think there was anything wrong with that. You're allowed to speak, and I know what it is to run a business. I probably would have done the same thing. But then, out of nowhere, you drop a very tragic, personal story, and used it to justify why you may not have been in a good mood. I was stunned. Its not the kind of story that you would tell people that you really don't know. And its definitely not the kind of story you would use just to save face on an internet chat site. But it did work. You had everyone feeling bad for you and it stopped the discussion right there on the spot. And for that, I have absolutely no respect for you. Sometimes when you're in business, you need to have to balls to admit your mistakes, apologize and move on.
Meanwhile back at the ranch the original poster is no closer to getting valid comparison feedback like he asked for.
Personally I feel businesses that stand to make a profit from a particular product in question should probably avoid commenting on threads that are initiated by consumers for comparing competing products. Even with honest and good intentions it cannot come across as anything but an attempt to make a sale. This is not intended to be a swipe at Upscale because I am a satisfied customer there and will buy again.
Zd542, if I upset you somehow, I'm sorry. On to the topic of the thread.
Abrew: I do think about that. Everybody is trying to make a sale I suppose. Including consumers that bought a product and want to explain why. But motives don't matter that much as long as he gets data. Data is what's important.
I think that if you look at this thread, there is a LOT of information for him. Where it comes from is irrelevant as long as it's accurate. My statements were based on facts I know, and he was asking for that. If somebody thinks any of my statements were not accurate they can say so.
I think that if somebody from ARC, Cary, CJ, or whoever came in and made their case it would REALLY be incredible instead of things that have nothing to do with the question at hand. People in the industry talk about what to do with forums and the answer is the same. It goes off-topic.
Back to the original question. I think I've pretty much answered most anything relevant unless there is something else.