I'm very surprised there was a problem and can hardly imagine anything that would account for it. I used to use a Premier 11a with my FS.
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I own a First Sound Paramount MKII Hotrod. It sound awesome with pretty much anything that I have had paired with it. In the latest inineration, I have it paired with a McCormack DNA 225. It sound incredibly fast, pacy and powerful.
Other amps I have paired the Preamp with:
Final Laboratories Music 5 battery powered amplifier.
Sharp EX-111 digital all in one, 20 watts of digital power.
Pair of Scott Dixon Monoblock Op chip amplifiers, modded by Parts Connexion (Chris Johnson fame) 40 watts.
The First Sound sound glorious with all. Of course, the right speakers do help.
PS: Have you wired the preamp directly to the wall, as Emmanuel recommended? Sometimes, sound compression or slowness have is associated with current limitations of the circuit you are using.
I'm using my FS PD II with a Krell FPB400cx. Very potent combo. Before I bought the FS, I contacted Emmanuel to ask him about some technical compatibility issues, which could have been a problem between the krell and his preamp.
He was most gracious and forthcoming with his advice. (He LOVED the pairing with a Krell BTW)
You too, might consider contacting Emmanuel for his advice regarding matching an amp with his preamp.
Find some dealers and make an appointment to have an audition with them. Take your preamp and see what goes and what does not. That is the only way you can find synergy.
Slipknot, I have heard from many people who have had the same FS combo, with a Berning. They said the same, that the sound was outstanding.
I am using the H2o Signature Monoblocks with the First Sound Presence Deluxe Mk II and am very pleased with the synergy. There is a review of the amps on http://www.6moons.com if the amp is of interest to you...
Just one more idea that hasn't yet been mentioned which is to check the input impedance on the CJ amp . . . The output impedance of the FS is rather high and if my memory is correct it is about 1700 ohms. So using a rule of thumb between preamp output impedance and amp input impedance of 50:1 or even better yet 100:1 then your CJ input impedance would need to be 85K or 170K respectively.
I have used VTL ST-150 with an input impedance of 100K ohms and currently an Art Audio PX25 amp with great results.
usually, if the input impedance of the next stage/piece of gear is 10X the output impedance of the previous stage/piece of gear, it is sufficient. So, if the CJ amp has about 20K Ohms input impedance, it *should* be OK in that it should not load down the preamp o/p stage.
The reason for the lifeless sound for the FS-CJ combination could have been something else besides impedance mismatch.
Eps, your orig post has no text supporting an impedance mis-match - you merely state that it's likely a mismatch issue. How did you conclude it was an impedance mis-match?