systems seems to be playing slowly, need thoughts

I have a CJ12AL preamp, Onix CDP, and a 1980 vintage Denon amp. I had noticed recently I had a jitter type of sound. Last night I was listening to Christmas music, Johnny Mathis and his vocals had an oscillating, jittery, and drawn out sound. So last night I swapped out my Brimars and flipped in a set of Philips Heerlands thinking the tubes where bad. Anyway, listening to Tony Bennett tonight the same thing but the music actually sounded like it was dragging, playing slowly, which maybe causing the distortion. What does it sound like to you all? I'm thinking it may be the amp. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank much, Dave
When you say a "jittery" sound, do you mean as in digital jitter as demonstrated on the Stereophile test CD #1? Or is it a stuttering sound? If it is the latter, I bet that it is your charming Chinese CD player. But rather than guesswork, why not just hook up a tuner or casette or mini disk or 8-track or whatevery you have laying around. If you do this and the stuttering continues, it is the amp or preamp. Either borrow a preamp, or go down to Radio Shack and buy four RCA jacks and the stereo volume pot that they carry and work up a little passive attenuator, sub it for the preamp. If the probem is still there it is the amp, if it is gone, it is the preamp. Easy, no?
I suggest that you invert absolute polarity: swap positive for negative polarity at the speaker connectors ONLY.
Some amplifiers invert polarity.
If after inverting polarity you hear faster sound, punchier bass and less sibilance, BINGO!
Good luck
I highly doubt that it's anything related to absolute polarity, as Casouza suggested. About 50 percent of recordings are made out of phase anyway and the effects, to me, do not seem to be related to tempo problems.

I'm thinking the CD player too. Ad Viridian said, try another CD player, or some other sources and see if that makes things better. Usually amps and preamps can sound poor and distorted, but not like they're playing at slow speed.
The other day I had a very similar sound from my system. On occasion in the past when the sound got weird/scratchy/slooow, I've un-hooked all the power cords, rearranged the power strips etc. No help this time with this regimen. Even more surprising this time was mid-range transistor grunge which has never come from the DK VS.1 MK II amp. before. Whatever faults the DK has, at least it usually has low transistor grain (my Almarro 5 watt A205A is out for modification, thus the use of the DK for now). Asking my local guru (Deets' Sound Room} about this, suggested I try the used Adcom "power conditioner" he had (model ACEsomething, $120). What a difference! no grunge, no grain, timing correct, no more sloooow. Even the DK had bass "punch" it never had before. I had never been a big fan of power conditioners and had success with power cords only to extent of adding focus/definition to sound, not a transformation like this, I suspect a happpy combination of effects for my wiring, power company, equiptment but I hope this helps you straighten out your system without having to replace stuff your're happy with. Let us know how it all works out.....and would like to hear about others that had good success with power conditioners of any type, Mike.
Thanks guys, Based on your advice I'll be switching and swapping over the next few days. Yes, based on Viridian's comments the CDP is my first focus. About the power conditioner, I have dedicated lines so I hadn't given them much thought but I'll relook that also. I'll let you all know how things work out. And Happy Holidays!. Dave
I just dont understand how the power conditioner can fix all the ills listed above...If the power was the issue, it would have been a permanent problem...Conditioner fixing timing!!
Also, try "rebooting" the microprocessor in the CD player. Unplug it for a few minutes then plug it back in, turn it on again and try. Power fluctuations can put them out of whack, just like a computer.
Jsujo: About the "timing" of music etc. I'm assuming it has to do do with the "upsurge" or "attack" of each cycle of frequency involved, like when certain copper conductors used instead of silver. Copper can give impression of better bass at first but usually works out to be just a change in conductance vs frequency response of the wire in question, not an actual change in the peak-to-peak milliseconds. Most of my equiptment has now seen 3 different houses and each place had it's own characteristics the way stuff sounded. Forgetting for the moment the power amp sound changes, the tv picture (RCA CRT 38" hdtv, over-the-air antenna) had vastly better picture with cleaner edges, blacker blacks, no digital artifacts on weak signals, less "snow" on very weak analog signals. The Nakamichi 5.1 receiver sound was improved/clearer/cleaner/more intelligible but not the day/night changes of the DK. The DK I took down to my mainly tube-type dealer and listened to it with his better surrounding ancillaries (Ensemble CD, Whest gizmo, all Audio Note silver cables,big Zingali speakers and Richard Grey Power Conditioning....DK better down there but frankly from a smoother/punchier/ standpoint better with smaller speakers I have and the Adcom conditioner. Last year at CES/THESHOW I noted many of demo rooms sounded weirder than I would have expected with the equiptment shown and almost universally those rooms had extensive power conditioning (this is not a scientificly done observation). One of the demo rooms had a very pedestrian amp/cd/wiring with small Radio Shack speakers that sounded pretty good (not great, just pretty good) that was meant to show off how his power conditioner can make any 'ol thing sound good....most people missed the point and just said "I didn't know those Radio Shack speakers were that good". Next month I'm going to CES and be on the look-out specifically for power conditioner stuff and will report back what is of note. Also going to think this through a bit a start a thread on subject, unless somebody comes with better concept to start with.
I don't mean to be trite, but I think you are a perfect candidate for a decent turntable.