What should be the next step ?

Ok, you guys got to me with the upgrade frenzy !!! After years of absence from the hobby (noise in the house from an uprising family ), i'm back into audio. Until recently, i have not listened to anything else than my Arcam gear from the mid 90's.

Probably because of age, or the types of music i listen to ( 70's rock, classical, electronic, soft jazz ), I got fed up with the "british" type of sound, even my friend's all Linn system. Although i'm impressed with the soundstage it produces.

After many months of reading in these pages, i finally decided to try a used tube pre amp and got a cj PV-14 LS mainly for the warmth and soundstaging qualities of it. That's it, i got hooked !! Further on, i've paired it with a 4070Se from Sim audio just to bring a bit more slam in the bass than my previous british gear. Big improvement for me! Now i want to push further on. On the pre amp side, i'm gonna go for CJ premier preamps. But on the poweramp side, i'm reluctant, for the time being, to quit definitely SS for a tube one ! I'm looking for the same type of sound but with a little more front staging and dynamics.The source is a Arcam FMJ 23, the speakers are monitor audio from the 90's that I still like for the precise highs they produce and my power cables are beeing upgraded although i have not found anything at a reasonable price that beats my old Van den hul's interconnects.

I'm interested in your opinions for the next upgrade for an amp up to 1500 -2000 $ on the used market. I'm leaning toward Sim audio Moon W-3 or 5, Conrad Johnson MF 2250 or 2500, Classe amps. I've heard lots of good comments about Levinson and Counterpoint but don't have any idea how they sound. Please feel free to give me any advices.


Welcome back to the fun-house. Funny you should mention that you went for the CJ PV14LS. I purchased a demo model in NYC last year. I paired it with an old Mac MC-7100 Amp, Viennna Acoustics Mozarts and a Nakamichi CD player./ The sound was terribel and I had to dis-mantle the entire thing. I believe it had to do with the speaker load being 6 Ohms and mot properly thought out.

I have since changed a few components. I paired the CJ-14LS with a new Rega Apollo CD and B&W 805s. I am curently awaiting the arrival of my Sim W-3. I auditioned an 85 Watt intergrated from Sim and found the bass extensdion, detail and sounstage to be great. Mind you, I am not an expert and do not subscribe to audio mumbo-jumbo. I base most decisons on what my ears tell me.

That said, I pick-up the W-3 on Friday and install on Saturday. I will give you a stsu report on the intial set-up next week. Bear in mind that there is a fairly long break-in period. Although, that should not be a problem with any versions that you buy on the used market.

Good luck and talk to you next week.


Follow-up to my earlier post:

I have had the Sim Audio W-3 in mysystem for a few weeks now. All I can say is 'Boy, what a difference'. Taking into account the act that it has a long (3 weeks or 300 hours) of burn-in time, it sounds great. As I mentioned previously, I am using the CJ-14PVLS, a Rega Apollo CD, Kimber SiverStreak Interconnect and B&W 805 speakers.

I can hear much greater detail at the loow-end, there is no harshness, just smooth notes emanating from the sweet-spot and I have also noticed that it plays much louder at lower settings than my old Mac did. I don't play it loud intentionally, its just that you really get the full effect of tis Amp's capabilities at higher listening levels. Base is full, warm andnot at all dull.

I will say that the B&Ws must be replaced. I don't feel that they do justice to AMP of this level and quality. Oh, and the build quality is superb. I e-mailed SimAudio to alert them that the passive on-off switch is not located where they described it in the manual (which was written for the W-5 and 7). It is located on the left-hand underside of the unit and quite small. I almost diod not even think to look for it there.

Bottom line, I am keeping the Amp and replacing ther speakers. I should note that the W-3 is quite revealing on equipment and recordings that are flawed.

I hope this info helps with yuour decision.

Good luck,