Which Conrad Johnson pre is a step-up from PFR?

Recently for some unknown reason i sold my beloved PFR preamp and after numerous preamp changes realized that i cannot recapture the magic i once had in my system when it was in it.My question is:which other CJ preamp has the same kind of sound (golden glow sound,big presence in the midrange,wide soundstage)?To be precise i am looking at the Premier line but not with the "new school"ultra transparent sound that CJ switched to around 2000-2001.I know that Premier 15 is very good but i already own CJ EV-1 phono stage so it kinda defeats the purpose.Would Premier 14 or 16 be a substantial step-up from PFR?Thank You all for your advices.
I own a premier 16 LS2 and I can find no other preamp that is even close. I listened to the new B&W 802's with a MacIntosh CD player, preamp and their 400 W amp. Sounded dead then i took my premier 16 in, replaced the McIntosh preamp and pure gold, music instead of merely wondrous sound. I cannot say to much good about it. My previous preamp was C-J's PV 11 with phono, so I hold on to my equipment for about a decade before upgrading. Hope this helps Michael
I suspect that the PFR was probably the best value product ever offered by CJ. I have no doubt that the Overhang has experienced a superior product with the 16LS2 but for what price - $8000 new and $5k to $6K used on the open market? I consider myself to be one of the more jaded audiophiles and can only tell you that the PFR is one of a very few products that made a difference in my system (I picked mine up at ebay for $900!). What saddens me is that no-one to my knowledge has ever offered an upgrade to this venable product. why is that? There has to be quite a few of these units still being used...

I have not heard the Lamm's but I suspect that reading some of the reviews on this site that this would be a good starting point for you (other than the 16LS2).
Well I started my journey with the PV10al and did not stop until I arrived at the premier 16lsII. It is simply an amazing pre-amp and yes I have heard a few through the years. As for your situation I would recommend the premier 14 (old school) and depending on your funds the 17lsI or if you can find one and it is within your budget the 16lsII.Good luck and enjoy the music.


I've owned a PV-12, a PFR, and a Premier 17LS. If you don't care for the newer, more analytical CJ sound -- I didn't -- you won't like the Premier 17LS, which has a reticent and recessed sound.

The PV-12L, from the mid-90s CJ line, is marvelously clear and yet warm and friendly. I stupidly sold mine recently. They're a bargain at their current market prices. I'll probably buy another. I did have a PV-12AL, btw, and liked the older version (non-A version) better.

The PF-R had a pure and dynamic presentation but was insufficiently sensitive at the lower ranges of volume control; it didn't sound good until about 1/4 volume, which was *much* too loud for our living room. Also, though its sound was generally clean and inoffensive. it occasionally exhibited a sort of shoutiness, a bit of excessive forwardness or brightness that became slightly fatiguing.
A vote for the Premier 14. I've had mine since 1996 and love it. Used ones are going for ~$1500 here and, IMO, would be hard to beat at anything near the price. Seven sets of inputs, two sets of outputs, a terrific remote, and really great sound. Uses 4 cheap, reliable 6GK5 tubes -- just bought a quad for $12 on Ebay. Good luck, Dave
Another vote for Premier 14, simply a great sounding preamp.
to URU975 which Mac preamp did you hear against your CJ ??
The McIntosh preamp was/is the C-45 and it cannot begin to compare to the Premier 16 by CJ thnaks for asking Michael

I owned the PV-10AL but haven't heard the other c-j pre-amps mentioned, but I can tell you that the 17LS Series 2 makes music in my system. Great tone, soundstaging, inner detail, natural dynamics and most importantly conveys the essence (continuousness) of music!

Good Luck!
I "moved up" from the PFR and the closest CJ I heard to it with an improvement was the 17. I bought a Hovland HP100 although the 17 was a close second. (I have since moved on to a Wyetech Opal -- different level entirely).

I later bought a modded PFR on Audiogon (not sure who modded it) for my second system because I missed it so much and now live happily ever after with it. But the 17 offered some greater resolution and clarity, but still with the traditional CJ "magic".

Any of the Premier range will be the ticket. I've heard the 14 and bought the 17. I ai'nt changing. They are both excellent. Do'nt forget the premier 10, if you can find one. It's basically a 14 without the remote. They seem to go for about $1000, when they apppear on the 'gon site