Conrad-Johnson MV-75A-1 Amplifiers

4.67/5 (6 Reviews) MSRP : $1575.00


Product Description

75 Watt Tube Amp (1983-1985)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by tvr2500m a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: December 30, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I thought I'd throw my thoughts in on this one. This is certainly a venerable old amp and I suspect predates many of today's audiophiles and enthusiasts. This is a bit unfortunate because unless someone cares to explore the history of home audio technology one might not know how important this humble amp was, and, well, is.

It's not as significant as a product as Edison noting electrons leaping about inside an evacuated bulb, the discovery of circuit feedback, the Williamson amplifier, the Marantz 9 or Macintosh 275, or Hafler's ultralinear amps that introduced masses of people to good, fun audio. Etc...

I missed Stereophile's recent 40th anniversary issue listing the most important audio landmarks of the last 40 years, BUT from the way I read it from having been there was that it was Audio Research and Conrad Johnson that lead the resurgance of quality audio in the mid seventies, and the reintroduction of vacuum tubes, that did so much to purge the mediocrity of seventies audio and set the stage for where we are today.

For CJ, it was their preamp and the MV-75 (it always reminded me of a beefed up Dynaco ST-70, which I don't think is a bad thing at all) that were all the rage. I remember the MV-75 reviews in Stereophile and The Absolute Sound. It was a reference amp. It was one of the products that began the change of the way people thought about audio. For Audio Research it was the SP-3 (and this preamp always reminded me of a beefed up Dynaco PAS-3)tube preamp and assorted tube amps like the monster D-76.

I was a kid. It was a stretch. I bought my MV-75 new, with a tube cage, along with a CJ PV-2 preamp. They were my first real audiophile pieces. They replaced my Dynaco PAT-5 Bi-FET and ST-416, with I'd had a lot of fun with. With the Magnepan MG-IIBs I bought to go along with the CJ gear, I had my first audiophile system. It sounded good then and I'm sure would be mighty listenable even today.

Today, I still have the MV-75 I bought as a kid, and the PV-2. Over the years I also have owned, and have listened to a lot of other amps and preamps. Most of it very good - Levinson, Boulder, Sonic Frontiers, Jolida, ARC, other CJ, Hovland, Musical Fidelity, Linn, BAT and on and on... There's certainly no shortage of good audio today, I think. The MV-75 is still a very fine amplifier and one that seems to be kept in the closets of a lot of audiophiles and audio reviewers.

Bud Conrad and Lew Johnson kept bugging me to get the darned MV-75 updated each time an update was issued (they were a VERY small company back then). Finally I did update it to the A-1 spec. It sounded a bit better and was certainly more stable.

Recently, I bought another one with the intent of running them as 150w/ch monoblocks. On the referral of CJ, I sent both of them to Bill Thalmann (Bill, mentioned in the previous post, was employee #3 at CJ after Bud and Lew and Director of Engineer for over 20 years) at Music Technology for a check up and Bill's updates.

The results were, I think, well worth the money spent.

The original MV-75/A/A-1 was always very lush and easy to listen to with a sweet, convincing mid range and very good soundstage creation. The top and bottom ends weren't so extended. The bass was also very soft and the high end wasn't so silky.

The Thalmann updated amps, while maintaining all the virtues of the original MV-75, they are now much more neutral, fast, tight, more revealing of inner detail, quieter, and smoother and more extended on both the top and bottom. In fact, they're very comparable to my Premier 11A, with much more bottom end punch and weight operated as monoblocks.

I recently acquired a very nice condition MV-75A-1 (though no tube cage). I don't know yet what I'm going to do with this one, but I don't have the heart to change it in anyway. I'd rather just preserve this one.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $650.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steven Ramos a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: February 23, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I have this amp over 2 years,and it can tackle any type of music which is important to me as I listen to a wide variety of music.The only weakness is the bass,I'm currently KT-88 tubes instead of the 6550,and I feel that these tubes give it more bloom and better bass too.Currently I have a pair of B&W 802 series III and the amp is just driving the mids and highs,and this is where the amp truly excels even better,without having to do the lows.I have a bi-amp setup with a SONOGRAPHE SA-120 driving the bottom and this for me is a very effective and dynamic combination.Currently i'm using Audible Illusions Modulius as the preamp,due to the MV-5 getting fixed.this is a nice combination of Conrad Johnson products and I used to have the MV-6 preamp,and this was a nice combination.This power amp MV-75a by CJ is truly a CLASSIC and will always stand the test of time.The only thing better than this is the PREMIER series.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon AD



Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Rob a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: May 14, 1999

Bottom Line:   
This amp is a classic. If you can live with 75 watts, then you will be hard pressed to do better than the MV75a-1.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Stan a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: May 2, 1999

Bottom Line:   
Note: this is an MV75, not a modified MV75A/A1. It can be modified, but I am satisfied the way it is for now:
Wow! What a difference! I've looked for a long time for a tube amp that can surpass my previous solid-state amps. Found this used early MV75 for $800 with new 6550 tubes and it has blown away my DNA 1.0 in its immediacy. It is a perfect match with my PV10 preamp; the c-j magic in its full glory! I've never heard voices and acoustic instruments like this before in my system....it's not tubey, it's not mushy, it's not soft, it's just like a voice or just like a guitar!

I am truly hearing things I've never before even picked up in old CDs. Maybe it's not quite the powerhouse as the DNA1.0, but really in my smallish house I can't complain. The bass is satisfying, not just adequate.

I am very impressed. It's a rare find these days on the used market so if you are looking for a see one up for grabs in the $750-$900 range, give it a try!

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Jordan a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 22, 1998

Bottom Line:   
I have since had the amp I reviewed above modified. This entailed better internal parts (caps, resistors, wiring, Cardas Rhodium binding posts and the bias controls were all calibrated). The result easily (in my opinion) bumps this amp up to 5-stars.
The sound became clearer; a fair amount less tubey, which as the folks at CJ would say, the amp is much faster, especially in the bass. The amp just does a better job at reproducing the subtlies, obviously it didn't totally change its character.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast




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