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Conrad-Johnson Premier 4
7 Reviews
rating  4 of 5
MSRP  2950.00
Description: 100 Watt Tube Amp (1983-1988)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John B. a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: March 29, 2013

Bottom Line:   
+The Conrad-Johnson Premier Four is a wonderful amp that is also great at starting an argument. Often there are wildly conflicting verdicts regarding this amp and I’d like to add mine to the mix. I bought mine used in 1988 (having heard one in a friend’s house) and ordered a new set of tubes from C-J before plugging it in. When I installed the new tubes and biased them I was appalled. It sounded terrible. The speakers were and still are Acoustat 1+1’s and they require a great deal of power. My pair of McIntosh MC-60’s was up to the task but I wanted a bit more heft. In retrospect, the Macs may have been more lean than most because of a mod that made them very airy but a bit bass-shy. The tubes that C-J sold me included Phillips EL34 outputs. I could only conclude that these factory selected tubes were the problem. I ordered a set of GE EL34’s and installed them. The amp instantly became what I knew it should be, a powerful but delicate, very satisfying and revealing piece of equipment. I have never been tempted to buy another amplifier in the intervening 25 years. The only challenge is keeping it happy by finding tubes that can take the beating that it delivers. The GE’s could take it but it should be noted that at the end of their production run they became erratic and about a quarter of them were bad. I tried Sovteks but they could not handle the rigors of the amp. Then a friend gave me a set of new old stock Hytron EL34’s that were a touch smoother than the GE’s and have lasted for over 6 years in an amp that’s notorious for burning up tubes. It's almost time for me to get a new set of EL34’s and I may have to go to CJ again because it’s harder today to get tubes that this amp won’t tear apart. I just hope that they won’t try to sell me a set from Phillips! So why the huge variation in opinions concerning this amp? It’s the tubes. The Premier Four is very sensitive to tube quality and a mediocre set will ruin it’s sound. If you heard the thing back in the Eighties with Phillips tubes, you have not heard how good it can sound. Give it another try. March 2013.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Ed a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 5, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Considering I inherited it (free)from my father who switched to remote controlled mckintoshes, the P-4 is superior value for money. I did compare it with his new amps some time ago and it sounded similiarly silky. After 1 hours warm up, the CJ is seductive and you tend to forget its lack of bloom and sustain, and will get into the music. Replacing the tubes, will probably give it a new lease of life although the whole set of tubes will cost S$800. (anyone tried Sovteks, gold lion and other brands?) Currently makes great sound from a Philips CD 842, Motif (CJ kit) FET Pre and vintage Polks via unknown brand interconnects and 'installation' grade Nordost wires. Next upgrades will probably to Maggies 1.6QR (to increase height of soundtage) and the CD player (for more detail) - should it be ARCAM 72, Planet2000 or a really practical 300 disc changer and a good DAC? Still searching for that elusive vinyl analog sound. Suggestions welcome!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Purchased At:   Kingsley Audio Singapore



Overall Rating:4
Submitted by John Chleapas a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 31, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I bought one of these used in near mint condition. I find the sound to bequite nice on this amplifier. The construction is quite robust, and this
amplifier weighs in at a substantial 82 pounds. I have no complaints with the
purchase of this high end quality amplifier. The use, and set up is quite
easy. To bias the amplifier all you need is a small screw driver. You simply
turn the screws for each tube just until the red led's go out. That's it. This
amplifier uses (8) EL-34 output tubes. I expect this to last many more years,
and continue to sound as expected from all Conrad Johnson products. This amp
puts out a hefty 100 wpc and should be able to drive most any set of speaker. I will give this unit and enthusiastic 3 star rating out of 5 stars. Just remember to get some lifting help when you lift it out of the box..

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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast



Overall Rating:1
Submitted by Rob a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: May 14, 1999

Bottom Line:   
One of the biggest disappointments ever. I purchased the Premier 4 new when it was first introduced. I was lucky to unload the thing. About the only good thing I can say about it was that it looked really good.
The sound was nothing like the Premier 5's or the older MV75a1's. In fact, the MV75 is a much, much better amp at a lot less price.

A poor product from a great company.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Jerry a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: March 4, 1999

Bottom Line:   
This preamp is smooth, warm and three-dimensional, particularly in the mid-range. It is very life-like when played up to moderate listening levels. Also, it appears to have a very robust build quality; 80 plus pounds for a 100 wpc stereo tube amp. I chose this amp after owning PS Audio, Threshold, and Quicksilver. I don't think I'll ever look back!
Associated equipment: SAE 8000 tuner, MAC C22 (reissue) preamp, CJ Prem 4 amp, Thorens TD125 TT w/SME 3009MkII arm & Grado 8MZ cartg, Pioneer PD65 CD, Denon DRM-740 Cass Deck, and Martin Logan Aerius i speakers.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile




Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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