Conrad-Johnson PV-12 Preamplifiers

4.62/5 (13 Reviews) MSRP : $2595.00


Product Description

Full Function Preamplifier


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Reviews 1 - 5 (13 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Paul Dunn a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 16, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I am very familiar with the Audio Research products and love-em for their transparency and resolution and still do! When the opportunity came up to buy the CJ 12L pre I was somewhat hesitant because I have never owned a CJ preamp before but I have had their power amps which are excellent! After allowing the 12L to warm up for an hour, I put on my favorite cds and was astonished with what I was hearing! A very smooth sound yet extremely detailed. Transparency, soundstaging were second to none! This pre is every bit as good as some of the ARC preamps I've been familiar with. In fact for overall sound & musical enjoyment I like this one better. Conrad Johnson has a clear winner here and for the used price, it's a down-right bargain. If you see one of these for sale don't hesitate to buy! I read the reviews on this below and agree with them except for the reviewer that complained of transients when first turned on. This is not possible on a proper working unit because the 12L mutes itself for the first 90 seconds while the circuits stabalize. I find it's operation to be dead silent. I strongly recommend this pre and if you have any reservations about buying one, don't worry, this product will inspire you!

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by tvr2500m a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: December 30, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I have some sympathy for the reviewer who called the PV-12 overly analytical. I could see how someone could claim this.

I've used lots of preamps, and listened to/auditioned many more. I'm a CJ fan. Have been since I bought my then-called Conrad Johnson preamp, later the PV-1, and my MV-75. I still own the latter, though it was recently updated by its co-designer, Bill Thalmann.

I had a PV-2A forever. Since they were new to the market. I sold the PV-1 for it. The PV-2A certainly didn't sound bad, just overly soft and full. I knew I could improve things in my system with a preamp upgrade. I didn't realize how much until I had the PV-12A plugged into my system.

As I was in the process of upgrading I'd rattle off my system components to folks, mostly getting nods of okay until I'd mention my poor old PV-2A. No nods, but grimaces.

I tried a lot of preamps but came back to CJ for the quality of the sound and quality of the company's service.

It seems popular to claim CJ products of being overly musical and not appropriately accurate or neutral, and also not providing such deep levels of resolution. I might say this of the older CJ gear, but not of the PV-12A. It's detail resolving power is remarkable, yes, even analytical, but at the same time I feel that it maintains a musical tonal richness and great soundstage image rendering. I don't feel that it's cold and unmusical.

I've always thought that the ARC gear had this over etched detail. Impressive? Yes. Sounds great, too? I think so. Quite to my preference? I generally prefer CJ. Is there lots of other great stuff out there? Sure. I just have tended towards CJ for my value point.

I've done A LOT of tube rolling with it. I have accumulated beaucoup tubes. You can, in fact, as you can with other tube gear, make it sound like just about anything you want. Make it sound fat and rich with a set of Telefunken ECC802s, lean it out with a set of Siemens 5814As. Every tube type makes it sound different. I've arrived at the Amperex 7316 for the tubes I like best. I also like the OEM RFTs. My PV-12A has a phono section but I only use the linestage these days.

In all, another solid product from CJ. There's only one other product that's really intriguing me and may potentially sway me from the PV-12A - the PFR.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



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

Date Reviewed: September 12, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I have had many preamps in my musical life. This is the best preamp that I have ever used or heard in my 25 years in this hobby. with this unit you hear what the artist recorded.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $2500.00

Purchased At:   Audio Perfections



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jerry O. a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 2, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I recently picked up a demo PV12AL (line stage). If these units weren't discontinued, I'd gone for the full function (phono included) version. With the stock 12AU7's the sound was wonderfully natural, dimensional, with realistic soundstage. After auditioning a number of different 12AU7's, I ended up swapping the stock tubes with the incredible RCA "blackplate" 5963's. These tubes took the already great sounding unit to a new level of sonic bliss. I'm just thrilled with the preamp; exceptionally musical and easy on the ears. Unfortunately, it's only a line stage, so I now need to find a comparable phono preamp. The search never ends.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Charles a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: July 24, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Wowww!!!!
All the lucid liquidity of tubes without that butter scotch, amber flavoring that lesser units have. Unlike transistors, highs without the grain and that slightly
whitish vail.
The "thereness" that only good tubes can bestow is present in truckloads in this preamp.
The front to back depth is just short of miraculous. And wide, wide, smooth soudstage.
This thing is just a TOTAL package.
The PV12AL is fanatically musical.
Relaxed and open.
I could write a book.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $795.00

Purchased At:   Sound by Johnston




Reviews 1 - 5 (13 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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