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Conrad-Johnson PFR
16 Reviews
rating  4.94 of 5
MSRP  2795.00
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Reviews 1 - 5 (16 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by R390LM a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: December 17, 2007

Bottom Line:   
Simply a phenomenol preamp. I was using the CAV-50 for some time
and as much as I enjoy that integrated amp, I find that the PF-R partnered
with the MV-55 make an incredible combination for not that much money.
The major difference is in bass performance and dynamics.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996

Purchased At:   gift from dad



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

Date Reviewed: August 11, 2002

Bottom Line:   
This is a phenomenal preamp. I have had it only a oouple of days, but I'm blown away and can't unplug it long enough to A/B it against some other gear I have.

I bought it based on the recommendations here and the Stereophile Class A rating and I'm not disappointed. If anything I'm far more impressed than I expected to be.

As others have pointed out, this is solid state and the sound is clean and clear and comes shining on through. If you have a bright sounding system this may not be your ticket, but if you are looking for clean unadulterated sound, this is it.

It is a bit forward sounding, but as others have said it still manages to be pleasant and non fatiging. A couple days of break in have also opened things up a bit.

On well recroded music (Cowboy Junkies for instance) I am hearing nuances in the music that I'd never heard before.

The remote is cheap looking, but it is full function and works fine. The volume control is sensitive and doesn't allow for fine graduations, but I don't find it a problem.

All in all a wonderful product with the CJ build quality and that gorgeous champagne finish.

Associated Equipment
Bel Canto Evo 200.2
Proac 1.5's
Sony 333ES SACD Changer
Kimber Silver Streak IC's
Kimber PR Speaker cable
Chang power conditioner

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $1100.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by joebone a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 26, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Been using my PF-R for four years, and find it to be a blast. Before purchase, I compared it - in my system - with the line stage in my Krell integrated, two Audio Research pre-amps (one tube, one solid-state), and a Rowland. The PF-R whacked them all when it came to truthful timbre, and whacked all but the Audio Reseach LS-2B in micro and macro-dynamics and timing, where I found the CJ and that particular AR to be more or less equal.

It's made for a great combination with my BEL power amps. Based on my experience with a Pass Labs ONO phono stage, which is a very high-gain device, I feel like the CJ is likely imposing a modest editorial effect on timbre, but it is all to the good in that it is that groovy golden-color associated with CJ's gold faceplates. (FYI, the ONO faceplate is light black/charcoal grey). And it certainly is not restraining time or values in any way: something that I can't imagine any preamp improving, but know that many preamps can impede. Likewise, micro and macro-dynamic And these virtues are evident in every kind of music I've heard; there is no "this unit is good for _________" kind of B.S., which necessarily implies the unit in question is not as good for something else.

My one complaint is with the volume knob, which doesn't seem to have fine enough a range at the low end of the knob, and which will pass some sound, on some inputs, even when turned down all the way (but there is no cross-input bleed, which would be unacceptable). I also sometimes have a low-level hissing sound from one channel, which comes and goes with phases of the moon. But the sonics are exemplary. BTW, the remote is very cheesy, but I don't often use it, so it's no big deal.

So an easy 5 for sonics, but a four for value 'cuz of the above-stated non-sonic caveats

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Erik a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 3, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Although not quite as resolving and three-dimensional as today's best preamps, the PFR counters with extraordinary body, timbre and rythm (sense of movement and fun) that benefits music of every category.
The truly great thing about the PFR is the mysterious way in which it succeeds at being attention-grabbing, a bit upfront even, while remaining eminently natural sounding and unobtrusive. Not many hi-fi products manages this delicate balancing act. The SFCD-1 CD player is one that comes to mind, but the PFR beats even that one over the long haul by its greater neutrality - avoiding noticeable coloration and bloom altogether - while still providing a touch of midrange warmth. A classic product deserving the highest recommendation. Don't be put off by the modest price!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Anthony Brown a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 11, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Couldn't beleive the incremental sound quality in a wide variety of recordings (from Lucinda Williams to Radiohead to Sleater Kinney). 11 months later, still qiving me a huge amount of satisfaction. I'm using it with a Naim CD3, Carver amp and Vandersteen Model 2s. I intend on trying a C-J MF2500 amp in the next few months and hope for another step.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $2800.00

Purchased At:   Soundscape (Baltimore)




Reviews 1 - 5 (16 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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