Conrad-Johnson PFR Preamplifiers

Conrad-Johnson PFR Preamplifiers 

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 19  
[Dec 08, 2020]
easystep


Strength:

This unit although 20 plus years old still has the ability to play in tandem with newly released class A, AB, and digital equipment. The wide bandwidth of this unit allows it to breathe the same air as updated amplifiers.

Weakness:

The only problem I could noticeably detect was the gain in the newer versions of the class D amp was was higher, which caused a grainy effect when adjusting the volume, other than that there are no weaknesses. I am having a hard time parting with this unit.

Price Paid:
450
Purchased:
Used  
OVERALL
RATING
5
[Dec 04, 2020]
easystep


Strength:

This unit although 20 plus years old still has the ability to play in tandem with newly released class A, AB, and digital equipment. The wide bandwidth of this unit allows it to breathe the same are as these updated amplifiers.

Weakness:

The only problem I could noticeably detect was the gain in the newer versions of the class D amp was the gain was higher, which caused a grainy effect when adjusting the volume, other than that there are no weaknesses. I am having a hard time parting with this unit.

Price Paid:
450
Purchased:
Used  
OVERALL
RATING
5
[Dec 04, 2020]
easystep


Strength:

This unit although 20 plus years old still has the ability to play in tandem with newly released class A, AB, and digital equipment. The wide bandwidth of this unit allows it to breathe the same are as these updated amplifiers.

Weakness:

The only problem I could noticeably detect was the gain in the newer versions of the class D amp was the gain was higher, which caused a grainy effect when adjusting the volume, other than that there are no weaknesses. I am having a hard time parting with this unit.

Price Paid:
450
Purchased:
Used  
OVERALL
RATING
5
[Dec 17, 2007]
R390LM
AudioPhile

Strength:

Clean, clear, and natural sound
Bass reproduction
Remote controlPrice

Weakness:

Volume adjustment as very low levels is not equal on both channels.

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.

Similar Products Used:

C-J CAV-50
C-J MV-55
Meridian 508

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 11, 2002]
Phil
AudioPhile

Strength:

Clean detailed sound without making you want to clench your teeth.

Weakness:

Nothing significant

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

Similar Products Used:

Audio Research, Threshold, Superphon

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 31, 2000]
hi-end guru
Audiophile

CJ is known for open, dynamic, sweet, revealing sound:- you will hear what you put into it. Instruments are before you, in space, in three dimensions, with people playing them - the combination of speed, dynamics, and transparency help one hear how the musicians are playing their instruments in a way that is almost impossible to describe. For example, on violin, there is a violin, a bow, and the energy that the musician applies to the instrument is perfectly communicated. The PFR transmits the emotional connection between musician and the music. There is nothing forgiving in this preamp - a very high-resolution tool. Bass is tight and well-defined, there is no "bloom" and no "warming" -- which can be mistaken for a lack of bass energy. A pre-amp for those in pursuit of the music.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 18, 2000]
Steve Lane
Audiophile

Strength:

Truth in tonal balances does the midrange very right. Allow me to hear subtle nuances that were clouded over by my audible Illusions modulus 3. And the remote ia handy also. This is the one pre to own at this price point.

Weakness:

No phono section available as a built in option. And vague description of just what the epl 1 and epl 2 inputs are for.

This peramp brought out the truth in the music and gave it life that it never had before. It keeps me involved with the music and not with the equiptment. The lower level information is not missing as it is with so much of todays so called reference pre amps. From the bow drawing across the violin strings to the snap of a snare drum(the opening of Stevie Ray Vaughns Couldn't stand the weather). And the deepest of bass(organ notes from pomp and pipes) this pre amp does it all effortlessly. I find no weaknesses in its performance in any way. When not fed any signal it is dead quiet. It allows you to hear just what the engineer wanted you to hear. It adds nothing and as far as I can tell it subtracts nothing. Just allowing me to enjoy the music and after all isn't that the main Idea. This pre amp is well suited to all kinds of music and I have found no problems using it for anything in my collection. From rock, to Jazz to new age to classical , Blues, Folk, Soundtracks, Funk it handles them all, And gives up all the musical details with out being bright or reticient.

My system
McCormack DNA-1 Amp
Conrad Johnson PFR Pre amp
Conrad Johnson EF-1 phono section
VPI HW 19 mk3 turntable with Grado the Reference cartridge.
Teac VRDS 10 dc transport
Adcom GDA 600 d/a converter
Chang lightspeed power conditioner
JM lab Electra 915 main speakers
Kinergetic Reasearch SW 800 sub woofers.
Monster cable 4.2 speaker cables Monster cable sigma sub woofer cable.
Rotel rdv985 dvd player.
Teac X1000Rbl Reel to Reel
Nakamichi bx300 cassette deck
Inter connects are alpha core micro purls and straight wire maestro.

Similar Products Used:

Audible Illusions modulus 3

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 04, 2000]
glenn
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

effortlessness, harmonic rightness

Weakness:

none

I don't own this honey because I can't afford it, but I did listen to it for two days and I never heard any preamp like it before or since (this was 4 years ago). From the moment the music started, everything in my head and body said "this is right"!!! In all my years of audio (since 1980), only a handfull of products touch you in such a way....the roger's 3/5a, naim 250 and this beauty....anyone wanna sell me theirs?

Similar Products Used:

audio research LS-3, Krell

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Feb 09, 2000]
Eng Lee
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Typcial CJ sound, which is musical

Weakness:

Relatively cheap looking plastic remote

This is a very typical CJ product, if you want to get tube sound without tube maintenance, this is it!! I won't complain much even I switch from the AI M3A to the PFR. Other than the lower bass response is not quite as good as the KRC 3 and the 38S, it is a very decent pre amp and personally I like it more than the LS9, even the earlier LS3.
The only thing I don't like it is the cheap plastic remote control, which is not forgiveable for a almost $3000 product. I knew CJ realizes this problem and I hope their latest pre amp LV1 will have the metal remote. Also, I know CJ won't do balance XLR interconnect but I urge they consider adding it to their products for the sake of versatility.
Overall, a very 'tubish' solid state pre amp that you can keep on listening and listening with fatigue.

Similar Products Used:

Krell KRC 3, CJ PV12L, McCormack ALD 1, ARC LS 9, Levinson 38S, Audible Illusion M3A

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Apr 16, 1998]
Jeff Potts
an Audiophile

I tried a number of preamplifers in the PFR's price range ($2500) but none beat the PFR's sheer musicality. The first thing that struck me about this remote-controlled, solid state preamp was its soundstaging - wow! It was typical CJ. It also sounds very open and transparent, and detailed, but not too detailed as to sound etched. Moreoever, the dynamics of this product are nothing short of incredible. I have have yet to hear its equal in this department. With seven inputs, it is also highly flexible. In terms of sonics, I can find nothing to quibble about with this product.
Which brings me to the remote - the damn remote. It's a cheap plastic wand that I can't believe it is part of a $2500 product. But that's only half the problem. It also occassionally locks up, and fails to send the proper command to the receiver. It is incredibly frustating. After lots of frustation, I sent my unit back to CJ, and the replaced a transistor, which helped slow down the frequency of the problem but didn't solve it completely. They told me they don't have other customers complaining, but I'm not buying it. It's just a cheap piece of technology on an otherwise wonderful product.

So, if you can handle occassional remote control problems (maybe you'll be luckier than I) and want first class sonics, check out the CJ PFR. You won't be disappointed with the sound, I promise. Four stars because of the cheap remote!

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 19  

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