Conrad-Johnson Premier 14 Preamplifiers

Premier 14

User Reviews (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7  
Keeratikul Sophonsiri   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 10, 2009]

I just own this preamp for less than 2 months. I replaced my small sonic frontier SFL - 1 preamp with the utmost satisfaction. I valuated 2 preamp prior purchase between Sonic Frontier SFL - 2, and this Premier 14. If I have to decide with eyes and brain, I am sure that everybody will go for SFL - 2. But as soon as I plug Premier 14 to the system, I know myself that this is the sound to die for.

Now I am trying to get myself into premier 17LS, the bigger brother.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Tony Marino   Audiophile [Jan 31, 2002]
Strength:

Extremely musical, wonderfull midrange. Dynamic. Superb layering.

Weakness:

Noisy with most 6gk5 tubes. Need the best NOS-tubes there is.

I bought this one used for 5 months ago, and am still shocked. This is way beyond every other preamps I have had in my system, including the costlier ML 380 which has been my refference untill now. If I only had heard the Premier Fourteen earlier, that would have saved me for many years of changing preamps. Both macro- and above all micro-dynamics are jaw-droppingly good. So rich, blossomy and sweet, yet articulate and exceptionally detailed. Now I just wonder how CJ can stop making such a great product. I guess the more expensive CJs would be like absolutely fantastic. Maybe I will one day have the money for an ART. Just curious how a preamp can possibly be any better than the Premier Fourteen.

Similar Products Used: ARC LS 22. ML 380.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Pio   Audiophile [Nov 09, 2000]
Strength:

Soundstage, tonal balance, dynamics.

Weakness:

None

A great pre amp! It sounds well-balanced as a fantastic tube pre amp with articolation and dynamic as a solid state.With GE tubes it is at the state of art.

Similar Products Used: Nad S100,ARC LS7, ARC LS22
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
David Del Bourgo   an Audiophile [Jun 28, 1999]

The Conrad Johnson Premier 14 is my fifth preamp mated with my third pair of Apogee speakers. Previous preamps, a small, inexpensive, tubed Carey (I forget the model), Soundstream, ARC LS2 and ARC LS22. I upgraded preamps so frequently because Apogee speakers (I now own Slant 8s) are very revealing, and I have become preamp sensitive. I owned the ARC LS2 for many years, and liked its ability to give a 3D soundstage with excellent separation of instruments. It had a fairly solid bass, and the tonal quality of instruments was quite good. The reason I decided to upgrade is that I began to hear an electronic signature that eventually got to me. I upgraded to the LS22 because it was magical in the midrange. Better than any other preamp I have heard. Lush, enormous soundstage, perhaps not exactly true, but I was in love, so I didn't care. However, the treble and bass were not strong. The treble was harsh and the bass was fat and wobbly. I settled on the Premier 14 because it does certain things quite well and nothing that I can hear wrong. First, it has an excellent soundstage, wide and deep, like the ARCs. It does not have the huge, seductive soundstage of the LS22 (wow!), but it is excellent. I would not say that it has a lush sound, but it certainly is warm and involving. Tonally, it is excellent, and it lacks any electronic signature that I can hear. (Perhaps if I owned an ART for a while, I would begin to hear the Premier 14's electronic signature.) For now, it sounds pure and clear. It is not overly "tubular," however it has a warm, slightly "bloomy" sound. I will probably keep this preamp forever ("where have I heard that before?" says my wife), or certainly many other components will be upgraded before it is. I have heard other preamps that do some things better, or at least more enticingly, but I have not heard a preamp that does the entire range of things quite as well, at least not in its price range. I have come to believe that the preamp is the most important single component in the stereo chain, because everything goes through it and it effects every other component's sound. In a certain sense, it is the "first watt" that is delivered to the amp. If you are like I am, and eventually become sensitive to a preamps "signature," I believe that the Premier 14 is an excellent choice for those of us who can't afford the very high priced spread. (Not that it's exaclty inexpensive.)

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
rk   an Audio Enthusiast [Nov 08, 1998]

2 steps short of heaven - the 16LS and the ART beingthe steps. Dynamic, rhythmic, huge, spacious and easyto listen to. Not a single part of the frequency out of proportion - marginally soft highs and bettered in every respect by its older brothers. Nothing else comes close.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
George M. Ramsay   an Audiophile [Apr 16, 1998]

Anyone who is looking for their final pre-amplifier need look no further than this model - unless their finances can stretch to the ART! My previous pre-amplifier - an Audio Synthesis Passion V (all Vishay resistor, dual-mono stepped attenuator, silver wired with WBT sockets) perhaps has the edge in leading edge definition in the upper bass, but has a much narrower soundstage. The Premier 14 opens up the image depth and width remarkably with no loss of focus. If you can live without the incredible 3-D sound which could be system, room or individual dependent, then the Audio Synthesis is still a remarkably truthful piece of equipment. It does need short, low capacitance interconnects and well-matched (impedacnce and level) sources and power amplification, but can sound stunning. It replaced a Conrad Johnson Motif MC-8 (all-FET pre-amp) some years back, and is still in use and sounding great with a Lectron JH-50 tube power amplifier and Dynaudio Aries loudspeakers.
Do not buy a pre-amplifier until you have heard what either the Audio Synthesis or the C-J can do in your system.

My system is Theta Data II / Deltec PDM-II CD transport / DAC.
Alphason Sonata / HR100MCS / Koetsu Black K / Terrerac TAADA phono.
Naim Nat-01 FM tuner.
Nakamichi CR-7E cassette.
Denon DTR-2000 DAT.
The power amlifiers are Chord SPM1400 monoblocks.
The loudspeakers are Apogee Scintillas (full-range ribbons) with covers removed. I have still not found anything better overall - particularly midrange and treble - but with stunning, natural (dipole) bass. No subwoofer required!
I also have Stax SRM-T1S / Lambda electrostatic headphones for late night listening.
Cabling is mainly Kimber KCAG, although I alos have Van den Hul "the first". loudspeaker cable is Cogan-Hall "full-range" and "Alto" and have heard nothing better! I have never seen a review! It is rigid and inflexible - but open and natural!



OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Joe S   an Audiophile [Jul 14, 1998]

A good, but not great pre amp. The performance of the 14 is handily exceeded by that of the Joule Elektra LA 100 series at the same price point. If you are looking for a tube pre for about $4k you would be better served looking off the beaten path in the direction of Joule - you will find superior transparency, dynamic contrasts, soundstaging & detail. To sum up - the 14 is a good $4k preamp, the Joule is a great preamp that stands comparison with preamps costing substantially more.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
Arthur   [May 20, 1999]

Actually your Premier 14 can perform better than the four stars submitted. The 14 comes with the 2 pairs of 6GK5 tubes, right? By replacing the Sylvania ones, i.e. the ones in the back, with RCA tubes or GE's the dynamics, the transients and the details are on par with the Premier 7. Guys, you know what? The problem with tube pre-amplifiers is that the good NOS tubes are shirking. Gone will be the Telefunkan, gone will be the GE's, gone will be the RCA and so on. I beg Conrad-Johnson can buy better tubes and install into their pre-amplifiers. Their amps. will then deserve more than four stars

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-7 of 7  

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

audioreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com