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Thread: Old Gear Out; New Gear Incoming!

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    Super User Rich's Avatar
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    Default Old Gear Out; New Gear Incoming!

    Well, Iím taking my own advice and giving myself an early Christmas present. I decided to upgrade my CD transport. For years Iíve been blown away with the source combination of my PS Audio Perfect Wave Memory Transport paired with the PS Audio DirectStream DAC. Together they comprise one of the finest-sounding CD players I have ever heard, in any system. But the PWMT was older technology, and by all accounts has been completely upstaged by the new DirectStream Memory Transport. According to the designers, and confirmed by user reports, the DSMT takes redbook CD playback to a whole new level. Whatís more, is that this Transport also plays SACDís, sending the DSD layer directly to the DAC via encoded connection, which the PWMT didnít do. So now I should get even better sound out of all my redbook CDs, as well as get the true fidelity of the DSD layer from all of my many SACDs.

    I had put this upgrade off for several reasons. One, I was so happy with the sound I was getting that I had a hard time believing that the improvement would be worth the upgrade cost. Two, the new Transport is a good bit more expensive than the old one and I hadnít owned the old one for that long. And Three, I have been ripping my collection and was intending to move away from spinning discs as much as possible. But then there was the issue with the SACDs, which require a little more effort and/or expense to rip. Then there were the user reports on the huge jump in quality of playback for standard redbook CDs. And then the last straw . . . a smokiní hot Black Friday deal on the new player along with good trade-in value for the old player. So I gave in. I shipped my beloved PWT off today and am eagerly awaiting itís replacement: a sweet new DSMT to pair with my DSDAC. Canít wait to hear how it sounds!

    Now Iíve just got to find a way to convince myself to spend the effort and money to send the Conrad Johnson Premier 140 tube amp back to CJ for the capacitor upgrade. I know I need to do it, and it will be worth it in the long run, but dang is it going to be expensive and a pain in the butt to ship. But thatís a post for another day, I suppose.
     
    Rich

    This comment is intended solely for educational purposes and should not be construed as conveying any express or implied warranty of fitness for any other purpose. Said comment constitutes merely the humble opinion of its maker and does not reflect the views of the MLOC or of ML, Ltd. YMMV. Trust your own ears.

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    Forum Administrator twich54's Avatar
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    sweet Rich ! I came ever so close to doing that deal with Wally, but I feel pretty confident I'll be more than happy with my Cary SACD Pro......waiting on the UPS man as I type this !
    Dave

    System #79 - Analog is Alive and Well, if in doubt, click the link below !

    Click Here to see my System

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    Super User Rich's Avatar
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    Haha, you’re loss is my gain, Dave. Although I have no doubt you’ll be thrilled with the Cary. I listened to Gordon’s and it sounded superb in his system.
    Rich

    This comment is intended solely for educational purposes and should not be construed as conveying any express or implied warranty of fitness for any other purpose. Said comment constitutes merely the humble opinion of its maker and does not reflect the views of the MLOC or of ML, Ltd. YMMV. Trust your own ears.

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    Why send the CJ back to CJ? Soldering new caps in a very easy, and if you wouldn't feel comfortable doing it, surely you can find someone who can solder? Just a thought, Rich. Don't forget to turn it off first though, LOL.

    Anyway, I just watched all of http://www.psaudio.com/directstream-memory-player/, so I am all clued up. Enjoy the new toy

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    Super User User211's Avatar
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    Out of curiosity, what are the CJ caps upgraded to i.e. which manufacturer's caps?

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    Super User Rich's Avatar
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    Hi Justin! I’ve been wondering what happened to you; haven’t seen you on here in a while. Hope all is well on your side of the pond.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable working on the CJ equipment or trust anyone locally. For such an amazing amp, I’m only going to trust CJ to work on it. Wouldn’t even think of doing otherwise.

    As for the upgrade, it is from old style electrolytic caps to Teflon caps. I’m not sure which manufacturer they work with, but they specify the design parameters. Here’s some more info from their marketing hype: http://conradjohnson.com/project/c1-capacitor-upgrades/
    Rich

    This comment is intended solely for educational purposes and should not be construed as conveying any express or implied warranty of fitness for any other purpose. Said comment constitutes merely the humble opinion of its maker and does not reflect the views of the MLOC or of ML, Ltd. YMMV. Trust your own ears.

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    Super User Bernard's Avatar
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    Interesting. Looked at the link. The caps are CJD proprietary, so they would no doubt not sell them to you, but require you to send the unit back.

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    Super User User211's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Hi Justin! I’ve been wondering what happened to you; haven’t seen you on here in a while. Hope all is well on your side of the pond.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable working on the CJ equipment or trust anyone locally. For such an amazing amp, I’m only going to trust CJ to work on it. Wouldn’t even think of doing otherwise.

    As for the upgrade, it is from old style electrolytic caps to Teflon caps. I’m not sure which manufacturer they work with, but they specify the design parameters. Here’s some more info from their marketing hype: http://conradjohnson.com/project/c1-capacitor-upgrades/
    I'd be straight in there with the soldering iron! My only experience of Teflon caps is in the output stage of a Lampizator level 4 DAC. I had V-Cap Cutf in one a while back.

    I am a bit suspicious of them TBH. They are supposed to take 400-500 hours to break in but I never detected a change - was it too slow to detect I wonder? I am also not sure they are most natural sounding of caps. They seem to have a sort of very clean polished sound to them - literally like what you are listening to has been "cleaned up". It is hard to describe. I'd do some careful reading to see what other CJ users think of the "upgrade".

    Other than that yeah all is well over here. Still running Apogees, the most recent change to those was a modified crossover circuit I developed over a few months using cheap parts and a crossover simulator, then finalised using a lot more expensive parts. It has provided a very worthwhile improvement in mid range quality.

    I'm not an ML owner anymore so the site just naturally holds less interest I guess.

    Bernard - could always use another manufacturer's Teflon caps. I doubt the CJ ones are much better or worse than V-Cap.

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    Super User Rich's Avatar
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    Justin, I have a lot of faith in CJ’s recommendations and proprietary parts. They have a reputation for absolute quality and it shows in their products. This amp, as well as their SS amp (Premier 350) are almost legendary for their quality of sound. I have Sanders Sound 800 wpc monoblocs sitting unused, and a Pass Labs X350.5 sitting in my secondary system. The CJ Premier 140 just may be the last amp I’ll ever use in my main system. Yeah, I like it that much. I’m not going to risk having anyone else mess with it.

    As for user reviews of the Cap upgrade, every one I have read has been positive. Mainly they say that it just improves upon everything the amp already does so well. Also, lots of them mention the long burn-in time. Don’t know how much stock I put in claimed burn-in times of more than a few dozen hours for any component. But whatever. I plan to own this amp for the rest of my life, so what’s a few hundred hours?

    Edit: Interesting anecdote — I purchased this amp (along with the Premier 17LS2 preamp, which already had the Teflon Cap upgrade) about 17 years ago. They sold for $7000 apiece, and I got dealer demo units for half price, $3500 each. Right now there is a Premier 140 on the ‘gon (with the Cap upgrade) selling for $5600! Last I heard, the Cap upgrade costs $2300. Which means I could likely get the upgrade and sell the amp for about what I paid for it seventeen years ago plus the cost of the upgrade. How many components could you say that about? Not that I would do that, but it is interesting and shows how these units hold their value (and also how much of a screaming deal I got on my units).
    Last edited by Rich; 12-02-2017 at 11:16 AM.
    Rich

    This comment is intended solely for educational purposes and should not be construed as conveying any express or implied warranty of fitness for any other purpose. Said comment constitutes merely the humble opinion of its maker and does not reflect the views of the MLOC or of ML, Ltd. YMMV. Trust your own ears.

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    The CJ gear does seem to have been a great buy.

    I tend to flick between solid state and valve power amps for a change. However, my 211 monos tend to get used more than the vintage Accuphase M-60 monos (the first Accuphase monoblocks they ever made way back in 1975). I recently switched over to the Accuphase and a change really is as good as a rest. I really like them a lot, and that says quite a bit as I have tried a lot of SS amps on the Apogees including very expensive contemporary ones and these have survived the longest. From 1975 - go figure!

    I also had some serious KT150 based monos in for over 3 months. Ayon Orthos XS. See pic.

    You could really trick the CJs out with an octet of these: http://www.thetubestore.com/Tubes/KT...T-KT88-Diamond at $4000 with the cap upgrade too. $6000 LOL. The tubes will give you more than the caps IMHO as the EATs are extraordinarily good, assuming they have fixed the filament issue that used to plague the Tesla KT88. If they have, and the sonics remain the same as the Teslas I once owned, you will be amazed how fantastic these valves sound. They were so far ahead of any 6550 or KT88 I ever tried it was absurd.

    That's a mega hype, but it is deserved.

    Some pics, first off all three sets of monos in one shot.



    Ayon Orthos (400 Watts in pentode) and Austria Analogue with Amperex 211s (80 Watts nominal, 170 Watts peak).



    Justin - never afraid of a system shot.
    Last edited by User211; 12-03-2017 at 04:03 AM.

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    Super User Rich's Avatar
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    Nice pics, Justin. But I have to say it: that room needs more acoustic treatments! By the way, those accuphase monos have got to be classics. Have you fiddled with their innards any?

    Edit: and holy crap, those tube amps are gorgeous! I’m running some Tung-Sol KT-120s in the CJ right now. They sound pretty darn nice, but I would love to hear those diamond 88s.
    Last edited by Rich; 12-03-2017 at 05:44 AM.
    Rich

    This comment is intended solely for educational purposes and should not be construed as conveying any express or implied warranty of fitness for any other purpose. Said comment constitutes merely the humble opinion of its maker and does not reflect the views of the MLOC or of ML, Ltd. YMMV. Trust your own ears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Nice pics, Justin. But I have to say it: that room needs more acoustic treatments! By the way, those accuphase monos have got to be classics. Have you fiddled with their innards any?

    Edit: and holy crap, those tube amps are gorgeous! I’m running some Tung-Sol KT-120s in the CJ right now. They sound pretty darn nice, but I would love to hear those diamond 88s.
    The Ayons were decked out with KT150s. There's no scope for rolling there, especially considering the valve count!
    That is the trouble with high power KT based amps, really. But the KT150s did sound good, as did the Ayons as a whole.

    I'd say the KT120s are likely to be a pretty decent option based on the KT150s. All 20 of them LOL.

    The EAT pricing is a shame - a crime against the audiophile for what was once an £80 valve.

    Room sounds excellent so no more traps. People get genuinely astonished.

    BTW the Accuphase are untouched. If ever an amp needs a cap upgrade in theory this does. Only it doesn't because it sounds absolutely fine. Has huge ELNA reservoir caps in it. They obviously last.

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    Super User Rich's Avatar
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    Yeah, those Ayons will eat you alive on tube replacement cost. I get that the Accuphase amps sound great (and that’s impressive given their age) but what happens when one of those Caps blows? Will it take out a circuit board with it? That’s one of the reasons I’m hyped to upgrade the CJ. I’ve read that if you wait until one of the electrolytics blow, the repair costs get much, much worse.
    Rich

    This comment is intended solely for educational purposes and should not be construed as conveying any express or implied warranty of fitness for any other purpose. Said comment constitutes merely the humble opinion of its maker and does not reflect the views of the MLOC or of ML, Ltd. YMMV. Trust your own ears.

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    Super User User211's Avatar
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    I'm betting they won't. There's zero sign there is an issue.

    Despite that they are still worth more than you'd expect given their age so I might do something about it. Having had a peak around inside everything literally looks like it was made yesterday. They were well made too no question about it.

    Getting them out and replaced doesn't look easy access wise. That is why I haven't done it.

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    Super User Gordon Gray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Mainly they say that it just improves upon everything the amp already does so well. Also, lots of them mention the long burn-in time. Donít know how much stock I put in claimed burn-in times of more than a few dozen hours for any component. But whatever. I plan to own this amp for the rest of my life, so whatís a few hundred hours?
    Hi Rich,

    I have read that some CJ owners do not hear the change in sound with CJ's top versus their standard "stock" caps. I find that hard to believe based on my experience with the ET5 pre. To my ear, the difference after 400 - 500 hours of play time was night and day. When I first installed and listened to the new pre with the CJ stock 6922 tube, I was very disappointed in the performance (my Premier 18LS sounded so much better in every way) and would have sold it if I had a buyer. After burn in and some tube rolling, I'm very glad I did not.

    But as they say, YMMV.

    Enjoy your new transport my friend.

    Gordon

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