Conrad-Johnson Premier 3 preamplifier J. Gordon Holt, August 1985

J. Gordon Holt returned to the Premier Three in August 1985 (Vol.8 No.4):

The more I listen to this tubed preamplifier, the more I'm convinced that it's a worldbeater, I liked C-J's PV-5 a great deal (particularly with solid-state power amps), but the Premier Three is simply in another class. At this point, it becomes almost mandatory that I audition Audio Research's legendary SP-10 preamp. Until I do, I am prepared to opine that the Premier Three is the best-sounding preamplifier money can buy if you know what live music sounds like.

I still believe the Klyne preamps to be more accurate, but somehow they do not imbue reproduced music with the gorgeously realistic, luminous bloom that I hear from these C-J units, in particular the Premier Three. Euphonic colorations, perhaps? Almost certainly but these damn things sound superb on every system I've tried them with. To me, the bottom line continues to be musical enjoyment, and these bring me more of that than any other preamps I've heard in years.—J. Gordon Holt

Conrad-Johnson Design, Inc.
12733 Merrilee Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 698-8581

Zarathustra's picture

"I have recently found the Krell solid-state equipment to be particularly impressive, and there is one hell of a band of designers trying to make tubes truly obsolete."
Well Krell surely did not make tubes obsolete like Mark Levinson didn't.
Jeff Rowland and Threshold did a better job in that area.

I love the sound of CJ equipment but loath their build quality especially in the eighties. Premier One (b) amp still sounds great to my ears.