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Big Dog RJ

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About Big Dog RJ

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    Melbourne
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  1. Big Dog RJ

    Conrad Johnson "it just sounds right"...

    Holly Molly! Those are the Prem 8's! Awesome indeed! When I got your message and the pic, I just had to stop the press! These are rare gems mate, unfortunately no longer in production. We sold only one pair of these in our tiny island. The Prem 11, 12 & 8 are a masterpiece classic. Not only the sound but the looks, nothing compares to that finish and build quality. BTW, what preamp are you using and what are your speakers? Any chance of a listen? This would probably make me cry, it's been quite a very very long time since I've seen one of those. Brings back too many memories, all good though back in the hey day... Cheers mate, must be sounding outstanding! Very big woof & a meow from all, RJ
  2. Big Dog RJ

    Conrad Johnson "it just sounds right"...

    Yeah, not sure how the heck he got in there... But here's a pic of the other one who is a real lovable rascal! For some reason the little bugger doesn't go near the tubes at all, probably because the cages are off... 🔥 I need to get to Bunnings for some slightly taller rubber feet to accommodate the cages since the kt120's are much taller than the 6550's. I placed some smaller feet that I got from our own store but it still touches the tubes very slightly... Cats names are Bagel & Dusty (snuffles) is the younger fella. Cheers mate, better get back to it as the boys are running amock... RJ
  3. Big Dog RJ

    Conrad Johnson "it just sounds right"...

    Hey Roger, That's a superb combination CJ & Quads! Over several years I had the ESL63, then parted ways and went with ribbons. From Apogee's to Maggie's and then back to dynamic types, such as Infinity's and finally full circle back to Quads! My last pair was the ESL 2905, gave me immense satisfaction as well as immense pain when repairs were needed and everything panels fell apart... Managed to repair them and get them in full working order by the marvelous help of John Hall. That's when I decided to quickly get them to a more worthy person who not only appreciates the Quad sound but also has ample funds for repairs and doesn't mind the hassle. I just couldn't deal with them any longer and these repairs were amounting to big costs, let alone transporting these huge stats each time a panel fails. I've written all about my disaster with Quads here on another post and had very good discussions with many. There are still quite a few who love their Quads and have had no problems so far... I guess I'm one of those chosen ones... Whiles I was at my dealer mates place picking up the CJ Mono's, he had the Quads hooked up to the LP125m's driven with the new CJ ET7! One word "aaawesome". The ET7 is superb! It can very easily compare to the GAT but the GATs2 is the only one with that extra edge in finesse & refinement. However, if it was my expenditure I would go for the ET7, and what it did with the Quads being driven with my Monoamps to be was simply amazing! That depth and sense of immediacy in the soundstage is like no other. That special dispersion pattern that Peter Walker designed in the 50/60's is pure genius! Even though I now use Martin Logan's and hope to one day have the full range CLX's, my all time favorite stat will always be the Quads. If not for those bloody disasters I wouldn't have even thought of letting them go. The LP125m's are superb power amplifiers, they capture all the emotions, subtle detail and the most significant level of performance is the scale and sheer dynamics of music reproduction. It also takes the Ethos to further level of refinement. One that only brings the best out of your favorite tracks but also allows you to look and feel into the music. The amount of power driving the Ethos is perfect and a superb match. Comparing this directly to the Classic 60se, what I noticed straight away was the overall musicality remains the same, infact at any point identical I would say, which is a great trait of CJ, where all their amplifiers have a very high level of musicality. The most significant attributes right up front were the transient control and the grip it has over stats where it can accelerate and stop in a wink! Once stopped, the sudden rise time is so fast there is a sense of effortless drive where the KT120's are just cruising along... The depth in soundstage and layering is pretty much the same as the classic 60se, and I would have loved to hold onto the classic 60se but knowing that I will eventually settle for a full range stat, the monoblocks truly deliver everything that is required. I need to now figure out a few minor adjustments to accommodate the tube cages, since the kt120's are slightly taller than the standard 6550's... This is just to cover the tubes when not in use so that our curious little kitty doesn't decide to warm his bum on the top... Enjoy those monoblocks mate, they're a very rare breed... I know of the premier 12's well and we sold quite a few pairs during the way. Only one pair of prem8's were ever sold in our tiny island of paradise but then again for our humble country people the price of prem8 monoblocks was quite a lot! Cheers mate and have a good one, Big woof! RJ Pic 1: main system & pic 2: is of me giving the all is well!
  4. Big Dog RJ

    Conrad Johnson "it just sounds right"...

    At the moment, the system config: Preamp: CJ PV15 Power amp: CJ Classic 60se Digital source: McIntosh MCD301 sacd player. Analog source: Rega RP3 TT with Rega Aria phonostages & separate power supply. Cartridge: Benz Micro glider SM Speakers: Martin Logan Ethos All power cords are Nordost Heimdall series 2, all interconnects are DHLabs Silver sonic air matrix, and power conditioning: Nordost Qbase 8 with QX4 + Thor PS-10 voltage stabilizer. Everything rests on Nordost Sort kones to keep off unwanted resonances... TT & sacd player rest on Auralex Isotone platforms. Far too many glass shelves/component racks, will be changing these once we move out but fabulous sound for the moment... Cheers, RJ
  5. As their slogan goes as per above; I've had far too many amplifiers in various types of systems over a few decades. Previously owned CJ dealerships, started out as a hobby grew into a passion or as the good wife says an "obsession" which has led me into a varied from of character, one that not only enjoys high quality music but also enjoys the art of listening to good recorded music. Having burnt fingers along the way and leading up to upgrades for no good reason other than "must have that" syndrome... Has resulted in too many mistakes not only costing money but also hardships in life... After selling off the most loveable monoblocks I've ever owned by CJ, which were the Premier 8's very long ago in a far away place, I though I'd never be able to afford another pair of CJ monoblocks again. Several others took its place, such as VTL & Manley Labs, also Melos for a short while, until I ventured back into stereo amplifiers. The cost of CJ amplification was rising fast from even the entry level to the SOTA, prices ranging from $7500 - $35,000! However, once in a lifetime something superb comes down from the heavens, and if you're patient enough that item/s could well be in your living room in no time. And this leads to a quick update- Managed to acquire the CJ LP125m monoblocks! It certainly took a while but was well worth the wait. The amplifiers will be picked up on Monday and I know how these things capture every subtle detail with finesse, take full control over panels and have a superb grip on stats, they are simply outstanding! Would I have waited a bit longer to settle for a newer pair or consider the LP275m's or perhaps the top of the line ART 300's, maybe... But this type of power and expenditure is definitely not in my ethics of "high quality music reproduction". This can be achieved by careful planning, thoughtful expenditure and genuine relationships. Will post some pics once all set up properly in the shoebox... Now at least I can rest with ease having these beauties looking forward to driving a pair of CLX's in due time. At this point the Ethos stats will do just fine, as there are a few priorities to get through first... Cheers to all who own monoblocks, look after them well and keep that music live! Big woof! RJ
  6. Big Dog RJ

    Ortofon Cartridges

    Yes agreed to a certain point but this was the advice given by my dealer and good mate Rab & his team at CAV- (Carlton Audio visual): 1. When I wanted to upgrade from the 2Mblue to the 2Mblack, they advised since I had plenty of hours remaining on the 2Mblue cart, it would be more feasible to upgrade just the stylus. 2. According to them, there's hardly a difference between the two carts... Also stated that the biggest significant difference is the stylus. 3. Further advised that when it's time to change the cart, that would be a more perfect time to install a 2Mblack cart as well... And enjoy whatever improvement in sound it delivers. I was also told by my other good mate up in QLD, Caxton Audio, David Neilan that quite often a stylus on its own can cost more than the cart itself! And which was the case with the 2Mblack... I also did some research on the types of Ortofon's, and they recommend the stylus upgrade from a 2Mblue to a 2Mblack stylus fitted to a 2Mblue cart, will yield better performance but not the other way round... So it seems to have worked very well so far without any problems and plenty of hours remaining in good health. That's about it, RJ
  7. Big Dog RJ

    Ortofon Cartridges

    Sorry about that gentleman, I completely missed the asking price, this is what happens when you get tad bit older... Prices have been indicated now, and as I mentioned before theses are both in very good condition with plenty of hours remaining. I look after my equipment extremely well, and all gear is covered with either pillow covers or original covers that come with speakers. These covers come off only during my off days, hence most of the time the system is covered warm & snug... Just to let you know, both stylus have been fully cleaned using the ultrasonic stylus cleaner from HiFlux. Thanks for your interest, RJ
  8. Big Dog RJ

    Ortofon Cartridges

    Item: Ortofon 2MBlue stylus with cartridge & 2MBlack stylus (in very good condition). Location: NE Melbourne, Thornbury Price: $200 for 2MBlue stylus, $300 for 2MBlack stylus with cartridge. (please note : cartridge is 2Blue. These were purchased brand new few years ago, original receipts available if required with original packaging). Item Condition: 2M Blue used since 2015, 2Mblack purchased in 2016 (not many hours used, only twice a week, average 8hrs of play, plenty of hours remaining, very carefully used) Reason for selling: upgraded to Benz Micro cartridge. Payment Method: Pickup - Cash Extra Info: if interested, please send PM and I will arrange something for you. Pictures: if you require pics, please request and I will provide. Thanks, RJ
  9. Big Dog RJ

    Turntable for the old man. $4k budget?

    I would recommend option 1. reasons as follows: 1. The RP8 is a superb deck, it will not only provide musical bliss but also is capable of improved refinement as you upgrade your other components if need be... The experience I've had with very well designed TT's (higher grade ones i.e.) although they are priced in the upper regions, ancillary gear must also be at it's top end, otherwise that full performance in price vs performance ratio doesn't come into effect. The Rega will perform no matter what it's connected to. 2. The RP8 is brand new! Therefore, you are getting a new deck, plus great after sales service. The minor issues I had with my RP3, they fixed up with no problem and were very quick to turn around. Also a loan TT was provided whiles being serviced, including a phono preamp just to try out. 3. Rega's are very solid decks, built very simply and easy to set up. There are no major frills, therefore simpler the setup/circuitry, simpler the maintenance down the line... They also accept various types of carts that are quite easy to install without having to enroll in high-end electronics course. Cheers, mate the choice is yours. All the best, RJ
  10. Big Dog RJ

    Those rare NOS Mullards

    G’day maties! This is a dedication to mostly Conrad Johnson specialists, and to those who have used or acquired NOS tubes along the way. Since departing with my beloved CAV45 (the most wonderful well-balanced tube integrated amp I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning) and venturing back into the pre-power config, now using the Classic 60SE once again, I was on the look out for a preamp that can match the sonic qualities of my previous ACT2. Looked far and wide, over the hills and through the woods, and after trying quite a few superb preamps, I eventually settled for a beautiful PV15. This was the last “PV” series made by CJ just before their launch of the “ET series”, and the reason for choosing this particular preamp to match superbly well with the Classic 60SE is of many reasons: 1. The PV15 still has that golden glow of yesteryear that CJ was known for-musicality at its best. Call it coloured, caramel affect, who cares, the musical combination with the Classic 60 is marvellous! 2. Fitted with a pair of GE M8080’s which were well over used, required changing. So temporarily I fitted another pair of GE’s whiles my special order for the original Mullard M8080 was being processed by CJ (took a while but was well worth the wait). 3. Simple circuitry, minimum parts (line stage only, no phonostage), easy to handle remote, and does have balance control- for those quick sound checks and finer adjustments… does make it handy. Based on the above 3 points, most of the newer CJ pre’s don’t have much of that golden glow, neither do their latest power amps. However, after careful listening and trying numerous combinations, I figured if you were to try out an older pre with the power and finesse of their newer power amps, this combination just might provide a wonderful balanced sound of musical bliss, and that's all she wrote! I must say, the ET5 was a superb combination as well as the ET7 would provide that very high quality sound. However, for me at this moment in my life, I have come to a point where this so called “high-end” audio industry must be justified by price vs performance factor. This is basically from the many experiences I have had through the decades of owning top end gear and eventuating into simpler forms of systems that not only give far more musical satisfaction but also help you save a whole lot more for finer things in life, such as family, building a home, and upgrading your cartridge... Referring to point 2: this was the most amazing musical experience I have had to date! CJ shipped across some very rare NOS Mullards, paid a pretty penny for this pair. It was like unwrapping something from the Raiders of the Lost Ark… The tubes came in an old white box, where each tube was covered in some very old type of paper that virtually crumpled whiles unwrapping. Checked the dates, looked like somewhere between 1976-78, the lettering was too faded. Anyway, I placed these in and thought what’s all the fuss about NOS… wow! Now that’s what I call “musical justification!” Points as follows: 1. The holographic imaging is deeper and wider, has a superb sense of space along with the right sense of scale. 2. The transient response is smoother and has greater control coming from the power amp. There is no sense of “forced transients” or “overblown” impact, rather a sense of more natural tones, and when called for in the music, does deliver the impact only when needed. This is what I refer to a well-balanced sound, which allows you to relax and listen and most of all enjoy your music, rather than always be on edge… 3. The greatest factor, which leads to the most significant experience, is the noise floor. It’s extremely quiet, far quieter than the ET5 or the ACT2. I also tried the ET3SE, although a wonderful design in its own right, does not have balance control, only found on the ET5, ET7 & upwards. Therefore, describing the sonic attributes as above, considering the percentage of performance, this has gone up by around 60-70%, actually closer to 80% I would say. In the past, what I have noticed from changing preamps usually amounts to a small factor of performance, somewhere between 10-20% in sonics but certainly not these Mullards! The whole presentation is truly remarkable, and delivered through Martin Logan stats, that level of transparency is highly revealing! Do I miss my ACT2? Yes, sometimes, then perhaps an ET7 or GAT would be the answer. Unfortunately for my finances these preamps down unda are priced in the upper region, which I will not spend on, although very accessible. If I was to out-class this performance by quite a margin and be able to justify the performance factor in that upper 70-80% region, that would have to be the GAT Series 2. Therefore, the point I’m trying to make is for those who have quality preamps, and are trying to venture towards upgrades or that ultimate one, don’t stress! You never know what you’ve already got, until you provide it with the best. Some careful listening and critical placement, and choosing the right tubes, may actually get you to a level of performance that you thought was only accessible if you had the extra funds, definitely not so! Another PV series from CJ that I have enjoyed in the distant past was the PV12. It had all of that glorious golden glow, and partner this beauty with one of their newer designed power amps, will definitely provide that finer balance. Call me old fashion or whatever… but when you here this combination, you will recognize it straight away, and there is something very nostalgic about this sound. Whether it is “accurate” or not, I wouldn’t know but one thing for sure “it just sounds right!” Cheers and all the best to the remaining PV series, Vintage at its best!
  11. Big Dog RJ

    The love of Conrad Johnson & Benz Micro

    Nice one mate, thanks for that I'll definitely head to Ikea and Bunnings to look around. I had a few ideas to purchase some new system racks from the chaps who were demoing Sonus Faber with Mac amps at the last hi-fi show but these things are quite costly, let alone each shelf in modular format. Beautiful design and very well built though. I think the Ikea / Bunnings suggestion will add more value since I can use my existing ones without having to chuck them out. Paid quite a bit from a dealer in Sydney, same place where I got the Wilson's many years ago... It looks like I will need to spend some quality time with this little project for what it's worth, and judging from what you've done, looks beautiful! Cheers mate, RJ
  12. Big Dog RJ

    The love of Conrad Johnson & Benz Micro

    Thanks for the points & advice, no doubt all your suggestions are spot on! The screen has to go or wall mounted..., separate rack for TT and better shelving. Since we're renting the shoe box, land lord is very strict about any mods to anything. Hence spikes in carpets, wiring out of the way carefully custom installed... No chance! When I had the Maggie's, the tele was located on the far right against a wall /window and the Maggie's didn't require that much space between panels since they were not as wide as Quads. Plus the one and only sofa was across on the left side. Listening position was an arm chair for one person only. Hence, when the wifey wanted to listen it was musical chairs... When the Quads arrived, things had to be relocated and wifey was very happy ? tele more visible and she could also enjoy her music! She knows how to power it up, and adjust whatever is required but the TT sequence gets her a little fluxed... ? claims that her old automatic Panasonic TT was faaar better, no need to adjust anything... Each time I walk into the shoe box after work during the early hrs of the morning, whiles watching the news, I spend a good 30mins contemplating on what/how I could relocate to make all happy. After long thought I doze off? The bamboo shelves look outstanding! Would I place those right on top of the glass or how do I mount these? Cheers mates for the advice, certainly learnt a lot here. RJ
  13. Big Dog RJ

    The love of Conrad Johnson & Benz Micro

    OK here goes, they're not the best but at least something is visible. I've posted similar pics on other threads, under Martin Logan's, same room & the shoe box... Nothing changed, only this time all cables & interconnects are DH Labs, Q-10 S2 & Silver Sonic, and all power cords are Nordost. Those shelves can be stacked but I prefer to arrange the components horizontally for better access when cleaning & ventilation. The config and set up placement will be totally different at the new place. I intend to have the rug under all gear, racking / shelves etc. A dedicated stand for the TT as this is close to a disaster... And the ML Ethos well away from all of it, plus listening position further out. From the shoe box photo it's hard to gauge distance. The speakers' panels are nearly 2m away from the back wall and adequate space for me to walk around the sides but it is the distance of the system from the speaker's enclosure that is the issue. That's not even a meter from the TT & left channel! Well I guess I'll have to manage for now. Any suggestions, would be much appreciated, thanks for taking the time to look & advice. RJ
  14. Big Dog RJ

    The love of Conrad Johnson & Benz Micro

    Nice to see the ? love going round... That's more like it. Thanks for your advice and points noted, certainly helps to further improve on such forums and continue meaningful discussion. Turning 45 was not an easy task! Too many years went by worrying about silly things in life and forgetting the most important aspect of family members, hence the good wife is always there to keep us on track! Honestly, without her I would probably be homeless, especially after my brief stint with Wilson's. Never want to go there again unless I had large amounts of disposable income to keep all "interested " parties happy ?... She was my foundation during those hardest times, and I can only be thankful for her guidance and support. During my last point of sale/purchase; I was thinking on getting the ET5 and LP125 monoblocks but again the shoe box is not adequate for such amplification and does not require this kind of power. The Ethos work just fine on the Classic 60se and there is really no need for further improvement. Once we're in the larger space then perhaps I can assess the situation if need be. Such as, higher grade phonostages & do on. Thanks for the wishes, sometimes after turning 45 I feel like forgetting the special day is a good thing because we tend to feel older as the years go by reaching that 50 mark! On no? Hoping the keep fit program will certainly help in the long ? Cheers to all and here is the lovely better half! I'll try to get some pics of the system tonight, this is going to be a tough project, one that requires a delicate touch and proper focus. At the moment I'm a bit tipsy from mixing Singha beer with Chiraz... ? Take care everyone, RJ
  15. Big Dog RJ

    The love of Conrad Johnson & Benz Micro

    Hey Rocky, what do you have now? Is it still CJ or have you ventured towards other brands like ARC, VTL and so on... What speakers are you using? Did you ever have stats with CJ? That is one superb combination... For what it's worth, do you think I should go for that ET5? I also noticed the pv15 to be much quieter than the ET5 or even when I had the ACT2..., what are your thoughts and best advice? RJ
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