Celebrating 30 years of
Plus special factory tour photos!
Article By Steven R.
here to e-mail reviewer.
As the very first paragraph of
my review concerning the Premier 17LS preamplifier says, "Any true music loving audiophile
worth their salt knows about the great products from conrad-johnson. It all began
during the mid-seventies where two economists friends, who were avid music lovers,
joined forces. Specifically, Dr. William Conrad and Dr. Lewis Johnson felt that
the then available equipment left much to be desired. After much research and development
came a commercially produced conrad-johnson preamplifier that immediately
brought critical acclaim as makers of great sounding vacuum tube gear."
Soon the company will be celebrating their
30th Anniversary and it brings me joy for Enjoy the Music.com®
to be among the first to mark this very special event within our March
2007 edition of Superior Audio. Over the years some quite
impressive high-end manufacturers have come and gone, with new ones from
China making recent strides, yet conrad-johnson continues forward in
providing some of the very best audiophile gear time and again. Careful methodology has
"enabled Conrad and Johnson to develop new products which have routinely been ranked among the most musically satisfying. Few other manufacturers have so consistently received such high praise for their
products" says the company's website and this journalist
i still recall the very first time meeting
Lew Johnson. Well, it was not a formal meeting per se as you will soon
find out. It happened approximately 14 years ago on CompuServe's then
active CE Audio forum. Back then it was a brief online discussion
concerning my beloved vintage tubed Philco wood encased AM table radio.
Back in those days very few people knew about the Internet, and there was
no Netscape or Internet Explorer website browser. Back in those days we
relied on services like CompuServe for certain 'cutting edge' electronic
services. Lew and i sent various private and public messages and over time
came the realization we shared many hobbies including billiards, vintage Italian
cars and of course music. Lew has been known to enjoy vintage 78 rpm
equipment and music too! Music has a way to produce deep passion, and this
is truly the case with Lew in many areas of our hobby. Naturally this love
extends to helping produce some of the finest audiophile gear.
Over the years conrad-johnson, or cj for
short, has produced among the best of their generation in audiophile
electronics. A very brief history lesson would show the company's 1977
launching of their PV1 tube preamplifier established
cj as a true high-end contender. A year later came a matching stereo tube
amplifier, the MV75. On the company's 10th Anniversary we find the Premier
One tube amplifier marked their very first "state of the art" product.
The then new amplifier was touted by The Absolute Sound
as being the finest sounding amplifier of that decade. Years later, 1985
to be exact, cj finally decided to introduce solid-state products along
with their critically acclaimed tube amplification, and so the MC7
phonostage/preamplifier was born.
audiophiles all around the world can enjoy products from conrad-johnson.
Their Anniversary Reference Triode Preamplifier (ART) continues in various
iterations while both tube and solid-state amplification thrives. The
company has earned many awards over the past 30 years.
Conrad-johnson provides excellent after sales assistance and service plus
is truly one of the very best high-end companies within the industry.
Their design philosophy of "enabling the listener to enjoy the emotional experience of music
performances" proves they have hit their goal once you hear their
products. It appears they have indeed succeeded time and again over the
past 30 years, though each new product brings a new challenge.
A heartfelt thank you goes out to
Dr. William Conrad and Dr. Lewis Johnson for their 30 years of generously
providing audiophiles all around the world an opportunity to enjoy the
labors of their love. In celebration of this occasion i bring you, our
loyal readers, a very special March 2007 edition of
Enjoy the Music.com®'s Superior Audio magazine.
Special Factory Tour
Seen here is Lac Lam (above) and Linda Skeen (below) of
conrad-johnson. Each workday they
carefully hand assemble and solder the latest designs from the company.
One of conrad-johnson's technicians, Larry Barbe, has
begun testing/quality control (QC) work on a PV15 tube preamplifier.
Before a product can be produced one needs
to first start with an initial design and tweak as needed. Keith
Antis is conrad-johnson's research and development (R&D) engineer. His
technician's bench is filled with various gear to carefully measure and
recheck his results when necessary. This is where that conrad-johnson
magic is first born!
Above we see a
shelf of preamplifiers burning in. All preamplifiers go through a two-step QC process in which they are inspected, then run for 100 hours, then tested for performance to specification.
And lastly we have stacks of finished
products all boxed up and ready to be shipped to dealers. They will
eventually be in the hands of enthusiastic music lovers all around the
world. One of these boxes might wind up in New York City, with another
arriving in Milan Italy... or perhaps Tokyo! The photo shows only a fraction of finished goods
inventory, as conrad-johnson's goal is to ship all products from stock as needed by
their worldwide network of distributors. Perhaps one of these boxes will
soon be arriving to a cj dealer near you!
conrad-johnson design, inc.
2733 Merrilee Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031
Voice: (703) 698-8581
Fax: (703) 560-5360