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Discussion Starter #1
Having been a hifi gear head since the mid 70's I have always wanted a Conrad Johnson preamp. Being young with less than 2 nickels in my pocket I would walk into this hifi store and dream of owning this Conrad Johnson that sat center stage. Thru the years the CJ sat there and the look stayed as things went silver to black. The Conrad Johnson on the self seem to never change. Wanted one so badly. Sadly that hifi store went the same direction as most.

On my 55th birthday I decided to get back into vinyl and found a local hifi store that had turntables on display once again. As I look around there on center display was a Conrad Johnson ET3 looking just as I remember last seeing other CJ's from my past. Had to have it for my 55th present to myself and purchased it new.

2 months went by and a low audible hiss appeared. Called the store and they said the tube might need replacing and they would send one to me as a favor. Within a several months that one began hissing also. Store told me to contact CJ which I did.

To save this story from getting any longer, I am now on my 4th tube in 3 1/2 years. I rarely play it as this ET3 only wears them out fast. Seems the bias needs fixing. Contacted Conrad Johnson and my less than 1 year old CJ was out of warranty. The CT ET3 had been in that store so long and had chewed up the warranty. The best I got out of CJ and the store was to send it in, pay a service fee to look at it and then pay for repairs.
I chose to shelf it.

I had never heard of this type of warranty before, one in which the manufacture date begins the clock running. I also understand the concept and the need. But I cannot say I like it, especially from CJ. The store even confirmed to them my purchase date.

I also have heard that CJ's are high maintenance before ever purchasing one. I had a lot of choices that I could have made but kept seeing that model I first saw on the shelf in my youth. Now I think I know why it never changed, it was most likely the same unit sitting there when the store closed, not working.
 

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I had never heard of this type of warranty before, one in which the manufacture date begins the clock running. I also understand the concept and the need. But I cannot say I like it, especially from CJ. The store even confirmed to them my purchase date.


.
Fruit, ok.

Milk, ok.

Audio Equipment? That's a new one on me too...
 

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Fruit, ok.

Milk, ok.

Audio Equipment? That's a new one on me too...

I had been considering buying a Classic 60. This tale is a cautionary one to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I was just as stunned and really gave them a piece of my mind. All I got was "Sorry but we will be glad to fix it for you". The store knew it also and I then determined that they would not get anymore of my business either.


So, if your buying hi-end, check for this warranty policy on what your buying and then check when it was manufactured.


As far as CJ goes, I'm done with childhood wants.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The dealer had one thing in mind. Move that CJ that's sat on the shelf years. No date on box. Dealer did acted surprised when I told them, but did not offer anything except the first tube replacement. They knew it as I asked the CJ rep how could the dealer sell me something without knowing CJ warranty. CJ rep told me all authorized dealers know the rules.


The question to me may be why the dealer did not explain the warranty. I did not ask and why would they say "hey, that brand new CJ is warranty restricted and you may get burned".
 

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I guess there is old stock and then there is really old stock. I have no way to guess the timeframes on your preamp. It sounds like this dealer knew much more than they were saying. Kind of like technical bulletins on cars. They do the fix in warranty but out of warranty the fix is on the enduser's dime even if it a factory defect. Like I said it is a cautionary tale. I tend toward bargain hunting and I can see that strategy applied to Conrad-Johnson without due diligence could really be expensive.
 

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Having been a hifi gear head since the mid 70's I have always wanted a Conrad Johnson preamp. Being young with less than 2 nickels in my pocket I would walk into this hifi store and dream of owning this Conrad Johnson that sat center stage. Thru the years the CJ sat there and the look stayed as things went silver to black. The Conrad Johnson on the self seem to never change. Wanted one so badly. Sadly that hifi store went the same direction as most.

On my 55th birthday I decided to get back into vinyl and found a local hifi store that had turntables on display once again. As I look around there on center display was a Conrad Johnson ET3 looking just as I remember last seeing other CJ's from my past. Had to have it for my 55th present to myself and purchased it new.
What kind of payment method did you use? If you use credit card, look into whether or not your card carries extended warranty

Some type of credit cards (AMEX, discover, visa signature to name a few) would add an extra yr of warranty free of charge and would cover the repair cost during the period
 

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Not trying to defend C-J, and I don't blame you for being mad about them denying warranty service, but some preamps are hard on tubes. I believe the ET3 uses one 6922, which is a common, readily available, and inexpensive tube. If you enjoy the music that the ET3 produces, don't let one $15 tube per year sour it for you, despite what sounds like poor customer service. Buy a few on eBay so that you always have them on hand when it starts getting a little noisy. Plus, this can give you the opportunity to experiment with a little tube rolling.
 

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I took an ET-3SE to demo at home from my local dealer a few months ago. When I hooked it up I got an audible hiss sound. I took it back a few days later and he resolved the 6922 tube went. He told me that the ET-3 goes through tubes quicker than my Audio Research. In addition sound wise I thought the CJ was to warm for my taste. If your looking for a good solid tube preamp I would look into the Prima Luna Dialogue III. Very easy on the tubes has auto bias which makes tube rolling a breeze. In my buying experience I will always demo at home before making a decision. Luckily I have some good dealers around that will let me do this.:)
 

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Shocking really. One would presume that overpriced high end audio components would have high end warranties and high end customer service. Apparently, it is not a valid presumption.
 

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OP, sell it and put any losses down to experience.

but some preamps are hard on tubes.
There is no reason at all for a design to shorten the life of a tube unless something has gone faulty or due to incompetent design. Especially not a 6922/6DJ8.
 

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OP, sell it and put any losses down to experience.

There is no reason at all for a design to shorten the life of a tube unless something has gone faulty or due to incompetent design. Especially not a 6922/6DJ8.

I think design in the high end audio world relates more to esthetic design than circuit design. I remember reading a post recently in which someone had experienced a failure with a preamp touch screen. I've been trying to figure out why someone would want a touch screen on a preamp. I've come up empty. A remote control would make sense but a touch screen? Another gadget to lure the audiophile.


However, I don't think having to replace a 6922 three times in 3 1/2 years is all that frightening. I would recommend a solid state unit next time. There won't be any tubes to replace.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
CJ warranty is three years from purchase or five years from manufacturing.
Here is the exact quote from CJ that was emailed to me when I inquired about the issue:

"I fear I have created an incorrect expectation. The warranty on all conrad-johnson products is THREE years from the sale to a consumer, or FIVE years from the date of sale to the dealer, whichever comes first. (See the attached owner's manual - perhaps you did not get a copy with the unit). The five years from date of sale to the dealer is to limit exposure on units that are used as demo models for extended periods of time. On a new unit, you would have a three year warranty from the date on which your purchased it. This is not an uncommon warranty in the industry - you will find, for example, Audio Research to have essentially the same terms."

This dealer seems to have had it a very long time. I purchased 12/20/2012. Tubes went bad several months later. I contacted the store and complained enough that they sent me a new tube. Then that one started going bad I contacted CJ, that's when I found out that the warranty had expired. I do not remember when that was nor do I recall the manufacture date. I don't think that 5 years must have applied and I certainly had called CJ before 3 years were up. As a matter of fact I still have not had it for 3 years.

I installed a 3rd tube and again it went bad. I just ordered the 4th tube just last night and hope it's here for the weekend. Paid for 2 day shipping from Upscale Audio. See how Kevin treats me.
 

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Sorry for your troubles- pdjmwj.


Yes, you are correct, in that, you should have received the 3 yr warranty (so long as the ET3 was new or store demo) at the least.
Make certain that it it not considered used/previously owned. I love CJ gear. When dealing w/ tubes , often times something is not right w/ the biasing.?
I see you are in MD. How far are you away from the CJ operation in VA?


Nice choice dealing w/ Kevin at Upscale Audio (he truly knows all things tubes).
If you decide to send the preamp back to CJ, I would update/upgrade to the "SE" level.
Keep me posted. :)
 

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I think design in the high end audio world relates more to esthetic design than circuit design.
Agreed. I've bot been at all impressed with those I've had across my workbench.


However, I don't think having to replace a 6922 three times in 3 1/2 years is all that frightening.
I would. I had a Tek CRO that used 6DJ8s that ran 60hrs a week for 10 years and was still in spec, so 3 years of a couple of hours a week is appalling, especially if a design choice is causing the premature life.
 

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Here is the exact quote from CJ that was emailed to me when I inquired about the issue:

"I fear I have created an incorrect expectation. The warranty on all conrad-johnson products is THREE years from the sale to a consumer, or FIVE years from the date of sale to the dealer, whichever comes first. (See the attached owner's manual - perhaps you did not get a copy with the unit). The five years from date of sale to the dealer is to limit exposure on units that are used as demo models for extended periods of time. On a new unit, you would have a three year warranty from the date on which your purchased it. This is not an uncommon warranty in the industry - you will find, for example, Audio Research to have essentially the same terms."

This dealer seems to have had it a very long time. I purchased 12/20/2012. Tubes went bad several months later. I contacted the store and complained enough that they sent me a new tube. Then that one started going bad I contacted CJ, that's when I found out that the warranty had expired. I do not remember when that was nor do I recall the manufacture date. I don't think that 5 years must have applied and I certainly had called CJ before 3 years were up. As a matter of fact I still have not had it for 3 years.

I installed a 3rd tube and again it went bad. I just ordered the 4th tube just last night and hope it's here for the weekend. Paid for 2 day shipping from Upscale Audio. See how Kevin treats me.

To be honest, this issue with my Conrad Johnson ET3 has me leaving it off most of the time I rarely play it and was disgusted to be treated like this on such an expensive product. I had to keep my temper under control as I wanted to smash it thru Conrad Johnson's front door.

Still do....
Makes me think some of their people left. I called to see if I could get a schematic for my CJ-MV45 and the guy was very helpful. I wonder if this was a problem of excessive current through the tube, but I also don't know where this tube is in the signal path.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Sorry for your troubles- pdjmwj.


Yes, you are correct, in that, you should have received the 3 yr warranty (so long as the ET3 was new or store demo) at the least.
Make certain that it it not considered used/previously owned. I love CJ gear. When dealing w/ tubes , often times something is not right w/ the biasing.?
I see you are in MD. How far are you away from the CJ operation in VA?


Nice choice dealing w/ Kevin at Upscale Audio (he truly knows all things tubes).
If you decide to send the preamp back to CJ, I would update/upgrade to the "SE" level.
Keep me posted. :)

I do not live far from CJ and have thought about taking it in to check it out. I'll let you all know what happens when I change the tube. Crap happens and I feel bad bad mouthing CJ. I've wanted one since I first saw one so many years ago. I read very good things about them still and I really do love what I hear.


I have a friend who has a couple of tube preamps, old ones and they have never given him issues like this, He falls asleep many nights and does not turn them off and has not had to change the tubes.
 

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I do not live far from CJ and have thought about taking it in to check it out. I'll let you all know what happens when I change the tube. Crap happens and I feel bad bad mouthing CJ. I've wanted one since I first saw one so many years ago. I read very good things about them still and I really do love what I hear.


I have a friend who has a couple of tube preamps, old ones and they have never given him issues like this, He falls asleep many nights and does not turn them off and has not had to change the tubes.
How often do you turn it on and how long is it in operation? This has solid state rectification and that hits the tube harder than if it had a tube rectifier unless they have a "soft start" circuit. Tubes are a bit like light bulbs- if you turn them on and off frequently, they don't last long.
 
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