CJ Premier Three built quality

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CJ Premier Three built quality

Post by MLAS » Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:01 pm

Hi There,

Just bought a CJ Premier Three (B revision) to accompany my Premier Fives amps.

After I detected a nasty smell in the room when I listened to the unit in my setup for a while I opened up the 'hood' and saw that the PCB under the bridge-rectifier was completely black. The orange jacket of the Sprague 50uF Atom capacitor was melting away due to the generated heat of the bridge.
At the bottom I could see that the orinal traces had melted away and under the bridge rectifier and the components like the 4700 uF electrolytic capacitor and other parts were hardwired together but the charring of the PCB and components continued anyway after this operation.
I knew I had to tackle this problem otherwise I would not enjoy this pre-amp much longer.
First I got substitutes for the Sprague Atom cap and 4700uF electrolytics.
Second I desoldered the bridge, bended it four legs in a straight position and raised its position approx. 5mm to minimize the heat exposure to the PCB.
Then I placed some aluminum heatfoil adhesive on the PCB and all of the caps that are (to) near to heatgenerating devices like the tubes, resistors and the bridge rectifier.
In general I found the built quality very poor and the parts used not much better.
I think it's a shame that you use in a device that's heralded as one of the best pre-amps of its era a bridge of 30 dollarcents, a plastic or enamel back for the RCA connectors a very cheap steel U Form chassis that just barely holds the Northlake transformer (it's tilted towards the inside of the unit due to its weight.
Furthermore the placing of caps near heatgenerating components like the underrated bridge, powerresistors, heatfins under the two Motorola TO3 devices, is badly executed.
I've had Levinsons (ML-7, 7A and ML-1), Thresholds (FET One and TEN), Krells (KRS-2), Jeff Rowland (Coherence One), Cello (1 MegaOhm) and a Audio Research SP-9 that were in the same priceleague as the Premier Three but were much better put together then this unit.
On basis of the interior alone not seeing the make, I would rate the PREM Three to be a $ 500 USD device.

On basis of the sound, well it's the best I've had so far and that's really annoying because I would have wanted that superb sound being reflected in a example of superb craftmanship which isn't the case sadly enough...

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