All ARC vs All Pass Labs vs All CJ system compare


Has any body compared a complete analog set from each of the manufactures?

Have they all ended up evolving to the same sound profile

clear, noise free, detailed, wide soundstages ?

I have a friend with an all ARC and my bet is the sound profiles/house are very close 

just wondering , so many options , so little time, not enough money

 

jeff
 

frozentundra

I wish it were so easy. Most components interact differently with the speaker and or room. Especially the amplifier and preamplifier! For instance in a demo with Thiel CS2.4 's the Conrad Johnson sounded nice with a tube warmth but a VTL 5.5 won out to my ears with its more immediate sound presence. Cary was much too syrupy. Who knows though as it may be great with the best matching drivers. I believe amplifier was a entry level krell solid state stereo model because that's what I owned at the time. Was lucky enough to hear Thiel at a friends house with top of the line Audio Research with Classe solid state and and didn't care at all for the sound. It could have been the room acoustics playing a part as well 

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I cannot speak to the contemporary CJ with certainty… but I have a pretty likely true answer. Absolutely No. I have extensively owned and auditioned Audio Research, Pass, and Conrad Johnson.

While at the highest level there has been convergence… tubed getting more accurate and detailed and solid state (Pass) getting more musical. They have converged on very different sounds. Pass, much faster with greater slam (not a compliment) and increasingly musical (much better rhythm and pace recently) and CJ continuing to be really musical. Each has a very distinct sound.

Over the last forty years I moved from Pass to 100% Audio Research. My second choice would have been to CJ… Some folks might have chosen Pass. Those are the only companies I would choose in the $5 to $20K / component category. I would not choose Rouge, Mark Levinson, Rowland, Boulder, VTL. I would consider tubed Atmasphere, and Cary.

@frozentundra 

Your original post probably rubbed @roxy54 the wrong way. You did not include his favorite legendary American brand…you know the one with blue meters 🤣

Given the new ownerships at ARC and CJ, choosing Pass Labs gear makes whole lot of sense if you’re not oppose to Solid State and truly pursuing the ‘house’ sound.

The current offerings from ARC and CJ are nowhere near the build quality nor the ‘house’ sound of yesteryears, IMHO. 

@ghdprentice Your post was extremely helpful. I’ve been debating between many of these brands, and you laid it all out clearly.