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 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.

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.

No.  Your bet is wrong and these are three very different sounding designs and are not even close to being substitutes.  ARC sounds nothing at all like CJ, and Pass is solid state while the other two are tubed designs so you’re swimming in three very different pools here.

Lastly, and as with @roxy54 a big pet peeve of mine is that “manufactures’ is a verb that means someone is actually in the process of manufacturing something (i.e. ARC manufactures great products).  “Manufacturers” is a noun that refers to people or a company that “manufactures” (the verb) something.  Got it?  One is a noun and the other is a verb, and much like the disparate three electronics “manufacturers” mentioned above they are absolutely ARE NOT similar nor substitutes.  If you think they are you should do more research and save your $$$ until you learn a lot more.

 

Thank you @soix ! My intention isn't to be snarky, but bad grammar and spelling bug me. I'm sure that you can spell @frozentundra , but not that word.

@lalitk 

I actually wasn't thinking of McIntosh at all, it's just that the question was a little ridiculous since it is commonly known that those three brands have very different sonic attributes.