Introduced July of 1998
In June of 1996, to commemorate twenty 20 years in the audio industry, conrad-johnson announced a limited edition preamplifier, the Anniversary Reference Triode (ART), which was designed to share our own in-house reference preamplifier with our colleagues and customers around the world. Very quickly, the ART has become widely held to be the finest sounding linestage preamplifier in the world, with several reviewers noting that the limitations of this product could not be adequately perceived or characterized until other elements of their reference systems caught up. The ART, a massive dual-monaural unit, is inherently quite costly. In an effort to provide musical performance closely approaching that of the ART to a wider audience of listeners, we are now offering the Premier Sixteen LS.
The Premier Sixteen LS is very nearly an ART compressed into a single chassis stereo unit. Input selection and level adjustment are handled by an array of relays operating under microprocessor control. Level and balance can be adjusted in 100 steps of approximately .7 dB per step, with levels being set by precision, low noise metal foil resistors. All level setting and source selection functions can be controlled by the hand-held wireless remote control.
The circuitry of the Premier Sixteen LS Preamplifier is elegant in its simplicity The audio circuit consists entirely of a single triode amplifier stage. In this case the triode is actually a composite comprising six paralleled sections of high-transconductance miniature dual triodes. This arrangement achieves a suitably low output impedance while reducing the number of active stages to the absolute minimum of one, resulting in a sonic purity that is unparalleled. DC voltage is supplied to this stage by cascaded discrete voltage regulators designed to absolutely isolate the audio circuit from the power line by maintaining virtually zero impedance at all audio frequencies. To dramatically reduce infrasonic noise, tube filaments (heaters) are operated on a dc voltage supplied by a separate discrete regulated power supply
Considerable care and attention have been paid to the physical aspects of the design as well. Microprocessor controlled relays, used for selecting sources, are located right at the input connectors keeping signal paths short to minimize crosstalk between channels and inputs. Critical audio circuitry is mounted on a subchassis which is isolated by a suspension system to reduce microphonics. The sturdy, all aluminum chassis is protected with a durable epoxy paint finish. Tubes are housed in an attractive cover outside the chassis, allowing easy access to the tubes for replacement by simply loosening two screws.
Parts quality is an exact match for the unprecedented level specified for the ART. Each part is selected on the basis of both sonic performance and durability. All audio circuitry (including the level control) is executed entirely with precision metal foil resistors and polystyrene capacitors. Tubes have been carefully hand selected for minimum noise and microphonics. The dc regulated power supplies use the same type of metal foil resistors as the audio circuits. Capacitors for the audio circuit's dc power supplies are exclusively polypropylene and polystyrene. Switching relays are sealed and have gold plated silver contacts. Input and output connectors are machined from oxygen free copper, and are gold plated by a special process that eliminates the use of magnetic materials. The Premier 16LS is built without compromise to achieve a new standard in musical performance, and it is built to last.
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Premier 16LS Vacuum-Tube Line Stage Preamplifier
Gain: 25 db
Maximum output: 15 vrms
Output impedance: under 700 ohms
Distortion: less than .1% THD
Frequency response: at unity gain: 2 Hz to more than 10OKhz
Hum and noise: 96 db below 1.0 v
Tube complement: 6 x 6922
Dimensions: 15.75D x 19W x 3.315H inches
Total weight: 25 lbs.