Conrad-Johnson Premier 17LS2 – High End Stereo Equipment We Buy

McIntosh is one of the most dependable brand names when it comes to high-end audio systems. For years the brand has been recognized by audiophiles throughout the world as equipment that delivers clear and consistent quality in music. McIntosh is probably best known for its amplifiers and preamps, but the company produces many other components and parts for stereo and home theatre.

What are the specs for the Conrad-Johnson Premier 17LS2?

26 dB
Maximum Output:
15 V rms
Hum and Noise:
100 dB below 2.5 V output
Distortion at 1.0V output:
less than .1% THD or IMD
inverts phase of all inputs at main output
Output Impedance:
less than 850 ohms
19W | 3.315H | 15.25D inches
21 lbs.

What else to know about the Conrad-Johnson Premier 17LS2?

"I used the Premier 17LS2 mainly with C-J's Premier 350 amplifier driving a pair of Triangle Celius ES loudspeakers (new version). I compared it with my Purest Sound Systems P500 "passive preamp." All interconnects were relatively short. CD came from various sources. I also used my reference Parasound JC-1 monoblock amplifiers, which don't like tubed line stages that pass even minute amounts of DC. The C-J Premier 17LS2 got on famously with the Parasounds.

I was immediately impressed by what the 17LS2 did, compared with the original 17LS. I didn't have them side by side, or even that close in time, and the systems were different—all I can say is that the 17LS2 hit me in a way that the original 17LS, good as it was, didn't quite manage to do.

Compared to "passive preamping," I heard, from various CD sources, improved dynamics, both macro and micro. The music flowed better, played with a greater sense of ease. Harmonics were richer, fuller, less electronic. I was, in a word, seduced.

So this is what the Conrad-Johnson ART and ACT2 are about.

Well, yes, apparently. As I said, I'm almost afraid to audition the ACT2 for fear I'd have to buy it and trade in my wife. Never before, in my own system, have I heard a line stage make so much difference. The Premier 17LS2 seemed to be doing so much. I couldn't resist telling Lew Johnson.

"I would say that it's not doing things, but rather the Premier 17LS2 is not getting in the way. I don't think it's adding dynamics, for instance; it's not impeding them. It allows things to happen. It has the ability to pass along fine variations in dynamics."

This is the "microdynamics" stuff I was talking about. It's subtle, but, along with spatial resolution, it's one of the things that can make reproduced music almost literally come alive.

Like the 17LS, the Premier 17LS2 inverts phase or polarity. If your power amp doesn't invert phase, you'll need to reverse your speaker leads at the power amp or at the speakers. The 17LS2 comes with a spiffy power cord that was made for medical equipment.

"I don't like to admit it, but it affected the sound quality," Lew said.

At least you won't need to buy a power cord from the wire bandits." - Stereophile, Tellig

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The following images show actual Conrad Johnson equipment purchased by StereoBuyers.