Dali Megaline / Conrad Johnson

Best of the best? Very possible. This is one gigantic hyper high-end system. What started out as a far better-than-average setup rapidly grew into this, an enthusiast’s ultimate dream. And yes, it is located in South-Africa and incredibly this exact pair of perfectly preserved Megalines originally belonged the one and only Mr. Albert Porter who over the years provided the high-end community with invaluable insights regarding these magnificent loudspeakers. Included with this pair of Megalines was the custom built active Transition Audio Design valve crossover that Mr. Porter had built by American audio and electronics engineer, Tom Tutay.  

Since the arrival of the Megalines we rounded off what seems to be the perfect cost-no-object setup when we flew to Greece to take delivery of a line stage preamp that’s been out of production for nearly fifteen years. It is a unit with a difference though, because all those years ago there were no cost constraints on design and the execution thereof. Things have changed significantly since then. JFets are everywhere.

The Conrad-Johnson ART series III is a dual mono line stage preamp in twin chassis with only one single triode gain stage per channel. No other active components are present in the signal path and there are zero electrolytic capacitors anywhere near both the power supplies and signal paths. Nearly every capacitor is of the most expensive proprietary CJD designed Teflon insulated items money can buy.

The volume control is a precision engineered relay selected resistive ladder with the most perfect signal preservation of any commercially available volume control in existence. For every volume setting from zero to 100, there is only one precision Vishay resistor in series with the signal. It doesn’t get better than this. Signal lost is lost forever, it cannot be recovered. 

Our dCS Paganini digital playback system seem to have been made for the elaborate CJ ART III line stage. The ART seem to extract and enhance what comes into it to unimaginable levels, but it may also expose digital domain volume controls for what they are. I can now confirm even 0,5dB of digital attenuation on the dCS is audible and disturbing once noticed and unconsciously stored in memory.


System components:

Conrad Johnson ART series III line stage

dCS Paganini digital playback system (4-box)

Naim NS02 music server

Cary Audio DMS-500 Music server

Jeff Roland Model 825 power amplifier (bass)

Audio Research Reference 750 mono block amplifiers (mids/tops)

Transition Audio Design active valve cross-over

Dali Megaline III loudspeakers

JL Audio F113 subwoofers x 2 

PS Audio active line conditioners x 2

Furutech Flux speaker cable

Furutech Digital interconnects

AudioQuest Sky/Niagara interconnects

Transparent Audio Premium power cables

Shunyata power cables

4 x Hi-Fi Tuning Cryo 32A Mains fuses

2 x Dedicated shielded mains cables from DB to US wall outlets

Hi-Fi Tuning Supreme and Silver mains fuses

Furutech GTX Dual Wall outlets x 4


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