Tubes Asylum: REVIEW: Jolida JD1000A Integrated Amplifier (Tube) by slownlo
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Model: JD1000A Category: Integrated Amplifier (Tube) Suggested Retail Price: $1699 Description: 100 watt/ch integrated (EL34 based) Manufacturer URL: Jolida Manufacturer URL: Jolida
Review by slownlo ( A ) on January 14, 2007 at 18:33:48
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for the JD1000A
This is actually a review of the JD-1000RC, which is the same amp accept its got a remote and pre-amp outputs...Jolida says the new unit has better caps (angela caps), and fast recovery diodes in the PS,... but I haven't had the unit for about a week now because of issues, and its back at Jolida being looked at...when I get it back I'll open it and take some pics for the curious...(including myself).
In any event, I did have the unit long enough to do some critical listening before the issues became noticeable, so I'll report based on my time with the unit and then do a follow-up upon its return...
The Jolida JD-1000RC is the 3rd iteration of their flagship EL-34 tube based integrated. The 1st was the JD-1000, then the JD-1000a came along as result of user complaints about asthetics...adding a better looking aluminum meshed faceplate and gold plated knobs...
The JD-1000RC has a few improvements over the other 2 models: The faceplate has a new look...a glass window allows you to look into the chassis to see the drivers, mu followers and power tubes, and there is a somewhat cheesy mirror finished thin metal back plate that serves 2 functions: 1- to give the illusion of having more tubes than are actually there, and 2- to hide the output and power transformers from being seen from the front when the cover is on... The new model also has an "easy bias" system consiting of 1 diode per power tube that glow reds when you are within bias range...the only problem with the system is that its not very precise at all: After using the easy bias system as instructed in the manual, I checked the actual voltages with a mutli-meter and they were all off by almost 10-20 millivolts from each other...as a mild gripe, it would have been nice if the pots used were of a bit better quality given the importance of these settings...your results may vary...most of us will probably want to do it the old fashioned way (have Multi-Meter will travel) because of this, just to be sure...
The JD-1000RC also has a set of pre-amp outputs on the rear for use with a sub-woofer. This was one of the points that previous users complained about in the earlier versions, and it really made good business sense to add it to the new model since it costs practically nothing to add during the build cycle...There are 2 pre-outs, one is variable and the other isn't...this is a nice touch that you used to have to pay for as a mod in the older versions...
The tube compliment consists of 8 EL34's (4 per channel) in a PP config, and a 12AU7/12AX7 per channel for a driver and pre-amp per channel. These tubes are very popular and there are many variations and oppurtunities for rolling and experimentation. I tubed the whole amp with brand new JJ/Tesla EL34's, ECC803'2 and ECC81's...I just don't have very much faith in the stock power/preamp tubes labeled JOLIDA...and to add, when I asked the tech who's tubes they were, he seemed reluctant to tell me (and didn't)...I guess Shuguang, the drivers were easily identified as EH's...
Powering up the unit produced a lot of "sounds" typical of tube gear, keeping in mind that Jolida manufactures equipment with frugality, so they can pass the savings along...the usual mechanisms for quiet startup and such won't be found here...it wasn't anything drastic, just the usual "pop" when you push in the power button, and the soft hum of each one of the power tubes heating up...it all settled down after about a minute and the unit is relatively quiet, thought I will suggest power conditioning (hum buster) to cut down on transformer hum since they aren't the best and are quite suceptible to anything on the mains...
The tactile feel of the buttons and knobs is decent, and I assume the selector and volume pots are ALPS units. Tweakers will want to upgrade the volume pot (and the speaker binding posts for that matter), its amzing how much this point in the chain robs the sound of critical nuances, and introduces imbalances in the channel levels...I'll be looking into it.
For those that don't think that EL34's can sound sexy, I beg to differ...One of my fav recordings is Natalie Coles comeback album "Stardust"...its a very well recorded album and has something for everyone, from swing, smooth sultry jazz and sweet ballads...and Ms Coles voice is wonderful. Track 3 "Turn up the music and dance" has plenty of horns in a big band arrangement, upright bass and drums for days...The Jolida handled all the attacks with aplomb, and really brought forth the "bite" of a good brass section. The bass was groovin (fast recovery diodes?), smooth and authorative without sounding flubby like some tube amps can sound. Soundstaging was quite glorious, and the maggies really seemed to disappear and allow the sound to wrap around me, enveloping me in a warm blanket of sound...the Jolida really has the ability to bring vocals to the front where they belong, all the instruments were in their proper place in the soundstage and I have to say I was impressed. It drove my Maggies to pretty loud levels without hinting at giving out in the least...at 100wpc, the Jolida has more than enough power to drive even the most finicky of speakers...and the Maggies are a testament to that...
The issues that arose were after about 2 weeks of living with the unit it started to hum....bad. After poking around, I isolated the issue to one of the driver tube sockets, I'm guessing a cold solder joint since a gentle moving of the tube caused it to come and go intermittently. The units are suceptible to shipping damage due to a pretty flimsy PCB used to mount all of the components and tube sockets...this really serves to shorten the life of the unit since after a few years of replacing tubes you'll probably have to get the board replaced...its really that flimsy, and there isn't any excuse for not using PtP wiring, since some of the other low cost china made tube gear uses it and it really does help to elongate the life of the gear and avoids silly issues like a cracked PCB...who knows,..maybe the JD-1000RC ver.B will.... :o)
If you are in the market for a cheap power EL34 based tube integrated amp (did I mention it has a remote?), then the JD-1000RC is for you.
Also, stay away from the "modded" units, I had a JD-1000a that was wracked with issues as a direct result of the mods (poor solder re-work, etc...by you know who), and after hearing a non-modded unit realized the unmodded unit sound much better anyway...(and for the extra money you'll spend you can buy something that out of the box sounds like what you're chasing after) Jolida has spent a long time getting these budget units to sound a particular way, and the best thing you can do is just get NOS tubes to improve the sound (volume pot/binding posts are an asthetic functional improvment), otherwise you'll be drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa...
Product Weakness: Binding posts, transformers, stock tubes, flimsy PCB, quality control... Product Strengths: Power, Soundstage, Price, Remote, preamp outs
Associated Equipment for this Review: Amplifier: JD-1000RC Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): None Sources (CDP/Turntable): Canary CD-100 Speakers: Magnepan 1.6QR Cables/Interconnects: Signal Cable Silver Reference Music Used (Genre/Selections): Jazz/Blues/RB Room Size (LxWxH): 18 x 26 x 8 Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Monster Power AV-2000 Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner
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Topic - REVIEW: Jolida JD1000A Integrated Amplifier (Tube) - slownlo 18:33:48 01/14/07 ( 1)
- Thanks! - Don T 09:59:55 01/15/07 ( 0)