I just bought a new Jolida JD502P power amp, had it "factory upgraded/modded", and stuck a quartet of new matched KT120s in it. All for close to your price point. It sounds wonderful, bass is tight, mids warm, and treble accurate and sweet.
Hm...maybe I asked a dumb question? or too many? Or probably folks figure the answer is already out there, understandably. Must be one of the most asked questions.
I've been reading threads for a couple days, but it's not clear to me if I can get by with a tube amp. How tight is tight, how open is open? I'm not able to try this gear in my region. But maybe the CJ PV-5 is a limiting factor too (though I now know CJ and Rhb Dezign can upgrade it), in which case no amp will give me the open highs I want with the PV-5.
Right now these amps are for sale in the $800-$1000 range at various places on the internet:
Audio Research D76
Mark Levinson ML-9
If the latter two SS amps are 10s on a 0-10 scale for bass tightness and open highs, and my MC240 and 8B are 10s on an 0-10 scale for midrange liquidity, can any of the three tube amps above get me a 7 on bass and highs, and a 7 on tube liquidity?
Wolf, thanks very much. What a nice amp. I didn't know one could get so much new for that kind of money. Thank you.
You could be needing to tube roll a little to get the sound you need...maybe list the current tubes in the amp(s), and then you may get some advice.
If your amps were in storage, its likely they are not working up to snuff. The Marantz was a nice amp but unless its been rebuilt/serviced recently I would not expect it to sound right- in fact I would be nervous about plugging it into the wall!
A new set of filter capacitors for the power supply and you may think very differently about this amp!
Yeah, what Atmashpere said.
Also, maybe a good subwoofer would help. I run a pair of Vandersteen 2Wqs with my almost full range speakers. It relieves the amp of having to drive deep bass into the mains, and these have an adjustable "Q" so you can tighten up the bass as desired. I bought them for about $775 each here on A-gon.
I second the sub thing...been using a old REL Q150e and it really makes everything around it sing.
Thanks very much guys. How does that work....say I have my MC240 driving the speakers. You can make everything below say 100hz go to the sub(s), so your main speakers are not trying to reproduce energy below 100? And the sub is working off of a different amp?
What speakers are you targeting again? OR is that open as well?
The pre-amp/amp/speaker combo together along with good quality source material is the key to max out what you seek.
If speakers are open, getting something that will physically integrate well into your listening room is also important.
For reference, take a look at the new tube/Class D hybrid amps from Rogue. With many larger speakers out there today, something like that or a similar pre-amp/amp combo would likely address what you seek. OR if the tube amp is in good condition, you can find speakers to match to that well as an alternative, but the choices will be different and perhaps more limited.
Jim, I strongly advise you NOT to blow off Ralph's (Atmasphere) advice. Old caps DO dry out and may need to be serviced. Had the same experience when I pulled my old Crown DC 300 amp out of the closet. Sent it back to the factory for a check up. Quite a few passives had to be replaced.
OK, so check out the Rogue for tight bass and tube mids.
My current speakers are:
Snell Original E -- currently waiting for new foam surrounds from Peter at Audio Note so these have been out of commission since bringing everything out of storage
NHT SuperZeros (original ones -- no sub)
Realistic Minimus 7 Walnut (don't laugh)
Speakers I'm considering:
B&W PM-1 -- probably can't afford these right now
Used B&W 805
Sinclair Brighton 460T http://sinclairaudio.com/460t.html
Haven't hear of these but have auditioned them for hours at local shop, and really like them, great tonal balance. 92db, ribbon tweeters, very reasonable.
Yes, you can't store **any** amplifier for years (long enough for surrounds to perish) and expect it to sound right after that. The filter caps die if they don't have voltage applied to them occasionally.
If you want tubes to sound right- play bass right and do the highs right, stay away from B&W- for the most part they are designed for transistor amps and are incompatible with tubes.
I'd love to find some of those Minimus 7s - they were cool little speakers.
I worked at Radio Shack for years years ago and I have a pair of weather-worn walnut Minimus 7s running off my main rig still out on my deck. They are hard to beat for their size and original cost ($100/pr or less when on sale). They used to fly ouit the store when on sale in particular. I should add a picture to my OHM Sweet OHM System. They fit the bill nicely for my deck use running off the Bel Canto ref1000m 500 w/ch Class D amps. I push them fairly loudly out there but never to the limit. THey are not young. Frankly most any 40 watt or so or better amp not pushed to clipping can work well with those. A tube amp might be a nice match, but have never tried.
Agree with Atmasphere. I would not touch most any B&W with a tube amp for serious listening.
Thank you all for your advice, esp. on the B&Ws. I'd seen one post to that effect but didn't know whether to believe it, I do now.
This presents a delimma on the Mac and Marantz. I'd like to buy a nicer house. I've been counting on turning those old amps into part of a down payment. So I'm scared to upgrade them and hurt the value. They were in use until 2005, put in storage, woken up and used for a month by my engineer friend with a variac in 2009, and in storage since, and I woke them up over 2 days each with my variac. I would not be surprised if the caps need replacing, but they sound OK. Just afraid to decrease their value. But I am hoping I don't have to ever sell the 8B.
What I need is to make more money to play this game. Hopefully that is in my future :-)
Wolf, I came to Jolida through another route, then called Underwood. I'm looking hard at this option. Then, not remembering which amp you mentioned, I came back to look at your post, so I'd have a list of the two new amps in my range. But yours was Jolida too. Underwood and I talked a long time yesterday. He told me about his upgrades (which are covered under warranty). Is that what you mean by upgrades? He said without the upgrades the Jolidas have the typical tubey sound but with his upgrades they sound modern in both lows and highs. True in your opinion?
Thanks! We may end up with the same amp.
Wolf, what preamp and speakers are you using with the Jolida?
Get the CJ PV5 redone at the factory and then get a wonderful MV55 and have it looked at by them too.
Gorgeous little combo but the limiter is still the PV5.
My upgrades came from Jerred at Jolida in MD and they may be like those which (via Canada's "Parts Connexion") Underwood provides although I have no idea, but they seem similar in description. I use it with a beefy dual mono (Vincent-esque...same factory but the Kavent line is no longer around) Kavent S-33 preamp with balanced outs. Although the Jolida inputs aren't "truly" balanced, I like the solidity of the balanced jacks and I had some great balanced cables so I wanted to keep using them. My speakers are Silverline Preludes and a REL Q150e sub.
Thanks Wolf, that gives me another possible modifier to check out. Those mods covered under warranty? What's the db on your Silverlines?
Yeah...the mods from both Jolida (of course) and Underwood are warranty covered, as is my amp if the KT120s blow it up. Supposedly my Preludes (the latest model...there'e been a couple) are 91db, although I think that's generous. I use the 8ohm taps from the Jolida.
Atmasphere is right on target in re: filter caps. It's not even fair to compare these amps to new amps without addressing the caps. (Not to mention that new caps are NOT that expensive). Re-cap them and then compare. If you still don't like them you can put them back in the stream for top dollar, buy a new amp and maybe still pocket a couple thousand bucks.
Wolf, so how are you liking the Jolida? May I ask what other gear you've used that you can compare to? If you'd rather say it in email, I am at jkk251 at gmail dot com.
I got the Jolida because I was bored and curious, and I like the sound of it a lot. It holds up really well in comparison to the SS amps I've owned in the sense that it's quiet and has plenty of dynamic juice. I'm really liking the tube "warmth", colorful tonal palette, and the fact that I can mess with it just by changing tubes.
The Jolida 302 and 502s have wonderfully overbuilt power trannies (output is a different story but still very competent. Lots of space for mods. And a simple enough circuit topology to allow the modder to be flexible with tube choices and current draw and make mods without breaking the bank (direct coupled input to driver stage).
Here's my meaningless comment of the day: My mods cost less than my dinner last night. Including drinks.
Jeez. If Jolida's mods cost as much as Underwood's, then you had some good wine indeed.
I searched Jolida's website for a list of the mods but I could not find one. Guess I will have to wait and call them.
Ths364, thank you for your post, it makes me feel easier about getting the two old timers in spec, without taking a bath. Do you mean, put them back in the stream with the upgraded parts, or put the old ones back in? I have been listening to them so the caps should be reformed well enough to last a while if I mean to take them out then put them back.
River251, I hope you understand that even if it appears that you have reformed the old filter caps in your amps that there is no way that they are performing to spec as they could if you had new filter caps!
HA...yeah...there are some pretty serious "Underwood" mods on various Jolida items, which was one reason I went with Jerred's suggested mods which he's been doing forever, and right there at Jolida MD...at a very reasonable cost.
River251, Atmasphere is exactly right (again!) What I meant was have them re-capped, then give them a listen . If at that point you prefer something else, you can sell them for a pretty good chunk of change and buy the amp you like. By "back in the stream" I simply meant like "catch and release" when fishing-when you've had your fun with them, put 'em back and let someone else have a chance.