Thanks for the feedback. I guess we all have had our fair share of 'settling in' phenomena. But the first encounter with the Allaerts was of a different (third?) kind. By now it has 'settled' and the output is stable. For my usual NAF (Neighbour Acceptance Factor) friendly listening volume the display on the amp is at -50dB. Initially I needed -45dB to get the same SPL, no kidding!
It's still early days, but sonically the JA is quite interesting. I installed it in my Audiocraft AC-4400, loaded at 100 ohm as specified. This appears to be a good match and it tracks everything with ease. For testing I always use the George Crumb Makrokosmos Volume III LP (on Nonesuch) for its enormous dynamic range and those crashing cymbals and gongs.
The tonal balance is on the warm side and it throws a back-to-mid hall perspective. You might think this would put it in the 'polite or boring' camp. Yet sudden crescendos jump at you like a force of nature. It doesn't have the usual (and often tiresome) high frequency rise of most modern MC's, yet the high register is wide open and sparkles without drawing attention to itself.
The JA has a - presumably deliberate - visual likeness to Belgian chocolate 'bonbons', which can also take you by surprise with what's inside.... To my ears its closest sonic relative is the Myabi, which is high praise in my book.
And this is just the basic MC-1 ECO model with fairly normal specs. The higher MC-2 models have unbelievable specs (like 70dB channel separation and amp like distortion figures), but the prices are also unbelievable. I'm curious if anyone heard these and compared them to the ECO?