How big is your room and what type of music and volumes do you listen to? For normal volume levels in a reasonably sized room the JD-202A drives the Nautilus 805 just fine. Wally
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I disagree with Wally.
Although I am one of the biggest fans of the Jolida 202A, it does not mate well with the B&W N805. If that sounds like a criticism of the Jolida, it isn't. I tried the N805 with another, far more expensive EL34 based integrated, the Conrad Johnson CAV50, and it also is not up to driving the B&W.
Although I am not a big solid state propoent, I go along with your first statement, these speakers prefer solid state amplification. A demanding impedendance/phase angle up through the lower midrange is the reason. If you are going to go with these speakers, you'll never get them to sing until your pair them with transistors.
Personally, I feel so strongly about this amplifier, however, that I would see if you could look into a friendlier pair of loudspeakers. If you like the EL34 magic, it definitely has that. A beautiful amplifier when you find a synergistic match.
My room is about 18 x 11 and I don't listen at party volumes (although, occasionally, I will turn it up a little to get some of the excitement out of rock music...). :)
Let me name off a few artists in my CD collection of late:
India Arie, Coldplay, Michelle Branch, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Getz/Gilberto, Norah Jones, Sarah McLachlan, Ben Folds Five, Train, John Mayer, Eagles, Elton John, Jamiroquai...
I have two follow up questions:
1. For the collection of music I just mentioned, would the Jolida be a good match? If the N805s aren't recommended with the Jolida, what speakers would work better?
2. Otherwise, if the Jolida isn't a good match, what amp/speaker combo would be recommended?
Thanks for all of the good comments!
Lennychen, your tastes seem to tend toward an eclectic version of someone who listens to modern rock.
18' X 11' is not a small room. Forget about ever feeling you "don't listen at party volumes", although I am into lower power tube amplification, I am also a proponent of having enough guts to do the music justice.
I should clarify my assertion that the Jolida will not drive the B&W well. Sure, the speakers will play, you will attain a certain, probably satisfactory level of volume, and all may seem well. But, that is a far cry from what this hobby is about. What you will miss is something that may sound intangible - the marriage of a loudspeaker with the amplifier driving it. As in life, any man and woman can get married, but some make more sense than others.
An amplifier works well with a speaker, to me, when it is capable of producing beautiful music with the loudspeaker. The human voice will be realistic, the pace of the sound will not lag behind what the disc truly sounds like. The mid/woofer's voice coil will be controlled to the point of not having the illusion of it not causing the amplifier to seem like someone straining to run up a hill. You will know within a very short time whether or not it works.
To put things most plainly, if the loudspeaker - amplifier combination sounds like less than the cost of the two, it is a poor match. Conversely, if the whole sounds like it exceeds the cost of the sum, it is a good match. That is what should never be lost sight of.
As far as solid state amplifiers go, I am not so up to date on them, as I do not actively seek them out. But, you may want to look into Audio Refinement, Bryston, Electrocompaniet, Musical Fidelity, or Plinius.
In terms of speakers that mate well with the Jolida, I have personally heard absolut magic with the Totem Arro(INCREDIBLE, if you can live without the bottom octave) and JMlab Cobalt series(very musical). I would also recommend anything from the Alon monitors, Coincident, most speakers from Soliloquy, and a few models of Triangle(if they suit your taste).
"Trelja", I would like to agree and dissagree with you on a couple of point...
...First, 11x18 IS A SMALL ROOM!...from an acoustical standpoint that is! Maybe in terms of HOA and realter's terms it's not. But in the world of acoustics, 11x18 would most defintely not evern really be medium sized!..but I guess it's all relative to who'm your asking.
I would, however, agree that the little Jolida's aren't necessarily the best POWER OUTPUT match with the 805n's in my experience. AS much as I love those little Jolidas for the $, they want a little less demanding speaker ideally. As far as sonic match, tastes will vary.
Even though the B&W's are not so ineficient, and are modestly high sensitivity for small monitors, they seem to do better pushed with higher current indeed!..the same held true for the older Matrix 805's(even the likes of the VTL ST85 wasn't really enough to push the sound stage on those either!). I used to also own Thiel 1.5's, which were like 86db senstive at 4ohms. And the Jolida 502, allthough excellent sounding overall for the money on them, didn't push the soundstage as good as it could have. Better solid state amps did aa better job there. Although, I liked the sound of tubes on those two speakers for sure!
I guess alot depends on your tastes and what volume levels and types of music you prefer as well.
A combo, if you already own the 805's, that I think would be stellar, yet still giving tubes in the system, would be a great sounding tube preamp, mated with a good solid state amp! You could find used tube pre's with good sonics in the $500 range used, but you'd need to spend a bit more on a good amp I guess...at least maybe $600+ on a used Classe or something...minimal!
However, if you would like to find out what the Jolida's can do, it wouldn't hurt to buy one!..they are great little dudes for the money for sure.
hope this helps
I guess we each have our own definitions when it comes to room size...
Personally, I am not so fond of the tube preamp, solid state power amplifier combination. That's not to say that it does not work, as conventional wisdom often follows that path. Most people I come across recommend it. But, it just isn't for me.
In fact, while a proponent of this kind of setup in the past, I now have come to the conclusion that it really goes against my style.
First, there are enough tube friendly dynamic loudspeakers out there that a tubeophile can move into. Unless I was going to go with something like an Apogee or Magneplanar, or I had a non - sonic reason for using a solid state amplifier, I would be using a tube power amplifier.
Second, I have now come across enough systems where the tube preamp takes away from the sound, often adding hash or a upper bass - lower mid blump, or loss of resolution, that I have become soured on the what the conventional wisdom is.
Conversely, I have, in the past few years, been around quite a few very good sounding systems running a solid state preamp mated to a tube power amplifier, that I now believe in the contrarian point of view.
Of course, my first preference is still a tube integrated or a tube preamp with tube power amplifier. But, I am pretty much a tubeophile. Each person should fine out his own tastes, and then build a system according to it.
Current using Cary Audio SLP308/Audio Research VS110 to drive B&W signature 805s with great sound. I still have nautilus 805s driven by classe 151(150W/ch). If you like tube sound, classe is a ss amp with a tube-like sound. I second Trelja's opinion on N805 needing more power than Jolida. If you have made up your mind, go with 502B with KT88.
P.S. Thanks for responding to my previous thread, Trelja.
I think your Classe is just what kind of amplifier the N805 needs, Glai. I would still need to see how the marriage of the 502B with KT88 goes with the N805, but I cannot dismiss it out of hand.
Class and Rowland would be ideal candidates.
Maybe it's just me, but B&W doesn't seem to be the loudspeaker most easy to mate with a tube amplifier. In my experience, solid state is preferable for their product. Of course, your Audio Research should do find with 100+ tube watts.
I have to disagree with Trelja, but with a Caveat:
I owned the 805 for quite a while, and drove them well with 30 push-pull triode watts from a Rogue Tempest, and a Cary SLI-80 sig, I had great results, but with 6550 or kt-88 tubes.
The el-34, while having a beautiful midrange, just wimps out on the bass.
I'd rather have a fuller bottom end, and use line-level tubes to get the midrange sound (or as close as you can).
I know Trelja loves the el34, and perhaps the reportedly excellent bass response of most all totems is probably a good match.
IF you are going to try to drive the 805s with el-34s, you're probably not going to get the bass that you want.
IF you try some 6550/kt88 tubes, at the expense of some of the midrange magic, you might get a fuller sound, plus a little more juice.
Glad you found a suitable match, Lennychen. Yes, I think you did right by not going with the B&W in this case.
Great to see you around here, Joe. You are correct about the EL34. It's weak points are the bass and its treble. The midrange is where it runs away from the bigger tubes.
Although I talk up the EL34, it is actually from afar. I do not own an EL34 amplifier. My Jadis runs KT90 and the AtmaSpheres use 6AS7G.
I prefer the KT90 in almost every situation to the 6550, but would opt for the KT88 if I wanted sweetness. The larger tubes bring the low end grunt, and a big part of the equation is the transformers. Larger transformers are needed to run the big tubes, which is why the amps give more power and can put out better bass than an amp designed to run EL34.
The 6AS7G is an offshoot of the 2A3, and is very fast and immediate sounding. Yet, with a warmth and realness that is hard to describe.
Fortunately, Lennychen is in a good position, as his Jolida is set up for the bigger tubes. The 302 and 502 are really the same amp, the 502 runs the bigger tubes, and doesn't sound NEARLY as good.
On the bright side for me, my favorite uncle is passing his Williamson Circuit amp my way soon. He built it long ago. I am not sure what tubes it uses, but often, they seem to be KT66/6L6, sometimes EL34. I am hoping for EL34, or maybe would go to them, as I am not the biggest 6L6 guy out here.
The midrange is AWESOME with the EL34, but you are certainly right...the bass is certainly lacking. Fortunately the nice folks at my dealer are ordering some Russian tubes they recommend to boost the lower end. I'm not sure which ones they were exactly. Once I get them I'll let you know what I find (and which model they were!).
One final question, if you look at my system, I'm using van den Hul D102 III HB interconnects. Any recommendations on speaker cable? The dealer recommended van den Hul CS102s...which is a silver-copper hybrid, which I think will be a good match keeping the details and clarity.
Oooopps! I misread you on the Jolida, you have the 202, not the 302. The 202 has the smaller transformers, and can only run EL34. Transformers are the reason, moreso than the EL34, that the bass will never fall into the great category, regardless of what Euro or NOS tubes you try. Not to say that it cannot be improved, but you are working against the smaller bandwidth of the smaller transformers.
Still rejoice in that the Jolida 202 is one of the sweetest amps you'll come across, both in terms of sonics and economics. From what it appears, that midrange is really making you smile.
For speaker cable, if you are looking for something under $500, PLEASE try the Coincident 0.5. It is simply a giant killer. Bass is excellent, but the cable is a performer from top to bottom. Erring ever so sligthly to the romantic side. Very full bodied sound, but nice detail. This cable beats out my AudioQuest Midnight at 1/3 the price. You should be able to buy 8' for $200 new. Of course, used would be even less. I just cannot get over how good this cable is, especially when the price is factored in.
If you are looking at anything more expensive, I would give the Coincident CST 1 a shot. It basically corrects any of the 0.5's shortcoming, bringing slightly more slam and resolution. But is the difference worth the difference? Depends on your budget.
I shake my head at people spending crazy money on wire. I have had what many consider the top of the food chain in terms of speaker cable in my system for 8 months, and came to the conclusion that cost is not the determining factor in cable. I ended up replacing it with CST 1, and made a hefty profit along the way, not to mention sound that makes me signficantly happier.
I have had great luck with The Electro-Harmonix tubes.
I own a set of their el-34s that I stick in my Rogue from time to time. It is Auto Bias, and set up for the bigger bottles, and I know that the little 34s are being run hard, but it's a nice change, from time to time.
Good luck!- and try a nice aftermarket PC for a little more oomph.
Ditto Joe's suggestion of upgrading the power cord. It should never be overlooked. That being said, you don't need to get crazy, just something that can give the amp what it needs.
Glai, I can speak to the Jadis Orchestra Reference, as I own one. However, the three other amplifiers you listed are newew products, and I have not heard them. Again I will say that sadly, the North American distribution of Jadis has really suffered a lot in the past 5 years. A once great brand has declined to almost nonexistence.
Please note that my sentiments in no way reflect the sonics of Jadis, which I feel is as good as amplifiers get. Better than most of what is available today. That's not to say that there are not companies selling today that aren't just as good. Air Tight, AtmaSphere, and BAT come to mind.
As far as the Orchestra Reference goes, I feel it is a fantastic integrated tube amplifier. In the many months I searched for a new tube amplifier, only two products really came to impress me. One was the Jadis, the other was Air Tight. My intention was not to purchase an integrated, but the Orchestra Reference simply sounded better than other products to me. The decision to opt for the Jadis over the Air Tight was a factor of being able to run a wide range of output tubes (EL34, E34L, 6CA7, 6550, KT88, KT90), cosmetics, and bass/treble controls.
The sonics of the amp are quite impressive. The hallmark of the amp are its transformers, which are the most important and costly, yet least appreciated component of a tube amplifier. They lend the Jadis the ability to go low, and put power into a difficult loudspeaker. Not crazy difficult, but more than most comparable products.
Due to the current atmosphere in the North American market, I am not sure I would buy a new Jadis. But, that's just me. If I am spending that kind of money, I want to be sure that I am working with a stable operation, one that is there to support me in the same way I supported them through my purchase.
Despite what some, including those selling the amps in North America, the tone controls in the Orchestra Reference are a worthwhile addition. I know some have been quoted as saying to forego them for what you may be referring to as the Orchestra Signature. I disagree with that.
I cannot comment on the DA50, but my experience would tell me it will sound excellent. From my eye, it seems to be the natural successor to the DA30. The differences being the use of KT88 output tubes in lieu of the 6550, which I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with, cosmetics of the Orchestra Reference (beautiful!), etc.
I consider the Jolida 202, 302, 801, and 1000 to be "baby Jadis" integrateds. The reason being the smooth, relaxed sound they offer from a convenient integrated package. That's not to say they sound as good, they don't. But, they aren't so far away. Jadis products are more rugged, well built, extended, neutral, refined, etc. The 502 is conspicuously absent from my list because I just don't think it sounds very good. Others will disagree, I am sure.