(Jolida) Black Ice Audio Foz SS-X Sound Enhancement


I could find only a few reviews of this device and a few forum entries here. They were all favorable. I sorely needed the bass enhancement circuit for my Maggie 3.7s. I have a Marchand X.26 crossover handling them and the sub but the integration was not ideal. The pre and amps are Cary Audio Class A mono blocs. The source is transparent and very revealing. I did not want anything to upset the glorious sound of the tubes. I also needed something to offset my small-ish listening room. The Maggies ’stand watch’ but I can’t get the distance I need for them to bloom. The SS-X seemed to fit the bill - tube driven, clean specs and a solid designer pedigree. I respect Jim Fosgate.

I ordered the SS-X on the strength of his engineering expertise, particularly in tubes, viz-a-viz Jolida. Not having heard the device it could be considered a leap of faith or a plunge into disappointment. I held my breath.

Straight to the chase: Maggies now have a sweet bottom end, the sub has been dialed back and has disappeared and the top to bottom synergy is spot on and very satisfying.

But wait, there’s more...

The spatial imaging adjustment: Well, I listened to several of my favorite studio recordings. Clean, thankfully. I then put on a nightclub recording of the late Ben Webster live in Amsterdam. I nearly fell out of my chair. The speakers disappeared and I was looking around for the cocktail waitress. The drum kit, the piano, the double bass were all present in the venue with all of its ambiance and Mr. Webster was doing what he did so incredibly well: swinging the audience ala Ellington with that big smooth sax. You could hear everyone present as if you were sitting there.

I’m still waiting for the cocktail server. Incredible device and worth every penny and the anticipation.





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Follow-up:  This is arguably one of the best purchases, dollar-for-dollar, I have ever made in audio with the best benefit ratio and enjoyment factor of any component.  It has completely exceeded my expectations and the magic simply has not worn off, as so often does, with something new and different.  Been there - done that.   

This is out of the ballpark.  Clean, clear, articulate and involving.  For those of you who own one, it might explain the sparsity of used ones on the market.  :-)

       
Thanks 4krow. I know it will work from a technical standpoint, just wondering how good it will sound. Enjoy the music review said it didn’t work as well with the Tavish tube phono stage as it did with a ss phono. Questioning how it will sound with the JD9?

Only way to know is try it I guess. Sounds like a great value.


  Your instincts are correct. The unit sounds different with each combination of components. So far, I have not found a combination that it is in that I would take it back out.
Every claim about this product is confirmed, based
on only a few days in my system.  I had broken it in
to get some time on the tube.

It puts more "meat" on the sound, through the tube "filter."
I don't have a preamp, and placing the SS-X between my
cd player and amp has dispelled any questions about
what I may have been missing.  This is my first tube product.
The music seems to have more body, and the instruments sound
more substantial, in a natural space.

I am happy with the bass adjustment, and am content to leave
the control on neutral.  In this position it sounds more full than
what I was hearing before.  Now I have the option of changing it,
whenever desired.  (I do not use a subwoofer.)

The sound staging in the "wide" mode, is really excellent, too.
It also seems to add more depth and height to the sound.

The SS-X is well built and definitely responds to quality cabling and
vibration isolation.  (I replaced the fuse with SR Blue.)

The people at Black Ice (Jolida) in Maryland are great to talk to and
have responded to questions easily.

At $400, I think this product is a unique steal.  In a single unit, you can
control variables that are not addressed by any other piece of electronics that
I know of.

It very simply does what it claims to do!
I have been a SS guy since high school but since I set up a stereo system in my kitchen I have thought about making the leap to tubes or at the very least a intergrated hybdrid. I saw a Jolida intergrated tube amp on this site for a great price. In my research I reached out to the folks at Jolida and spoke with the owner Mr. Allen. He highly recommened going with the For SS-X as a great introduction to the sound of tubes, well one in this case.

I hooked it up earlier this afternoon and the spacing setting made a great first impression on me. It may need 20 plus hours or more to warm up so I will post an update in a week or so.