Its tough hitting that just right balance! I spent about 6-9 months trying to figure out which way to go for my digital front end. At various times I thought about going with a modified Music Hall, Jolida, Shandling, or keeping my CDP and going Benchmark or Bel Canto. Fortunately, I had several bids for used equipment turned down, which gave me more time to read and think about what I really valued in sound qualities. My existing system erred on the side of too much detail and resolution. I could experience incredible and quite lovely reproduction of the upper harmonics of a flute, but ear drum piercing upper harmonics with a piccolo. Boring it was not! Unfortunately, warm and sweet it was also not! Out of all of this thinking and biding, I began to think about all the hype on the filterless non up-sampling DAC's. I was hearing people talk about stuff like pace, imaging, warmth, detail, etc. It seemed like these DAC's were delivering a really good balance of attributes that I really value. I also noted that they tend to be really inexpensive, and I could always resell or perhaps add a Benchmark DAC and keep both. There are a number of inexpensive but well received filterless 16 bit DAC's out there. I decided to give the Audio Mirror DAC a try, and I've been very happy with the decision. No second thoughts at all. Maybe something like this would strike the right balance for you.
I'm wondering about a few things. You said that the SS DAC was bright but transparent. I consider a transparent component to be one that has no apparent influence on the sound. What do you mean by transparent? You mentioned that the JD-100 has no transparency. What effect is it having on the music that would make you say that it is not transparent?
If I could go out on a limb, I would say that you might be looking for something that is not as bright as your SS DAC but not quite as far away from that as the JD-100 is.
Just out of curiousity, what was your other transport/DAC combination?
Well, the Jolida is not that detailed - this is true - but it seems that it shouldn't be as bad as you describe. I felt it was very emotional and relatively dynamic although it did lack a little resolution compared to more expensive players. It could be you just don't have the right combination of components. System synergy is the key and until you get it, you won't be fully satisfied. You just may have overshot in your quest for warmth so now you need to find a player that is more in between what you had and the Jolida.
You have tried enough tweaks to warrant throwing in the towel and chalking it up as a learning lesson. Suggesting a replacement is very difficult - for me it was an Audio Aero Prima mk 2 which is far more dynamic and detailed but less coherent and warm. Good luck! Arthur
I have to agree with Arthur somewhat. Both in the fact that although the Jolida is not as transparent, detailed and resolving as other higher priced players, it is also about as warm and emotional sounding as you will find from a digital device.
Modded players will tend to make this player more SS in sound. Many have said this before in the theads and my listening to a fully modded level 2 bears this out. What I heard in increased dynamics and bass, I was horrified at the loss of warmth and sweetness in the upper mids and highs, and the narrowing of the soundstage. Your level 1 mod surely is not as pronounced, but still changes the midrange of the JD's sound.
In my system, which runs all tubes, what the Jolida may lack in terms of detail, it makes up for with its warm and textural presentation. Synergy is key, and often times not all the gear works together to get that mix of emotional conection to the music.
It must truly be dissapointing to have spent a small fortune rolling tubes in and out of the JD.and still not get what you want.
I wish I were able to recommend another player, but aside from my former Wadia transport and Electrocompaniet 24/192 DAC that had better dynamics and higher resolution and focus, yet was not as warm and engaging a sound as the lowly Jolida player..I have no real answers to offer.
I did find ( after much rolling like yourself) that the best tube for the JD in my system was a pair of Cryo'd Ei ECC-83 Gray plates from ATSI. This tube blows every NOS tube.. Mullard Cv4004. Brimar, Amperex and all the 5751's Sylvania's, RCA's and Raytheon's out of the water with a GIANT increase in transparency while keeping the midrange magic of the JD. Depth and soundstage are wide open and deep and sound remarkable from this tube.Much smoother highs are very apparent over the non cryo'd tube.
I suggest you try a pair of these for $39.00 a pair, as a last resort, and then decide if you should throw in the towel. Another suggestion would be to think about a switch to tube amps perhaps and see if that does the trick. You have a great system, but need to find the right mix to bring the emotion and transparency in the same room. Sorry I could not be more helpfull.
Best of luck--Ken
Modded or not the JD-100 is a very average player just like the modded Denon 2910.
I have the same player using Mullard CV4004 but your strong recommendation of the ATSI tube has me curious. Where do find ATSI tubes? Thanks
As for the original question I own an AA prima and can directly compare the 2 players the Jolida sinply does not have the detail retrieval of the AA and is sluggish. The AA has a good musicality to it and is affordable I would look into it.
Guys....ATSI (Advatage Tubes Services) located in Lake Worth, Florida. (509) 696-7736. The site is www.tubeman.com
Go to "catalogue" and click on the Red highlighted "Cryo'd" tubes section.
I dont remember honestly how I found them..but Ive used them for their cryo'd 6n23eb 6922 type in my ARC PH3SE with excellent results as well. I love what the cryo process does for the tubes.
I'd like to thank all of you for your honest, sincere, and proffessional advice. Your recommendations are exactly the information I was hoping for.
Aball - I have been looking at the Audio Aero Prima 2 for a month now. I was also told by someone else that this player may be one of the only tubed players that would do the trick for me, within my budget. I emailed a dealer yesterday to see if it was possible to get an in home trial, or be able to return it with a re-stock fee if it doesn't work out. The thought of spending 2K for another player, and taking a loss selling it, is what has held me back. Thanks to you, I feel more confident and seems worthy of a trial. Thanks
Kehut - I have not tried the Ei tubes you recommended, and it will be my first experiment since the cost is so little. I cant break apart and address everything you mentioned, but are in agreement with your observations.
The Jolida does have some wonderful attributes like you mentioned. I guess the emotion thing is ones personal taste by what gets them excited to create goose bumps.
Hopefully, the tube change will make improvements to my system. It is definately worth a try! Thanks for your help!
Brownsfan - You have exactly described my system with my old front end, and I too was in search to add some warmth and balance for the same reasons. I smiled when I read your remark "boring it was not" This is exactly what I was trying to describe, and have completely lost. Which, appealed to me, but was sometimes too overwhelming. I will say this though, I listen to lot more cd's in my collection using the Jolida than I did with my old front end. Just about all my cd's are tollerable using the Jolida, but they are just sort of lifeless. So it appears I went from one extreme to the other, and are looking for something in the middle. I consider myself very lucky to have gotten such good feedback from knowledable people. I have looked at the Audio Mirror dac 100 times and havn't bought one. This may be what I'm looking for. I intend on buying the tubes Kehut mentioned first, then the Audio Mirror would be my next step, then if all else fails, I will try the Audio Aero Prima. I'm putting it in this order due to expense.
Ketchup - I believe your observations may be correct. But, before I answer your question, let me explain about my audio knowledge so I dont end up looking foolish. I'm 50, listened to music all my life, and was a musician in my early days. I do in fact know what sounds good, but are not all that versed on high end audio termonolgy. So, it is certainly possible that what I'm explaining, that I have lost, may not be transparency, but here goes!
My system with my old front end had the ability to discern between all the different instruments, and place them in different locations. For example the volcalist imaging in the center, the drummer behind him, the guitarists on stage left or right, and maybe keyboards behind them. Just a large playing field with all positions easily identified, and dimensional. My Innersound Eros speakers, which are well known for this attribute would actually sonically disapear. Also, the center image was very forward. I remember a time when my wife and I were listening to a Seal cd, and my wife made a comment "wow! it sounds as though he's sitting right next to me". Well this is what I'm calling transparency, maybe right, maybe wrong, i'm sure someone will let me know! Also, during playback, certain sections like guitar solo's, and other instruments would virtually leap out and touch you. This attribute is what gave me my great emotion, where you could not only hear it, you could almost feel it. The jolida sounds like a stereo system where your listening to speakers. I cant explain it any better in words than this.
My old front end was a Metronome transport, with an Assemblage 2.6 dac upgraded to signature edition by Chris Johnson. I believe Assemblage was a Sonic Frontiers product. I used a Kimber d-60 digital cable between transport and dac. As I said in my original post, it was bright, not warm in the least, but had incredible detail and resolution with insruments so well defined and dimensional. I thought with the Jolida I was going to get the warmth I desired but didn't realize all the good parts were going also. Thanks, hope this answers your question, and please dont beat me up too bad.
Your most welcome. Hope all works out in the end. Ive heard the Eros Hybrids at my local dealer some years back. One of the most neutral and pleasing speakers I had heard to date. They were run with Clayton 100 Monos.
BTW...The ATSI number I gave was the FAX # by mistake...the Phone is:
One part of Sfrounds' description stuck out for me: "sounds like a stereo system." I have the Jolida w/ Level 1 mods, and although other pieces may be to blame, I've been complaining that my system "shreiks mechanical reproduction of music." (Made especially vivid for me last night when a friend played her harp after dinner.)
I'll definitely give Kehut's sensibly priced tube suggestion a try.
Since we've got a JD-100 thread, I hope I may be indulged with another question: I sometimes notice a slightly audible scraping or chattering sound coming from the transport area when a disc is playing, as though the disc were rubbing the tray. It does not seem to impact the music in any very obvious way. Explanations?
Good points on the non-upsampling filterless DAC designs. I have two Audio Mirrors and they have both been great to listen to, not to mention one of the best investments I have made in this hobby. I sent one off to TRL to be modded and it will return next week. I am anxious to compare the two side by side. Email me if you're interested in knowing more about TRL and their opinions of the stock DAC.
If you want the next level in detail with a similar tube sound try the Cary 308T. Emotionally involving and more detailed.
I believe that 99.999% of audio systems would 'shriek mechanical reproduction of music' if compared to live harp music (or most anything else live). It's not nice to fool Mother Nature and she, after all, developed the ear/brain/mind that we use to listen to everything with.
All of this makes me think my buddy is right that tubes don't belong in CD players.His point being that the tube warmth or sofetening should be done farther down the line.Maybe in the pre with glass if you want the speaker to have the dynamic or bass control of SS or a Glass poweramp for ultimate bloom,midrange magic on say vocals or acoustic instruments.I have had most combos use you can have in setting up systems but I am now of a mind that the source from digital to cartriges/phono sections should have the greatest resolution,that pre-amps should be (passive or active) have the least signatureand that your power amp should give the greatest "imprint" on the sound before your ultimate transducer the speakers.Sounstage is critcal to the source component but resolution is on an equal footing.The choice of cables ot components farther down the chain can "fix" the problems up front but like they say "garbage in garbage out".Take a high resolution CD player like a Krell which some have criticized as too harsh or metallic sounding well it certainly seems like an easier task to "cure" than "adding" resolution to a well hate to say it "mushy" sound.This is all taken by somebody who uses an EL34 based EAR intergrated currently and loves that two way monitor sound with the right midrange to expense of the frequency extremes.But my next go at it will be to get the best resolution (even with nasties to tame) SS up front (CD and phono)with a neutral SS pre-and finsh the gig by matching glass amps with the right efficiency speakers.Not sure how much this screed was worth but think that even with well respected after market modifiers adding tubes to the CD it isn't the way to go at it sort of jumping the gun oir putting the Horse before the cart.
Interesting opinion Chazz...but the horse DOES go before the cart! ;-)
Well slip of the tongue after I got all frothed up.The damn thing to this hobby is there is so many contrary oppinions of "fact" (see my other recent post on "Best Turntable Under $5K).Bet people in the coin collecting world or model rocketry sleep better and have longer lives than "audiophiles"
Chazz..Its all good! yeah, your probably right. Everyone has a different story to tell thats for sure. It does get old after awhile. We should just stay off the damn computer and enjoy our systems! But now Im looking for a SET integrated to try that wont cost an arm and 2 legs!
On the topic of Jolida CDPs (sorry to hijack the thread) - Does anyone have issues with the fast forward / rewind functions? The Jolida that I used had somewhat strange behaviour - the fast forward sometimes went slowly, othertimes very fast, with no consistency in slow/fast behaviour. Seemed kind of random. Has anyone seen this? If not, can you explain how the FF/rewind works on your Jolida?
Boy, I don't know. I think the Jolida has incredible detail and very involving. If you've tried all sorts of tubes, PC's and interconnects maybe you should look at the rest of your system.
A few people have emailed, and asked me about the tubes I mentioned in my intial post. They are Matsushita ECC803S, gold pins. However, the pins appear to be more brass looking. I believe these Matsushita's were made in conjunction with either Phillps, Mullard, or Amperex. But, even Telefunken has mention with ties to Matsushita. I have searched the web extensively for more information about them, but any information on them is scarce at best. I bought them here on Audiogon from a very reputable person in the Netherlands. I think, everyone who bought these were astonished, and their comments were later posted on the add for review. After I heard them, I immediately contacted the dealer and bought another pair, which I believe were his very last. I have auditioned a total of 19 pairs of tubes in my Jolida, and most of them were all NOS tubes that were recommended, and are typically being used by others. None of them could hold a candle to these Matsushita's. Why, who knows, not me! I wish some tube guru could shed some light for me on these tubes. Thanks, Steve
I would be inclined to agree with the thought that tubes and cdps are not an ideal match. I owned the Jolida twice (two units, about 1 year apart). Selling the first was dictated by finances, so I bought another when I had the chance as I missed that warm and er, fuzzy sound. But by then my ears had grown up a little and the rest of the system had become better too. It turned out to be a bit of a kid at a grownups' party.
Because I listen to a lot of large-scale classical, the player did not do it for me in the end. For someone listening to less complex music which does not demand resolution or transparency this player is a fine choice, as it is indeed very warm and melodious.
I moved on to the Consonance 2.2 which had resolution in spades but now have settled, hopefully for a while, on the Quad CDP99. While not as obviously resolving as the 2.2 I do not feel it misses any info either, and it flows the music quite well enough for me. As it also has a 6-input DAC and preamp built in that was icing on the cake for me.
hmmm...that is weird...i also have the jolida 100 level 1 mod...(i switched to NOS rca 5751 blackplates); my jolida has lots of detail & is v transpartent (sim i-5 integrated, epos 22 speakers)...i just tried the silver audio silver bullets 4.0 IC (solid silver) but returned them b/c they were way too detailed.....maybe u shud check those out; or it cud b the jolida doesnt match well with electrostatics ??