Jolida FX Tube DAC

Anyone tube rolled this unit with good results?

I am thinking of upgrading my DAC, but I want to hear some other opinions of tube choices before I sell this unit.

Thanks in advance
I have had a Jolida Glass FX DAC for about 3 weeks now. I used to have a Musical Fidelity V-DAC which I used to connect my computer and TV to my Antique Sound Lab AQ-1003DT EL34 based tube amp. I live at the low end of hi-fi but it is what I can afford and I am happy with it. It still surpasses the box store stuff by miles.

The V-DAC is highly rated but the sound quality never measured up to my Jolida JD-100A CD player. I hated listening to music through it off my computer or HDTV. I use only lossless formats ripped from my own CD's. The V-DAC is thin, muddy and compressed compared to the JD-100A. It makes me not want to listen in comparison. Better to just get up and swap CD's.

I read the few reviews on the Glass FX available and while some sites like Absolute Sound were favorable, some bloggers gave less than flattering reviews (although these seemed to be based on customer service issues). Anyway, I snagged a brand new one off eBay for under $300.

The V-DACii about $300. The Jolida Glass FX is about $400. The Glass FX is way more than $100 better. It is several steps above and at such a close price point. They aren't even in the same league. The Glass FX is so close to the JD-100A in sound quality that the difference is barely discernible and I have to account for the fact my unit isn't even burned in yet.

I can actually listen to Apple Lossless through this DAC and where the V-DAC wore me out this has me listening with full enjoyment. My wife, who dismisses high end audio, sat up and took notice when I ran an HDMI cable to the HDTV to a Toslink/SPDIF cable out the back into the DAC (and into the amp). When she says she can hear the difference I have to chuckle.

The mids and highs are crystal clear. It is a little thin on the bass end. The bottom line is I can listen to quality audio without having to swap out CD's if I don't want to and I'm loosing the smallest fraction of fidelity. It comes with Tung-Sol 12AX7 resissues which aren't too bad. I look forward to doing some tube swapping.

I like that it uses an actual power cord so that can be upgraded too. The tubes are easy to access. It is solidly built. In a nod to what I guess is the younger folks there are blue LED lights behind the tubes. I can do without it but it isn't a deal breaker. Audio quality USB, HDMI, Toslink, and interconnects do make a difference so don't go with the cheap stuff from the box stores, Amazon or eBay. In fact I recommend Pangea USB (Audio Advisor) cables for the low price point. They easily rival Audioquest offerings and specs and deliver a wonderful audio improvement.

I hope this helps you and others in making a decision about this fine DAC. I have spent enough hours listening to it to know I am completely satisfied. When you are enjoying the music, notice that the foot is tapping and you are getting into the groove; when the stereo sound stage is clear and wide; when you are able to discern everything that is going on int he ensemble; then it is very, very good.
12ax7 tubes? do not have experience here...but try speaking with Brent'll find him on web. Not a great website, but a great guy to get advice from on options. Honest...bought from him many times over the last 7 years or so...maybe a dozen NOS tubes or more. Highly recommended. good luck.
So getting to the tube rolling - here is what I have swapped/listened to so far: 10 year old JJ ECC83's; Groove Tube 12-AX7M Mullard reissues also from about 10 years ago (these were great tubes - don't think you can get them anymore); Telefunken smooth plates; Telefunken ribbed plates, Amperex Holland Bugle Boy's from the early '60's. Again, they come with the new Tung-Sol's.

So what defines success in tube rolling? Is it that different tubes have differing sonic qualities when installed in a piece of audio equipment? If so, you will have success when you roll the tubes in the Glass FX.

I haven't decided on which tubes I am going with yet. That always takes awhile. Surprisingly the Tung-Sol's actually work very well. I am leaning towards the Bugle Boys. When it comes down to it though it is always a subjective choice made by the listener that fits their particular preferences. So all I can say with certainty is that swapping the tubes changes the sonic characteristics.

Again, the tubes are very easy to access.
This is an aside but if you have the FX DAC or the integrated and don't care for the bright blue LEDs there are a couple of things you can do about it. I have the FX10 integrated on a shelf directly above the computer monitor in my office and the blue LEDs were very distracting.

I first took out the tubes and put a couple of layers of dark red fingernail polish on the LEDs, which created a much less obnoxious purple-blue color and cut down the brightness.

After awhile I felt that wasn't enough so I took off the bottom plate of the amp and clipped one of the leads to each LED. It was a very simple process and I was much happier with something that now looks like a tube amp instead of a video game.

Really nice amp, I use it with a pair of JohnBlue JB3 speakers and it's a wonderful combo.
With the Jolida Glass FX Tube DAC can you roll in other 12AX7 tube types such as 5751, 7025, 6681 or 7058 tubes? If you have rolled in these kinds of tubes what were your thoughts on them with the FX Tube DAC?
Jedinite24 - The 5751 was recommended to me but because I'd received several pair of vintage 12ax7's in a tube swap I never pursued any of the other types. I've used vintage and new Tung Sol, RCA black plate, Matsushita, Sylvania/Baldwin, the stock Electro-Harmonix and reissue Gold Lion pairs. The stock tubes are nothing special but all the others sound great and the differences among them are not that significant.
Thanks for all the great answers. I did like the Jolida, but the lack of a good driver for my Mac has been an issue and I could never quite get enough warmth out of it. I have moved to the Wyred 4 Sound DAC-1 and I am very happy so far.

The integration with the Mac and Apple TV2 are great! I also have a digital line run from my Oppo BD95 into the W4S and call me crazy, but I think it is better then the Oppo connected via XLR to my Jolida 502.

Lots of changes and time for things to break in, but I think I am moving in the correct direction,.
I totally lost track of this thread.

Thanks for sharing Sfar. I've definitely made not of what you have tried in the FX DAC. So far I have a lot of NOS tubes from the mid 60s and 70s to try. The only new tubes I have are the Tung Sols, Mullard reissues, and various Groove Tubes that I got from music shops. I finally did get a Jolida Glass FX Tube DAC and will definitely try the 5751 tubes in place of 12AX7 tubes. The reason being is that I used the Glass FX Tube DAC with NOS RCA Grey plate 12AX7 tubes and holy cow I only had to move the volume control on my headphone amp up by a hair before the music got too loud. I'm hoping the 5751 type tubes will help.

Plosive. Thanks for sharing your exp as well. I'm going to be doing something similar to our set-up. I have the Oppo BDP-83SE and will use it as a transport to the Jolida Glass FX Tube DAC. I'd love to hear the BDP-95 W4S DAC-1 combo you have. I like the BDP-83SE's sound in my system and am hoping the Jolida will add a different flavor to the music. I too have a Jolida 502 amp. This should be fun.
My 2 cents on tubes with the 502 and Jolida. The tube combo I liked the most was Mullard 12AT's and Mullard NOS 12AX's in the Pre and Northern Electrics in the Glass FX.

I moved the NE to the 12AX7 position on the 502 when I sold the DAC. The Mullard 12AX7's NOS ($$$) Were not the best for my ears, but when the NE were in the line, they were acceptable.
I am looking to replace the Jolida tube sockets - does anyone know if the sockets are PC mount?

Want to go with gold plated copper/teflon.

Hey all,

I'm resurrecting this thread before I get in touch with Jolida to see if anyone else can help me with it. I have a new FX Tube DAC III and tried out the USB/toslink connection from my MacBook pro the other night. However, though I configured the Mac's sound output to the Jolida (which came up on the output menu choices), I never got any sound; in fact, the DAC would make a few clicking sounds, but no music. I cycled through all three input options on the DAC, but to no avail.

Even more odd, youtube videos and my sound files would not play.

Any ideas?

All my connections from the Mac to the DAC to the integrated were complete, and the Mac played music through its own speakers after I unplugged the USB cable.