Jolida, Glass FX Tube DAC III vs Fusion DAC Pre

I am setting up a two channel system in a spare room in my new house. It will be 11 feet x 12 feet, carpeted. Most of my music is in digital (mp3, FLAC, etc) format. I plan on using my Windows computer as the "source". I may hook up a CD player or Phono at some point.

My amp will be a Parasound HCA-1500A, a solid state amp with 205 W/ch. This has more than enough power for the size room.

As far as speakers, I plan on going with bookshelfs, something in the $1500 range. I will probably look at something like the KEF LS-50s, Epos Elan 15, or something from Focal/JM Lab, PMC, PSB, B&W etc. Another option would be to steal the Meadowlark Kestrals from my home theater system.

The main question I have, is how to get the "music" from the digital source to the speakers. I don't want to spend more than about $1500 between PC out and AMP in.

All I really need is USB/Coax/SPDIF inputs, volume control, and RCA outs to the amp. I realize USB has a host of issues, so I would consider getting a USB/SPDIF converter such as the TeraLink X2, if that would help improve the sound.

I am leaning towards either the Jolida Glass FX Tube DAC III ($500), or the Jolida Fusion DAC Pre ($950). Is there a big difference in sound quality between the two? They use the same DACs and tubes. The Fusion adds Bluetooth, which I would use, and has more switching functionality. But as far as sound quality, can I get the Glass FX and put the extra 500 bucks toward the other components?

Glass FX + B&W PM1; or Fusion DAC Pre + B&W CM5?? These are the tradeoffs I am looking at.

Thanks if you read this far, I'd rather include more detail than less.

I listen to a mix of Jazz, Bluegrass, Classical, and everything else (Allison Krauss, Frank Zappa, Derek Trucks, Zakir Hussain, Art Blakey, Chris Thile, Joshua Redman, Kathleen Battle, Smashing Pumpkins...)
First you need to realize that the Fusion is a preamp which would control volume to the amp plus has the built-in DAC. If you use the Glass FX DAC III, you will only be connected to the soundcard in your computer; it doesn't have the correct output to drive your amp.

And if you are planning to use a CDP later on, then you will need the preamp.
Thanks for the response. I guess I thought that since the Glass FX can switch between three digital sources, it kind of functions like a preamp.

Is the volume control on the Glass FX just for the headphone output then?

What other preamp/dac combos can people recommend? I like what I see in the Musical Fidelity MS1DAC. I guess the Peachtree Nova/pre falls into that category too.

One last question, do I need to get a USB/SPDIF converter? I really can't justify spending $1,000 on a Audiophilleo 2, when I'm only going to spend that much on the pre/dac itself. If I'm only spending $1,000 on the pre/dac, can I just forget about the converter for now?
Yes, you will need a USB/SPDIF converter. The USB computer output goes to the converter, then you can use Toslink or Coaxial into the DAC/Pre. (Coax is preferred). Using USB directly into a DAC would make for poorer SQ and would not be an asynchronous signal.

There are many budget convertors available, here is just one example...

Is the volume control on the Glass FX just for the headphone output then

The only output is a headphone jack. I don't know if the output is high enough to use as a line level output, but if it were, it would not be the best choice for good SQ.

I'm not knowledgeable enough to make recommendations, but I am considering a Glass DAC for my system.
I'm pretty sure the new fx dac III has variable out put and thus can be used as a preamp.
Chrshanl37 is correct. I see that the DAC III has RCA outputs and a volume knob in front.

I cant find any specs, but you will need to check the output impedance of the Jolida to see if it will match your Parasound's input impedance. Since the DAC III is not called a "DAC/Preamp," try calling Jolida MD to see if it will mate with your amp.
The Parasound HCA-1500A has 33 kohms input impedance.

Here's a good review...
FYI I ordered the fusion pre dac today and will share my thoughts when it arrives. What did you decide to get?
I am leaning heavily towards the Fusion DAC Pre. I like the Bluetooth feature, I want some tubes in my system, and I've always liked the looks of Jolida products.

My Parasound arrived and I have been using my Marantz SR6005 as a pre-amp, since I don't have a dedicated two channel system right now. So the Marantz is driving a B&W LCR 60 and surrounds, while the Parasound drives my mains. A 400-watt Klipsch sub rounds it out.

I have to say, my Meadowlark Kestrals seem to have more punch when driven by the Parasound than they did when using the Marantz. I am now thinking of keeping the Parasound as a HT amp, and getting a different amp for my two channel system.

Chrshanl37, let me know what speakers and amp you are using.

I haven't decided on speakers yet, but if I go with the Jolida/Parasound, I am leaning towards Focal Chorus 706, PSB Imagine B, B&W CM5, maybe reaching for the Harbeth P3ESR.

I have read great things about the KEF LS50, but I worry about how sensitive the speakers are with placement. The speakers will have a bay window behind them, I may have to put them close to the windows, etc.

Please let me know how you like the Jolida, and happy listening!
I'm using soundfield audio monitor 1. They have the same kef uni-q driver as the q100 which is passive augmented with an 8" tangbang sub and a 300 watt class d amp. I am using a class d audio SDS 470 which is also 300 watts. I also have a pair of speaker art super clefs. My previous preamp was a tube audio design 150 and I had an exemplar DAC. I needed more inputs and also wanted to consolidate my system due to space restraints.

I got mine from morrow audio. Mike told me it performs quite well against the BMC pure DAC which he also sells.

I'll keep you posted.
Received the Jolida about a week ago. So far my impressions are that it is a fantastic piece for the money. I am only using the USB input via a laptop with a class d amp. The sound is detailed yet laid back due to my speakers which are known to be very laid back anyway. So far this preamp sounds as good as my 2700/1600 preamp and seperate DAC combo. Quite good indeed. Can't wait to put it in my main system this fall. FYI I swapped the stock tubes for some Telefunken's.
I just got an FX DACIII with factory upgrade. I got a good quality toslink fiber optic cable. I have been around for a good while. I have listened to a lot of stuff. This sounds better than any record or turntable I have ever heard. though I have not listened to a 14K turntable. I bought this and my Jolida amp from Brian at Petery-Hedden Co. in New Albany, Indiana. Got a good deal from a man who was very helpful. I do not regret this purchase at all. I listened for a long time before connecting the DACIII to make sure I was hearing any difference. It is smooth, detailed, and refined. it has Tungsol gold pin tubes in it.
And ESA clarity caps. Happy!
@Boband212 You just got the Jolida FX tube dacIII? I'm looking for a new or used dac, and am considering the Jolida. I have a Jolida JD9II phono pre and love it, so I'm a Jolida fan. What upgrade did you get and what was the cost, if you don't mind my asking? I've also been looking at used Benchmark Dac I, Rega Dac, and a new Schiit Gungnir. What other dacs have you had to compare the Jolida to. Thanks for any input.
I ended up getting the Joilda Fusion Dac Pre, which I am using with the Parasound HCA-1500 and my Kestrals. It sounds incredible. Much more of an improvement than I was expecting. I was using the Marantz SR6005 as a pre-amp previously, and there is no comparison.

The soundstage and imaging are great. The detail and clarity are much better, without sounding analytical or fatiguing at all. If there is any weakness, I would say the bass is slightly subdued. But overall it sounds very musical. Guitars and mandolin have a midrange punch that just wasn't there before. I have heard several songs where I went "I don't remember hearing that before".

The bluetooth works great, no issues with either iPhone or Android. I am using the USB input from my computer. I have been using JRiver Media Center.

I got it with the Upgrade I from Jolida, with the better tubes and caps. Not sure how much of a difference this made as I didn't hear a before/after comparison.

The Marantz is now driving a new pair of B&W 683 in my home theater, which I am also very happy with!

Cliff notes: Joilda Fusion DAC Pre rocks, I give it 9/10, just because there is always something better out there.

Dan Crary just hit a low note on his custom Taylor guitar and I about fell out of my seat!
Been following your post. Good to hear a success story! Congrats.
Glad you are enjoying your new preamp. I put tungsol gold pins in mine and it sounds fantastic.