the combination of advent with rotel or nad should be solid....back in the day, there were many dealers who carried these combinations to great success.
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Recently, I directly compared my small Jolida 1301 Hybrid (30 wpc) with a mint late model Creek 5350SE (80 wpc) driving a pair of relatively inefficient Totem Model One Signatures in my bedroom system. I kept the Jolida as there was absolutely no comparison with regard to musicality, dimensionality, tonality, and overall involvement. I noticed no undue coloration. When I absolutely must have more bass, I turn on the underrated Sunfire HRS-8 subwoofer. I've heard that the recently upgraded Jolida 102B sounds far better than the 1301. I soon plan to give it a listen. -Lars-
Thanks for the input, guys. Bob, unfortunately, I don't have the option of auditioning the Jolida at all. There are no Jolida dealers within driving distance. (I'd be willing to schlep out quite a bit, but I can't even find any within a five hours' drive!) I've heard good things about Jolida, and I was kind of obsessed with the idea of getting a 102b until I discovered just how inefficient my Advents are. The one good thing about them is that they are not at all lacking in the bass department, so I doubt I'll be wanting a sub anytime soon. To quote Stereophile's retro-review of them from a few years back: "there is useful output down to 30Hz or so."
Despite the fact that there is no local dealer, however, an inquiry to Jolida regarding the suitability of their products with my speakers resulted in my getting a personal email from the president of the company, so I feel like I would have a good support network with them if I chose to go that route.
Here's another thing to ponder: the Smaller Advents are far from being a flat, neutral speaker. They have a very wide frequency response, and good dynamic range, but they're definitely not modern, "in-your-face" speakers. Would the combination of SAs with Jolida be too colored or muddy? Or would it not be an issue? Or could it even sound cool and retro?
I've listened to all three of these companies offerings a few times each, however it was many years ago and in different systems.
It is my opinion that the Jolida Hybrid although not the most powerful was the most musical of the three that you're looking at. The vocals were sweet, and palpable with a you are there quality. They were driving a pair of Martin Logans SL3? and I walked away impressed.
I've listened to the Rotel with Sonus Faber Concerto Monitors and I thought they were a good match, I thought the Rotel was refined, dry, and polite, and never broke a sweat, the Sonus Faber was sweet and romantic, so another good match there.
I've listened to the NAD's with NHT and I wasn't a big fan. I thought they sounded a bit Hi-Fi'sh to me. Although it's been many years and perhaps they've improved.
Based on my listening experiences; I prefer the Jolida, then if more power is necessary the Rotel and my last choice would be NAD.
Sorry, I have no experience with Advent Speakers.
I just did a direct comparison of an NAD and Rotel integrated (a bit below your price range but not much) on low efficiency speakers and I think there is no question that the Rotel was significantly better. I believe the NAD's power was overrated with the Rotel (rated lower) delivering much more. I also think that the NAD sounds notably grainy with strings and voice. The Rotel's mid-range is several leaps ahead of the NAD (a C325 unit). Can't comment on the Jolida but I think the choice in SS is absolutely clear.
Just as an update, I ended up buying the Rotel. After much consideration, I eventually decided against the Jolida because in the end, I preferred to buy from a local shop where I could hear the gear before buying. My first few ventures into local audiophile shops left a bad taste in my mouth - they pretty much assumed that anyone on a limited budget must be into home theater exclusively - but I did end up finding a local dealer I really liked, a very nice, knowledgeable guy who's been in business for a long time.
I brought my wife out to the shop today, and we listened to both the NAD C720BEE and the Rotel RA1520, using discs I brought. We both preferred the Rotel, so even though it was a little more of a stretch finanacially, we went for it. The NAD didn't sound bad, but the Rotel had better clarity, better detail - generally seemed to handle transients well. I'll post a review once I've had it awhile and broken it in a bit.
I owned a NAD 720BEE. I sold it last year. I now have a Jolida JD302 BRC (the latest model with factory upgrades and little gold logo on the faceplate) as well as a LFD Zero LE MkIII. Nice to have the option of SS or tube when the mood strikes you. My Jolida with a tube roll to RCA grayplates, Mullard's, and 6CA7's really sounds wonderful to my ears (and I've heard Prima Luna and Cary). Since you went with the Rotel may I suggest their RCD-1072 CDP as well? I have one. It's one of the genuine CDP bargains in HiFi at $425-$500. Rotel makes well-engineered, reliable gear that performs way beyond its price, and with Rotel reliability you can buy Rotel gear on the used market and save even more - something I would not do with many other brands (like my now-in-the-dumpster Sony ES CDP that stopped functioning in SACD mode just two months out of warranty.
i have owned and listened to rotel-sold for what i could get. buzz in transformer, short in inputs, midrange real good, but highs and lows not so good. nad- never listened to that i recall. jolida- listening to 1501 now- love it. have 202 in shop for new selector switch which jolida sent no charge- amp is 8 years old. that is great service. it sounds great. in repair shop a guy wanted to buy it. he wanted to listen to some used hpm 100 speakers and wanted the jolida hooked up to them. he bought the speakers and wanted to buy the amp. have heard their 302 and it sounds clear, clear, clear. owned a 20 watt hh scott tube amp for years and it drove my advent 6003 speakers nicely. have a pair of klipsch as well. like both speakers. advents are great to me any way. we are not talking about thousands of dollars here- sure really expensive stuff better sound better. but really how much better? not that much to my ears. jolida is nice. i like the stuff so well a friend and i got a dealership with them. the hybrids or tubes either one. depends on what you like. some people do not like sound of tubes at all- sounds funny to them. some people love tubes over ss gear. also, vintage pioneer gear has a very pleasant sound. have an sx 880 that is clear as a bell. now i cannot make up my mind whether i like tubes or ss- like both but can only listen to one at a time. good stuff sounds good either way. a friend loves the sx880 and prefers it to the tubes which he does not like so much at all. so? if you want clear and natural get vintage pioneer. if you want smooth get a tube amp, if you want somewhere inbetween get jolid hybrid. i now prefer the hybrid. sounds like a million to me with my advents. if you ever have a chance to get a pair of advent 6003s do not hesitate- great sounding.