Jolida JD100 stock v. modded

I have a JD100 and am considering Underwood's level 1 or 2 mods. I've searched the archives, but it seems that most people buy this unit either stock or fully modded. Therefore, I would be interested in the comments of those who bought the unit stock and later performed the mods. Are the mods a significant upgrade? What are the characteristics of the modded player over the stock player? Would the modded player be done justice in my otherwise modest system? My amp is the Jolida 302b and speakers are Soliloguy 5.0. (See my "system"). FWIW, I'm also considering modding the amp.

Thanks in advance for your comments.
I called the people at Jolida, and at Response Audio who performed the mods on my 501 amp. They BOTH felt that tube rolling is good, possiblly damping, but the other mods that people are selling change the essence of the machine to have a more solid state, snappy sound which is not what their intention was. The Jolida people had no problems with the mods done to the amp. If the 'Jolida tube sound' is what you want stay more stock. With that in mind, I am getting a stock unit. P.S. Response Audio was great-usual disclaimer, no connection to them.
Crwindy, I think you touched on one of the most important subjects in high end audio - the issue of modifications. Your opinions put forth are sensational, congratulations!

People, be careful what you are getting into when you mod equipment by third parties. This is a business, and the goal of the modder is to make money. Make sure the mods you have performed are intelligent, and take the sound in the direction you are looking to go. In the case Crwindy lays out, I don't doubt the end result will not be what many are looking for.

I have had a couple of people contact me in regards to modding the Music Hall MMF25 CD player. Number one, many of the mods are a ripoff. Upgrading the RCA jacks, op amps, and adding a bit of DynaMat is not $500 - $600 worth of work, especially for the sonic differences derived. And, more ambitious projects have sometimes resulted in removing the prime feature - its musicality.

In no way do I mean to say that intelligent mods do not represent a worthwhile step with good value for money. But, make sure you find the right outfit to perform the work, and that the sonic changes are actually improvements to you.
On the issue of stock vs. modded, I have listened a/b of a Denon 2900 stock (which I own) and an Exemplar mod. Also have demoed a Jolida 100 with an underwood level 2. For sure the 2900 mod added a great deal of performance. The Jolida sounded wonderful, but I did not have a comparison to a stock unit. I pondered the question if it makes more sense to spend a bit more for a better stock player (i.e. audio aero Prima, Arcam FMJ33, etc.) I like the idea of the Electrocompanient SE which is a factory upgrade (but much more expensive). FWIW, having heard the Exemplar 2900 and Underwood Jolida myself I am sure that there are sonic benefits. I have decided to stretch my budget a bit and go with a better player to begin with instead of a $1K machine with $1K or more of modifications. Of course, I could be wrong.

I am really glad to see this thread ... On the weekend I did some comparison between Jolida JD 100 level-1 Mod and Arcam FMJ CD-23.

My System -

Jolida JD 100 (level -1 Mod Underwood with sylvania 5751 triple mica goldpins) --> Eichman Siver Bullets IC --> Odyssey tempest pre --> Grogenberg (?) IC --> Odyssey stratos 120K upgrade --> Zu Wax speaker cables --> Usher 6581.

I bought this Jolida around a year back .. at that time compared stock Jolida with Rega Planet/Jupiter, NAD silver series CD player and Arcan CD-72 and thought that Jolida was better and bought level -1 mod Jolida from underwood.
There is not a huge difference between Stock and Modified Jolida .. may be modified has better bass. Over the period I found out that more than any mods .. tubes makes lots of difference .. I tried 5-6 different brands and settled with sylvania .. may be I will try Mullards and new PC in future.

OK .. now on the weekend I swapped Jolida and Arcam FMJ CD-23 by keeping everything same (IC'c,and PC's) and yes there was a difference .. I was surprised to find out Jolida was better. Soundstage is wider and deeper in Jolida, Cymbals have this natural decay, images are better and vocals are great as compared to Arcam ... Arcam was better in terms of attack/speed .. bass was little boomy (I am not sure why but there may be some problem with this player). Now given the fact that I am the owner of Jolida its natural that I feels that Jolida is better .. but at the same time my wife was working in Kitchen and whenever I swapped the CD players she never knew which one was playing and everytime I get the answer Jolida is better .. its more open and vocals are better (Now as I tend to get lost in all these audiophile terms and components, I always ask my wife about her opinion and found out that most of the times its unbiased).

Anyway in short I will not say FMJ CD-23 is a better player than Jolida, On the other hand The Arcam Integrated A85 is a sweet little Int amp.

Its always better to listen in your system with you own ears, Good Luck.


In reference to your comments"The Jolida people had no problems with the mods done to their amp"
I say this 'Do the flowers have a problem with the honeybees buzzing around them'? It's rather beneficial for them ,don't you think so?
Best regards
They seemed to feel that mods done to their amps did not improved them while keeping their essence, while the modifications being done to the CD player changed the sound so that it was not consistent with their intentions for that player. Of course they are happy to have you buy their equipment no matter what. My player should be here in a day or two and I will let you know what I think about it (stock).
I'm glad I kept my JD-100 basically stock, outside of the following: JHS Gold Label Sylvania 5751WA triple mica black plates, Chris VenHaus cryoed Flavor 1 PC, Herbie's Hal-O 9 tube dampers, all resting on a 22 lb. granite slab supported by Vibrapods. Has a 12 lb. piece of marble on the top resting on coasters. The tube pins, IEC prongs, PC prongs, and RCA plugs are all treated with Walker SST.

My contact with Jolida in the US was about identical to Crwindy's comments: swap tubes, maybe dampening, upgrade PC/ICs. That's it.

Please take note of trying the Walker SST; it was the piece d'resistance for my Jolida, in my system (Milindks
- I run Odyssey Stratos and Tempest, plus Groneberg ICs and speaker cables). IMHO, I'd much rather spend $70 on the Walker SST than doing the $$$ high-priced mods that may very well remove the pleasurable and fundamental characteristics of the JD-100.

I have no financial affiliation with Walker, Odyssey, Jolida, Groneberg, Herbies, the A-Gon vendor who sold me the Sylvania tubes, or the shop in town that let me pick the granite and marble for free from their nicely appointed scrap heap!

Happy listening.
Hi Djbnh,

Actually I bought it modified one .. and I am the one who is saying by it stock and spend the money on tubes, PCS .. I agree with you.

Meanwhile will try Walker SST, what speakers are you using.