Joule Electra VZN100 Replace with what?

What a journey this audio stuff. We've been through a lot of great amps. I ended up with these amps in a trade. I didn't even want to hook them up! But my audiophile buddies wanted to hear them, and when we hooked them up, Uh oh. I've been stuck with them ever since.

They can heat a room - great for winter time. They are dangerous to my now 3 year old who loves to dance and play air guitar and drums. The designer I found, is NOT a friendly or supportive fellow. They make a bit of noise. But since that day they first, made a loud hum, then played music. Not manufactured music, but music. Another fine amp just got shot down and I really wanted to like the amp that might have been a replacement.

After hearing so many amps come through my room, one can easily discern the sonic signature of the Joules. Open, speed, Dynamics, huge soundstage and a u are there feeling. It's addictive. It's as if, nothing is between you and the performance.

In my system, they don't need to perform below 200Hz as my Super V's have servo controlled woofers built-in. Knowing all components are system dependent, I know that part of this magic is marriage. And we have our fights. Jr starts twirling, I get nervous. Hot days AC does battle. They may never be totally silent although to be honest. I never hear them when music is playing.

Still Haven't tried an Audio Note amp. Lamm too would be nice. Audio Research has a new amp that might do battle with the Joules as well.

FYI regarding system the VZN100's uses an Allnic preamp and a NAD M50 DAC. The front end is computer FLAC files on a CAPs server using power from a SOTA PS fed from PS Audio PPP, fed from Oyaide R1 on a dedicated circuit. The USB SoTM card is on its own PS as well. Power to the people and I learned long ago it can't be good enough. But that's just me. Also a Super Scoutmaster for vinyl.

Folks who've owned or have experience with the Joules, any feedback?

I also have found Jud to be grumpy but once you call him on it, he's very responsive!

The ARC Ref 75 is a wonderful amp and safe for kids! You should have an ARC dealer arrange a home demo for you.
Welcome fellow traveler!!!!! I have two sets of VZN 160's, a MK lll with two external variacs and a MkV Musicwood and agree with your description of the sonic beauty and the noise experiences !!! I'm still looking for alternatives, hell I love the Mklll sound so much I couldn't sell it when I purchased the more linear MkV Musicwoods !!!!!!!

I have heard the Lamm ML 2.1 and it was wonderful but a pinch "softer/darker" sound than the Joule "magic"!!!!!! When I try solid state I'm reminded of how beautiful the Joule sound is!!! Well I'm off again looking, good luck we've been ruined at our price points !!!!!!!
IME, Jud was very accessible and easy to talk to before his wife passed away. He is harder to get in contact with now. Seems he has delegated a lot to Simon.

I have thought about giving up my Joule VZN-80 MKV Musicwood because of the heat, a low level hum from the variac, and a very slight buzzing sound from one channel. However,I have found ways to deal with all these issues.

The Joule and variac are in a ventilated room directly behind my music room. It's literally on the other side of the wall from the rest of my system, so the cable runs are short. The heat and hum are no longer present in the music room.

As for the buzz, it is only audible from a foot or so away, when no music is playing. Careful cable choice and placement seems to help. Funny thing is that the buzz is only in one channel, and the other non-buzzing channel doesn't seem to care about cable choice or placement.

Like Desalvo55, I am addicted to the sound. It can be intoxicating. Like Samhar, I find it hard to give up my amp. I have a solid state amp that is a popular match with my Joule LA-150 preamp. I use that occassionally as a change of pace, but I always go back to the VZN-80.

Desalvo, I have an Allnic phonostage. I really like the Joule/Allnic combo. The Allnic adds to the Joule sound in a good way. There's even more openness, speed, soundstage, etc. I imagine your Allnic preamp sounds quite nice with your VZN-100's. I would like to hear an Allnic preamp one day in my system. I would also like to try out one of their amps. They are a contender for me if I ever decide to give up my Joule gear.
Hey folks, thanks for the responses!

My wife and I are about done looking at options for newer, safer amplifier. My audio buddy was over last night comparing the latest highly regarded amps and it was no contest. The Joules simply possess to much magic. He mentioned last night that the Joules were the first amps he's ever heard that when you fire them up, it's simply "Wow". And I had to agree.

I did perform some small surgeries early on. I replaced the lamp cords from the variac to DH-Lab cords and replaced one of the 2 IEC inlets to a Furutech brand. A pain in the ass I might add. I also noted that the large caps underneath are swollen.

Now I'm thinking about purchasing a class D amp, NuForce or something very listenable for background listening, or on days when it's really hot outside. Also considering rebuilding the Joules with a nice CNC case (my friends idea), upgrade/replace the caps and perhaps replace the tube bases. If I screw that up though, I may be done.

I'm repeating myself but still, when other amps enter my system, It is like I added something between me and the performance. One of my highly astute audio buddies mentioned that OTL's are like that, very live, very fast, very open. And very hot and don't bring those to my house because I have 3 kids!

I like Donaudio suggestion about running them behind the wall. Only problem is they'd be in a swimming pool!

Funny, my left speaker has a bit of a buzz too but not the right. But then, I never really hear this noise when music is playing. And funnier too when other amps show up, the Joules seem quieter as if to say "really?.
" The designer I found, is NOT a friendly or supportive fellow"


Factual information: Joule-Electra does not produce tube cages you asked Jud to sell.

Jud replied in timely manner (usually within 24 hours) that he cannot help you and suggested to you to search in some specific places where cage could be manufactured.

What more he can do I don;t know.

Donaudio: you are supposetly long time friend of Jud and you should know what his fax is disconnected and years ago. Moreover, I believe, every time you send letter to e-mail address shown on Joule-Electra web site - you get response (satisfactory or not its outside of your public complain). I get these e-mails and I reply to all of them and some, when I don;t know the answer - particularly regarding old equipment - I forward to Jud

Plus, for repairs, we subcontracted entire service department - see info on Joule-Electra web site "Contact Us"

All The Best

Factual information: Joule-Electra does not produce tube cages you asked Jud to sell.
There are always 2 sides to every story.

Donaudio: you are supposetly long time friend of Jud and ...
with friends like that, who needs enemies. LOL!!!
I have spoken a couple of times with the repair guy Steven... he's awesome. Maybe he can help you:

Steven Leckrone
The Service Department
30 Unquowa Hill St
Bridgeport CT 06604
As it turned out, it was simply a bad connection on my part, that I fixed, no big deal but worriesome at the time.

I called Steven, a great guy from my phone conversation, and would have sent these amps across the country if needed. Thankfully, they didn't have to make the trip.

Also, Rich Brkich from Signature Sound was a great help. Many really good people in the industry.

Just came back from The Show at Newport Beach. Wow, many great systems. Wife and I really like the Wells Audio amp. Also, a new speaker was shown, the Onda Ligera, but that's for another thread.
If you can repair an IEC socket you can build Hypex nCore 400 kits for less than most other used class D for your summer listening. Just be careful you slip into the dark side.

VZN100 to ARC Ref 75, really?