Does the Tung Sol KT-120 factor into your decision? The Jolida 502P can run the Tung Sol KT-120 tubes with no problems whatsoever. I'm not sure if the Prima Luna will. I've run the Tung SOl KT-120s in my Jolida 502P and so have other members here. I just use a single Jolida 502P in stereo mode with a Kavent S-33 solid state preamp. I've never experienced glare, graininess or brightness with the 502P with any tubes. The only time I had an issue with sound being dull was when I had JJ 5751s paired with the Tung Sol KT120s. That was remedied by placing Preferred 7025 tubes in place of the 5751s.
One local audiophile by me feels Prima Luna is above Jolida and is a step up in performance. I really haven't felt the need to replace the 502P I have though. The speakers I'ved used with the 502P are KEF Q300s, B&W Matrix 805s and KEF 104/2s.
Prima is much better made.
Check but i think Primalunas have the ok to run kt120's
Primaluna run the KT120s with no problem. I have them, sound excellent. I believe the Primluna is the better product, better build, sounds great, auto bias, plus many other outstanding virtues. A huge thunderstorm hit the other day and blew my power conditioner, yet the Primaluna sailed on unscathed. Yet I still like Jolida products, great bang for the bucks.
Although I rarely mention my fabulous Jolida 502p (!), I have to say my "factory modded/upgraded" (100 bucks extra) version is a quiet and powerful GREAT sounding amp. I've taken it apart and its build quality is clean, and I've never read a direct comparison review with Prima Luna so I have no clue if anybody thinks Prima Lunas sound better based on actual listening. They're similar designs with Prima Luna using an "auto bias" circuit and Jolida using an "ez bias" that the designer thinks is a better idea, although I doubt that makes much difference other than adding some convenience. They certainly cost more though, perhaps to justify the mountains of hype and advertising. Try to find a recent Jolida 502p review or an advertisement and you'll struggle...the perception of Prima Luna being a "step up" so far seems based on hype (and cost...it MUST be better if it costs twice as much), and I bet 2 502s run mono for 120 watts per side will stand up to most any non-premium cost amp rig, at least in power output and at less than the cost of one 42 watt stereo Prima Luna. I also like the Jolida XLR inputs that Prima Luna lacks. Kt120s work fine in a 502p, and Prima Lunas will run most anything within reason, albeit with less power output than a comparable Jolida (another difference is the triode/ultralinear switching that Jolida ignores...that alone could justify the higher price for some). Kevin Deal does a great job hyping Prima Luna and they seem like a really sweet line of amps...nobody hypes Jolida except me...and Jedinite...and maybe somebody else, but certainly not Jolida unless you call 'em. Also, Jason Statham bought an amp from Jared at Jolida...that means something, doesn't it?
Wow, thanks for the input. I picked the prima Luna vs jolida bc the cost is very similar. Long term I will run mono blocks. The jolida just gives the option to put that off for a while.
Two jolidas boast more power, but not the point to point wiring of the prima Luna. It seems to be give and take bw the two. The jolida as a pair of mono blocks is not quite twice the power of the prolgue 6 monos but my gallos are only 87db sensitive, so I am always interested in more power. I wish there were a head to head bw the two...
Btw what's all the hype with the kt120 tubes? I have always rather liked the 6550 in the 502. Just curious why everyone is going that way?
KT120s seem to have a more dynamic sound, they're inexpensive, and last a long time. Also, I don't think "point to point" wiring adds anything to sound particularly...it's wiring.
Take a look at the VAS/Cayin line, better sound, better value.
I don't know either amp but it seems we just got used to the GL KT-88 power tube which I use and think is insanely good, at least the selected octet I bought. Now I have to risk transformer meltdown with the KT-120s just to keep up with the Joneses and why do tell are my nos pre-amp tubes loosing value except for certain 12AX7s? What's going on around here? Who is the instigator a witch I bet!!
Transformer meltdown doesn't seem to be much of an issue with KT120s...at least as far as I can tell from asking around. GL KT88s have been highly regarded for a while, but 120s are cheaper and sneaking in everywhere. It is important that you have several power tube options sitting unused in boxes to retain any level of audio geek cred.
Take a look at the VAS/Cayin line, better sound, better value.
Why? How is it better? I can't even find a price on the mono blocks.
Re Cayin - distributor and manufacturer support is dismal!
I have two (2) A100T amps, about 4 years old which had identical failures. Manufacturer will not communicate at all. The distributor USA - Steve at VAS had never returned calls. When contacted over the phone he has made promises. I need 2 controller chips which he apparently does not have, nor has he been able to obtain. So if he is a 'fine' guy, as is reported, he must have no standing whatsoever with Cayin, or though it is hard to believe perhaps Cayin has no parts back up for these amps even though they are still in production
2 very expensive boat anchors. My repair tech is investigating the possibility of converting these units to single source. He needs a schematic though. Guess what! None available. VAS will not take these in for repair either, as Steve sez why send them to him, he doesn't have the parts.
If you buy Cayin consider the risk first.
Buconero117, nothing has changed since my last comments on your Cayin recommendations. Since you know Steve maybe you could put in a good word for me.
Ummm....that doesn't sound encouraging. That is something I never heard with jolida. something to consider...
Don't forget about Rogue. Great sounding amps, really good value and US made. They also offer the best customer service I've seen.
i like rogue and had considered them, but they only offer the titan stereo amp at anywhere near my price point. the m150 looks great, but way past my budget. i did notice a dynaco m125 kit that is available. not sure if i want to hassle with a kit when the jolida bridged puts out about the same power. i have a friend with a jolida 502b that is going to bring it over for a listen. that may help decide the route to take. thanks again for everyone's help and input. fwiw i would love to support rogue and u.s. manufactured products. if i can swing the extra cost that is exactly what i'll do...
You can talk to the Jolida dudes in MD whenver you want, and at length.
i had a chance to listen last night to a jolida 502b in my system. bare with me as this will be a bit long winded, but here are my thoughts. it has really put me into a quandry.
my long term amp of choice has been a b&k ex442. it's dual mono at 200w/ch and was chosen b/c of it's reputation for sounding "tube like". it sounds significantly better in my system than the previous adcom 5400 which sounded shrill even with a tubed front end.
last night i realized that there is no free lunch. the jolida sounded great, but there were some shortcomings. first the strengths. the sound stage was noticeably larger. it had a cool sense of enveloping you. it was also deeper and the "air" seemed more palpable. it was very natural sounding, smoothing over sibilant voices and instruments that can sound piercing in other systems i've listened to with my cds of choice.
on the down side there was a haziness in the imaging. my b&k images pretty well and comparing the two yielded less distinct instrument placement and separation w/ the jolida. the bass was also fairly rolled off and loose w/ the jolida.
lastly, and this is probably the biggest issue for me, the jolida really needed to be played loudly to get dynamic impact. it's as if the music just collapsed from the top and bottom ends leaving only the middle frequencies at anything less than concert hall db. my b&k is engaging at low volume levels. i recognize that i am comparing 60w to 200w/ch, but i question if even running two jolidas bridged will be disappointing.
i am now at a loss at to which way to turn. fwiw i did miss the smooth mids that the jolida offered. there are a couple of my reference cd's that have a flute and biting guitar that can be fatiguing with the b&k. not bad and nothing like i've experienced when listening to krells or the aforementioned adcom. but, for just a few notes it can cause me to wince when listening at loud levels.
my reason for this search is because my previous vandersteens were wonderful and i never thought they could be bested by anything other than a huge investment. what i found was that the gallo were reasonably priced and a significant upgrade in performance. i was hoping to find the same in an amplifier. i wish i could find the power, bass and imaging i get from my b&k with the larger, enveloping sound stage and liquid mids offered by the jolida. i am not sure this combo exists...
Perhaps swap the 12AX7s and 12AT7s out (I like Mullard 12at7A/CV4024s and Psvane 12ax7s), different power tubes, try different interconnects and speaker wires...take the entire amp apart and replace everything with premium caps, resisters, wire, and a new oil filter...and was this a factory modded version? Also, I'm using a very clean dual mono balanced Kavent S33 preamp and a later version factory modded 502P, not a 502b...so my suggestions might be useless anyway. I use a REL sub so the bass is influenced by Mosfets mosfetting away.
Call the guys at Jolida and ask them. I'm sure they have ideas.
I think you may need to try different tubes with that Jolida 502B. I agree with Donjr that you should ask Jolida for their input as well.
Here are my findings with tube rolling with my Jolida 502P which I think may be comparable to the 502B. This was with my system so YMMV.
For thicker bass and very clean tones I found blue glass JJ KT88 tubes paired with Mullard CV4024 and JJ 5751 preamp tubes did the trick.
I found with the Tung Sol KT-120s Preferred 7025s and Penta Labs 12AT7 tubes I had very good performance in the mids and highs along with tight bass. Lots of nice separation and detail.
My favorite overall sound was with a NOS JAN GE 6550 quad JAN GE 12AT7 and 5751s. These tubes were expensive but man the music was awesome in my system. I had a very hard time giving these tubes back to the gent that loaned them to me.
My least favorite combo was with black solid plate Penta Labs KT-88 tubes with reissue Tung Sol 12AT7 and reissue Mullard 12AX7s. Bass wasn't as tight and sound was flat to me.
Again these were my findings I'm sure others have had different experiences.
Sorry if this is a duplicate response. I tried to post my Jolida findings yesterday but I didn't see the post this morning.
i may try to contact jolida, but i am starting to wonder if a different tack may serve better. john hillig at musical concepts and i have talked and i may just modify my b&k into a state of the art amp. the cost is going to be essentially the same as getting a single jolida. all high end bits in my amp is starting to sound pretty good. i dunno at this point. i wish there were a way to trial gear. it seems very few, and none of the equipment i'm interested in, offer a trial period. demo equipment would sure go a long way into helping with these dilemmas!!!
I hear you 2out2sea. I've done my share of buying and trying and re-selling at a loss. Sometimes it is the only way to go if you want to demo gear. Are there any Jolida dealers near your or an audio society where other members have various amps for you to audition? If I lived close to you I'd lend you tubes to try in that Jolida 502B. Hmm how about buying some power tubes or preamp tubes for your friends Jolida to try and tailor the sound to your liking. The re-sell of tubes isn't as bad as re-selling amps. It is a lot easier to re-sell tubes than gear IMO.
Best of luck with the search.
I use KT120s, Psvane 12AX7-T IIs, and Mullard NOS 12AT7s, none of which are expensive, and all of which sound amazingly good, although I said that about the other tubes I was using before this group. I researched the crap outta the "Tube Amp World" before deciding on my Jolida, and I just could not ignore the fact that their power amps occupy their own price category with weirdly modest to zero factory hype, and are well regarded nonetheless.
guys, firstly i wanted to say thanks for making audiogon one of the best forums out there. i've been visiting this site for almost 15 years and i've never been insulted, ignored or ridiculed. it's very refreshing. many thanks for the help, advice and wisdom.
i am actually considering the butler tdb2250 at this point. maybe a high end hybrid will work the magic i am looking for in an amp. again it's a shot in the dark. it's also 3k so i dunno.
as i sit here listening to my b&k i am really leaning towards the musical concepts upgrade path. new high end caps throughout and a significantly upgraded power supply all at around 1100.00 is starting to make more sense. i am 98% of the way to ideal. 1100.00 seems like a moderate investment to push it over the top. i'll never get my money back out of it if it tanks though. that's not sitting well in my stomach.
wolf, my buddy has a jolida 502b b/c i convinced him to buy it almost 15 years ago. i have always thought their gear was underrated. however, while not rich, i now have more disposable income and am moving up the ranks. that is why i was looking at getting the 502p's and running them as mono's. i'm just too cheap to waste money on the krell or levinson stuff. just too much hype and i've never heard anything that i really liked other than tubes. the b&k is really not bad and i think you tube guys would like the sound. i'm just looking for that last little bit...