Also considering the Vincent sv236mk. Similar concept as the jolida but with more power and the first ten watts delivered as class a. Michael fremer over at stereophile raved about it.
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I recently purchased the new 100wpc Rogue Sphinx integrated and have been very impressed so far. Detailed, excellent bass control, and a lovely midrange due to the tubed preamp section (I'm assuming). Also comes with a quality phono stage, an optional remote and is made in USA by a company with super customer service. All that for considerably less than $1500...what's not to like?
I heard the LS50's at a friends house with a parasound A21 and Naim (not sure what Naim model) and it sounded great. It actually made me want to sell my speakers and just go simple with the KEF. I love your speakers. If I were to make a big change, I'd buy the Kefs, a nice $4000 integrated and a CDP and be done with it. I bet the Hegel H200 would rock your world. I'm getting ready to lose tubes because of the Hegel H200 satisfying my tube needs. It's very similar to my Rogue Cronus Magnum without tubes. Love it.
How about you move up the Jolida ladder and get a higher powered 502CRC integrated? I have a Jolida 502P amp which has power section the 502CRC and I can put Tung Sol KT-120s or various KT-88/6550 tubes in there. I've used them with the KEF Q300s and the music was awesome to me. I'm speculating but I think with the KEF LS50s and the higher powered Jolida you would have better results than me.
Good luck with the search.
Don't get me wrong the Jolida sounds amazing with the KEFs. I just have that nagging feeling it could still be better. Maybe is just a case of upgraditis. It is fantastic as long as the music isn't doing anything too daring, but the moment the music gets too aggressive and there are more parts competing to be heard, it just looses something. The sound stage shrinks. There is less separation between instruments. I would even go as far as to say it starts to sound fatiguing. I used to have a pair of vandersteens and I had these same complaints, only they were ten times worse. The KEFs improved things immensely. Now, there is just a hint of those issues remaining.
Also, this amp is starting to make me a little nervous. I cant say for certain that it is the culprit but Im not entirely confident in its reliability. I once had a nuforce udac completely die on me the first time I plugged it in. I have a relatively new Headphone amp that blew a tube after only a short period of use. One of the inputs, if I have anything plugged into it, can be heard over all the other inputs. Most recently the led lights have started to go out. Im starting to question its "quality".
I would love to go all tube and have looked at the Jolida offerings many times but I have to be "somewhat" practical. I don't have the space to have more than one system so whatever I end up with will also have to do double duty with my TV for movies and video games. (not worried about surround sound. Strictly 2 channel.)
I used to own the 1501RC, and I was going to suggest some tube rolling till you mentioned the reliability issues. Forget that idea!
On the same subject, in the current "The Entry Level" in Stereophile, Stephen Meijas mentions some reliability issues with the Exposure 2010--an input not working, plus some problems with the matching Exposure CD player--after they'd been in storage for a while. I paid attention b/c I've considered buying the Exposure amp, too.
Of the amps you mention, the Parasound seems like a particularly good choice because of its high power--it would give you a lot of headroom to keep the music from getting congested at high levels as you describe. For that reason as well, a ~50 watt amp like the Exposure would seem like a bad choice.
Enjoy the KEFs! My first speakers were KEFs, and I still miss 'em!
It may or may not be your Jolida. Here is a quote from another KEF LS50 thread on AudiogoN:
I still use a pair of KEF Q10s I bought new...a great nearfield recording monitor by the way...and I bet the LS50s are MUCH better in every way. Metal heads should use 'em with a subwoofer. Also, a buddy of mine has that Vincent 236 and it sounds great, although it's not as much fun as a pure tube amp.
@Finsup Maybe I am just hearing the speakers limitations. I suspected the amplifier because a common complaint or critique of the JD1501 is that its quite musical but not very revealing. After seeing that stated several places, I began to suspect it might be holding the speakers back a bit since being revealing is what they are really good at.
@ Wolf_garcia I'm actually very happy with the bass these things put out. I have a velodyne subwoofer I could plug in, but honestly, I've never even been tempted to.
Like I said, I would LOVE to go pure tube and have recently been tempted by the Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum but I don't think tubes would be very practical for things such as movies and games which the amp would also have to run. Please correct me if I am wrong. All I need is an excuse!
I've found that a sub does more than merely add bass extension (although that is what they do) as a good sub somehow "charges" a room, making the main speakers sound better all around, even with bass shy recordings (mandolin, bird noises, whining strangers). That Rogue amp has 100 watts or something so I bet you can game and movie all you want. I promote the use of tube amps partly because you can change them to suit your tastes with tube rolling, and for the joy that comes from burning your fingers