to mod or not to mod my new tube amp?????


I asked this question before -- but want to take one more crack since I've had a hard time getting figuring this one out.....

I own a Jolida 302BRC bought last year. So far, all I have done is replace the power cord.

I would like a bigger sound, somewhat better soundstage, and a little more punch in the bass. Otherwise I love it.

For my budget. I have two options:
A.
(1) replace stock tube. I am thinking of (2) 12AX7 Mullard reissue
(2) 12AT7 RFT(1 quad) 6CA7 EH. This will cost around $150.

B.
I e-mailed Mike Allen at Jolida. He wrote back:

We can modify the amp for $200. Involves Hexfred diodes, fast recovery soft power up, ceramic resistors for the grid, highly stable and low noise probably the best you can get, and custom made coupling caps. You will still keep that great decay of the amp but you will see a jump up in the attack of the amp.

So, what do I do?!?!?!?!?! This is all very new to me and I could really use some advice.

Thanks -- Marty

We can modify the amp for $200. Involves Hexfred diodes, fast recovery soft power up, ceramic resistors for the grid, highly stable and low noise probably the best you can get, and custom made coupling caps. You will still keep that great decay of the amp but you will see a jump up in the attack of the amp.
martyw
I don't believe you're going to realize the benefits you desire for the $200 mod (or perhaps any mod).

A modification generally increases resolution and lowers noise floor, which can increase the size of your image, however I'm dubious of a $200 mod.

IMO, you will get the results you want with a better amp speaker match, especially where bass is concerned.
Wasnt basically the same question asked not to long ago?

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1235887175

Why not just start with the tubes first and see what improvement that gives you first...then modify later on if you feel the need to.
Yea -- just starting to get cold feet about the tube upgrade. Hard to commit the money when I really don't know how the different options are going to sound.
In gardening you have to throw money at plants and see what works in your garden. In cooking you throw money at food, apliances,pots and pans and see how well you can work with it. In audio you throw it at tubes, cables, cord, amps, etc. and hear how good it can get. People can give you advice based on their experience and their or friends systems but it is still about their ear's not yours.
Sorry but sometimes the plunge works and sometimes it doesn't.
Rather than throwing money at experiments with mods or new tubes, you might want to consider just selling the 302 and spending an extra $400-$500 to get something like a used Rogue Cronus, Cayin or other inexpensive tube integrated that has more the sound you're looking for. If you have shops in your area where you could demo other equipment, I'd definitely take that route first.
A good tube roll is what got me he he hooked. I roll in the tubes,I think will best compliment the fundamental sound. I keep several hundred tubes as a collector and tweaker. Tube prices are coming off silly high prices so give it a go.
If OTOH you hate the sound forget tubes and cables and do what they said- save you pennies and get a deifferent amp.
what speakers is this amp driving?
Underwood HIFI has an ad for a Jolida 502b right now. It reads in part:

"We can also order the amp(502b)set up for EL-34 tubes.
In this configuration it does 50 watts per channel and has the warmer more liquid sonics of the EL-34 while sacrificing some of the tighter more controlled bass and better detail of the 6550/KT-88 tube."

Mods IMHO won't give your EL34 tubes more punch.

I would look for a different amp with kt-88 tubes.

I'd agree with Tvad - you won't get the improvements you are after for a $200 mod as described. I also don't think they'll come swapping tubes to any great degree, and great NOS tubes are pretty expensive and somewhat risky. What you describe as your goals, a fuller sound with better staging and bass, may indeed be realized going the route of a KT88 based tube amp. I've owned the 302B and have listened extensively to two friend's 502B's and I could tell you the fuller sound and better bass would be realized there. I don't know that the soundstaging ever occurred to me as any better via the KT88 Jolida. You might try listening to other options in the same ballpark (Cayin, Prima Luna, etc.). Don't rule out SS completely either...though they may not have the soundstage depth they can certainly achieve width and definition and will likely give you improved extension as well. There are tradeoffs either way. You just have to listen for yourself and see what works best for you.
For some reason, Jolida always puts crap tubes in their units. I've never seen a Jolida yet that didn't benefit from replacing the stock tubes...
However, I can't stand the Mullard reissues. They are nothing like the real thing. Start with replacing the driver and gain tubes. Leave the 6CA7/EL34's for later.
Check out www.upscaleaudio.com www.echohifi.com www.tubesandmore.com or get unrealistic and check out www.tubeworld.com or www.tubeman.com for expensive choices.
Thanks all. I am running them with a pair of quad 21l2s. What other amps would you recommend I listen to?

Thanks
03-06-09: Martyw
Thanks all. I am running them with a pair of quad 21l2s. What other amps would you recommend I listen to?

To receive useful responses, we need to know what speakers you are using and your budget.
Sorry -- to be more precise, the speakers are Quad 21l2s -- http://twochannelaudio.com/Quad21L2speakers.htm---

If I sold the Jolida, I guess my additional budget would be around $500 above what I could get for the Jolida 302 on audiogon.

Thanks -- Marty
Do nothing. At your budget you won't be able to get the changes you're looking for. Remember, you stated you loved the amp. So just continue to love it and forget about those sonic qualities you think you would like.
For more punch in the bass, IMO you need either solid state amplification, or perhaps a KT88 amplifier.

In general, I agree with Onhwy61 that you might be best served by keping what you have.

However, there are a few options if you want to experiment: PrimaLuna Prologue II, Classe CAP-150 or CAP-151, Unison Research Unico P, and Portal Panache.

All are within your price range if purchased used.