Upgrade from Jolida JD-100A

I am using a Jolida JD-100A, and am trying to decide as to whether to have it modified, get another CDP, or go to a transport/DAC. After having recently gone from monoblocks to an integrated amp, I would prefer to maintain the convenience of a single box unit if possible.

What I love about the Jolida: very airy and transparent, non-fatiguing, engaging sound. I'm using NOS Mullard CV4004's, and Michael Wolff carbon cords, and with my SET amp and horns, Diana Krall sounds like she is in the room. On the more complex music (I listen to everything from jazz to heavy rock), it seems to lack low end control. It could have more authority over the separation of the frequencies, as well as better attack. In my non-audiophile speak, I would say that the player could simply 'dig deeper' to grab and round (resolve?) all of the notes.

I've heard a number of players that I loved, among them the Audio Aero Capitole (too expensive for me), and the Prima (wonderful player). The Resolution Audio Opus 21 was also fantastic, but I think that I'm going to have to stay below $1600. I can appreciate the utter perfection of the Audio Note players, and the Wadia's, but they are not airy and 'human' enough for my taste. In other words, I can with an analytical mind give them a five star rating, but they don't seduce me in the same way that the Jolida does, despite the fact that the Jolida lags in performance behind these other players.

Some considerations:
Muse Sig 9
Consonance 2.2
Audio Aero Prima
?? Transport + Bel Canto 2 DAC

Hopefully you fellow music lovers can offer suggestions of players I might consider. I would say finally that my ideal sound is one that most closely approximates the air, the space, and even the imperfections of the recording studio. I guess that's just the drummer in me.

Thank you for your help.
Sorry, here is the rest of the two systems (both running with the Jolida as the source), if that helps. Maybe I should have posted this in the SYSTEMS section. I apologize if I drove down the wrong street, so to speak.
Audion Silver Night MKII SET amp
Klipsch La Scala speakers
Quicksilver pure silver speaker cable
Michael Wolff carbon PC's
Audio Aero Prima Hybrid Amplifier
Soliloquy 6.2 speakers
Analysis Plus silver speaker cable
VDH (Van Den Hul) PC
I agree whole heartedly that the Jolida JD-100 is a very competent CD. I own one rolled with the same Mullard CV4004s. I also own a completely unmodded Music Hall CD-25. I decided to do an A/B shootout with the Music Hall with my tube amp and Von Schweikerts. I found the CD25 to be a tad quicker and cleaner for less money, but slightly less sweet and musical- in terms of detail and resolution they were very close. (Just by coincidence I use the CD25 with LaScalas as well, 2nd system.) To get to your point there appears to be a certain quality level readily attained beyond that you have to think in terms of a much more expensive player. Since niether you or I can afford them i.e the capitole, I think a really good DAC is your answer. I suggest you give the Electrocompaniet DAC an audition. By the way you will be bypassing your tubed output so you can sell your improved Jolida and use another transport.

Thank you for the response. Any ideas on a decent transport?
I also have been considering an upgrade to my Jolida. From my research it looks like one would have go an expensive unit such as a Simaudio Nova or Eclipse, Capitole, etc. to obtain a significant improvement. I am waiting to hear one of these pricey units in my system before making that investment.

You can get part of the way there with a few tweaks. One is changing the tubes to a black plate 3 mica version of the 5751 tube. See the following links for discussions on 12AX7 and 5751 tubes:

Another tweak is an isolation platform. Mine consists of a partly inflated bicycle inner tube under a plywood board and then three marbles on top of upside down catfood cans. The jolida partically floats on top of this system and the sound is improved in all areas.
Thank you for the suggestions. I appreciate it.


I to have the JoLida also but with a level-2 mod. I've read such good reviews on the player that I bought the unit with the level-2 mod and I must say that I'm not disappointed at all. If your player already has dampening try increasing it by adding some underneath the top cover.

To get better base response try Crgolfer suggestion on using 3 mica blackplate 5751. I have RCA's 5751 blackplates and on some tracks I had to check to see if my sub was left on. I myself just started to experiment with isolation tweaks but right I'm using BDR cones MK4. Later I would like to see how a Sistrum SP-1 fairs or a Neuance shelf.

Once you've taken this player as far as it can go with upgrades/tweaks the next step in improvement would cost quite a bit a thought that I would have to consider very carefully.

I bought an Audio Aero Prima, and I love it. Thank you for all of the valuable input.
Boa, you mentioned in your original post that the Jolida was open and non-fatiguing. How is your AAP comparing in that regard and overall what are your other impressions. I have not heard the AA Prima, but based on the "buzz" and your post, it seems like it is easily ahead of a stock Jolida. I was wondering how it might compare to a modded Jolida. They are the same ballpark price-wise. Thanks.
I had considered a modded Jolida, but was a little unsure as to how far I wanted to go with it. A very helpful dealer sent me a list of all the possible mods, which came to somewhere around $1000. I had dampened the inside of the case, and replaced the stock tubes with Mullards. The vibrapod feet also worked wonders with the Jolida, leading me to believe that vibration was a significant issue with the player. Definitely not the case with the Prima, in my experience.

First, when it came to doing the mods, I did not want to spend that kind of money, considering that I would likely recoup very little of it upon resale. Second, Jolida told me that other than what I had done already, they recommended changing the stock caps, but that everything else was superfluous. I cannot confirm this because I have not heard a player with a different clock, diodes, etc. The Jolida is a superb player. I loved the laid back feel of the Mullards, and found the player to be 100% engaging for as many hours as I wanted to listen. The Prima is similarly engaging, but as the hours go on, I get pulled even more deeply into the music. I will also say that the Jolida sounds better when it is on par with the other components in the system. When we got a more revealing, transparent amp, the weaknesses of the Jolida were (literally) amplified.

Some of the differences with the Prima:
It resolves everything. The Jolida had more difficulty tracking complex music, and seemed to compress layered music. Rock was OK, but for jazz and vocals it was fantastic. The Prima is said to be less than the best players for rock, but what I've found is that it plays rock superbly with the Prima hybrid amp, an amp that separates the instruments as well as anything I've heard.
The Prima is MUCH more dynamic than the Jolida. You can hear the sonic fluctuations in the playing. It digs down to the bottom of the notes. It has a relaxed approach to the music. There is a depth and ease to the music that thoroughly relates the spaciousness of the recording studio. The player doesn't seem to play any different no matter how much I isolate it. If anything, I would say that the vibrapod feet decrease the three-dimensionality of the player, though that difference is so slight that it could just be psychological.

The very best quality of the Prima is that there is no edge or grain to the music. It feels like music on a tightrope, just barely hanging on and yet always making it to the other side. There are no seams in the music, an effect that I only noticed once listening to this player, at which point I realized just how many other players sound digitalized. There are always players that do this or that better than the one I'm listening to, but I've yet to hear one (other than the Capitole, perhaps) that pulls me so far into the music, knocking out my desire to sit and analyze the details.

I used to sell BMW motorcycles, and would say the same thing about them that I would about the Prima. While many motorcycles excel in a particular area, the BMW (IMO) was the most complete package, without calling attention to any one system on the bike. It all worked well together, and that ability to get out of the rider's way, to let the ride come to the rider, is its forte. You don't notice the BMW. You just experience the ride. And the Prima has the same quality when it comes to the music.

Sorry for the long-winded response. In closing this novel, I will say that upgrading the power cord made a huge difference on both players.

All the best,

Thanks for your thoughtful response. It sure is interesting when it comes down to the wire on a decision like this, i think it can be close because the differences may be so subtle. I just dropped the $ bomb on the wife and after the dust clears I'm going to flip a coin or something and order me a cdp.
Let us know what you end up with. By the way, if it's a Prima, talk with Audiogon member warrenh, as he has a good source for Audio Aero's, and I know he will have a demo for sale in the next week or so. You will want to buy from a dealer as only they can provide a warranty--or so I was told by three different dealers.
Good luck!
I took the plunge and ordered an AA Prima today! I'll let you know how it goes when I get it in a few weeks.
Definitely let us know what you think, Maineiac. From your user ID, it would appear that you live in Maine, yes?
Enjoy the Prima. Congratulations!
I live in Georgia but grew up in Maine (near Sugarloaf).
Both beautiful states IMO. Can't wait to hear your impressions of the Prima.

All the best,
Boa2, although I don't own a Jolida or Prima, it's sure nice to read an honest / thorough review like this.
I was always curious how these two sounded anyway !
Hey, thanks Rx8man. As I said, I don't do audiospeak too well, but hopefully my 'review' gave a clear impression of what the respective players sound like. And I like both of them a lot.
I've had my eye on the Prima cdp for quite some time now and would love to compare to a Cary 303/100 cdp. Does anyone know of any dealers that would loan one for demo? Thanks in advance.

Try Lynn Hoptgartner at Boulevard Audio in Alexndria Va. who carries Emotiva Audio Primas and may work with you. He is a great guy to deal with.

Bradz, I would be very interested to read your findings as I am interested in the Cary 303/200...