newest version of audio aero Prima
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AH! Njoe Tjoeb with all upgrades ans Siemens/Amperex tubes. Warm tube sound, great mids and a dealer's support second to none (Kevin @ Upscale Audio). My brother and I did a shoot out with his modified Jolida 100 and my AH! with Burr Brown OPA627 using Odyssey monos amps, ARC pre, Purist audio cables, Ts premium interconnects for the Jolida and the lowely Groneberg interconnects for the AH!CDP on Martin Logan Ascents speakers. The Jolida had the Mullards and the AH! with Siemens 7308s. We played numerous tracks and honestly neither of us can tell which is which after A-Bing fo 3 1/2 hours. Either way you go, both are very good, very satisfying players for the money. You can't go wrong. The AH! is offering a true upsampler that many said will make it even better but I haven't heard one. Hope this helps.
I love my Ah! with all upgrades (inc. Amperex) and upsampler. Never tire of listening to it and has better soundstage and imaging than my Phillips SCAD 1000 playing SCAD. I A/B'd a number of SCAD and redbooks with the Phillips v. Ah! and while the resolution and blackness of the background of the Phillips was superior (but not by a bunch) everything else was better with the Ah!
Muralman, You are definitely right. The Siemens tube is a very nice tube. I tried Russians, Amperex, Philips and others I cannot remember the name or who made them but the Siemens beat all of them handily in clarity, bass response, resolution and soundstage. If you have a chance, please listen to the AH! in its "full battle gear" (all mods) and listen to solo pianos, tenor sax, baritone and bass recordings with the Siemens tube. You will love this CDP. Also, using vocal recordings (specially female ones) you will swear you can "feel and touch" the performer in your room. Mine do not have the upsampler but still hearing and feeling everything. Someday, if budget permits, I will buy the upsampler and from what I read and heard, the upsampler multiply all the good things about this player more than double. Thanks Muralman, I have to say from what I heard from my brother's modified Jolida, I like how it sounded too. I therefore recommend either these players to anyone and i'm sure they can never go wrong which ever they choose.
The Jolida is a fantastic player even stock, but I could
not believe how much better got when I put in
some NOS Jan Philips 12AX7WA's.
Everything across the board was better! Sort of the same
effect of putting floor standing speakers on spikes.
Everything is better defined, imaging is more precise (thought
that was a little weak with the stock tubes)better bass
& smoother highs with a beautiful midrange. All for a $39 dollar upgrade.
I just received my AH! Njoe Tjoeb with all of the upgrades and goodies (including the upsampler.) I swaped out my MF AC324 for this unit and all I can say is......WOW!!! I have about 10 total playing hours on this player and it still sounds spectacular. To my set of ears, it is vastly superior to the MF DAC/transporer model I was using. Everything I have played on this CDP thus far sounds so.....MUSICAL. It is truly a great value and sounds better than advertised.
Thanks for all your responses
I decided to go with the Jolida JD-100, and at a later date, I may have the upgrade done. I also came across a pair of NOS Jan Philips 12AX7WA's, and picked them up for $30. Will do some tube swapping. Thanks for the input. Now it is time to pick up interconnects and speaker cables.
I would put the Opera Consonance CD-2.2WT-R tube cd player on your short list. I've spoken with 2 dealers of this cd player and they gush over it, feeling it will play with the big boys, up to $10K. Yes, we've all heard that many times before, but I'll fortunately have a chance to hear one very shortly and be able compare it to the Jolida JD-100 and my Musical Fidelity A324, which I love.
Only because you asked....:
Problem 1, mechanical: This player uses the worst tray, motor, transport mechanism I've ever owned, raking only with a $200 DVD player I once had. It's flimsy, noisy, moves too fast for its own longevity, and there is a very audible clicking sound during quite passages from the motor, which only occurs on some tracks/disc speeds (usually the middle of a disc). This is a common problem, and although it doesn't happen with all players I know my unit wasn't unique here as others have voices a similar gripe, and from what I've read it is a common problem with the Philips mechanism. Take a look at it, plasticy, loose tolerances, no isolation; it's just crummy, despite the hype as being their current "best." I will never buy another player with this mechanism.
Sonic Problems that are obvious to me, some more so with a direct reference to better players (if you don't a/b compare difference may not be as obvious): Female vocals are irrevocably compressed (its only unredeemable and standout feature in my mind), the top end is greatly lacking in extension, sweetness and air, the midrange is fuzzy, lacking natural detail and vocal inflections, and the bass is loose without definition. The soundstage is closed in, lacking openness and clarity of more expensive players, and one can find greater depth of the soundstade elsewhere as well. High frequency sounds being truncated making triangles, bells and such sounds appear incoherent and synthetic amongst the rest of the sound-scape, which is more natural and believable. The midrange offers good presence by done by adding its own distortion (Ive never been a tube lover), not through extraction of existing detail, which yields a clouding and loss of transparency. There is something in the unit that, with half of the tubes I tried, made it very hard to listen to, giving me a headache after a half hour of critical listening, but I couldn't figure out what it was exactly at fault. Sadly the fatiguing tubes where the more natural, extended and detailed ones as well, and these traits need not be mutually exclusive. FWIW, its probably a Stereophile class B component, just going by what other players Ive heard in that category and Class A have sounded like as refrence, if that actually matters to anyone, which it should not. Im sure Ill hear comments from the peanut gallery about magic or panacea" tubes, cables and isolation devices, but I dont think Ill buy into that, the problems are too many and too extensive.
Again, if I only had a grand to spend I would suggest it, it's musically satisfying and has a lot of good things to offer, but I could suggest many others over a grand that I would much rather live with myself, but if I only had $800 or so to spend it would be on the shortlist. Others have mentioned the virtues of the player which I'll not mention here. I feel the faults have not been addressed as of yet, and, at that, I don't want this to sound like I'm slamming the player as I again feel it is a nice player at its price, but having heard more expensive players in home next to the Jolida and at dealerships (Musical Fidelity A3 24 dac, Musical Fidelity NuVista, Chord 64, Bel Canto, MSB Nelson, Marantz SA-14, Rega Jupiter 2000, Classe CDP1, Pioneers newest flagship SACD/DVDa player and the new McIntosh 6 disc changer, just to name the ones I can think off that I've played with recently) its not a giant killer as reputed, and although this is not always the case, by no means a rule, I can say without reservation that spending more can get one an overall better source. For some reason hearing that kills many audiophools, as it seems that many really want to believe that they are in a way getting something for nothing, getting the best that there is or that they can afford, maybe supporting an ego or psychoses, or simply feeding a materialistic mindset, which is all well and good, I wont judge a person for that, at least not until one tries to pass on the delusion to others, which, funny as it is to read, is not so easy to just ignore....
BTW, please just take a look inside!: Burr Brown! I spoke with the gentleman doing the upgrades on these players, he even mentioned that the review of this player, referencing the Philips chip, is misleading.....but what do I know, I'm just a lowly music lover with a stereophonic fetish. Let your own ears be the judge, but judge fairly and be open and tolerant to others opinions as well. This hobby is all about the music and happiness. If the player makes music and happiness for you I won't diminish that in the least.
Bill Baker of Response Audio, who sells Jolida and other brands, was furious with me when I confronted him with the same criticisms you lay out . He yelled at me, You are just the latest to bring me the bad news about their new Jolida 100, and that is after I implicitly told you to play the unit for at least fifty hours before calling me! I didnt buy the unit from Bill, but Im glad I gave him a call before I sent the 100 back to Jolida Inc. I would have never known the joy I have listening to my system for hours a day.
I never was a believer in breaking in times. I always thought it was just another Audio neurosis. My experience with the Jolida has convinced me of the importance of breaking in Jolidas anyway. This Jolida certainly did respond to a lengthy break in. Thanks for reminding me how bad a green Jolida sounds like.
At least that explains the shallow and pinched stage. Many of your other complaints are the usual negatives surrounding a lot of 12AX7 tubes. I am no fan of those tubes either. The ones I choose to use are devoid of any of your criticisms.
The other major components in my system are Apogee speakers and Pass Labs X-600 monos. The Apogee Scintilla blows depth through the wall. It layers players from foreground to background as only the equally venerable Quad 63 can. The Jolida fully accommodates these delightful attributes. The Stage naturally extends the full width supplied by the speakers, with each player accurately situated.
Contrary to your review, my Jolida excels on female vocals, and males, babies, and cybers.
You are right, proper strike decay is essential to believability. I cant say I have ever heard a straight solid state system get it right. There is always that digital brake at the end. Glad you like solid state.
The bass is as full and articulated as far as tubes go that Ive ever heard. It satisfies my deep desire for good bass. The mids are to die for. Eva Cassidy never sounds brittle as she so often does on solid state players. Jane Monheit is as clear as a bell. Krall has that bit of smokiness, and Barber is so brooding.
Detail is all there, but fully integrated within the music, and not zippered out like many high end players. I hear all the breathiness of singers, individual beads rolling in a rattle, pipes that sound like pipes, wood, wood.
As for mechanical, it is a $900 machine for crying out loud. I am puzzled at your report of hearing transport noises during play. Neither I nor anyone else have heard anything of the like. Of course, none of us are sitting with the Jolida in our lap. The door is noisy and quick. I give it a demerit for that. I have seen cheaper machines that do that better. Those machines do not have a tube out stage. That, along with its linear Phillips chips raise it to a level that leaves so little for improvement. I know Wadia and Musical Fidelity owners that see the worthiness of this player. Yes, I said Phillips as do all sellers, and Jolida itself. I looked under the hood too.
I know I cant expect you to take in a Jolida and keep it for an extended break in period, but I can tell you from having the same poor initial experience, you are wrong, so wrong. Here is some good advice: Give Bill Baker a call and tell him what you have told us.....then hang up quick before the lashing begins.
Believe me, I really wanted this cheap player to sound as good as it was claimed to be. I like nothing more then cutting $$$ out of my system w/o loss of soni quality and putting the money in music or other hobbies, but just couldnt do it with this player.
The player had just under 800 hour on it, new tubes where given a week of burn in before critique. You make far too many assumptions. I am quite capable and competent to perform proper break-in of a new component and would never assess in absolute terms before at least a month of continuous use is seen for any piece of gear. I also NEVER review a piece of gear alone, w/o a reference, nor would I ever say with certainty how it compared to other components unless I had them both at home and plugged in to compare with. I fully accept the limits of my auditory memory and even psychological biases, Im very aware of the limits of auditioning gear in a showroom as well. Only direct a/b shootouts at home over extended stays ever have proven useful for me.
I don't appreciate your calling me "wrong, so wrong" regarding my assessment of the sonic qualities of this piece, but I suppose ignorance can be bliss, so won't address that further. I also have absolutely no need for anyone else to verify my impressions of this player, nor need permission to state any negative sonic qualities perceived. I fully feel that my impressions are both concise and accurate given my reference cpd's mentioned above used to compare it to. As I said, if it floats your canoe, so be it, enjoy the heck out of it. As Cheryl Crow once said, If it makes you happy, it cant be that bad.
I apologize for underestimating your review preparation. Know too, I am not an "audiophool."
Your insistance the Jolida is lame leaves me befuddled. How is it your audition of that particular unit left you with such negative feelings, when the rest of us find the Jolida so good. If the machine you listened to had a Burr Brown chip on board, it may be it had been extensively modified.
The fact is, your summation of the Jolida is unique among all others I have read. I have read two reviews that even place the Jolida above the Cary in performance, by their owners.
There just isn't any audible haze, incoherrance, or excessive distortion with my unit. I wouldn't be acting so bull headed if your review held any water, where my hearing is concerned. Stand by your words, if you will, they just don't ring true to me, or to anyone that has heard my Jolida I've shared your review with.
I'm in California. If you are ever out this way, I invite you to drop in for a listen. Like I said, local owners of CDPs costing as much as fourteen times the Jolida admit my Jolida's worthiness. There is the distinct probability the tubes you used were all 12AX7 tubes, which will not give you that last degree of polish.