|Jolida JD-202A Integrated Amplifier|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Integrated Amplifiers|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Sunday, 01 June 2003|
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The modified Jolida JD-202A, as with most tube products, was noticeably laid-back. What this means is simply that you need to like tubes to love this amplifier. This amplifier is only moderately powered, so I recommend that you match some fairly efficient speakers with it. This will assure that you have plenty of volume and can maintain the ease and seductiveness that this amplifier is capable of supplying. I also recommend a rating of 90 dB or greater for energetic listening levels.
Some may say that the increased maintenance of tubes is a downside. I disagree with this, as the EL34’s should last 2,500-3,000 hours and the input tubes over 5,000 hours. However, maintainance is a consideration. Also, as with all tube electronics, the amplifier needs to be placed in a well-ventilated area, as it can get very hot, and must be segregated from kids and pets. If the tubes are touched, you can be burned, and if anything is spilled on them, the amplifier is toast.
The Jolida JD-202A has no remote control. Years back, this was considered the norm for high-end preamplifiers, as the feature was considered an extra expense and something that audiophiles thought could degrade the quality of the sound with introduced noise. Today, this is unacceptable, as nearly all gear at every level provides this convenience. If it were not for the extremely low price of this exceptionally-performing product, I would have had a different opinion of the omission of a remote control, which is still definitely something to consider before purchasing this amplifier.
For some, the though of a tube product that has been heavily modified brings fear of unreliability – in this case, that fear can be answered with, “Au contraire.” This amplifier performed flawlessly for the months that I had it for review. As far as the seller, Mr. Liederman is no newcomer to the HiFi realm. Many will be familiar with his other companies like Perpetual Technologies and, more recently, online retailer av123.com and Underwood HiFi.
I know of no other integrated tube amplifier at anywhere near this price that can compete with the modified Jolida JD-202A. At just over $1,000, this unit competes with units costing twice its price. While the JD-202A may not be the final say in neutrality, or play as loud or have the convenience of a remote control, it has a wonderful midrange that is hard to touch at anywhere near its price.
If you normally listen to aggressive music or keep your tunes cranked, this is not the unit for you. It does not have the power that the hard-volume listener seeks. Those who listen at moderate levels to vocals and acoustic instruments, and prefer more mellow music like jazz, blues, and classical, will be delighted by this unit’s detail, tonal balance and liquidity. The Jolida JD-202A is also well suited to those looking to build a reasonably-priced system. I felt that the edginess and brightness found in many lower-priced CD players would be well complemented by the Jolida’s somewhat laid-back nature.
Anyone who enjoys the sound of tubes and doesn’t want to spend $2,000-$3,000 to hear them should check this unit out. When used within the parameters described above, the modified Jolida JD-202A excels beyond its diminutive size and price to a level beyond.