I was wondering if this phono stage would be a decent upgrade from my Musical Surroundings Phonomena. I don't have much to compare the Phonomena to (only a NAD PP-2), so I'm kind of flying blind, but I have an opportunity to buy the Jolida second-hand (w/o tubes) for a great price. Specifically,
- There are glowing reviews online about the Jolida. Is $450msrp too good to be true?
- Are tubes a good thing for phono stages?
- Do the tubes in the Jolida run very hot (it's a tiny box)?
- Since I'll be buying new tubes, how long can I expect them to last?
- There are a lot of mods out there for the Jolida. Are they worth it?
- If the Jolida's not a good value, any other contenders ($200-600 used)?
I don't really feel comfortable opening up my equipment, so I've always steered clear of tubes. But with my recent re-discovery of LP's (and all the setup details), I'm willing to try this. Any input would be appreciated.
Don't own one, but did recently make the switch to tubes and I'm very satisfied. I went with the Jolida 202 amp and Bellari VP129 phono amp. Both pieces were pretty much plug 'n play. I haven't done any tube rolling with the Bellari yet but I have with the Jolida. I think with the Jolida phono amp no biasing is required because you're not using power tubes like EL34s or KT88s, but only preamp tubes like the 12AX7 and maybe driver tubes like the 12AT7. So, with these types of tubes there's no biasing AND you don't have to worry about buying in matched pairs. It's really not as involved and as technical as I thought it was going to be, but I haven't had to bias my Jolida amp yet. I may have a different take at that time. I think power tubes have the shortest life span some as low as 3 to 4,000 hours. My understanding is that a preamp tube like the 12AX7 can last up to 10,000 hours. You'll also find that Europe uses a different numbering system for some tubes,e.g, the 12AT7 is an ECC81 in Europe. Some tubes with different #s are interchangeable like the 12AX7 can be swapped out for a 7025. I'm just learning all this stuff and I find it interesting.
My understanding of the mods is that you are paying for "improvements" that make the tube amp sound more solid state. So, if you want to try authentic tube sound, then start w/out the mods. If you don't like it, then sell it unmodded and buy solid state. At least that's my philosophy without ever having heard a modded unit. I know I was able to tighten up the bass response in the 202 by tube rolling. Don't want to piss anyone off here, but if you do get a tube phono amp, you should at least monitor the vinyl and tube asylums at audioasylum. You'll get an idea of where to get tubes for tube swapping, how to evaluate new old stock tubes, opinions on new production tubes, etc. In my case, I've found something else to feed my obsessive personality. It's fun.
In the past I used Rolls VP29 phono and few others under $100bucks. Now i'm using Pro-Ject Tube box(under $600), and the sound is incredible. Maybe I shouldn't try to explain it, but music has much more weight and significantly more dynamic. I didn't really think vinyl sounded much better than CDs before this purchase, boy was i wrong. I was also concerned about the tube-life, but a rep from Sumiko assured me on average they would last about 10,000 hours. Has anybody tried out different tubes. I think Pro-Ject ones are made in China and I havent a clue on what that means.
"I think Pro-Ject ones are made in China and I havent a clue on what that means"
Most everything is these days, and if it's not, then the parts are. I doubt Jolida is any different. Speaking of China, there is substantial growth in tube audio parts and components, so I'm going to guess that it is as good as from anywhere else.
BTW, the Jolida JD9A I had my eye on went to someone else, so I'll be on the lookout for another. That's OK, because I hadn't a clue about buying tubes for it.