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  1. #1
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    A $2500 system - what do you think?

    So I've been all over the place, and gotten lots of advice on this and other boards. and here is where I am leaning right now:

    (1) Audio Note AZ - 2 speaker -- $1,100
    (2) Jolida JD 102B - $550 regular or $750 for the factory upgrade
    (3) Music Hall 25.2 cd player -- $550.

    I want something pretty warm -- My cds are mostly jazz (w & w/o female vocals) and acoustic instrumentals -- that soundstage really well (would the joilida modification help on that?).

    I started listening to solid-states, but fell in love with the Jolida at my local dealer. Really sweet sound, and seemed to power the Audio Notes as long as they were set up against the wall. Otherwise the bass was very, very weak.

    This is going in the first floor living room of our new house! 12 ft by 17 feet - hard wood floors.

    What do all the experts think? Will the MH (bright) be balanced by the tube amp? Anyone else have experience with Audio Note speakers?

    Thanks!!!!

    Marty

  2. #2
    RGA
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    The thing with those particular AN speakers is that they must be placed very hard in corners for best results, bass, soundstage etc.

    I would buy a used Jolida 302B for the same price as a new 102B and you don't need modifications then.

    I would put more into these components than the CD player at this time - try and get a cd player with a good transport and then down the road you can buy an Audio Note DAC Kit 1.1 which will truly transform your front end - they will build the kit fo ryou for $200 and it's still a steal. I have not heard better digital replay from anyone else at under $5k.

    www.audionotekits.com

  3. #3
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    Thanks RGA. Are there any other speakers that you recommend? I would love to get the AN/Ks, but that would blow my whole budget. This is going to be for mostly jazz and classical in a 12 by 17 room. The speakers would be on the 12 foot side -- right speaker in the corner, left would be open -- hopefully around 7-8 feet apart.

  4. #4
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Hey Marty,

    Looks like a solid system you have lined up.
    If you are in pursuit of warmer sound, then I would go with 302. I have not auditioned Jolida myself, but EL-34 power tubes are supposed to have warmer midrange. Also, I've heard that EL-84 tubes are more on neutral side than warm.

    I'm not a big fan of integrating powered subs into a 2way speakers, but if you have your hearts set on a pair of AZ, then you may want to look for a tube integrated with RCA outputs for added flexibility.

    For speakers with tube amps, it's not always about Efficiency, but look for an easy load.
    Tube amps do not handle Impedence swings as well as Solid State amps. Here are some of criteria you may want to look for:

    *Easy 8 ohm load, (Nominal 8ohm and higher than 4 ohms on Nominal).
    *Higher than 87 dBs per 1 watt @8ohm.
    *Not always, but look for speakers that do not handle alot of watts.

    Here is a small list of speakers you may want to consider, but not limited to......

    *ProAc Response 1SC
    *Coincident Triumph
    *Reference 3A deCapo i
    *Silverline Audio

    Best Wishes,
    JRA

  5. #5
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    What do you think of the Jolida 302 with the Quad 21L2s?

  6. #6
    RGA
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    There are no powered subs in the AZ Two - it's a two wat floorstander with a large open mouth port at the back.

    The speakers are dead easy to drive - I am not suggesting the 302b for power reasons - 8 watts is more than enough for the AZ Two.

    The AN K/Spe is a better loudspeaker but you'll find for that room it may be pushing things. You get a much faster rolloff to the sound than say the Reference 3a MM De Capo i (whcih is also an excellent choice) but the K is much easier to drive and its sealed cabinet gives you a tighter punchier sound over the lusher sound of the De Capo.

    Now if you're looking for big sound both the K and De Capo are excellent. Both retail for around $2,500US. The De Capo was my choice until the AN K came along.

    It's truly more about balance. Audio Note designs "systems" and few companies do that. The double edged sword though is that when you mix and match you don't really know what will work well with what.

    You want a warm sound and the De Capo is a darker sounding speaker than the more straight up punchier(faster) K/Spe. BUT, the K was designed with tubes in mind. The De Capo has a darker sound and if you put on a darker amp (Jolida) and a lot of tube cd players are dark - you may get into an overly dark laid back set-up. The K/Spe with some solid state is just brighter in the treble. They K doesn't want SS amps generally.

    The J would be excellent in your room but it runs $4,500+

    The AN E Kit would be great if you can double your speaker budget. In fact that might be the best route and you'll never need a sub (dittor for the J for most music)

  7. #7
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Great post, RGA. Very insightful, especially since you have personal experience with them.

    I would like to remind Marty that all of my suggestions come from a used market. I think we went overboard with your budget. But, if you are patient enough to wait for something to pop up on Audiogon, you'll defintely reward yourself for higher sound.

    Other speakers to consider would be Tyler Acoustic Reference Monitors. They are rated at 88db with nominal impedence around 8 ohm. Not the most efficient speakers to drive buy do offer an easy load. You can usually get a pair for $1200, and I find them to be the best bargin in audio...
    I've been driving them with PS Audio HCA-2, 6550 based tube integrated amp, and E.A.R. 834i. 88dB with 40+ watts will play louder than you can stand.

    I think Quad 21L2 will be an excellent choice. I've heard 11L with SET integrated amp, and thought the sound was very smooth and detailed, especially for the price.
    I dont think 6 ohm is nothing to be alarmed about. Tube amps do not like severe impedence swings, not lowish nominal impedence. You may want to search 21L's data to see its curves. Do you have access to audition a pair of Quads?

    JRA

  8. #8
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Uh-oh

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Great post, RGA. Very insightful, especially since you have personal experience with them.

    I would like to remind Marty that all of my suggestions come from a used market. I think we went overboard with your budget. But, if you are patient enough to wait for something to pop up on Audiogon, you'll defintely reward yourself for higher sound.

    Other speakers to consider would be Tyler Acoustic Reference Monitors. ...

    JRA
    JRA, why bait RGA? You will know he'll have a spasm at any suggestion other than Audio Note.

    Actually depending on music choice, our original poster's putative system seems to me an astute choice. If I listened to Trance or other such rubbish music, I'd be on it like a fly on pooh. (Did I really say that??? I shouldn't have: chacun à son goût.)
    Last edited by Feanor; 07-01-2008 at 04:23 AM.

  9. #9
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Great post, RGA. Very insightful, especially since you have personal experience with them.

    I would like to remind Marty that all of my suggestions come from a used market. I think we went overboard with your budget. But, if you are patient enough to wait for something to pop up on Audiogon, you'll defintely reward yourself for higher sound.

    Other speakers to consider would be Tyler Acoustic Reference Monitors. They are rated at 88db with nominal impedence around 8 ohm. Not the most efficient speakers to drive buy do offer an easy load. You can usually get a pair for $1200, and I find them to be the best bargin in audio...
    I've been driving them with PS Audio HCA-2, 6550 based tube integrated amp, and E.A.R. 834i. 88dB with 40+ watts will play louder than you can stand.

    I think Quad 21L2 will be an excellent choice. I've heard 11L with SET integrated amp, and thought the sound was very smooth and detailed, especially for the price.
    I dont think 6 ohm is nothing to be alarmed about. Tube amps do not like severe impedence swings, not lowish nominal impedence. You may want to search 21L's data to see its curves. Do you have access to audition a pair of Quads?

    JRA
    The nominal impedence of 6 ohm or 8ohm or even 4 ohm isn't really the concern for ease of drive - it's the swings that cause the problems. The AN J is a 6ohm speaker minimum 5 ohm and I believe maximium is is 12 ohm. This can be run with 5 watts and produce loud levels. A speaker at 8 ohm that dips to 3ohms and rises to beyond 20 ohms is far more of a nightmare,

    I have heard SETs with a lot of non higher efficiency speakers - it still usually makes them SOUND better - even with speakers not designed for tube amps - the purity in a good SE amp still makes the speaker sound better. The trouble occurs when one wants to listen to Delerium (even if some people call it rubbish) or AC/DC or amplified music or large scale orchestral pieces at a good volume level. This is where the AZ Two can really shine against a lot of speakers. The AZ Two is an under the radar speaker. It has a bigger bolder sound than most of the standmounts being listed - trade off is that it's not quite as refined as some of the standmounts.

    It's tough to recommend going used because it all depends what happens to be on the used market at any given time and what they're asking for them. My dealer has the AN K/Spe for $1500 Cad which makes it a steal relative to the ~$2800 list price - but of course a deal is only a deal if you like the speaker at $2800 in the first place and it will work in your room. The K/Spe was quite fine in my 13X 20 X 8 room but it's about the size of the De Capo.

    The AN speakers sound a lot different than other boxed speakers and as such I have trouble recommending an alternative because nothing to my knowledge utilizes an undamped cabinet. So by all means I suggest listening to similarly priced speakers from Quad or Wharfedale but the AN's will sound markedly different. The AN's are designed for tubes on tubes and by a tube maker. It's a natural fit.

    Also to the OP

    The Audio Note OTO Push Pull(they're just going to stick with the Single Ended version) amp is being discontinued - It is a terrific amp that my dealer was selling for $1600 and driving Quad 2905s - you may find that dealer's in your area - if they have any maybe they'll be selling them cheaper. It's a lot better than Jolida so if you see any - you will pay more but money can be earned later right?

  10. #10
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    That is exactly the point

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    The nominal impedence of 6 ohm or 8ohm or even 4 ohm isn't really the concern for ease of drive - it's the swings that cause the problems. The AN J is a 6ohm speaker minimum 5 ohm and I believe maximium is is 12 ohm. This can be run with 5 watts and produce loud levels. A speaker at 8 ohm that dips to 3ohms and rises to beyond 20 ohms is far more of a nightmare,
    I was trying to make to Marty, incase we wasnt aware.

    Opera M-12 for instance, this pair sounds very promising for any SET amps@:

    *96+ dB efficiency
    *Nominal Impedence at 8 Ohms.

    .....but when impedence swing is considered, I would be less eagered to mate it tube amps.



    I guess this pair's nomial impedence can be considered at 8 Ohms, but from 20-40 and 50-100 hzs, impedence swinggs well beyond 10 ohms, while 3k-5k impedence swings down to 2 ohms.
    As RGA stated, tube amps are not particularly picky about Ohm rates. Tubes will be happy to drive a steady/smooth 2-3 ohm throughout the entire frequencies. Good luck finding speakers with flat impedence though....

    We should always trust our ears first, but I think this chart indicates M-12 may want to be avoided with valve amps.

    JRA

  11. #11
    RGA
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    Excellent point - high sensitivity does not automatically mean that it's easy to drive.

    A pretty flat impedence and 94db is better than a 102db sensitive speaker that dips to 2ohms and goes all over the place.

    I have nto heard every tube amp but some SE tube amps are a lot more "robust" than others and has a lot less to do with watts that the quality of the power supply. Which is why the OTO PP had little trouble with the Low efficiency Quad 2905. Granted you can't play real loud but the Quad is limited severely in that regard anyway so it would not be a big deal.

    The AZ Two is a pseudo horn design that utilizes corner gain - similar to the K-Horn. But it has less of the horn shouty sound. It projects vocals and horn instruments well out into the room without brightness. So for Jazz and vocal for under $2k it will be real tough to beat when you factor in its also designed for lower watt tube. It also reaches down to a very admirable 40hz with in a tuneful non dead one note bass kind of way. Colouration will enter into the thing though when not in corners because the box will get in the way. When the speaker is in the corner they are far better able to vanish because basically it will sound like music is coming from your front wall and the reflections follow so close to the direct wave that room issues are very much reuced to nearly nill.

    I have not heard the AZ Two enough to really comment but with the stanmounts in corners - they're one of the few speakers I know of where you also won't need room treatments of any kind. Whether the room is empty or full on hardwood or carpeted. They have a lot of consistency. And IMO these are factors to consider because room treatments are expensive or time consuming or both.

    Sometimes too the numbers really just don't speak to what it will sound like with the actual amplifiers. The B&W n801 has never sounded better than with the 11 watt SET I heard it with. The graphs say the opposite but the graphs just don;t tell the truth and in fact often tell the opposite. Some pretty lousy measuring speakers etc sound far better than what they deem "great measuring" loudspeakers or amps. I mean SETs, Turntables, panels, and AN speakers SUCK donkey balls compared to cheap CD, Solid State, NRC designed and Harman approved speakers - and the latter just get stomped in every way shape and form when the play button is pressed.

    This is largely why I stopped bothering with the measurements first approach because most of the Harman version of real science is clearly more about marketing than sound quality. And hey it works they have billions of dollars. Glorified Bose.

  12. #12
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    I dont care

    if it's out of context, but RGA actually said....

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    AN speakers SUCK donkey balls.

  13. #13
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    Thanks all for the advice. In the end, I am getting a pretty good deal on the Quad 21L2, Jolida 302b, and Music Hall cdp. I listened to the Quad 22L2 and loved it, but decided to drop down to the 21 since my room is a lot smaller. I did like the Audio Notes, but will try and save up and maybe get the AN/Ks as an upgrade in a few years.

  14. #14
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    That's gonna be a good, little system that a guy can be proud of. A recommendation: Don't go into it with a specific piece in mind as a "potential upgrade". Get to know the gears and how they interact with the room. You may find that you don't need anything after all.

    ...and make sure to spend some non-critical time enjoying the music.

    Peace

  15. #15
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    if it's out of context, but RGA actually said....




    Only Jay...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    JRA, why bait RGA? You will know he'll have a spasm at any suggestion other than Audio Note.

    Actually depending on music choice, our original poster's putative system seems to me an astute choice. If I listened to Trance or other such rubbish music, I'd be on it like a fly on pooh. (Did I really say that??? I shouldn't have: chacun à son goût.)
    If you're going to quote French please do it right lol just messing It's 'chacun ses goûts'. Nice try though

  17. #17
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Well, thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    If you're going to quote French please do it right lol just messing It's 'chacun ses goûts'. Nice try though
    Well thanks AA. I guess you're pluralizing "goût": is this essential to the sense of the phrase? Plural might be more correct, but the singular version is a classic quote.

    See these references:
    I too love pedantry.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Well thanks AA. I guess you're pluralizing "goût": is this essential to the sense of the phrase? Plural might be more correct, but the singular version is a classic quote.

    See these references:
    I too love pedantry.
    It's curious that you mention this because I never heard it that way. What strikes me is the 'a' with the hat which shows it is not the verb form of 'have' (which would simply be an 'a' without the hat), in which case it's saying ' each at his taste' . Doesn't make too much sense that way.
    What makes more sense is ' chacun a son gout' in other words everyone has their taste. I'm guessing it's simply a mistake.
    This aside, I do believe using the plural is more appropriate.

    (I haven't used the u with the hat cause it's a pain to type.)

  19. #19
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Ich nin ein Berliner...with apples and oranges

  20. #20
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    I gather ...

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Ich nin ein Berliner...with apples and oranges
    JFK should have said, "Ich nin Berliner" to avoid being taken for a sort of sticky bun, but what the heck.
    Last edited by Feanor; 07-02-2008 at 11:54 AM.

  21. #21
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Well, I'm relatively sure that grammatically and idiomatically he was correct, but I'm not bettin' the farm on anything I read on the Net. I'm sure we can getclarification from the source but the first thang on a Yahoosearch is: http://urbanlegends.about.com/cs/his...k_berliner.htm

    I'm pretty sure it was part of a larger smear campaign by Lyndon LaRouche.

  22. #22
    Oh where have ye gone RL?
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    Can't blame me for derailing this thread so...

    Lyndon LaRouche? Wasn't he a presidential candidate running under the communist party banner some years ago?

    Hmmm...
    Mitsubishi 57732 DLP TV
    Yamaha RX-V3800 Receiver
    Emotiva LPA-1 amp
    PS3 w/Blu-ray
    Oppo DV-980 DVD player
    BFD DSP1124P
    Harmony 880 Remote
    B & W Matrix 804 mains
    B & W Matrix HTM center
    B & W 800ASW sub
    B & W P6 surrounds

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