Jolida 302 tube integrated and Von Schweikert VR1s
I am just starting to spec out a small system that must set me back no more than $2000 for integrated amp and bookshelf speakers (must be bookshelf, I want to stay tube, and I want to purchase new). I am trying to find out how this pair may sound (I know..I just need to listen to it...but play along anyways :-). I know the 302 is not known for its bass. I do know that the VR1s do seem to be known for their bass (considering their size). Might the combination be awkward? Or, does one play up the other's weakness? The VR1s are extremely efficient (90db) and would seem to be ideal for tubes. Anyway, any input would be much appreciated.
Jolidas are pretty nice amps, von schweikerts didn't really impress me that much though...
and 90 db isn't that sensitive, but it isn't inefficient...
also try Klipsh, monitor audio, Dali, Triangle, Dynaudio, B&W would do fine with tubes too, personally I wouldn't spend my money on the von schweikerts...
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I would try and listen to the Audio Note AX Two. It is built for SET amps so the 30 watts of the Jolida would be positively luxurious power. The AX Two is one of the best inexpensive speakers around and when I get back to Canada I may buy 3 sets of them.
I like the Jolida - it does have the prototypical tube sound...I would also recommend you try the Antique Sound Labs AQ 1003DT.
Also for very good inexpensive stands check out Skylan Stands
The one pitfall of the AN AX2 is that it really does not care for SS and can sound a little hot - that won't be a problem with the Jolida but the ASL is leaner sounding. The AX Two has plenty of bass but is voiced more toward live acoustic music and Jazz.
The Jolida/VSA mix should be a nice match. Albert uses a few different amps when tuning his speakers. I noticed a set of VAC monos and an Audio Note, probably a SET based on it's diminutive size. By design, VSA speakers are very tube friendly with flat impedence curves and good efficiency. As a testament to how much Albert loves tubes, he built the VR99, a 99dB/w/m floorstander designed strictly for the flea amp niche. Suffice to say, the Jolida will have no problem driving the VR1's.
Personally, I haven't heard a monitor under $3K that offers more bang for the buck than the VSA. When you factor its in-room response, dispersion characteristics (which are ridiculously wide btw), steller build quality and, of course, sound quality, it presents a very compelling argument.
Good luck in your choice. It sounds like the beginnings of a very capable rig that should bring you years of enjoyment.
Hope this helps.
"If you can leave black marks on a straight from the time you exit a corner till the time you brake for the next turn, then you have enough horsepower." Mark Donohue
The Jolida/VR-1 combination should work well (actually seriously considered that combination for myself). You're correct that the 302s are a little weak in the bass, but what a sweet midrange it has. If you're looking for more bass, I would go with a Jolida 502B (I owned a 502A) and use KT88 tubes as that will give you more bass and still have most of the "sweet midrange" that the EL34 tubes deliver. Truth is, the Jolida 302and 502 are essential the same amp, with the difference being that the 302 is set-up for the EL34 output tubes, while the 502 is set up to use either 6550 or KT88 output tubes.