I sold my Jolida JD100 cd player last fall to make the move into digital music with the Squeezebox Touch. I searched the net for a tubed DAC that would give me the sound that I was use to with the JD100 which IMHO sounded pretty good in my rig. I already had the Maverick D1 which for the money is a great unit and is currently the center piece of my computer rig but just did not rise to the level of the JD100. All this came about with the promise of a new DAC from Jolida and Emotiva in my price range which was $300-$400. The Emotiva came out and they had issues with the volume controls and most of the reviews were from people that got the Emotiva as their first DAC so I decided to let it go. All along Jolida was promising a new tubed DAC, I actually first heared about it from Michael Alan at the Capital Audio fest.
I traded emails with Jolida, which is about 45 minutes from my house, for a while and the availability date kept getting bumped back. I also traded emails with a dealer in California who was very responsive and actually e-mailed me back and said the new Jolida DAC was going to be available and was I still interested. After a number of back and forth emails he offered me a very nice price shipped and the deal was done. He emailed me back after receiving my payment and said that Jolida was going to ship it directly from their shop in Annapolis Junction to my house.
I finally got the unit home, serial number 0004, after a run around with FedEx home delivery which is whole story in itself. Plugged the unit in and it sounded like ass. I emailed Michale Alan and got a call from his tech the next day and he told me to try this and that. Still sounded like ass and the output was very low. Jesse stopped by one night and we both came to the conclusion that something was wrong with it and Jesse also dropped off some Ei tubes for me to try. After Jesse left I emailed Michael Alan and said the DAC sounded like an AM radio. I asked for a RTV number to send it back for a new one and wanted the FedEx paid by them. He replied that everything they send out is tested but if I sent it back they would look at it and replace or repair it, and if there was something wrong with it they would refund my shipping. Three business days after I shipped the unit back I got an E-mail from Michael Alan that said "You were right" it had a loose wire we repaired it and it sounds fine and it will ship out today. I picked it up the next day at a FedEx store and brought it home to give it another try. It sounded much better but not quite what I was hoping for. Michael Alan said to leave it on for a week or two and it does not have to have music playing through it. So after swapping the Ei tubes and the Stock tubes in and out with the stock tubes sounding better than the ( zero hour ) Ei's initially and then after about a week and a half of burn in time it sounds pretty good.
I will hold off on a review at this point and wait for this weekend to evaluate and see what Jesse and Tony think after they hear it.
Here are a few cell phone shots of it. My regular camera is on the fritz.