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  1. #1

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    Default Jolida FX Glass Tube DAC

    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.

    Scott
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    I like speakers that are bigger than a small refrigerator but smaller than a big refrigerator:D

  2. #2

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    Been waiting for this to be released, sorry to hear about the problems.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  3. #3

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    Sorry to hear of your problems. I did get a chance to listen to some prototypes of this DAC go up against the new Jolida Music Van CDP and although it did OK on digital material from a laptop it wasn't quite in the same league as the new player. Still, not bad though! Be interested to hear your final review!

    cnh

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    Defiantly interested in a review. Might need to sell the PS audio DAC I just bought :)

    What are you going to use this with?
    If life had more tubes it would be a lot smoother.

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    One of the points to my little diatribe was that the issue I had was handled in a timely manner. No need for anyone to be sorry.

    CNH. I also traded emails with Marc from the Shenda Jolida but he stopped responding to my emails.

    I am not here to pick sides, I just dealt with who ever was responsive to my questions or emails. Ironically the best service was from someone who never even touched the product that I bought.

    Scott
    I like speakers that are bigger than a small refrigerator but smaller than a big refrigerator:D

  6. #6

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    I'm looking forward to hearing it in its fixed condition.

    Those Clarity caps and NOS Ei's will need a few hundred hours to burn in.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  7. #7

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    Also would love to hear your review. I love my JD100 and have a SB touch in my 2nd rig which I've been thinking could use some tube magic.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by MillerLiteScott View Post
    One of the points to my little diatribe was that the issue I had was handled in a timely manner. No need for anyone to be sorry.

    CNH. I also traded emails with Marc from the Shenda Jolida but he stopped responding to my emails.

    I am not here to pick sides, I just dealt with who ever was responsive to my questions or emails. Ironically the best service was from someone who never even touched the product that I bought.

    Scott
    I'm not surprised there. The last I heard from him he was in the hospital for a few weeks. The problem that Shenda has, among, others, is that they basically have two people who can speak/write in English. Everyone else is a native speaker of Mandarin (or worse yet some Shanghai-nese dialect which is not a good match aurally with Mandarin)--I even made them an offer to help clean up their English copy but they didn't think that was a problem? If you've read info on their site...that's a bit optimistic! Somewhere I have the actual Chinese copy of the site descriptions. Just hope you resolve your issues. If there is anything I can help with (not sure there would be) don't hesitate to ask.

    That new DAC-tube unit was being tweaked while I was there last spring and was just coming to market. Looked like it held a lot of 'promise'!

    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 04-04-2011 at 10:19 PM.

  9. #9

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    That new DAC-tube unit was being tweaked while I was there last spring and was just coming to market. Looked like it held a lot of 'promise'!
    He bought it from Jolida.com in the USA. In fact, .net in China doesn't even have that product for sale.

    You should read .net's claim that they won the court case. Hilarious.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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  10. #10

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    So this thing comes stock with Clarity Caps???? I can't wait to hear your impressions after about 200 hours break-in. If you don't mind me asking how much did you spend? Does it come with it;s own software for USB?

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  11. #11

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    I wonder if they will start using the better caps on all of the products. hummm....


    I'm interested in seeing how this turns out after it is all burned in.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    He bought it from Jolida.com in the USA. In fact, .net in China doesn't even have that product for sale.

    You should read .net's claim that they won the court case. Hilarious.
    I did catch the note on .net about the case. And didn't really know what to make of it. I did understand that MSL bought it from .com

    M. Alan or whatever his name is, also sounds like he doesn't have a clue. It's becoming a bit absurd on both sides except that it's hurting the customer.

    I wonder if this product from Jolida.com is being produced at the supposedly 'new' facility in China that he and his associates claimed they were setting up? I saw a working version of this DAC in March 2010? When did .com start to market it? I'm curious--no doubt the suit affects the sale to the U.S.

    Also, does the .com model have an ipod docking station? Because there were two Shenda models and one had that option using some Apple parts on the inside?

    Oh well, let's hope MLS's unit is OK, now. Just want to see the brand survive in some form.


    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 04-05-2011 at 12:24 PM.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    So this thing comes stock with Clarity Caps???? I can't wait to hear your impressions after about 200 hours break-in. If you don't mind me asking how much did you spend? Does it come with it;s own software for USB?

    H9
    Stereophile lists the MSRP at 350. Which looks like a very nice price point for a tube/DAC to me.

    http://www.stereophile.com/rmaf2010/...ystem_knockout

    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 04-05-2011 at 12:25 PM.

  14. #14

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    I am curious as well as to if it was a plug and play USB Dac or if it had software that was needed to run. Also if software what media player are you using in order to utlize it and how well does it all work.

    I know you said you were going to do a review this weekend and if you wanted to answer my questions in that, totally fine by me as well. But for 350 or so seems like a darn good deal on a tubed unit.
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    I did hook it up briefly to my computer via USB when the unit was having the loose wire issue. It connected to my computer with out any input from me and played music but it sounded like a AM radio because of the loose wire.

    The USB was not a necessity for me and this unit only does up to 24/96 via USB which may or may not be an issue for some people.

    As far as the build quality is concerned. It is very heavy for its size and nothing seems flimsy. The glass top with the insignia is a nice touch and I like the fact that the tubes are accessible with out having to open the case. Two things that I find a minor inconvenience or annoying is that the unit always defaults to usb input when you turn it on after being off or unplugged. I wish it would stay on the last selected input. And the blue input indicator LED is way to bright compared to the nice glow of the blue LED that illuminates the tubes.

    I was surprised to see the Clarity caps at this price point

    I would say that by this weekend I should have @ 200 hours of burn in on the unit and @ 120 hours on Jesse's Ei tubes that he lent me. We will give it a review and another DAC AB comparison is in the works.

    Scott
    I like speakers that are bigger than a small refrigerator but smaller than a big refrigerator:D

  16. #16

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    Please keep us posted. Like I said I've been waiting for this to be released. I am USB only now so the USB and how it's managed with software and if it's asynchronous is make or break for me, and of course the end sound. It doesn't need to be reference quality since it would be for a secondary rig but for $350 I would expect very good performance.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    well the usb having 24/96 is actually pretty good most don't currently go above that.. its an interesting possibility for a tube dac.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolsax View Post
    well the usb having 24/96 is actually pretty good most don't currently go above that.. its an interesting possibility for a tube dac.
    If it's not asynchronous, etc it's moot because jitter will be an issue no matter what it upsamples to. I'd take an ultra low jitter std dac over a jitter laden upsampling dac.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  19. #19

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    will the DAC auto sleep if an input goes dead? Its nice that my PS Audio dac goes to sleep when my Mac does.
    If life had more tubes it would be a lot smoother.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    If it's not asynchronous, etc it's moot because jitter will be an issue no matter what it upsamples to. I'd take an ultra low jitter std dac over a jitter laden upsampling dac.
    that's a good point
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    I doubt it is asynchronous, but I don't know. And no it does not go to sleep. Mine has actually been on for going on two weeks.

    Scott
    I like speakers that are bigger than a small refrigerator but smaller than a big refrigerator:D

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    Quote Originally Posted by MillerLiteScott View Post
    I doubt it is asynchronous, but I don't know.

    Scott
    I'm sure once it gets a review or two we'll know for sure. At it's price point that would be a major blunder and keep me from buying it.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    If it's not asynchronous, etc it's moot because jitter will be an issue no matter what it upsamples to. I'd take an ultra low jitter std dac over a jitter laden upsampling dac.
    I guess the question would be does it accept native 24/96 data via usb or is it upsampling to that data rate?The sample rate conversion process involves reclocking thus a reduction in jitter.But regardless async is highly desirable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MillerLiteScott View Post
    I And no it does not go to sleep. Mine has actually been on for going on two weeks.

    Scott
    Well I guess the next question for the group is would it better to turn this off over night or just leave it on 24/7. Also I doubt you would know this but are the tubes just used as a buffer kind of like what carver did with his tube cd players or are they used as gain?
    If life had more tubes it would be a lot smoother.

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    If the link I found can be trusted,it appears to incorporate an older TI USB interface chip.Thus no async and no native 24/96 (via USB).
    Last edited by FTGV; 04-05-2011 at 09:00 PM.

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    It is a tube output design. There are no OPAMPS in this unit for signal output.

    Once it is burned in ( after this weekend ) I will turn it off when not in use. It uses 90 watts of power at a minimum.

    This unit provided a dramatic change after burning in for a week or so for all the non-believers.

    Scott
    I like speakers that are bigger than a small refrigerator but smaller than a big refrigerator:D

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    Quote Originally Posted by FTGV View Post
    If the link I found can be trusted,it appears to incorporate an older TI USB interface chip.Thus no async and no native 24/96.
    I noticed that.........it uses the same TI USB chip as my Pop Pulse .

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    I noticed that.........it uses the same TI USB chip as my Pop Pulse .

    H9
    Does it use the lowly pcm2702 also?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FTGV View Post
    Does it use the lowly pcm2702 also?
    No, pcm1796
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    No, pcm1796
    OK thats the DAC chip,the USB input would be handled by another IC.The Jolida uses the PCM1793 which is spec'd slightly inferior(on paper atleast)than the 1796.The PCM2702 is a 16bit USB interface /DAC combo IC that is often used just for it's USB input capability.
    Last edited by FTGV; 04-05-2011 at 09:44 PM.

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