I don't post on this forum much. Maybe with the purchase of my new LSiM705s that will change some. In any event I thought I'd post about my recent purchase of two Jolida JD502Ps...
For the last several years, I've had my "toes in the water" of the tube world by using tube preamps with SS power amps. I'd spent a few months early this year looking to get into tube power amps for a budget price. I knew from the outset I didn’t want to end up with low powered amps that would force me to only consider high efficiency speakers. Who knows what speakers will strike my fancy in the future? I’d like to be able to drive most speakers. I settled on a self imposed lower limit of about 100w per channel.
I had been looking, and listening, to the Rogue Audio Atlas 100W/channel stereo power amp. I got to talking to Walter Leiderman, the owner of Underwood HiFi online, who sells both brands and he suggested I look at a pair of upgraded Jolida JD502Ps for about the same money. After a week of talking to Michael Allen, President of Jolida, I decided to order the customized amps.
This is my pair of Jolida 502P power amps. In their stock form they are 60 watt per channel stereo amps. These have been factory modded. In this current form, running bridged (usually referred to as "paralleled" with tube amps) they are 140 watt monoblocks. At the factory they have been upgraded with Hexfred Diodes, ceramic composite resistors and custom coupling caps. I also ordered them without the 6550 (KT88) output tubes they normally come with so I could install my own KT120 output tubes. I bought this pair for $1740 brand new shipped to my home, and have about $340 into the eight KT120’s.
I decided on the KT120 power tubes after a lot of reading on the internet. These tubes are said to be extremely reliable and powerful. These are the tubes Bob Carver uses in his Black Beauty 305. These are, to my knowledge, the only power tube designed in the 21st century, and were designed specifically for audio amps. Tung Sol is the only manufacturer of the KT120, and they are built in Russia. Each amp also has a pair of 12AT7 Electro-Harmonix and a pair of 12AX7 Tung Sol preamp tubes.
I’m quite impressed with the build quality of these amps. They are not in the same league as the much more expensive Carver’s. They have circuit boards not point to point wiring, and they appear to be of stout build. Jolida designs their products in Maryland, has the sub components built in China, and final assembly and any customization is done in Maryland.
So how do they sound? Well as I expected they compare favorably to the Red Dragon Audio M500’s I just sold. Those were the most tube sounding solid state amps I’ve ever owned. By most accounts the Jolida 502 has a "modern" tube sound. Which is to say, not overly tube like, and I agree with that sentiment. The KT120s are known as powerfull, tight tubes, producing good bass.
In a nut shell, the Jolidas have a slight bit of that “tubey” mid range bloom. They have a bit more air between instruments and singers. The Jolidas are very dynamic and accurate for tube amps. Although the bass on the Red Dragons was a slightly tighter, the Jolidas produce strong full toned bass. My current speakers, Polk LSi15s are 88db 4 ohm. These amps drive them very well. Having owned Magnepans in the past, I believe these would do well on them also. At least holding there own compared to other budget tube amps.
Since some of the pics were taken, I've sold the Xiang Sheng tube preamp I had. At the moment, I'm just using my DAC as a preamp and I'm not sure if I'll get another preamp or not.
Here's a few pics;