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JohnW

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  1. I've been using a Marantz SR7013 AVR as a DAC and preamp to my Jolida Fusion 3502P for a year now, and after rolling in some good NOS tubes, I love it. I have a bypass switch so I can use the AVR for movies, and the Jolida for stereo, straight into my Cornwalls. Bonus: the AVR has Audyssey room correction. Best of both worlds.
  2. Of course, eventually I'll switch out the Gold Lion KT88s with Shuguang Treasures. Or, knowing me, vintage Mullards. :D
  3. Using them in V1 and V2, and paired with the right 12at7 in V3 and V4, if I can find a combo that gives me a wide, deep soundstage, my search is complete. Allegedly. :D
  4. I know it's been a while, but do you still have the Sylvanias?
  5. Update: I started buying NOS tubes. Oh man. And I bought a tester--friend had his dad's old Conar 224 and four large boxes of tubes (yes, including some very very nice ones--RCA, GE, Sylvania, Amperex). He sold me the whole mess for $50. So, without going into ALL the details: -Telefunken and Matsushita 12ax7s introduced me to "soundstage depth". -I'm a compulsive tube tester. I'll stand in the garage for hours testing tubes, and writing the triode values on the boxes. -I created a spreadsheet to compare the sound of every combination of my 12at7s and 12ax7s based on things like: punch, airiness, harshness, soundstage depth and width, etc... -Then I bought more tubes, so I have to start over with that. But most of all, I've discovered that in this amp, NOS GE 5751s beat the rest of my 12ax7s, and NOS GE 6201s beat all of my 12at7s. That is, until the Sylvanias, RCAs, and Mullards I've ordered arrive. And now I'm eyeballing Shuguang Treasure KT88s. You know, for down the road. And of course, I've chatted with Jared at Jolida about shipping my amp to them for capacitor and resistor upgrades. I'm just chasing fractional improvements at this point. But all in all, I'm having fun, I haven't regretted anything yet, and my system does sound truly sublime. Now I have to cull the tube herd on Ebay.
  6. Curious what you thought about the Jolida. I bought a 3502p about the same time to go with my Cornwalls. Currently rolling the preamp (12ax7) and power driver (12at7) tubes.
  7. George-- I get it now. Previously, I simply thought the point was to get my system to a superlative level of sound quality--one where I was truly satisfied with what was coming out of my speakers. This was the motivation for buying the Cornwalls, then replacing my Onkyo receiver with the Marantz receiver. Had I understood how to properly set up and operate the Marantz at the time, I would have been more than satisfied with that. I thought I had set it up correctly, but it seems I had a bit more to learn. But since I didn't know that, I thought the answer was to get a really good two-channel amp, which led me to the Jolida 3502P with new tubes. Everything happens for a reason. So here I am, with both, and enjoying both. I love the detail and the warmth of the "Marantz sound," and simultaneously, I love the completely different experience of the "tube sound,"--the depth, the smoothness, the fullness, yet still detailed (and the amp looks truly cool on top of my rack--let's be honest). I think I get it now. One isn't necessarily better than the other. Just different qualities. Like listening to two different guitars. This is a good place to stop for now.
  8. About the Sunfire: The guy actually brought it over and let me test in my system, so we were able to compare it with the Jolida (with new tubes that are just breaking in). The Sunfire was exceptional in every way. It had more detail, tighter bass, wide, wide soundstage, but...the highs were a bit grating for me. Perhaps it's an amp better paired with some silk dome tweeters. I decided not to buy it. I could probably eq the harshness out with MultEQ, but after replacing all the tubes in the Jolida, I now understand how "Klipsch love tubes." I've finally experienced the "holographic" depth of the soundstage, the detail, the smoothness, the fullness...it was really helpful to have a second set of seasoned ears to reduce subjectivity. The Sunfire is a phenomenal amp, and at $500, it was a steal. But at this point, it wasn't worth it to replace the Jolida. For the moment, I think I'm satisfied. After dropping $400 on a full compliment of Gold Lions and letting them break in, I'm really enjoying the lush sound. ...but I do now find myself trolling the NOS Mullard and Tunsgram reviews on Upscale Audio's website at night...
  9. Which speakers are you running in your future Decware system?
  10. Ok, I've been listening so hard today, I'm actually a bit tired. First off--replacing the pairs of stock 12AX7s and 12AT7s and 6550s all with Gold Lions (KT88s for the power tubes) made a HUGE difference. I'd read that Jolida shipped their amps with crappy tubes, and I can confirm that is exactly what happened to me. I've created a playlist for testing, and without getting into the weeds on this, here is the difference between listening to my Marantz SR7013 AVR straight through my '84 Cornwalls and listening to it as a preamp feeding my Jolida 3502P into my Cornwalls. Music was fed via HEOS using Amazon HD. I calibrated both setups using Audyssey XT32 (via the app), using three seating positions, no curve editing, and no midrange compensation, and High Frequency Roll Off profile 1. I preferred the sound when calibrating using the AVR only. Sorry, started getting into the weeds. Sound quality: pretty much what you'd expect. The SS receiver, by itself, is amazing and detailed, with great punch in the lows and mids, and highs that approached the border between detailed and grating, but never crossed it. Amazing detail. The Jolida had amazing detail as well, but no punchiness. I'd describe it more as a richner, smoother sound. A fuller sound. It was like biting into a thick slice of blueberry pie: On the SS side, my attention was drawn to the flaky, buttery texture of the crust. On the tube side, what got my attention was the rich, deep, sweet flavor of the blueberry filling. Both experiences were wonderful. Soundstage: The Marantz had a super-wide, detailed soundstage. Everything was quite distinctly placed. But man, when I switched to the Jolida, I FINALLY got what people had been telling me about the DEPTH of the “tube”soundstage. I had to check to make sure I hadn't accidentally put the system into "5-channel stereo." It was that deep and enveloping. So now I don't know what to do. I suppose I'll just see what use patterns emerge. If I find I'm not using the Jolida, I'll sell it....but then I'd probably order a Zen. May eventually order a Zen anyway. I'll check out the Sunfire this weekend and give myself a whole new set of high quality problems.
  11. Sticking with what I’ve got for now, thanks. Sunfire guy’s and my schedules won’t work out for a couple of weeks, so, on impulse, I bought a matched quad of Genalex Gold Lion KT88s to replace my Tung Sol 6550s. For a few reasons: 1) The GLs may be broad market tubes, but they get consistently good reviews. 2) The GL 12AX7s and 12AT7s I dropped in to replace the stock Electro Harmonix and Tung Sols made a substantial improvement in sound quality. 3) I’ve read that Jolida are known for shipping with cheap tubes to keep costs down, and my experience bears that out. Like I said, the Jolida’s sound is now on par with the output of the receiver by itself, just smoother and more “tubey.” Perhaps these new power tubes will take it to the next level in audio quality, and the original goal of a better two channel experience will be met. They arrive in two days. I’ll breakthem in for a couple of weeks and report back. Or maybe he Sunfire will blow my mind. Or maybe both!
  12. I’ve never heard if a Doge 10.
  13. I was calibrating for all 8 seating positions, and the rear positions were too close to the rear wall--that, and I was using a tripod. I switched to simply calibrating for the front three positions, and placing the mic on top of a stack of pillows so vibrations weren't conducted by a tripod. Night and day difference. We'll likely see about the Sunfire. If it isn't "it," then my search continues.
  14. That's a good question, George. I suppose emotionally, I'm looking to be delighted. Technically, I'm looking for detail across the spectrum: tight bass, smooth clear mids, and shimmering highs. I want a bit of punch, too. I want a wide, deep soundstage with distinct instrument placement (honestly, I've had that all along, just in slightly different flavors). I think I want what everyone wants--just in my room, with my ears. I'll know it when I hear it. I've replaced the 12AX7s (Tung Sols) and 12AT7s (Electro Harmonix) in the Jolida with Genalec Gold Lions, and the improvement was quite noticeable. Better soundstage, more clarity, more defined highs, slightly tighter bass (but not really tight enough). Now, when I switch between the Marantz and the Jolida, I don't prefer either sound. I love the definition of the Marantz. I love the smoothness of the Jolida. They're both great. But I didn't buy an outboard 2-channel amp to give me a "different" sound...I bought it to improve the sound I was getting out of my receiver for two-channel music. Refresher: turns out I was miscalibrating the room with Audyssey. Didn't discover this until after I'd sold the Parasound 2250 I'd replaced with the Jolida. I was quite happy with the Parasound, even with a miscalibrated receiver, and in hindsight, given what I know about calibrating in my particular room, I'll bet I'd have been over the moon with the Parasound had the receiver been calibrated properly. But that was not to be. What was to be, according to all the messages The Great Audio Whatever was throwing at me, was "TUBES!" at least, at this point in my journey. Yes, I could probably buy some KT88s or KT120s for the Jolida and dump some money on real NOS tubes for the preamp and power management circuits and find the sound I've been chasing (and maybe I will), but this is getting expensive...and based on what I paid for the Parasound, I'm beginning to think a) I'm an SS guy, and b) what I'm after can be had for at least what I've already shelled out, if not less. I have a local line on a 1997 Sunfire Load Invariant Stereo Amp for $500--that's 300wpc, and between the "Current Source" outputs and the "Voltage Source" outputs, I'm encouraged that I have a real shot at finding at least an acceptable result. So the journey continues. If I like the Sunfire, I'll sell the Jolida and be there. If I don't like the Sunfire, I'll likely sell the Jolida and start looking at used Parasound A21s, or maybe bu buy a Decware and wait four months while I listen to the Marantz solo. As problems go, these are all good ones to have, I reckon.
  15. Sounds like it may be worth the wait.
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