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JohnW

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Everything posted by JohnW

  1. Of course, eventually I'll switch out the Gold Lion KT88s with Shuguang Treasures. Or, knowing me, vintage Mullards. :D
  2. 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
  3. I know it's been a while, but do you still have the Sylvanias?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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...
  8. Which speakers are you running in your future Decware system?
  9. 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.
  10. 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!
  11. I’ve never heard if a Doge 10.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Sounds like it may be worth the wait.
  15. Why does it have to be at the OPPOSITE CORNER OF THE COUNTRY?
  16. Well, keep in mind that the Marantz is a $2200 receiver, and it should sound good. Also, that the Jolida 3502P is not a high-end tube amp. Looking forward to the arrival of these new tubes to see what happens.
  17. After doing a bit of research and calling a few tube stores and talking to Jolida--I'm going to try replacing the preamp and power driver tubes (12AX7/12AT/7) with Genalex Gold Lion gold pins...now, they aren't Telefunkens, or NOS Mullards, or Tunsgrams, but they seem to be pretty close, and since I'm ordering them via Amazon, I have 30 days to return them. If these don't make a difference, it's time to sell the Jolida and keep hunting. Maybe that Decware IS the way to go.
  18. I used to have an AVR510. I’ve often thought of picking up another HK receiver. The 70s vintage receivers are ridiculously unaffordable at the moment.
  19. There is a pristine McCormack DNA-1 for sale on Ebay right now...
  20. I don’t dislike it. I was fully expecting to be blown away. Nope. But... I decided to use my Marantz SR7013 receiver for movies only, and the Jolida Fusion 3502P for music, fed by the pre-outs from the Marantz. In this capacity, the SR7013 is being used as a DAC and a preamp. I’ve installed an A/B switch—the front left and right speaker outputs of the Marantz int the A channel, the outputs of the Jolida into the B channel. The switch’s output feeds into my Cornwalls. This allows me to switch between the outputs instantaneously. And I have to say, the Marantz receiver, by itself, has a more detailed soundstage, with better definition between instruments, tighter bass, and slightly higher volume and more punch than the Jolida. The Jolida has more detailed upper frequencies— more “sparkle”—but it’s bass is looser and a bit boomy. It has a smooth, unpunchy quality. This had Jared at Jolida blaming the A/B switch. Not sure what adding a yard and a half of copper wire into the signal path is doing. He also suggested not toeing in my speakers. This led me to chase the theory that maybe I had the wrong tubes by reading everything I could about them for a week. I could spend hundreds on new tubes, then wait a month for them to break in to see if maybe yeah, it was the tubes...or maybe I could just start by replacing the preamp stage tubes, the 12AX7s...which led me to a phone call with Sean at Upscale Audio, who thought my problems could be solved with a pair of Tungsrams...for only $140...apiece. Hm. Not like you can return tubes if you don’t like them. But maybe I have gimpy tubes? DO tube amps sound better than good solid state amps? Or maybe I prefer SS to tubes? It’s frustrating. I remember listening to the Parasound 2250 (the one I just sold), thinking “This sounds amazing. I’m satisfied...but how can I be satisfied when it’s common knowledge that a good tube amp would sound even better?” Hence, the purchase of the Jolida. I’ve put about 300 hours on it, so it’s broken in...but it feels like my quest for great sound has taken a (small) step backward. I’m not sure what to do next.
  21. Picked up a Jolida Fusion 3502P in November, to augment the music output of my Marantz SR7013. Now that it’s broken in, the truth is, switching back and forth, I can’t hear that much of a difference. Maybe a more defined soundstage on the Marantz alone. I mean, it sounds great either way. But of course, I want it to sound “better.” 😁 So I had some questions: 1) Would it make sense to replace the 6550s that came with the amp with Genalex Gold Lion KT-77s? I’ve read WAY TOO MUCH about tubes, and these seem like the way to go. 2) The 3502P is switchable, allowing the use of either 6550 or EL34 output tubes. Which category do the KT-77s fall into? 3) would it make sense to upgrade the two 12AXA7 preamp tubes in the Jolida? These are currently Tung-Sols as well. I’m looking for a bit more detail and punch in the mids and bass, and a more defined soundstage. Overall, I’m seeking more clarity and presence. Thanks in advance.
  22. My thoughts after four months with the Jolida Fusion 3502P. It sounds good...slightly warmer than my Marantz receiver. But the soundstage isn't as well-defined. I spoke to Jolida, and they suggested I leave it on for a couple of weeks to really break the tubes in. So I did. It helped a bit, but the soundstage still isn't up to the Marantz. I've set up an A/B amp switch for movies and music. I use the receiver alone for movies, but it gets relegated to dac/preamp duty for music. I hate to say it, but honestly, I can't hear that much of a difference when I switch between the two on high-resolution music files. Here's the signal path right now: Cat6 from my router into my receiver, a Marantz SR7013. That's a AKM AK4458 DAC, controlled by Sound United's Heos, running Amazon Music HD and Ultra HD files, stereo line outs into the switch box, pre-outs into the Jolida. Switch Box outs to my Cornwalls. A sensible person would just sell the amp and be happy. That would make sense. So being me, now I'm thinking...new tubes? Currently the Jolida is running: 4x Tung-Sol 6550s 2x Electro-Harmonix 12AT7s 2x Tung-Sol 12AX7s Was thinking about replacing the 6550s with a quad of Gold Lion KT77s and the preamp tubes with Gold Lions as well. Or should I just sell the damned Jolida?
  23. Does anyone know the specs for the RB-5 II crossovers?
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