Jolida SJ-502A Integrated Amplifiers

SJ-502A

Integrated Amplifier

User Reviews (28)

Showing 1-10 of 28  
benhatcher   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 20, 2003]
Strength:

Imaging, open soundstage, balanced sound that is not overly bright and not skimpy on the low end.

Weakness:

Lack of remote control-- couldn't be that difficult to add, after a little work...

I chose the Jolida 502a last year after my 10-year-old solid state amp bit the dust. Having listened to this amp for a year, I won't be going back to solid state. No matter if it's Stravinsky, Vivaldi, The Magnetic Fields, or Dire Straits, the sound is WONDERFUL. By now, we all seem to know that, so here's what I've done: Everyone says dump the cheap valves. They are right. After some rolling, I've wound-up with Sovtek 6550's, Mullard 12au7's and Telefunken 12ax7's. The first difference I noticed after adding the Mullards to these power tubes was a fuller, broader, much less compressed sound through my 89db Viva's. As my fiancee noted, it didn't sound like it was playing in a bathroom anymore (I didn't agree with her before...) When I added the Tele's, I instantly noticed much nicer imaging from the front of the room. The separation of vocals from guitar from Where the Streets have no Name extended far wider than they ever did with the old solid state. Living in a condo, I don't often push the bottom end (this amp is MUCH sweeter at low listening levels than solid state listeners are accustomed to) but when I crank the subwoofer, bass percussion knocks plaster off the walls, with help from good Telarc classical recordings. I have been so impressed that well-recorded music can sound so good. For a balance of tonal clarity, uncolored sound, and wonderful imaging-- along with strong, precise bass-- especially for this price, the Jolida matched with good tubes is sweet music.

Similar Products Used: Pioneer solid state amp wasn't very similar.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
samplermike   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 03, 2002]
Strength:

Smooth sound, non-fatiguing, adequate power, truth of timbre, low level resolution, tube "magic" can be addictive.

Weakness:

Flimsy controls, internal parts.

This is my first tube amp and it is definitely a winner. Let me first say that if you are a true audiophile, you may not like this amp. It is not overly detailed or analytical like most solid state amps and it lacks true "slam". It is not made with premium parts and is not much to look at, unless you turn the lights off. However, if you find yourself becoming fatigued from your solid state amp, then this amp is for you. I have never been so addicted to music as I am right now. I run my Music Hall MMF-7 and Creek phono pre-amp through this amp and it really sounds amazing. The background is deadly silent and music just erupts from my speakers with texture and detail. The amp drives my Dynaudio Audience 72's and does not need to pass the 12 o'clock mark on the dial. I sit in a 6 foot triangle with my speakers, so I am listening in the nearfield. Vinyl is also much more involving and consistent than cd will ever be. If you are looking for analog-like sound from a cd player, then I recommend the new Jolida JD100 tube player. People seem to complain about the stock tubes in this amp. Let me tell you what I have found in this regard. I immediately changed the stock tubes to Svetlana KT88s and Phillips 12AX7s and Phillips 12AT7s. This setup gave the amp a faster, tighter sound, and I only recommend it if you keep the amp stock and listen to audiophile recordings. It was too detailed for my classic rock tastes and only worked with jazz or classical. However, I had Jolida modify my amp for about $400 with premium parts. The capacitors were upgraded to Hovland MusiCaps, diodes were now fast-recovery, resistors were now wire-wound, volume pot was changed to Alps Blue Velvet, and internal wiring to Cardas 22 gauge. I also upgraded the control knobs and speaker posts. The sound was now overly analytical and forward with the upgraded tubes - good enough for an audiophile, but not "right" for me. However, when I went back to the stock tubes, I was shocked at how "thick and creamy" the sound became. It was like I added a subwoofer. Voices sound like they are in the room. The only other 12AX7 I would recommend with this amp besides the Chinese tubes, would be the Phillips. I really like a warm and lush sound because I listen to mostly classic rock and roll. Svetlanas, Sovteks, and EIs all sounded too bright for my taste. If you are not addicted to your solid state amp, then I would recommend trying this tube amp. It is not for everyone and it needs to be mated to other musical equipment to sound just right. However, it really can make the equipment just disappear and you can get back down to the music. Isn't that what it's all about? Please email me with any questions... My "musical" budget system: JOLIDA 502B MODIFIED INTEGRATED AMP-$1300 JOLIDA JD100 TUBE CD PLAYER-$900 MUSIC HALL MMF-7 TURNTABLE-$800 CREEK OBH-8SE PHONO PRE-AMP-$300 DYNAUDIO AUDIENCE 72 SPEAKERS-$1500 CLARITY WIRES "HARVEST" INTERCONNECTS-$129 CLARITY WIRES "EMBERGLOW" CABLES-$85 APATURE POWER CORDS-$99 SALAMANDER EQUIPMENT RACK & SPIKES-$199

Similar Products Used: Jolida 1501 RC
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
charles shamash   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 08, 2002]
Strength:

silky smooth, good looking fun amp

Weakness:

The volume/selector knobs are a little to shiny/cheesy. Only 4 stars for value as I would have preferred to pay only $50 :) The tubes get real hot-watch out toddlers

I am somebody who takes my audio equipment seriously. The Jolida is probably the best amp I have ever had. It is built well, the tubes are very cool to look at when lit up, and the sound is silky smooth and full. It really looks like a quality piece and yet it is not flashy or gaudy but rather more classic looking. I am very happy I bought it. I bought from Bill at Response Audio- I probably paid a little more then I had to. Usually I traipse around the internet looking for the best deal. In this case I am glad I didn't for at least 5 good reasons- 1) Bill replaced the stock tubes for free to a better sounding tube 2) He upgraded my amp from the 302 to a returned 502 for free. 3)He gave me a lot of advice which I wouldnt have got from an internet chop shop. 4) He replied to emails after about 5 mins at 10pm at night 5) I feel comfortable that he stand by his product. I am still a miser but in this case I am glad I didn't shop around.

Similar Products Used: acurus, denon, krell
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
ducati0000   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 05, 2002]
Strength:

tube sound,variable inputs,outputs,great sound for the price,good designed unit.

Weakness:

soft bass,not to deep in the soundstage,somewhat dated look....

This extremely musical intergrated tube amp is a amazing value,if value=quality is your sorte this unit is a must hear.Sonic wise the signature is more lay back and somewhat soft,pace is more similar to the older Quads II amps and Dynacos.depth is very good for an intergrated amp and edges are a little narrow but firm.Where it really shines is the midrange "flesh out" qualities of good recordings,voices are inspiring,strings comes alive,brass instruments non agressive,and non metallic feel is very impressive.There is a lack of of deep inner detailed on some large essembled recordings but this amp really shines with small assembles especially jazz and small quartet players.The connectors are somewhat cheap and the stock chinese 12AX7A driver tubes must be changed.Somewhat bright on most recordings.I experimented with the british 12AX7A and that seems to clear out that problem.Overall if you need a tube amp on a tight budget this unit is it.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Chris   Audiophile [Jul 30, 2000]
Strength:

Please read below

Weakness:

Please read below

My long term view of the Jolida 502a has been very positive.Bought it brand new in 98 and never had a problem,in fact it has become one of my reference amps since I know its complete "character".Excellent in playing small and mediumn assembles,does well with smooth jazz and does extremely well with vocals.Bass is still the weak point and I did have problems with the driver tubes.All been replaced with Russian and Yugo. tubes.Excellent amp.

Similar Products Used: Bryston,AMC,Adcom,Linn
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
james mitchell   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 02, 2001]
Strength:

clear and awsome very good midrange and very good highs what a cheap tube amp the best for the money.

Weakness:

no remote no tape output but still awsome

this amp for the money is awsome you must hear to believe. if you can find used one buy, a hell of a bargin.

Similar Products Used: creek sony es and denon
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Robert   Audiophile [Jan 13, 2002]
Strength:

The price I paid, sound quality, Jolida support.

Weakness:

Stock Chinese pre-amp tubes need to go, no remote control.

I recently picked up this amp for the insanely low price of $280. No costmetic defects of any important sort (one scratch on the side and a little bit of filth under the transformers, easily taken care of with car wax and cotton swabs). Insane price, I know -- but this little Jolida is worth it at five times the price!

I had recently listened to some Conrad-Johnson equipment at a different local shop. I had always knew that tubes, despite their inherent distortion, sound much better than solid state equipment. I had always wanted to try tubes but the prices were always so high! Then, one evening while goofing off at a local hi-fi haunt, I saw this little tube amp in the used area. I took it home for a demo.

To make a boring story more lively, I hooked it up and was impressed. I ended up replacing the Chinese 12AT7 and 12AX7 tubes (these are the stock tubes that come from the factory) with JAN-Philips 12AT7 and Ei ECC83's in replace of the 12AX7 (these are the same parts, just different names for different countries). The Ei ECC83 tube is frequently referred to as the best thing since the Telefunken 12AX7 (and it's much, much cheaper than finding a 40 year old Telefunken). I kept the Svetlana 6550 power tubes since they are, apparently, the 6550 to have because of their neutrality (they don't color the sound and are very natural sounding).

With the new tubes, this little Jolida absolutely astounded me. Clarity, detail is all present without any harshness or brightness. Bass is tight, deep, and has impact. In fact, I find myself listening with my subwoofer turned OFF with this amp. Listening to 24/96 recordings is simply breathtaking. The texture of every guitar string, the depth of the percussion, all there in smooth, beautiful, rich cleanliness. Beautifully transparent! This amp, in 1996 if I recall, was a Stereophile recommeded component.

I called JoLida to get a schematic for the amp, just for my reference. No problem! I even got to talk to one of the people that designs their amps.

I only wish that this little amp had a remote control. Simply out of convenience. Clever electronics gurus will find a way to add their own with relative ease.

This amp is worth every penny JoLida charged! It has been replaced with the 502B which is identical in every way internally but with gold trim. Myself, I prefer this jet black beauty with the shiny metallic paint and no gold trim. It's a gorgeous thing to listen to and to look at.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ronald mitchell   Audiophile [Oct 09, 2000]
Strength:

excellent mid range, Good Bass female voices are breathtaking, Jazz is smooooth. Excellent amp

Weakness:

no remote

I brought this amp from John Rutan of Audio Connection in verona. John is a real class gentlemen. This amp has been reviewed by stereophile and was in recommended components as a very good amp Believe me it live up to its good reviews. I first changed the tubes the chinese tubes and put some GE 12AX7 Vintage Long Plate and some Mullard British CV 4024/12AT7 I kept the 6550 tubes that was already in the amp. This amp can really rock baby. If you like jazz and classics you wont go wrong. The sound is awsome the midrange is smooth as hell With the tubes i went to Kevin Deal of upscale audio what a nice guy. Kevin sold me some vintage tubes and then i went back two weeks later and brought a Ah! Tjoeb CD player (What a CD player WOW!) thanks to John and Kevin I have one of the best sounding bedrooms money can buy. Jolida 502B awsome baby A-w-s-o-m-e

Similar Products Used: Conrard Johnson cv55
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Drazen Vuckic   Audiophile [Jan 22, 2001]
Strength:

Exellent soundstage,dynamic,smoothness,price...

Weakness:

No dynamic bottom end. Chip looking.

I brought this litlle amplifire about 1 years ago.
And I am still happy with this beautys. I was litlle bit worry about my speakers low efficiency (Sonus F. Concerto),which are only 87 db/m ,in combination with Jolida
502A, but after I hooked to SF my fears stops.Only in a deep bass is a problem So,I brought REL Strata III subbass and all my problem is problem no more.
Christal clear sound im midrange and high.Rell works like a thunder, no boomy ,exellent combination with Jolida.
Rel have two coplled mossfet amplifire (100W-peak 200),but I never cross 09 O clock ,with Jolida never cross 11 O clock. And I am wery happy with this combination. Strong deep bass down to 20 Hz(Rel) , with sweet clear dynamic sound (Jolida).Nothing in this price range can beat this pair together.
Tested on:
Rotel 991 HDCD
Northstar model 3 DAC
Northstar model 4 upsempler
Sonus Faber Concerto on original stands filled with sand.
Audioquest Midnight + bi-wire speaker cable
Rel Strata III Subbas unit with Neutric speaker conection.
Jolida 502 A

Similar Products Used: Graaf VT 100 MK II , Jolida 302 .
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
rickster fung   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 04, 2001]
Strength:

very warmth sound, crystal clear high, and deep wide bass

Weakness:

dumby looking, tubes, no remote, no digital input, 70's looking machine. Came with cheap tubes. should be replace for seious audiophile. need to tweak the bias every once awhile

got this product as demo. Unfortunately this is not some machine you could knock off from Wiz or circus city due to the unpopular name brand. and I must say the stupid look of the machine "SCARE" people off.

Product itself serves nothing but just put out all the information of your cd to your speaker, very good midrange, crystal high, and warmth deep widerange bass. You feel like you are in the middle of the show if combines with the right speakers, for instance (NTH 2.5i). it adds no color to your sound. In fact the machine is so clear, you could "easily" hear the fault and the in-perfection of the recording.
Excellent power of tubes machine.

Similar Products Used: first tube machine
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 28  

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