This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

The sound of the Art Audio amp is slightly warm at the outer edges of the sound spectrum when compared to the Luxman and Ancient Audio. But the Reimyo and KR Audio Kronzilla SXI sounded warmer and their treble was noticeably more rolled off. The sonic balance for the Jota was set in an incredibly tasty way. One obtains fantastic vividness and very good resolution. The Reimyo and Ancient Audio machines—each in their own way—go a step further but those are not big differences.

Every disc I listened to had its own audible character and the differentiation was beautiful yet the less well-produced discs were not additionally penalized. You can hear the lower dynamics and resolution problems of those recordings but first we concentrate on the wealth of harmonics, the splendidly designed space and bass. Yes, the bass with this amplifier is incredible. My previous paragraph mentioned power and this is probably the only tube with more than 10 watts of power where this was achieved without audible side effects.

20 watts are quite a lot and for the first time, my Dobermann speakers sounded clean with such an amplifier, without distortion but satisfactory sound levels. When I tested the PAT-777 Reimyo, I did mention that 8 watts weren’t quite sufficient for the Polish loudspeakers. The Art Audio Jota on the other hand handled them well under one condition: everything before it in the chain had to be high class.

Now I will call upon what I stated earlier. This is not an amplifier which can be 'bettered' with anything. It shows the truth and only at the highest level, the character of cables and electronics can influence the sound in a positive way. The Jota performed brilliant, truly brilliantly with the Tara Labs The Zero and The 0.8 cables. Especially the former absurdly expensive cable made changes I did not know what to think of. First of all, with the Zero in the signal path, everything could be played louder. My Harpia distort first in the midrange. When I played the Jota with Oyaide PA-02TR interconnects (I have long runs and when I have problems positioning components, I use them) the sound was very nice but the disc of Danielsson and Salzau where the trombone enters quickly distorted. The sound level of this instrument, obviously captured very close and without any compressors, is exceptional even when the musician plays quietly. I remembered then about the Tara which was there in its casing. And that was it! The distortion disappeared instantly and everything could be turned up louder than before. And yet the Zero promotes the midrange, boosts it a bit which should be a catastrophe when paired with the Jota. Alas it was fantastic!

But let’s return to the bass: the amplifier has phenomenally differentiated, very low bass of significant power. There is not the same control as over the Krell EVO402 or Luxman though I experienced zero discomfort. The Dobermann continued to extend very far down and nothing compressed. The analog synthesizers from Depeche Mode’s Sounds Of The Universe and the fantastic piano record by Akiko Grace sounded full in a perfectly satisfying way, much better than 99% of all other tube amplifiers.

The soundstage made an equally big impression. It turned out that the counter-phase elements were on many more discs than I remembered. This soundstage envelopes the listener. Its depth is great although the Reimyo amp went further and the Ancient Audio further still. The Jota builds a bubble around the listener. There is no hyper precise definition of the layers and the instruments within those planes as there is with the Polish Silver Grand Mono. But this is just another vision of what is on the discs (and no one of us knows and will ever know how it should be - we can only make assumptions based on certain constants). The elements of high energy dominated in the sound. Whenever I had a strong vocal in the middle with one instrument to each side, these three elements dominated. That’s how I lost myself on discs with vocalists in jazz as well as classical music. Voices sounded very realistic. They had very nice structure, palpability and splendid timbre. One could wish for better drawings of their sides and backs but you probably cannot have everything.

The Jota is a fantastic amplifier and I congratulate all its owners! Its flaws are related to its low power (yes) and a slight rounding of the treble and bass. But it’s a really faint rounding. Resolution too could be a tad better but you would have to pay far more for that. And one last thing – the power switch is not really accessible and there is no possibility to remote control the machine by trigger. I think it is worth to order the version with the power switch on the side.