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The Indispositions
All of us (including Pete) were surprised by the level of resolution conveyed. Joy Seeker would have preferred a more nuanced as opposed to detailed presentation. Let's just say that it was a bit brash and forward for our tastes. In our system. That got me to thinking that it might just be perfect for a really laid-back rig. And, it got a somewhat congested on complicated material and above average volumes - and, the chassis rang a bit, even more so when it wasn't screwed down. So don't be lazy and just pop the top, do your thing and place the cover back on tight.

The Interventions
Okay, that's three nits, each. Each of them can be largely and cost-effectively addressed with three simple steps: 1./ Leave the cover off (as we did) from the get go. How's that for languid? Better yet, call on Hobbyist and have him take a few minutes to apply some damping material to the chassis and transform those bad vibrations into low-level heat (as you-know-who will do later this week). If you go for the latter, add $12.21 to your ledger for half of a 19" x 39" damping sheet and shipping, courtesy of Parts Express. The tally so far is $462.21, assuming you pay full retail for the JoLida.

2./ Order a pair of Mullard reissue 12AX7 with long plates. We got ours from Torres Engineering. Having also heard good things about the 12AX7TS (the new tube from the Reflektor Factory in Russia) from Ken Chait over at, the obsessive/compulsive in us sprung for a set of those, too. Guess whose credit card got used, again? When you replace the stock Chinese 12AX7B tubes, we recommend you also ditch the metal tube covers. Nasty things those are. Replace with Herbie's Halos if you must use something. We did fine without, thank you.

Edgy and eager creature that he is, Hobbyist couldn't sit still while waiting for the goods to arrive at our doorstep. So he tried some GE JAN 5751. Many users posting on the net say they prefer these. While they sounded different than the stock tubes with which the unit shipped, there was no new joy extracted from that effort as they didn't sound any better. Speaking of shipping, the JoLida comes double boxed. More importantly, we think you'll be impressed with the heft, fit and finish of product. Reviewer certainly was. It seems much more solid than suggested by the 10 pounds they claim it weighs. And, it also looks very much at home on our GPA Monaco rack. Two bonus points for a simple, substantial and well-executed design.

The Mullard reissues were advertised as " full-bodied tone, very clear with excellent image and detail". They got that right. All of it. The Tung Sol pitch said ", warm, very linear, high gain, low noise and low microphonics". We can vouch for them, too. Still, they are not as warm as the Mullard reissues, which, at the moment, are facilitating an acceptable state of ecstasy for all the inmates in this asylum. The image density and dimensionality, combined with overall tone and rendering of space had Joy Seeker especially captivated. In any case, add $47.85 for the tube upgrade. Yes, that does include shipping.

Let's recap improvements 1 + 2: Even though your total outlay may now have increased to $510.06 (assuming you went for the damping tweak, too), your return on investment will make it all worthwhile. In fact, the "no" facet of the "yes and no" answer to the earlier question of "remarkable?" no longer applied at this point. So, we made significant progress up the food chain and still hadn't approached the original retail price of the Monolithic Sound PS-1/HC-1. (Besides, when adjusted for inflation from 2001 to 2008, that combo would cost closer to $825 today). The Mono, by the way, is a solid-state device and as such presents more tautness in the lower bass than the Angelina JoLi. But from the midbass through the lower treble, JoLi takes the cake. For us. In our system. Today.

3./ But wait, there's more. As any lunatic worth their salt would -- and with several in house from which to choose -- we did play with power cords - some costing as much as the device under test. Joy Seeker found bliss with our resident Analysis Plus Power Oval. Lest you think we tried to let that expense slide under the radar, we exercised due diligence and subsequently headed out to AudiogoN to purchase another Power Oval for $175, delivered. So there's the real world data. The Power Oval's ability to take some brashness out of a presentation, add a touch of liquidity and relaxation yet not negatively impact musical flow and dynamics, makes it one of our preferred cords for phono stages. It was, for example, also just what the therapist ordered for the Herron Audio VTPH-1MC. Our affection for this cord is a relatively recent turn of events and brings us back to one of those vexing things about this illness. Back in November of 2001, Reviewer did a survey of power cords for TAS. The contenders? Custom Power Cord Company Hi-Value and Model 11; TG Audio HSR-I and HSR-A; Audio Magic Xstream Silver and ... You guessed it so just go ahead and say it with me: the Analysis Plus Power Oval. It lost that shoot-out. In that system. During several trials. With a listening panel. At the time, I wrote: "This was the single disappointment we encountered. I was surprised, too, as I am fond of the Analysis Plus speaker and interconnect wires. They are the best I have tried in my system and their prices are right (especially when it comes to speaker cables). They are open sounding, liquid and harmonically correct; they also dig out previously unrevealed spatial cues, offer superb bass extension and deliver a sense of tonal correctness."

Hmm... with the exception of the observation about superb bass extension, the praises cited for the AP speaker cabling mirrors the adjectives that come to mind when we listen to the JoLida - while using the very same power cord we held in low regard seven years ago. That's how these things go. Surprise! To wrap up this little detour, let's simply conclude by saying that it had been our first foray into the world of power cords and we had ended up purchasing a HSR-I for the Sony SCD-777ES and an HSR-A for the Art Audio Diavolo. In those days, we were also using a VPI HW-19, the Audible Illusions M3A preamp and Cabasse Catalane 500 speakers. That's a much different setup that than what you'll find in our abode this year.

Outpatient billing
A few days later, we got the DUT acutely dialed in. Oh, yes, yes, yes. It would be rational to say that we're delighted with what we've achieved over the course of this formerly doubt-laden escapade. Seriously. Let's take one last look at the ledger before we wrap up:
  • Phono stage: $450
  • Sound damping: $12.21
  • Upgraded tubes: $47.85
  • Power cord: $175
  • Cost of completed unit: $685.06
  • Level of ecstasy: Acceptable
  • Balance of funds not expended on a much more costly product (aka money to put towards more vinyl)? Priceless.