Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 2TB iMac 27" quad-core w. 16GB RAM running OWS 10.8.2, PureMusic 2.02, Audirvana 1.5.10, COS Engineering D1, Aqua Hifi La Scala II, Metrum Hex, AURALiC Vega, SOtM dX-USB HD w. super-clock upgrade & mBPS-d2s, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20, COS Engineering D1 [on review]
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X, COS Engineering D1, AbysSound ASP-1000 [for review]
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt S1, F6; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Gato Audio DIA-250; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; AURALiC Merak [on loan]
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; soundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Submission; German Physiks HRS-120, Gallo Strada II w. TR-3D subwoofer, German Physiks Borderland MkIV [on review], Zugspitz Seligkeit [on review]
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, GigaWatt PF-2 on amps, GigaWatt PC-4 EVO DCB [for review]
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Rajasthani hardwood rack for amps
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: Irregularly shaped 9.5 x 10m open floor plan with additional 2nd-floor loft; wood-paneled sloping ceiling; parquet flooring; lots of non-parallel surfaces (pictorial tour here)
Review component retail: $1'695/ea.

Mono mania. Monaural. One channel. Such hifi devices assign a discrete chassis and power supply to each playback channel. For stereo purposes, that'll be two channels, thank ya muchas. But, one could go on a mono diet times five or seven and build multi-channel music or video systems of varying complexity. Look inside most amplifiers. At least in part, they'll be neatly divided into two halves. The output devices of the left channel will mount to the left heat sink. Those of the right to the right. That's mono in action right there. Such division of labour may extend to the input/driver stages. They could live on separate PCBs. Or they might mirror-image each other on a shared board that looks as though split right down the middle.

In most likelihood however, such schemes will still suck off the same power supply. Only in extreme cases will a stereo amp adopt two main power transformers, two power supplies for the power rails and perhaps even two power cords. There are thus varying degrees of dual mono, some debatable. But when there's a full cellular split into two separate enclosures which end up with two fully self-contained amplifiers that don't share anything except plugging into the same power grid, all debates stop. That's the case for today. True mono amps. Identical twins. And yes, diehard anachrophiles listening to mono vinyl with mono cartridges over just one speaker—most, tisk tisk, use two—would only need one mono amp.

original Job monos at left

Given how 2014's news are filled with 'r' for radicalized, what's up with mono mania? Isn't it radicalized stereo? Why go extremist? The short answer is, to improve channel separation. It abolishes cross talk. Whatever happens in the left channel can't affect the right and vice versa. In essence that's it. In practice there's more. It allows placement of each amp to within inches of the speaker terminals. That's if you think speaker cables are your enemy to keep them closer. You can't do that with a stereo amp. Of course it also means two power cords. And two shelves in a rack if we're dealing with two full-size amps. And obviously two enclosures for twice the case hardware and bling. All of that has real price ramifications. Let's face it, channel exclusivity of power supplies can be built into a stereo chassis. But because reality bites, there'll be practical constraints on size, weight and heat dissipation. Size and weight don't just inform the consumer side about what's manageable. It affects manufacturing and shipping too. With class A bias throwing off 90% of generated power as heat; and transformers getting bigger and heavier as power ratings escalate; what's doable in a stereo chassis does eventual hit limits of plain common sense.

That said, in and of itself monaural is no guarantee of superiority. A premium Redbook recording will wipe the floor with a ho-hum hi-rez file. A superior stereo amp of possibly dual-mono layout already will dominate lesser monos. With the Job 225, Goldmund's direct-sales budget division had a very compact low-rider stereo amp already. Growing its height to scale up parts space and power, perhaps even increase its depth, would certainly have been doable in stereo. Instead the Swiss opted for two boxes priced just like the stereo amp. $1'699/ea. with pre-paid delivery flies to most anywhere in the world. Certain exceptions apply. But it means no surcharge over what two Job 225 hooked up as single-channel bi-amps for a different flavour of mono would cost. Yet the enclosures of the Job monos still are bigger than the Job 225. It's as though Goldmund had stretched our cash. And given how it's made in Geneva/Switzerland around the block from Rolex, the Job 225 was rather stretchy already. Let's take a closer look then at its Job 250 mono offshoots.

On October 31st, Goldmund's Rodolphe Boulanger sent the left photo with this byline: "Not the final look but we are getting close. The front will not be as high."