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When within hours of posting a review the first reader emails come in and keep on coming, a writer wonders whether he's hit a nerve. That's how this fella felt after his writeup of Job's 225 amplifier. Priced at $1.495 and sold only to US customers only via Amazon, without any published company email for pre-sale assistance, Job's marketing strategy is different to put it mildly. What makes it so interesting is that the actual product performs way beyond its asking price.

It's made in the very same Geneva plant which manufactures Goldmund gear—the shipping carton in fact is imprinted Goldmund and only the hand-written model number reads Job 225—and relies on a circuit which has been refined by nine different R&D teams over three decades. That circuit is licensed also to Goldmund where it appears in current amps scaled to hit 5KW in the most powerful model. If for the Job 225 that suggests Ferrari performance for Fiat pricing, you're probably not far off.

It raises questions too. How could a very similar amp circuit for presumably very similar sonics be simultaneously marketed at the Platinum card crowd and Amazon's bargain hunters? Would the average Amazonite chancing across the Job think it a good idea for an impulse buy? If so, would they really recognize what they had if they bought one? Would educated hifi nutters ever find it there? If they did, would a modest photo and sexy specs ink a deal without any reviews sending them in the first place? Would the lack of a company email to answer questions nix the deal?

Job's present website sucks. Some product information still pertains to a far older iteration of today's circuit. If a website is access portal to sales particularly for a direct-sell company, this one's nearly locked behind chains and accompanied by a sign 'keep out'. Yet the product itself is phenomenal and built to a very high standard. Encased in a utilitarian box, any semblance of Goldmund bling has been stripped to end up with Arcam level pricing yet bona fide Swiss manufacture and US engineering. One imagines there's no margin left to answer phones or dedicate a people person to answer buyer emails. With my review the apparently first in English, one senses the very beginning of an experiment. The product is there, it's a bomb and a price has been set. Now what?

The concept of a proven circuit made famous by a well-established luxury brand repackaged into a far simpler case with lower power offered direct for pennies on the dollar to a very different crowd is potentially golden. Marketing men however should predict eventual or sooner conflict as the two worlds our separate audiences travel in collide and intersect inevitably. The direct-sell model relies heavily on reviews and advertising to make its wares visible and a known desirable commodity. As reviews transition from user blogs and hobbyist forums to serious trade publications, won't Platinum card shoppers dot the i? But without spilling the Cinderella in sneakers story, would the cheap version stand any chance of success on its own merit? How to not have these two trains crash?

I doubt anyone at present has a clue or guaranteed plan for how the Job 225 experiment will develop. But it's interesting enough to keep a close eye on. As I put it in my review, if this concept catches on, the hifi heavens really could part for the cheapskates amongst us. Just what it will take to turn the Job 225 into a recognized hifi household name—and whether that 'whatever' will increase its sell price to undermine the presently incendiary value draw—remains to be seen. From the reader and dealer responses my review has already generated, it simply seems to be a potentially viral topic...