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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: 2TB iMac 27" quad-core with 16GB of RAM (AIFF) running OSX 10.8.2 and PureMusic 1.94g in hybrid memory play with pre-allocated RAM, Audirvana 2.01 in direct/integer mode 1, Metrum Hex, SOtM dX-USB HD with Super-clock upgrade & mBPS-d2s, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi La Voce S2, Apple iPod Classic 160 AIFF-loaded, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pure i20, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, RWA-modifed Astell&Kern AK100
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Bent Audio Tap-X, Esoteric C-03
Power & integrated amplifiers: FirstWatt S1 monos, SIT2; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2, Bakoon AMP-12R, Goldmund/Job 225, Gato DIA-250, Clones 25i [on loan], Aura Note Premier
Loudspeakers: soundkaos Wave 40, Boenicke Audio W5, German Physiks HRS-120, AudioSolutions Rhapsody 200, Zu Audio Submission
Cables: Complete Zu Event loom; KingRex uArt, Zu Event and Light Harmonic LightSpeed split USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; Van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fiber Toslink, Arkana Research RCA/XLR interconnects and speaker cables [on loan]
Powerline conditioning: GigaWatt PF-2 + Vibex Two 1R on amps, Vibex Granada on front-end components
Equipment rack:
Artesania Exoteryc double-wide three tier with optional glass shelf, Rajasthani hardwood rack for amps
Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Desktop system: iPod/AK100 digital transports, Aura Note Version 2, Gallo Strada II + TR-3D
Room size:
Irregularly shaped 9.5 x 9.5m open floor plan combines the living/listening room, kitchen and office. Added to this space the speakers see the air volume of the entry hall and a long corridor plus the 2nd-storey 6 x 9.5m loft. Wood-panel ceiling slopes up to the loft. Parquet flooring. Lots of non-parallel surfaces ('vertical gable' windows, twin-angle ceiling, spiral staircase enclosure, fireplace enclosure). For a pictorial tour see here.
Review component retail factory-direct: $1'695 delivered to pretty much anywhere

First-ever production Pre2 in Goldmund's listening room.

Get a proper job. That's what dads tell their kids who blurt out that they want to become musicians. Innit? And sure, going for a certified accountant's degree could cross off the 'proper' demand to brook no further arguments from the old man. But for the musically wired, it also might kill off their creative spirit.

In the Pre2, Goldmund's Job division have launched a basic 3-in, 1-out analogue preamp of the purely single-ended sort. Included is that stylish but simple April Music-type membrane-button wand. The Pre2 looks at the Job 225 stereo amp as its natural mate. It's been engineered to be the proper job for said union. And at $1'699 delivered to pretty much anywhere—certain restrictions apply where shipping regulations don't conform with Goldmund's VAT-prepaid scheme—it also makes the accountant happy. If kiddo still didn't become a musician... well, let's assume his spirit will soar when he at least feels like one whilst firing up this gear to play air guitar.

As I've documented in my factory tour of Goldmund, Job Systems isn't outsourced kit running on licensed circuitry kludged together in some off-shore cheap-labour sweat shop. It's designed and built in the very same facility and by the very same folks who manufacture Goldmund. That means the same world-famous industrial park in Plan les Ouates at Geneva's French border which houses Piaget and Rolex. To drop just two gold-encrusted names. Hey, get the right kind of job and you might be wearing that watch.

Two pairs of Goldmund's flagship speakers at the factory.

The honey-I-shrunk-the-sticker shock comes from cutting the fat of importer/retailer margins. In Goldmund's case retailers tend to operate seriously luxurious high-rent establishments to cater to an elite clientele with bespoke install and customization services. Knocking out those middlemen, then transferring scaled-down but bona fide Goldmund circuitry into far simpler enclosures is the secret. Where Goldmund can share core parts—here PCBs—with standard production, scale of operations enables a cost-effective everyman's line. Going back to very early days, CEO Michel Reverchon had taken on a phono stage developed by two US students who stalled at getting it into formal production. Their brand name came with the deal. Job. 30 years later it's been revived.

CEO Michel Reverchon

VoilĂ , first a stereo power amplifier and now a preamp under its banner. Late 2014 will see more ambitious 300-watt monos. And beyond that our salubrious Swiss remain keen to add more Job Sys models in the following year. Call it vertical integration. Trickle-down. An experiment in social hifi services sponsored by well-to-do clients. Whatever you make of it, it's a hoot considering. At HighEnd Munich 2014 at least two manufacturers let on that they were contemplating to relocate their operations to La Suisse. 'Made in Switzerland' has such overseas cachet particularly in Asia that high retail prices aren't just tolerated. They're expected. De rigueur in proper French. That can be very good for business. Someone just forgot to tell Job. But they're content. Despite zero ads to create any visibility and starting out exclusively with the US market via Amazon websales, they still moved 300 Job amps in the first year. Not bad for remaining well off the radar and completely out of the glossies.

With current Goldmund production heavily focused on highly advanced DSP and wireless active speakers, it's fair to say that the Pre2 is a somewhat anachronistic throwback on their tech and IP. With its pure analogue heart, it's about as basic as basic gets. And because the intended Job 225 is a 35dB hi-gain specimen, it goes without saying that the Pre2 doesn't dip deep into amplification factor. Not just with their own amp such a faux-pas could easily create gain poisoning. That's my made-up term for excessive voltage generation which then must be burnt off in a resistive potentiometer*.

A QC table of Job Pre2 in the same factory.

Think about it. With today's hi-output sources, this routinely not only throws away all preamp gain, it even cuts into the source. You could direct-drive your amp without a linestage and still get too loud. Managing that with a standard log-scale volume control taper on an active preamp often goes from zero to screamer before one hits 9:00. Not here. The Job 225's DC coupling also implies that by design the Pre2 won't pass DC. Career worriers can give all that a rest. Pre2 and 225 were engineered to tango together already in the crib. Which begs a few words about the amp.

* The Pre2 gets a BurrBrown PGA2310 analog on-chip programmable gain attenuator. Here is a link to a patent which explains its operation. That makes the physical control a mere optical encoder. It also ensures very precise progressions in 0.5dB steps over a 120dB range so things come on very gradual indeed.