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The Job 225 is a deliberately fast amp. This means wide bandwidth and no capacitive coupling. At $1'699 that makes it unusually advanced to likely end up with speakers which would prefer a slower fuzzier warmer circuit to hide their own sins. If your speakers are in the costlier Harbeth vein, the 225 is a natural. If your boxes need tubes to behave, the Job should be all wrong. On my solid-wood Boenicke W5se minis and the ovoid tone wood widebanders from soundkaos, the 225's incisive uncluttered bright-eyed work ethic is a brilliant complement. People who complain that the amp is too lean, brisk, clean and cool didn't pay attention to its design brief. With no phase shift in the treble, you can't expect soft-focus high registers from valves or class D which barely make it to 20kHz. Wrong tool for the job. Sorry.

For the Pre2 we expect and get similarly greased specs. Propagation delay for example is <1ms from DC to 100kHz. Rise time is better than 700 nanoseconds. The slew rate of the gain stage is higher than 20V/µs. A-weighted noise is better than 100dB down. I/o impedance is 50k/75Ω. Power consumption (IEC 60065) is 6.5 watts. Line voltage tolerance is ±10% for either 115V or 230V. Again, this isn't a tube preamp with deliberate THD profile, high output impedance and pleasing colourations. There's nothing wrong with preferring such kit. It's simply not what Goldmund are on about. This is modern transistor gear stripped back to its functional essentials. Its circuitry has undergone literal decades of refinement and here is on permanent loan from far costlier models. Goldmund's standard MO is eliminating time-domain errors. It's the colour of their blood. Everything they do pays attention to it. At Job's pricing, one usually simply doesn't get into that. At all. That's what I meant by advanced one paragraph up. It's a circuit paradigm that relies on better speakers which, plainly put, no longer need help from the preceding electronics other than being properly driven and controlled.

First production run in Geneva.

As Audioshark member Jaxwired put it, "I've been doing a bunch of A/B testing comparing my Primaluna Prologue Premium preamp to the Job Pre2. First off, I've owned many preamps. Amongst the ones I've owned, these are both stars. Although they are both priced for the budget-conscious audiophile, they compete with preamps I've owned that sell for more than double. So no need to spend more. There is no question that the Job Pre2 wins in the area of presence and transparency. The human voice is superbly reproduced with every tiny nuance communicated. All those minute audible cues that really good recordings contain are crisply and cleanly audible. The clarity is superb and addictive. Love it! However, the Primaluna sounds a bit more 3-dimensional. The Job Pre2 sounds just a smidgen flatter to me. The Primaluna has a harmonic richness that is seductive. The bass is also noticeably richer and lusher on the Primaluna. Which is nice on some bass-light material but can be an unwanted addition on bass-heavy material. I suspect that the bass is more accurate with the Job Pre2. Here's what I can say for sure: the Job Pre2 is a superb first-class solid-state preamp. It provides jaw-dropping transparency—if the rest of your gear is up to it—without hardness to the sound. It's very very good. For the asking price it's ridiculously good."

The truly operative words? "If the rest of your gear is up to it." Whilst bigger Goldmund kit adds mechanical grounding chassis and bigger power supplies to polish the same concept, we're back at quite advanced for the tag. And because of the price, the Pre2 is likely to find itself mated to gear which, perhaps, isn't as up to it as it could be. That's the small print I'd point those at who gush "yeah, a Goldmund on the cheap" without considering the implications. Just because a 2-seater Mini Cooper is a really small BMW with a light chassis and more plastic doesn't mean you couldn't get yourself in trouble when the pedal hits the metal. To sort this out, my loaner Pre2 would do the rounds not only with the Job 225 but a number of other amps which are usually fronted by my luxurious tubed Nagra Jazz. And here's the twister. In tube preamp land, 'advanced' means getting away from overt colourations and enhancements aka editorializing to arrive at fast wide-bandwidth circuits with very low self noise and very low output impedance. Just like the Pre2. Anyone spending €14'000 on a valve linestage will obviously hope for something more to compensate for their wallet pain. Aside from functionality—balance control, balanced i/o, adjustable circuit gain, paralleled outputs for subwoofers—we'll get to what, exactly, that might be. Just to keep it honest and this rebadged Goldmund in perspective. To address my reviewer's obligations from the solid-state angle, I had my Esoteric C-03. When I bought it, that sold for €10'000. Whilst it too kills the Pre2 on raw functionality, what, if anything, might the Job omit sonically to help justify the Esoteric's far bigger tag?