Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 2.04, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, Fore Audio DAISy 1, COS Engineering D1, Metrum Hex, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi La Scala MkII, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20
Preamplifiers: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, COS Engineering D1, Clones Audio AP1 [on loan]
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; April Music Stello S100 MkII, Vinnie Rossi Lio, AURALiC Merak [on loan], Clones Audio 55pm [on loan]
Loudspeakers: EnigmAcoustics M1, Albedo Audio Aptica, Sounddeco Sigma 2, soundkaos Wave 40, Boenicke Audio W5se, Zu Audio Submission; German Physiks HRS-120, Eversound Essence, Gallo Strada II w. TR-3D subwoofer
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt double-header USB; 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
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Krion amp shelf
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 Switzerland direct: $1'699

The term is tossed about regularly. A ship flies a flag to verify origins. A pirate pretender sails under false flag. Goldmund's new Job INTegrated is no marauding buccaneer. It flies the right Swiss-made flag with the correct port of origin. Does that make it a flagship? Or is it all sixes and sevens, raining cats and dogs? Certain turns of phrase seem nonsensical. Flagship. Any properly branded product could be. The pirate would be the OEM, with perhaps a German flag but Chinese-made innards. No such pretense here. Most parts and sub assemblies are sourced from one of 160 specialist watch-industry suppliers in the Geneva basin. Design, assembly and final QC occur in Goldmund's plant. The gain circuit is the nth incarnation of an original Tektronix scope which various Goldmund engineering teams have refined over three decades. Just so, this deck flies the Job Sys flag. What's up with that?

Goldmund's Job experiment soldiers on with happy snappy salutes. First there was the Job 225 stereo power amp. By selling exclusively via the Internet, its $1'699 delivered low-balled price expectations; and not only for being made in CH. It also shocked by coming from the luxury house of Goldmund. The 3-in/1-out just RCA Pre2 line stage with remote followed. Price? Another $1'699. Next came the Job 250 monos. They too wanted $1'699/ea. for the perhaps ultimate hifi hattrick. The latest Job aiming to stir things up (disrupt is the word du jour) is their new INTegrated. And no, that's not just a Pre2 + Job 225 in one chassis. It throws a 24/384PCM/DSD128 USB DAC into the deal. As such, obviously the price tag couldn't be yet another $1'699. Any proper hattrick ends with three.

Which is also the number of components inside the INTegrated: a DAC; a preamp; and a stereo amp. Should it then list for $5'085? That'd be a logical $1'699 x 3 to stick with their running math. Cheapskates of course point out that Goldmund's savings on two enclosures should reflect in a saucy discount. Would our double-dipping Swiss concur with blunt reason? For their budget brand Job Sys, absolutely. The INT goes all in for yet another $1'699. Ay caramba!

Having reviewed six Goldmund models by then, my favourites of the bunch had been the Job 225 and Telos HDA. With the first very budget friendly and the second very much not, at least the first iteration Telos had been a bit strange in that its brilliant DAC/linestage functionality couldn't be tapped by loudspeakers. There wasn't a single output to interface with a standard amplifier. It served headfi exclusively but exceptionally so. Perhaps in the rarefied strata where Goldmund's core clientele shop, one demands purpose-engineered separates to care little about making existing boxes do more to multi- task. If so, Goldmund's job is to serve that desire. In my realm—and I trust yours, too—if the 3-in-1 Job INT included the winning Telos DAC/preamp board or even a simplified version thereof, it was set to overturn my ratings. It'd become the new top pick in the Job Sys catalogue; its flagship if you will.

Which begs a paragraph for proper perspective on the flag business. Job Sys. is a bona fide Goldmund brand. Its models are designed by the same team and assembled in the same building across from the Geneva Modena Cars Ferrari/Maserati dealership. Eliminate dealers and distributors with their associated margins. Revive Goldmund circuitry two or so generations old to reserve their most current advances to the crowd parting with the far larger stacks. That's how these Genevoise leverage in-house sharing of PCB and other parts. Package the Job guts in less flashy casings and presto: order any Job Sys model and it'll arrive delivered in a carton imprinted Goldmund carrying Goldmund's address. Only the model name will say Job X. These lines are far more blurred than they are between Toyota and Lexus or VW and Audi. Why I earlier called this Goldmund's experiment is because I firmly believe that that's how it all began. In hifi, nothing exactly like it had come before. Yet nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Given the growth of the Job catalogue now even with its own FaceBook page, it's fair to say that the 'experimental' in experiment has long since solidified to concrete proof. The perhaps first radical concept of pure direct sales about 75% lower than what equivalent Goldmund product would sell for in luxury dealerships, cosmetically simplified and circuit-wise a few years behind, has shown surprising legs and success. Truth be told, the biggest surprise to me is that no competing firm has yet cloned this recipe. Having opened up the €40'000 Telos 360 monos to compare innards to the Job 225, I've seen first hand that Job isn't bunk or fluff marketing. The tech sharing of this scheme is very real. It explains why this relatively budget gear can perform as it does. It's the old champagne taste beer budget thing. Goldmund say cheers, so do their Job customers. It takes nothing away from Goldmund's retail partners and their customers. In fact it's they who enable and finance it. So Job and Goldmund coexist very comfortably. It's quite brilliant and a perfect example for having your cake and eating it.