You are here

Log in or register to post comments
Bravo5
Bravo5's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: Feb 2 2012 - 8:39pm
MMGs and Jolida JD303

Heard my first real audio system 10 years ago and couldn't believe the sound experience. Now looking to put together my first system and been reading forums for a few weeks now. Looking to spend about $1500-$2000 for speakers and amp.

I've become intrigued by Magnepans (MMGs) and tube audio. Any opinions on MMGs with Jolida JD303 amp? Any suggested alternatives to drive the MMGs or pair with the Jolida?

Music source is Itunes (been burning my CDs to lossless, do have some standard Itune downloads) and I'll likely stream via Sonus. Also, I very often use Pandora (premium).

Room is standard size 14 x 20 or so (biggest room it might end up in).

Music is typically Jazz, Rock, late 80s and 90s alternative.

Any suggestions appreciated.

jgossman
jgossman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 4 days ago
Joined: Aug 18 2011 - 6:21am
Maybe

Probably work okay, but you might consider a small powered sub from the preamp out (I think it has one?).  Cross it over at about 70-80.  Panels, especially Maggies aren't all that inefficient in the upper regions but they suck power in the lower octaves and then unless they are huge they don't go down past the high 50's, anyway.  At that point, you might as well get a good set of monitors from JM Lab (like the one's I have for sale, for instance :-) ) or Paradigm or B&W, and get bass down to the mid 40's and imaging that is beyond compare for less than several grand.  The combination of a mid priced tube amp and a low-priced panel speaker is a bit suspect, to me.  I love tubes.  I like panels, or at least the IDEA of panels.  Unless you can splurge for a REALLY nice tube amp, I don't like them together.

Or better yet, get a used tube preamp and a good class A/B solid state amp.  Rotel, Hafler, Onkyo, Krell - pick your price and poison.  They all run class A into the 10-30% of power range.  Rotel and Hafler have simple enough circuits that even a hack like me can bias, mod, and fix them.

jackfish
jackfish's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 19 2005 - 2:42pm
I have MMGs that have been given the Magnestand

treatment. However, I lived with them as stock units for some time before that. I'll give you my observations.

The MMG: One of the best values in high end audio. Clarity and resolution that probably cannot be matched by anything under $1,000. They roll off pretty quickly below 50 Hz so a subwoofer is really beneficial. The best subwoofers to mate with planar/quasi-ribbon speakers are sealed, servo-controlled with low Q. Rythmik is likely the best under $1,000. MMGs will be unforgiving of any inadequacies up the chain from them. They will reward high quality sources and amplification. More on that later. To sound their best MMGs should be placed ala Cardas: http://www.cardas.com/content.php?area=insights&content_id=26&pagestring

Power: While MMGs present a fairly consistent 4 Ohm load, they are not particularly sensitive and require significant power to bloom. In your medium sized room, if you don't listen to music at high SPLs, the 50 wpc Jolida JD 303 might be adequate. But I would offer MMGs more than adequate power from a good solid state amp for that sized room. If you want a tube sound get a tube buffer like the Grant Fidelity B-283 MkII, Yaqin CD1 or Yaqin SD-CD3, or a used Musical Fidelity X-10 V3. I would recommend powering MMGs with at least 150 wpc into 4 Ohms. I'm using 350 wpc into 4 Ohms and like what I'm hearing.

Your digital setup: The Sonos Connect or previous Zone Player 90 have an underperforming DAC. I would look into a hardwired approach (preferably using an optical digital connection, USB can be OK with the right components) with a good DAC. This doesn't matter too much for your mP3s which are likely to sound bad on any good system, but pairing lossless and MMGs will require good components, including the DAC. I'm not convinced that a wireless solution is good. If you have a Mac, I'd look into Bit Perfect for $5 from the Mac App Store.

My System:

13.3" MacBook Air, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD, iTunes/BitPerfect
MacBook Air SuperDrive
Western Digital My Book Essential 2TB USB HD
Schiit Bifrost USB DAC

Emotiva USP-1, ERC-1 and two UPA-1s
Pro-Ject Xpression III and AT440MLa
AKAI AT-2600 and Harman Kardon TD4400
Magnepan MMG Magnestands
Rythmik Audio F12

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 1 week ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
I do not know the Jolida 303

I do not know the Jolida 303 but I did run a set of MMG's with a 202 for over a decade. The sound was really great BUT, right on the edge for the speakers. My amp put out around 40-45 watts and needed it all. I upgraded to a PrimaLuna Dialogue II which only put out 38 watts and found it a very poor match for the MMG's so, I would recommend an amp that can put out at least 50 watts. If the 303 fits, it should sound great.

quadlover
quadlover's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Apr 7 2007 - 9:58am
another thought

You might consider a Cayin A-50T if high volume not an issue.  Awesome midrange, higher build quality and reliability. Looks great too!

If volume is desirable I know you are considering tubes but  pre-owned anniversary Denon or Marantz units are available at that price. The new H-K 990 has a strong power supply, something needed to drive any Maggie.  Don't be afraid to also consider a Wyred 4 Sound unit.  While I have not heard them with the MMG's, I have heard an H-K with 1.6's and it worked great.

Bravo5
Bravo5's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: Feb 2 2012 - 8:39pm
Thank you

Thank you for all the suggestions.  The Jolida 303 does put out 50 watts.   The concensus does appear to pair the MMGs with a higher power amp.  I'll also connect my Mac directly to the amp with a good DAC.  The process continues...

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 1 week ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
While the MMG's did not pair

While the MMG's did not pair well with the PrimaLuna amp, they played gloriously through a set of old Emotiva monoblocks using a Grant Fidelity tubed buffer ($150)

Reed
Reed's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: Sep 6 2005 - 5:37am
Don't give up on tubes

I have Magnepan 1.6QRs.  I have had numerous solid state amps and preamps of various kinds.  If there is any way you could hold out a while to get a few extra bucks, pick up a Rogue Audio Cronos Magnum.  That is what I have, now with KT120 tubes.  The tube/magnepan combination goes way, way back.  I first listenened to them in the 80's with Audio Research amps.

I'm getting more enjoyment out my current setup then I have with any flavor of system in the past.  

commsysman
commsysman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 10 hours ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
AMPLIFIERS

The MMGs need more power than most tube amps can put out. I think you need an amplifier that will put out at least 100 watts at 4 ohms.

I would recommend the Musical Fidelity M3i amplifier to drive them; it can put out well over 100 watts at low impedances and is a really nice-sounding amplifier than compares well with many tube amplifiers. It is $1500, but I don't think you are going to get anything you will be happy with the sound of for much less.

If that is more money than you want to part with, the Cambridge Audio 840A might be a slightly less expensive alternative (around $1000) with a bit more power.

 

 

 

 

 

Bravo5 wrote:

Heard my first real audio system 10 years ago and couldn't believe the sound experience. Now looking to put together my first system and been reading forums for a few weeks now. Looking to spend about $1500-$2000 for speakers and amp. I've become intrigued by Magnepans (MMGs) and tube audio. Any opinions on MMGs with Jolida JD303 amp? Any suggested alternatives to drive the MMGs or pair with the Jolida? Music source is Itunes (been burning my CDs to lossless, do have some standard Itune downloads) and I'll likely stream via Sonus. Also, I very often use Pandora (premium). Room is standard size 14 x 20 or so (biggest room it might end up in). Music is typically Jazz, Rock, late 80s and 90s alternative. Any suggestions appreciated.

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading