Check this out.
See that little blue box filled with wondrous, glowing tubes? That's the first piece in JoLida's new Glass Fx Series of affordable components aimed at younger music lovers.
JoLida's JD10 integrated stereo tube amp ($399!) is housed in safety-rated glass and features a chassis available in black, blue, or silver. The remote-controlled JD10 is rated to deliver 10Wpc into 8 ohms and provides two line inputs, a side panel input for MP3 players, and a headphone output. An iPod dock is in the works. In addition, JoLida's Michael Allen told me that they're already working on a matching DAC, CD player, and phono preamp. Each unit will share the same compact dimensions and, keeping space considerations in mind, the entire range will be stackable.
Though the little amp only provides 10W of power, it had no trouble at all with playing at high volumes. Mated to a pair of 88dB prototype speakers, the JD10 wasn't shy about rocking out. Allen waited for the room to clear out before cueing up a Linkin Park track. Though I could sense where the amp was struggling, the music was nonetheless vibrant and powerful with an impressively wide, deep soundstage. Allen admitted that 88dB was probably the amp's limit; it would be more comfortable driving speakers of at least 91dB sensitivity.
"Youngsters are very discriminating about their sound," said Allen. "We wanted to provide them with something they could afford and enjoy. It may not compete with higher-priced gear, but we think it's pretty good."