Jolida's Small System Knockout
Jolida of Maryland sure knows how to produce good sound for people with limited budgets. Playing Leonard Cohen's classic "Back on Boogie Street" through iTunes, with all the sonic compromises that Apple's music server imposes on a system, Jolida's Glass FX tube DAC ($350) and Glass FX 25 Integrated hybrid amplifier ($350) still sounded great. This was not toy hi-fi; it was an indisputable portal into the real thing, with a musicality that put to shame some much more expensive systems I encountered at RMAF.
The speakers, the Electrocompaniet Preludes ($1400/pair), cost twice as much as the electronics. But who's complaining? Surely not I, who on a recent visit to Jolida's hardly glamorous factory in China, heard the same or similar equipment on pathetic little speakers with lamp cord used for speaker cable that could not do the electronics even half justice.
Also on display were Jolida's infinitely more expensive Glass FX 10 tube amp ($450) and JD 301 hybrid amp ($425).