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CanMania 2014: Jolida says hello to little Rowen

CT6A7425 CanManiaJolida had a set of nifty little bits at CanMania this year, all targeting the personal audio enthusiast obviously. The new kid of the block was a cute little prototype, tentatively called "Rowen", after Jolida CEO Jerred Dunkerson's daughter. C'mon -- "aww" with me! Awww! This little gal features a pair of 12AX7 tubes, all lit up with blue LEDs, and a big volume pot on the front. Features are still a bit in flux, but will probably include a DAC (32bit/384kHz and supporting DSD) and maybe a wireless (not Bluetooth!) input, with some kid of 3D/"surround sound" and cross-fader effect. The price for the Rowen, or whatever it's production name will be, should be about $750.Availability will be later this year.

Jolida has been making affordable tube-based audio electronics for years, but I’ve never seen their current personal-audio line, so finding it here was a happy accident. If you know nothing of the brand, generally, that’s fine — they’ve been around for a couple of decades making quality electronics for those of us with “regular” budgets. Not cheap, no, but there will be no need to dip into the kids’ college funds just yet.

The $500 Glass FX Tube Headphone Amplifier dumps 100mW into 32Ω courtesy of a pair of 12ax7a tubes. A mini-jack input on the front is joined by a pair of toggle switches to engage the Loudness and Bass Boost features. Headphone out is a ¼” phono. The volume control comes from ALPS. Around back is an another analog input, from a pair of RCA jacks. The cover is plexi, and the transparency lets you peer right into the chamber where the tubes sit so you can stare into the fire as your mind slowly turns to jello playing back a Noisia album. Or lullabies. Up to you.

Jolida is also offering a matching Glass FX Tube DAC IIIw (also $500). This DAC boasts no op-amps for signal purity, and uses a pair of 12ax7 tubes to help beautify. The form factor is identical to the Glass FX Tube Headphone Amplifier. Support for USB is up to 24/96 only, 24/192 comes in via RCA S/PDIF and optical. And yes, there’s also a ¼” headphone jack on the front, designed around a 30Ω load. New is the AptX Bluetooth support!

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About Scot Hull (975 Articles)
Founder, Editor and Publisher at Part-Time Audiophile and The Occasional Magazine.