Jungson’s JA-88D seems like an electric power amplifier but it’s not. It seems that Jungson Audio was caught out by way of a high consumer demand for integrated amplifiers at a time in the event it was primarily producing separate pre and power amplifiers. The company judged that the fastest way to get an item to advertise to satisfy demand was to build preamp circuitry into certainly one of its existing power amplifier chassis.
Thanks for searching out Australian HI-FI Magazine’s equipment review and laboratory test from the Jungson JA88D Integrated Amplifier originally published in Australian Hi-Fi Magazine, September/October 2006 (Volume 37 Number 5). This equipment review consists of a full subjective evaluation in the the Jungson JA 88D Integrated Amplifier published by Peter Nicholson, plus a complete test report, including frequency response graphs conducted by Newport Test Labs, along with an exhaustive analysis of the test results published by Steve Holding.
This equipment review is presently available only as a low-resolution pdf version from the original magazine pages. Yes, it appears similar to a power amplifier, but it’s not. It’s a built-in amplifi r. You’d be forgiven for your mistake, however, because it seems that Jungson was caught out by way of a high consumer demand for integrated amplifiers at a time if it was primarily producing separate pre and power amplifiers. Jungson’s engineers judged that the fastest way of getting a product to promote to satisfy this demand would be to incorporate the circuitry in one of their preamplifiers into among its existing power amplifier chassis.
It selected a roomy chassis it absolutely was using for the JA-99C power amplifier and modifi ed its circuit, and this in the existing JA-1 preamplifier, to come up with this integrated amplifier, the JA-88D. The Equipment Self-evidently, the front panel of the JA-88D is dominated by those two huge, power meters which are not just ‘oceanblue’ (to quote the purple prose in the brochure!) if the amplifier is off, but a lovely iridescent shimmering blue once the amplifier is powered up-a blue so blue it has a nearly ultraviolet quality. They look so good that a person is tempted to overlook this that power meters don’t actually let you know how much ‘power’ an amplifier is producing in any way, but alternatively offer a rather a rough and ready indication of the overall voltage in the amplifier’s output terminals at any time.
Not really that Meixing MingDa Valve Amplifier is making any pretense that you’ll try to use the meters to gauge power output, since there are no wattage or voltage markings on the meter faces whatsoever! I suppose that in case I were a designer at Jungson, I’d look east throughout the wide blue ocean for the large power amplifiers made in the US, and say something along the lines of ‘if American companies like McIntosh still include power output meters, so should we.’ In fact, Jungson would also be answering consumer demand, even when they didn’t realize it, because little by little, businesses that previously eliminated power meters from their front panels are slowly reincorporating them into their designs, driven only by requests from their dealer networks and customers. I can’t say I’d blame them.
I don’t find meters useful or practical, however, if I were given deciding on a a JA-88D (or any other amplifier its physical size) with a plain metal front panel or with a set of great-looking meters, I’d go for the version with all the meters each and every time. Jungson has been very clever with the design of the JA-88. Rather than fit a couple of ugly handles towards the front panel, it offers designed the front side panel as two very different parts, with one panel in front of the other. The foremost of these two panels has a large rectangular cutout within it, through that you can see the two power meters, which can be fitted to the hindmost fascia plate. The secret here is that you could make use of the cutout being a handle! Examine the front panel closely and you’ll observe that the energy on/off, Volume up/down and source switching buttons are fitted to your scalloped semi-circular depression on the foremost panel. In between the two meters is a sloping rectangular section which is a mirror when ‘off’ and an LED read-out when it’s on (about which more later). Overall, you can see that between the two, both meters, the mirror between them, the buttons and also the semi-circular scallop form a sort of rudimentary ‘smiley face’-giving a whole new meaning towards the wqilvi of anthropomorphism in highend audio.
Actually, as the Xiangsheng Pre-Amplifier is made in China, it could very well be deliberate, since anthropomorphism (the act of attributing human forms or qualities to things that are not human) holds much significance in Chinese culture. The particular name Jungson means, literally ‘The spirit from the gong’ which alludes to a 4,000 years old copper gong that is famous throughout China. Chinese people believe the sound from this particular gong is different because it’s underneath the control of a musical god. On the rear panel there are 2 pairs of gold-plated speaker terminals per channel and four line level inputs. Three from the inputs are unbalanced, connection being created by RCA connectors. The fourth input is balanced, utilizing a female, lockable XLR terminal which utilizes Pin 1 for ground, Pin 2 for ( ) and Pin 3 for (-).
In the centre in the panel is really a standard fused (10-amp) IEC power socket. All the connectors are of good quality, but they’re not ‘audiophile grade.’ It seems the negative terminal is not really referenced to ground, so that you should connect the Jungson’s speaker outputs just to ordinary passive loudspeakers. You’ll require a fair bit of room and a sturdy rack to accommodate the Jungson JA-88D. It measures 470 × 430 × 190 (WDH) and weighs 29.6kg. I would personally recommend placing it on the solid surface, with several centimetres of clear space all around, because for a solid-state amplifier it runs hot-hot indeed.