Jungson’s JA-88D appears like an electric power amplifier but it’s not. It seems that Jungson Audio was caught out by 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 the fastest way of getting a product to advertise in order to satisfy demand would be to build preamp circuitry into certainly one of its existing power amplifier chassis.
Thank you for searching out Australian HI-FI Magazine’s equipment review and laboratory test of 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 of the the Jungson JA 88D Integrated Amplifier written by Peter Nicholson, plus a complete test report, including frequency response graphs conducted by Newport Test Labs, along with an exhaustive research into the test results written by Steve Holding.
This equipment review happens to be available only being 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 the mistake, however, because it seems that Jungson was caught out by a high consumer interest in integrated amplifiers at any given time in the event it was primarily producing separate pre and power amplifiers. Jungson’s engineers judged that this fastest way to get a product to advertise to satisfy this demand was to incorporate the circuitry in one of its preamplifiers into certainly one of its existing power amplifier chassis.
It selected a roomy chassis it was using for the JA-99C power amplifier and modifi ed its circuit, and that of the existing JA-1 preamplifier, to come up with this integrated amplifier, the JA-88D. The Gear Self-evidently, the top panel of the JA-88D is dominated by those two huge, power meters which are not just ‘oceanblue’ (to quote the purple prose from the brochure!) when the amplifier is off, but a lovely iridescent shimmering blue if the amplifier is powered up-a blue so blue it offers a nearly ultraviolet quality. They look so good that one is lured to overlook that fact that power meters don’t actually tell you exactly how much ‘power’ an amplifier is producing in any way, but instead give a rather a rough and prepared indication of the overall voltage on the amplifier’s output terminals at any given time.
Not too Mingda Tube Amplifier is creating 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 in any way! I assume that when I were a designer at Jungson, I’d look east over the wide blue ocean for the large power amplifiers made in america, and say something like ‘if American companies such as McIntosh still include power output meters, so should we.’ In fact, Jungson would even be responding to consumer demand, even when they didn’t know it, because slowly and gradually, firms that previously eliminated power meters from their front panels are slowly reincorporating them into their designs, driven only by requests off 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 some other amplifier its physical size) with a plain metal front panel or with a pair of great-looking meters, I’d opt for the version with all the meters each time. Jungson continues to be very clever with the style of the JA-88. As opposed to fit a couple of ugly handles to the front panel, it offers designed the front side panel as two completely different parts, with one panel before the other. The foremost of the two panels includes a large rectangular cutout inside it, through that you can see the two power meters, which can be fitted to the hindmost fascia plate. The trick here is that you can make use of the cutout being a handle! Examine the front side panel closely and you’ll notice that the energy on/off, Volume up/down and source switching buttons are fitted to some scalloped semi-circular depression on the foremost panel. Between the two meters is really a sloping rectangular section that is a mirror when ‘off’ as well as an LED read-out when it’s on (about which more later). Overall, you will see that between them, both meters, the mirror between the two, the buttons and also the semi-circular scallop form a type of rudimentary ‘smiley face’-giving another meaning for the wqilvi of anthropomorphism in highend audio.
In fact, because the Xiangsheng DA-05B DAC is produced in China, it may perfectly be deliberate, since anthropomorphism (the action 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 in the gong’ which alludes to a 4,000 year-old copper gong that is famous throughout China. Chinese people believe the sound from this particular gong is unique because it’s underneath the control over a musical god. On the rear panel there are 2 pairs of gold-plated speaker terminals per channel and four line level inputs. Three of the inputs are unbalanced, connection being created by RCA connectors. The 4th input is balanced, employing a female, lockable XLR terminal which uses Pin 1 for ground, Pin 2 for ( ) and Pin 3 for (-).
In the centre of the panel is really a standard fused (10-amp) IEC power socket. Each of the connectors are of great quality, but they’re not ‘audiophile grade.’ It appears the negative terminal will not be referenced to ground, which means you should connect the Jungson’s speaker outputs only to ordinary passive loudspeakers. You’ll need to have a fair little room as well as 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-sizzling hot indeed.