Jungson’s JA-88D seems like a power amplifier but it’s not. It seems that Jungson JA-88D was caught out by way of a high consumer interest in integrated amplifiers at a time in the event it was primarily producing separate pre and power amplifiers. The company judged the fastest method of getting a product to market to fulfill demand would be to build preamp circuitry into among its existing power amplifier chassis.
Thank you 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 includes a full subjective evaluation from the the Jungson JA 88D Integrated Amplifier published by Peter Nicholson, along with a complete test report, including frequency response graphs conducted by Newport Test Labs, plus an exhaustive analysis of the test results authored by Steve Holding.
This equipment review happens to be available only being a low-resolution pdf version in the original magazine pages. Yes, it looks a lot like an electric power amplifier, but it’s not. It’s a built-in amplifi r. You’d be forgiven for that mistake, however, because it seems that Jungson was caught out by way of a high consumer interest in integrated amplifiers at the same time in the event it was primarily producing separate pre and power amplifiers. Jungson’s engineers judged the fastest method of getting an item to market in order to satisfy this demand ended up being to incorporate the circuitry in one of the preamplifiers into one of its existing power amplifier chassis.
It selected a roomy chassis it was using for its JA-99C power amplifier and modifi ed its circuit, and that in the existing JA-1 preamplifier, to generate this integrated amplifier, the JA-88D. The Gear Self-evidently, the front side panel of the JA-88D is dominated by those two huge, power meters which are not only ‘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 provides an almost ultraviolet quality. They appear so great that one is tempted to overlook that fact that power meters don’t actually let you know just how much ‘power’ an amplifier is producing at all, but rather give a rather a rough and prepared indication from the overall voltage at the amplifier’s output terminals at any time.
Not too Mingda Tube Amplifier is making any pretense that you’ll use the meters to gauge power output, since there are no wattage or voltage markings on the meter faces in any way! I guess that if I were a designer at Jungson, I’d look east across the wide blue ocean to the large power amplifiers made in the US, and say something along the lines of ‘if American companies including McIntosh still include power output meters, so should we.’ In fact, Jungson would also be addressing consumer demand, even though they didn’t know it, because bit by bit, companies that previously eliminated power meters from their front panels are slowly reincorporating them to 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, but when I were given the option of 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 using the meters each and every time. Jungson continues to be very clever with the style of the JA-88. Instead of fit a pair of ugly handles towards the front panel, it provides designed the front panel as two very different parts, with one panel in front of the other. The foremost of the two panels has a large rectangular cutout within it, through that you can see the two power meters, which are fitted into the hindmost fascia plate. The trick here is that you can make use of the cutout being a handle! Examine the front panel closely and you’ll observe that the ability on/off, Volume up/down and source switching buttons are fitted to a scalloped semi-circular depression on the foremost panel. Between the two meters is actually 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 will notice that between them, both meters, the mirror between them, the buttons and also the semi-circular scallop form a type of rudimentary ‘smiley face’-giving a whole new meaning to the wqilvi of anthropomorphism in highend audio.
In fact, because the Xiangsheng Pre-Amplifier is produced in China, it might perfectly be deliberate, since anthropomorphism (the action of attributing human forms or qualities to things which are not human) holds much significance in Chinese culture. The particular name Jungson means, literally ‘The spirit of the gong’ which alludes to a 4,000 years old copper gong which is famous throughout China. Chinese people believe the sound from this particular gong is different because it’s beneath the control of a musical god. On the rear panel there are two pairs of gold-plated speaker terminals per channel and four line level inputs. Three from the inputs are unbalanced, connection being produced by RCA connectors. The 4th input is balanced, utilizing a female, lockable XLR terminal which uses Pin 1 for ground, Pin 2 for ( ) and Pin 3 for (-).
Within the centre of the panel is a standard fused (10-amp) IEC power socket. All of the connectors are of good quality, but they’re not ‘audiophile grade.’ It appears to be the negative terminal is not referenced to ground, so you should connect the Jungson’s speaker outputs only to ordinary passive loudspeakers. You’ll need a fair little bit of room as well as a sturdy rack to support the Jungson JA-88D. Its dimensions are 470 × 430 × 190 (WDH) and weighs 29.6kg. I might recommend placing it on the solid surface, with several centimetres of clear space throughout, because to get a solid-state amplifier it runs hot-sizzling hot indeed.