You know the drill. In the past, it was a beautiful novel, it was a beautiful story, a story that began under the impetus of André Calmettes. Since its creation, the small company in Villedubert has not changed its habits. Everything is designed, validated and built in situ. Always present and more active than ever on the international high-fidelity scene, the French manufacturer has been pursuing its quest for the Graal sonore since the company was founded in 1983. For thirty-five years, the tube assemblies of this top-of-the-range French pillar have invariably been able to outperform the perpetual technological innovation of global competition.
One of the many secrets of the musicality of Jadis electronics lies in the quality of the oversized output transformers, whose windings are cast in resin, which guarantees total waterproofing and high thermal stability. Take a look at the JA80 MKII blocks on this test bench and you will begin to understand the spirit of the house.
PREAMPLIFIER JP80 MC
The Jadis badgées 80 electronics are undoubtedly the brand’s best known. The JA80 MC preamplifier is divided into two chassis, one containing the power supply circuits and the other the preamplification stages. They are installed in superb polished stainless steel frames with front panels lined with a polished solid brass plate. The RCA-only connectors are of high quality. The electronic components of the audio section are mainly wired in the air with the assistance of small printed circuits. The power supply section «dispatches» its discrete low-voltage regulation components on a large epoxy glass printed circuit board and its high-voltage regulation stage with EL84 and EF86 pentodes is partially wired in the air.
The origins of this separate power supply deserve some explanation. The original creators sought a total freedom from current problems by isolating the audio stages from the facets of the sector. The main transformer supplies an amplifier of about 100 watts whose mission is to amplify a sinusoidal signal from a generator. This signal supplies a second transformer whose secondary transformer is connected to a rectifier bridge and creates the high voltage that is then filtered. There are three cascade controls, the first provides a reference signal, the second creates a high voltage of absolute stability regardless of the mains voltage, and the third regulates the high voltage. Line level amplification is provided by two double triodes ECC83, the CD input has apparently been given special attention with an ECC83 in cathodic mounting for optimal impedance matching with the source.
The RIAA phono section consists of three ECC83 double triodes with an ECC88 two-tube circuit for preamplification of voice coil cells. It is in this part of the device now called MK II that some improvements have been made to reduce noise because the phono stage with very high gain (see «the numbers») was likely to hang in HF. Rather than inserting a scale, the volume adjusts separately on each channel from resistance switches. Passive components have been selected or even manufactured according to specifications, as is the case with some decoupling, connection and RIAA correction capacitors.
AMPLIFIER JA80 MKII
This mono block is capable of delivering 90 W in pure class A and even in low frequencies. This gives an overview of the quality of the output transformer. The JA80 is the first amplifier of the Jadis brand, which appeared in 1983. It is now available in MkII version providing compatibility with the new KT150 power pentodes in the shape of a rugby ball. Even before trying to lift it, the imposing size of the two transformers, power supply and output, suggests the very high weight of the block, which also takes up little floor space. The chassis is in the Jadis standard. On the stainless steel front panel with brass lining, two switches and an LED diode that changes from red when the power is turned on to green after a few minutes of preheating. The hull and bottom are made of non-magnetic stainless steel and act as shielding. The hull supports the transformers, six high-voltage filter capacitors, the two largest at the rear for the output stage, and six tubes. The input tube is a double triode ECC83/12AX7 and the driver phase shifter is assigned to an ECC82/12AU7.
The four KT150s are configured as double push-pull triple distributed load, class A polarization is automatic and the cathode circuit is protected by an individual fuse. A godsend when it will be necessary to replace the previously matched tubes because no adjustment will be necessary. The JA80 MKII can work with other types of pentodes, KT120, KT90, KT88, 6550, 6CA7 or EL34. Please note that changing to another type of power tube requires a small internal modification of the device. If that is your intention, here is our advice: do not hesitate to talk to your dealer who will give you the right advice. The output impedance can be internally modified from 1 to 16 ohms by a set of strips that configure the secondary windings of the lifetime guaranteed output transformer. It will therefore be necessary to open the device to switch from 4 to 8 ohms for example.
The power supply unit is oversized for better heat and vibration dissipation. The heating of the filaments is done by alternating current with balancing and noise reduction. The gold-plated solid metal loudspeaker plugs are specific to Jadis and allow bi-wiring, and the gold-plated connector system ensures the faithful transmission of signals.
THE SET UP
We had the chance to taste this quartet of tube electronics already well established and impeccably installed in the Audio Video Feel showroom ; let us thank him warmly for it! If possible, the preamp and its power supply should be placed close to the various sources, and each block should be left on the ground not far from the loudspeakers. Even in asymmetric mode, modulation links are not critical for the Villedubert builder. The JA80s are able to power a large number of loudspeakers without any contraindications.
I had the chance to listen to my first Jadis already 30 years ago, and it’s a moment I haven’t forgotten! Since then, the whole range has passed between my ears, up to this latest version of the mythical JA80. In a few seconds, everything comes back! Rarely has a brand been able to embody the beauty and dazzling beauty of sound to such an extent. There is a signature «Jadis», it is absolutely undeniable, and it has been able to survive the years, intact and pure… With this «80» ensemble, the music acquires a unique dimension of its kind, it inhabits the sound space like no other device. The sound of Jadis is grandiose, oversized, exceptional in the true sense of the word, but never caricatural. There is the sound «Jadis», and there are the others, whether we think in terms of tubes or not. In any condition, a Jadis is extremely pleasant to listen to because it offers an exacerbated vision of the sound space, so as to transport the listener into a dimension that he is not only not used to being in contact with, but that he does not even suspect a priori the existence of. Listening to your first Jadis is an initiatory journey that never leaves you indifferent, especially since the addiction imposed by these devices is not based on the usual criteria for assessing a hi-fi link, but rather on a totally non-standard seduction power, based, it is true, on aptitudes that are also non-standard, and which for the moment coincide with objective and proprietary technical criteria. A Jadis really sings! And that’s why it destabilizes us. With our four «80’s», we spent hours listening to many purely acoustic records that caused us great emotions.
If we have to stick to classical criteria of appreciation, we would say that the Jadis are imperial in the fundamentals of the medium and dynamics. 90% of recorded music is based on this median register that the «80» reproduce with not the most scrupulous accuracy, but diabolical magic, and a consummate art of elegance and distinction. The ancients know how to make music as beautiful as possible. The sound remains round, fleshy, with a lot of substance, very beautiful textures. And above all, they know how to create an atmosphere whatever the level of listening! On a jazz trio, it’s divine. On a string quartet, it’s magical. On a large orchestra, and as long as the associated material is up to the task, it is phenomenal. The «80» know how to deploy the medium in its most intimate inflections, without any hardness, without the slightest artificial trace. The degree of homogeneity is staggering. And since the dynamic behaviour is imperial, all this passes like a letter to the post office. It should also be noted that, as with the delicious Ayon Crossfire III, the subjective power is much higher than the figures announced. And yes, it’s one of the priceless virtues of big tubes!
Built to perfection to be beautiful but also to last for decades, Jadis electronics are built to stand the test of time and offer the most exciting vision of recorded music possible. Thirty years after its creation, the brand still carries this standard high! Witness, these four «80» which constitute one of the most beautiful tube amplification sets with separate elements that a music lover can dream of owning. Power, presence, openness, emotion and emotional intensity, that’s what this quartet is all about, which will always be relevant in 30 years’ time. In the past, a sure bet and a lifetime investment!
TECHNICAL SHEET JP80 MC
430 x 175 x 345 mm (each frame)
30 kg (total weight)
20 Hz – 50.000 Hz (line inputs)
GAIN AT 1 kHz
57 dB (MM phono), 84 dB (MC phono)
1 RCA phono MM, 1 RCA phono MC,
1 RCA monitoring
1 RCA «main out», 1 RCA recording
TECHNICAL SHEET JA80 MKII
260 x 240 x 240 x 625 mm
20 Hz – 27.000 Hz