OCR-excerpt from HifiNews
Printed November 1991


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Jadis Defy DA30


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Jadis Defy DA30 by Steve Harris
 
Of course it deserves a longer review than this, any Jadis product would. A justification for the brevity here is that only the dedicated few will line up for a 30W French valve amp with no phono stage that costs £2450.
 
The Defy DA30 is a single-chassis version of the JA30, with a line-level-only pre-amplifier. The massive chromed chassis/base measures 480 x 350mm, while the four 6550 output tubes bring the height to about 180mm. Rotary controls cover volume, balance and source selection between five inputs (two CD, two 'aux', tuner. There is a tape-monitor loop, and direct inputs for 'pre-amp in'.
 
Inside, all is hard-wired. Electrical noise levels are low enough. I found there was a slight mechanical hum. not too obtrusive in a large room.
 
Analogue listening started with the Roksan/Artemiz/Shiraz, used alternately via Roksan's Artaxerxes m-c step-up and a Musical Fidelity pre-amplifier. The jadis is not a product that takes much getting to know before you can appreciate it: as soon as the glowing tubes have warmed up, it takes effortless control. The effortlessness may be a valve virtue, of course, but the jadis achieves it while avoiding (in the mid and treble) the stereotypical valve failings which sometimes cloud the picture. The overwhelming impression is of a very 'live' quality, particularly striking on vocals, with excellent stereo imaging in terms of width, depth and solidity.
 
On good recordings the Jadis gave a superior portrayal of ambient details, displaying that delicate recovery of the 'edges' of things, which is (perhaps) what analogue is all about. The bass was thought extended, if a little soft.
 
Switching to CD, there were moments when the Jadis seemed to be unveiling new levels of detail with stunning realism. It conveyed for example the feeling of a wind player's breath pushing through the instrument at the start of a note or the hint (felt rather than heard) of key operation. This wasn't a matter of exaggerating these 'tactile' details: the detail and delicacy were associate with a pure, 'liquid' quality of sound which was genuinely transparent to the quality or otherwise of the source material and source components. Again, on suitable recordings, the DA30 showed the ability to 'sort out' the complex sound of a reverberant acoustic which all too often replays as a strident jangle.
 
With rock material on CD, the impression is of a full, softish bass, sometimes less than well-defined though not really lacking tunefulness.
 
Omitting the phono stage certainly makes life easier for tube-amp makers, and the state of the CD art has now advanced to the point where a good tube amplifier can bring real satisfactin from CD replay. The DA30 will prove transparent to the failings of lesser CD players, and that doesn't just mean cheap ones. Given a good enough source, this superbly committed design will play music in the most delightful and convincing manner. It deserves the best: the dedicated few will not be disappointed.


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