Jungson’s JA-88D seems like a power amplifier but it’s not. It seems that Jungson JA-88D was caught out by a high consumer demand for integrated amplifiers at a time when it was primarily producing separate pre and power amplifiers. The company judged that the fastest method of getting a product or service to advertise in order to satisfy demand would be to build preamp circuitry into 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 written by Peter Nicholson, along with a complete test report, including frequency response graphs conducted by Newport Test Labs, plus an exhaustive research into the test results written by Steve Holding.
This equipment review is currently available only as a low-resolution pdf version of the original magazine pages. Yes, it looks a lot like an electric power amplifier, but it’s not. It’s an incorporated amplifi r. You’d be forgiven for your mistake, however, because it seems that Jungson was caught out by a high consumer interest in integrated amplifiers at any given time if it was primarily producing separate pre and power amplifiers. Jungson’s engineers judged that the fastest way of getting a product to advertise to fulfill this demand would be to incorporate the circuitry in one of their preamplifiers into one of its existing power amplifier chassis.
It chose a roomy chassis it absolutely was using because of its JA-99C power amplifier and modifi ed its circuit, and this of 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 from the brochure!) once the amplifier is off, but an attractive iridescent shimmering blue when the amplifier is powered up-a blue so blue it has an almost ultraviolet quality. They appear so excellent that a person is tempted to overlook this fact that power meters don’t actually let you know just how much ‘power’ an amplifier is producing whatsoever, but instead provide a rather a rough and ready indication from the overall voltage in the amplifier’s output terminals at any given time.
Not too Mingda Single-ended Tube Amp 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 when I were a designer at Jungson, I’d look east over the wide blue ocean towards the large power amplifiers made in the US, and say something along the lines of ‘if American companies such as McIntosh still include power output meters, so should we.’ In reality, Jungson would even be addressing consumer demand, even though they didn’t realise it, because bit by bit, 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, but when I received deciding on a a JA-88D (or other amplifier its physical size) using a plain metal front panel or with a couple of great-looking meters, I’d go for the version using the meters every time. Jungson continues to be very clever with the appearance of the JA-88. Instead of fit a pair of ugly handles to the front panel, it provides designed the top panel as two very different parts, with one panel before the other. The foremost of these two panels has a large rectangular cutout inside it, through that you can begin to see the two power meters, which can be fitted into the hindmost fascia plate. The secret here is that you could make use of the cutout as being a handle! Examine the top panel closely and you’ll observe that the ability on/off, Volume up/down and source switching buttons are fitted to some scalloped semi-circular depression on the foremost panel. Involving the two meters is 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 kind of rudimentary ‘smiley face’-giving a whole new meaning to the wqilvi of anthropomorphism in highend audio.
In fact, as the Xiangsheng Pre-Amplifier is made in China, it may adequately 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 very name Jungson means, literally ‘The spirit of the gong’ which alludes to a 4,000 year-old copper gong that is certainly famous throughout China. Chinese people believe the sound using this particular gong is unique because it’s underneath the charge of a musical god. On the rear panel the two main pairs of gold-plated speaker terminals per channel and four line level inputs. Three of the inputs are unbalanced, connection being made by RCA connectors. The 4th input is balanced, utilizing a female, lockable XLR terminal which utilizes Pin 1 for ground, Pin 2 for ( ) and Pin 3 for (-).
Inside the centre in the panel is actually a standard fused (10-amp) IEC power socket. All of the connectors are of great quality, but they’re not ‘audiophile grade.’ It seems the negative terminal is not really referenced to ground, which means you should connect the Jungson’s speaker outputs just to ordinary passive loudspeakers. You’ll need to have a fair little room as well as a sturdy rack to support the Jungson JA-88D. It measures 470 × 430 × 190 (WDH) and weighs 29.6kg. I would 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.