(Reprinted from issue 58 of UHF Magazine. To purchase the issue, click here. Or click here to subscribe to UHF)

Jadis Orchestra Reference

A Jadis amplifier ordinary people can afford.

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The name means "yesteryear," and when the company was set up, in 1983, tubes really must have seemed like yesteryear's technology. They had recently vanished even from TV sets, drugstores had banished the last of their tube testers, and the future belonged to that hot new invention, the integrated circuit.
     But the prices certainly didn't look like yesteryear's. Jadis was one of the companies that popularized the idea that this "old fashioned" technology could cost tens of thousands of dollars. And their products looked the part.
     But this new Jadis amplifier breaks with the tradition. Despite the distinctive Jadis look, with the chromed chassis and the gold front plate, knobs and transformer covers, this is an affordable integrated amplifier. Indeed, we wondered about the target audience. Not only does it have a balance control, which high end manufacturers usually avoid (since no control yet made is transparent), but it also has bass and treble controls! We think of those as distortion generators, mostly found on cheaper products.
     The rear panel has "record out" jacks at the rear, but there is no tape-source selector. It's a sign of the times: the tape deck smells of yesteryear too.
     The Orchestra Reference uses KT90 output tubes, a "super" KT88 that can pass more current and handle a whopping 850 volts. That wouldn't appear to be necessary to get the 40 watts claimed by Jadis, and indeed the tube is in short supply: its only source, the Ei factory in Yugoslavia, was razed by NATO bombs last year. The tubes are arranged in what seems to be an Ultralinear circuit, midway between pentode and triode operation.
     The output binding posts are from WBT, and there are just two pairs. Though the diagram on the transformer covers shows separate transformer taps for 8 ohm and 4 ohm speakers, Jadis claims the circuit will handle both. Really? We wish the money spent on the tone controls had been used for two extra posts. And perhaps on better input jacks.
     Our photo shows the amp without its cage, which covers the tubes to protect children and small dogs, but of course it looks better without. It is a handsome unit, though we wish the small condensers on the left side had been hidden too. They are the one "economy" note on what is in every other way a luxury product.
     We began the listening session with the Bruckner Scherzo (Reference Recordings RR-81CD), which opens slowly and softly, with the strings and winds coming in cautiously. We needed no more than that to know that this amplifier knows its way around.
     (See the print issue for the details on this listening test)

PARTIAL TEXT: The Microgroove Laundry, Antique Sound Lab AQ1003, Passion I-11, Rogue 88, Jadis Orchestra Reference, Linar 250, Four Headphone Amps, Filters and Cables
FULL TEXT: Watching DVD on a Computer, Passion Kit I-10 Amplifier, State of the Art