Some higher powered tube amplifiers do not sound as good at low volumes or with small scale dynamics as they do louder or on full-scale musical passages. This is where the magic of the EL-34 tube comes into play. I listened to the JD1000A at low to moderate levels and it was just as pleasant and detailed as my lower powered tube amplifiers. To really put the JD1000A to the test, I added my Rega P25 turntable and external phono preamplifier to audition Ry Cooder's Buena Vista Social Club [Nonesuch] on LP. The results were fantastic, offering a lot of great midrange detail that the EL-34 is famous for.
Those of you already in the tube camp know how much fun it is to roll tubes. While it is common to replace tubes with new old stock (NOS) vintage tubes to get a different sound, it doesn't make a ton of sense to spend another thousand dollars on vintage tubes for an amplifier with a $1699 price tag. A quick call to Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio brought some replacements for the two 12AX7 and 12AU7 tubes in the preamplifier section of the JD1000A, for around a hundred dollars. This brought about a slightly lusher sound, a good compliment to some brighter sounding speakers. I also experimented with cables, when fine tuning my system around this amp, and found it not particularly sensitive to cables. These days, my speaker cable of choice is the DH Labs Silver Sonic Q10, but I also had good luck with Home Depot 10-gauge extension cord.
The JD1000A is a great integrated amplifier for the money and worthy of consideration if you are shopping for something in this price category. It offers great sound along with good build quality in an unobtrusive package. It is also easy to set up and integrate into most systems, and it can offer even more performance with a few inexpensive upgrades. It could become the anchor for a high-quality, reasonably priced tube-based system. Indeed, this is one I would write a check for.