Jolida Foz SS-X Tube buffer & soundstage expander?

Anyone have any hands-on experience with the Jolida Foz SS-X Tube buffer & soundstage expander?
I've read a few reviews but I want to hear from members of this website that have actually used it.
Your positive and/or negative comments would be appreciated.
128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xlak
Hi lak,

I  received my ssx about a week ago. I am very happy with my purchase. I have placed the ssx between my pre and amp. Directstream dac/anthem d2/ssx/amp thru Triton one speakers.

The overall sound was warmer and shaved a bit of glare on harsh notes. Furthermore there was more detail! The bass was also improved. I am running the bass knob at 0 and the expander knob just shy of 1 o’clock; overall a substantial improvement!

I was was worried that the ssx was just a band aid but I have found no negative. My system already sounded great with a huge sound stage.  I borrowed my friends ssx just to hear it due to my curiosity. I now own one!

Hope that helps
@warr, Thank you for that information, I really appreciate it. That's exactly what I wanted to know.
Best regards...

I just read this review this past weekend and became very intrigued. So intrigued I purchased today.  Seems to me its a very inexpensive sound stage/bass tweak for those of purists please don't hate me... that live and die by tone-bass-treble -loudness-low cut-knobs. And these knobs, thankfully, are still found out there (ie:Luxman) to personalize our sound.  My room is a non ideal 9 ft high - 13 wide by 20 long rectangle of potential acoustic issues. ( Yes -I have treatments) I'll take a potentially widened sound stage and warmer sound anyway I can get it!
If folks swear by interconnects-speaker cable-and other factors influencing their tone and sound field depth then why not this little unit? 
IN fact, I'm amazed no one has thought of it before.

BTW: I run TIDAL MQA via pc coax to Marantz NA7004 DAC feeding Parasound 2100 new classic preamplifier into either Parasound A21 SS or a Prima Luna Prologue 5.
I have Tekton Lore and Zu Omen DW towers that both bring immediacy to songs sometimes I wish to warm up. I am planning on running this Jolida Foz between pre and the amp. I will report back what I hear.  Who knows, if this works, maybe it could be added into future preamps or integrateds?
@azthu, Please post your thoughts after you have an opportunity to use the Jolida Foz SS-X Tube buffer & soundstage expander.
I did read the review from Enjoy The Music prior to this post, however, I'm really interested in reading what actual Audiogon members experiences are.
I will be putting it thru its paces this weekend. Let me know if you see it referenced anywhere else!
My report on this unit so far:

1- definitely adds (as in the recent ETM review) that "dollop of bass" without screwing up the entire lower spectrum. I like a full sound and usually go close to 80% of max on my tone controls.

For demo-May I suggest the EAGLES MQA Hotel California track for an example of what I am talking about. The units bass adjustment is perfect for filling in that side of the spectrum -especially at lower listening levels. I now can dial back a little on my SS pre bass level.

2-The sound stage expander feature actually surprised me-I ended up liking it more narrow and not broad like I had assumed. I have it all the way left(narrow). This feature should help those with narrow rooms or larger areas in need of tweaking.

3-The best feature without a doubt is the tube input stage. I put this unit between my SS Parasound PHP-850 pre and A21 SS amp. It just puts meat on the music and mimics a tube like fullness to my system. No other way to say it. I just cannot imagine some of the mid fi guys adding this type of feature set to future preamps or integrateds. You get to take a nice fidelity jump for very little $$

So my call is thumbs up for the money. Just an EASY and budget minded unit for noticeable sound quality improvement for those of us usually on the outside looking in at the upper echelon of hifi toys.

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This component appears to use the Bass EQ  and Panorama "surround sound" circuits used in the Fosgate Signature Tube Headphone amplifier released circa 2012.  I wonder if it would be useful on the many poorly mastered CDs that seem to have a compressed soundstage.  I do not believe the tube is being used as a buffer to correct impedance mismatches. Of course my EE Minimax preamp has an enormous effect on tone and soundstage depending on the specific 12au7 signal tube or 6x4 rectifier being used in the signal path - a Mullard M8136 will kill the treble response while an RCA black plate will create excessive bass response.  The Minimax preamp does not generally make poorly recorded/mastered CDs sound better especially on hard rock music.  Fosgate's patented circuits will change the sound in ways some will like or find useful and others dislike for various reasons. Any more input from people using this component would be very helpful.
Hi there, I recently purchased this item, to try it as a replacement for my WLM EQ (between music server and integrated tube amp). It does everything as advertised and mentioned in this thread. I struggle with one drawback, however, and that is slightly more  emphasis on sibilance (I can't stand that). There is no change in the high quality interconnects and power cable connected to the unit (same as to WLM) so the problem is in the new unit. I am trying tube rolling without major improvement. Any advice?
Perhaps leaving the unit on for an extended period of time before playing it. Someone mentioned much better music after the unit was on for 12 hours. Perhaps this a beak in period. I did buy a different tube for it that had some merit.
  I would like to add that an unexpected function of the unit is applied with the old Beatles recordings, since I am less impressed with one instrument per channel. The SSX allows you to mix them back to a much more believable recording.
Hello everyone,  So here we are a year later.  Just wondering if anyone had any additional thoughts about this box.  I just found out about it today, and I am potentially interested...

Particularly interested whether it improves the "3D sound stage, Holographic, wide and deep,etc" with bass, especially at lower volumes in a small (8x10) room.

I have a Peachtree Audio Nova 300, that I could connect with this.  Might save me having to purchase an external DAC to improve as per the above..

I just got mine yesterday.  Will give a report after I have a few days to play around with it.
Hey smrex13, looking forward to your thoughts on this unit. I have a friend that owns one and is willing to sell it to me. Must be sent to me so I am deciding prior to making offer. Hope things are going well for you.

Just got off the phone with Black Ice Audio in regards to the SSX.  In regards to it’s tube buffering abilities, apparently it does help with impedance mismatches.  It has an input impedance of 100K, and output impedance of 100.

I asked about the frequency for the bass EQ and was told it’s a peak at 20Hz.  This gives me pause in terms of purchasing one.  Black Ice explained that the bass EQ will only effect music that actually goes down to 20Hz.  That, for instance, jazz will be unaffected because that type of music doesn’t go that low.  Heck, my Magnepan LRS only go down to 50Hz, and my REL sub only to 24.

I have a difficult time understanding how a bass EQ that only effects 20Hz can be of any use at all.  The Decware ZBox, which is an $800 tube buffer/ EQ has influence on frequencies from 1000Hz down.  The Schiit Loki, off the top of my head has knobs for 20Hz and 400Hz.

Help me here.  How does the SSX 20Hz peak affect the bass being exclusively at such a low frequency?  When you turn up the bass EQ knob, do you experience a nice bass boost?  Does it require you have ultra low going subs to hear it?

@namasteplenny The info that you got from Black Ice seems odd.  I have the SS-X with the Revel M106 bookshelf speakers, and the bass enhancement is clearly audible.  I find that even the neutral position, there is a slight enhancement of the bass - a very pleasing one that reminds me a bit of the loudness button that used to be found on many components.  From the reviews and comments I've read, the bass enhancement/reduction is apparent regardless of the frequency range of the speakers.  Of course, Magnepans aren't like other speakers, so you may just have to give the SS-X a try to hear it for yourself.

@mesch I'd forgotten I was going to provide my thoughts on the SS-X.  I've been too busy listening to music and enjoying it! 

I'm using it in a vinyl-only system between a solid state phono stage and a solid state integrated amp.  My speakers are bookshelf speakers.  Before putting in the SS-X, my main issues with my system w were some treble grain/glare, having too much of a front-row perspective, and some imaging problems (the latter two issues due partly to my small listening room and needing to have my rack between my speakers).

Once I put the SS-X in, those issues were eliminated - it was startling.  The perspective became much more "mid hall." The soundstage gained depth and became coherent, as if the rack were no longer there.  And the treble grain/glare was removed.  Instruments and voices sounded richer and more present.  It made several very modest solid state phono stages sound like more expensive tube gear.  I did have a tubed phono stage on hand for a while, and the combination was a bit soft and lacked dynamics, but it was surreal to listen to the vast, liquid soundstage.  Ultimately, I preferred the combination of a SS phono stage with the SS-X.  

I put in an NOS Brimar 12au7, and that made it even better.  Looking forward to trying an NOS Mullard in the near future.  The SS-X also benefits from a good power cord, upgraded fuse, and vibration control. 

I'm really glad that I gave it a shot, and it's staying in my system.  It's an entirely different listening experience with the SS-X in the chain - -engaging, relaxing, emotionally involving. My only dilemma is whether to purchase another one for my work system or as a backup if mine ever has an issue.

Happy 2021 to all,
@smrex13 Thanks for the perspective.  I’m going to order a SSX, should be fun.  The OP had Maggie’s, which also piqued my interest. 
@smrex13  Thanks for the feedback. I have a friend that owns one and would sell it to me. Been somewhat hesitant as I have a tube DAC and tube pre feeding a SS amp which are working very well for me. I may give it a try.

Hope things are going well for you. 
@mesch It's a fairly minimal cost for a (potentially) significant upgrade.  If nothing else, it's a fun piece to play around with for a while.  With a tube DAC and tube pre, you may find it to soften things up too much, or it might just add to the good things that the tubes are doing.  I'll be interested to hear how it works if you give it a shot.  

Stay safe!  Hope you're doing well!
@smrex13 Yes it would cost me $200. I would like the soundstage expansion it provides on some recordings. 

We are doing well here. Maybe make it to Oregon once Covid is dispensed with. Take Care.
I have been a dealer for Jolida / Black Ice Audio for about 15 years. Their products have always gotten good reviews representing great value. This SS-X is not exception. I have sold many of these in the USA and Europe. Also I have one in use in my own stereo system. This device adds a bit more warmth as well as bass. The difference in clarity and detail is subtle, but noticeable. I always offer people a trial period- if someone is not happy return it for a refund. Any questions - feel free to contact Anderson Audio Gallery. Find me on FB. 
What little older Jolida gear you find in the used market is priced at what it sold for new, or more. Bob Anderson
 thanks for thread, interesting readingOnly wish there was a balanced version
I just bought one of these for the fun involved in playing something different. I’ve always wondered about the effect of adding more out of phase sound to the front speakers. Now I know. In small doses it can definitely be additive.

I have a fairly well set up system with an excellent soundstage considering the size of my room (13x19x9). Very good pin point imaging and detail. Added to my system between my sources and integrated amp - Bass control warms up the bass a tad but it is not a huge boost in the upper bass as so many are. It is also effective in toning down the bass from some sources (my Marantz CDP for example). It’s effect on sound staging is interesting and somewhat dependent on recording. On most modern recordings only a nominal turn of control to say about 1 to 2 o’clock will bring a sound that emulates a symphony hall in that the center image will expand and you will loose a tad of pin point imaging. IMHO a great way of killing the anal bred necessity of listening to your audio system to reassure your self that you are hearing all of the ’detail’ you think you paid for. A sickness shared by many otherwise normal audiophiles. :-)

I was not so impressed with its performance with my headphone system. It was OK but you had to tinker with the settings of each disc to get good response. Most of the high quality CD’s listened to sounded pretty good with out it.

It’s not very expensive. For the more adventuresome (or bored) audiophile I recommend it. BTW, for tubists, changing the single tube does make a difference. If you have a tape loop you have the perfect place for it.


Newbee, is your SS-X unit broken in?

You are probably paying attention to quality cabling and vibration control?
I have found this unit to respond well to anti-static liquid
and treatment with a Walker Talisman...

Have you ecxperimented with minor changes to speaker placement
now that you have a new variable in your system?

Will you consider upgrading the fuse?

Far too soon to do or even think about any of that stuff - unit is not fully broken in nor is my understanding of its sound and use. I'm just having fun tinkering with it.
I find the 20hz bass boost to be helpful and the image widening to be great for me, as in my office setup the speakers need to be a little closer together than would be optimal. One minor issue is that with my 91db-efficient speakers, I do hear an audible pop when switching the unit off. I do not judge this to be bad enough to be worrisome but it is definitely there. Easily remedied by turning the power amp off first.

It doesn't. The Loki has 4 bands for tone control. The Foz only one (bass). The Foz has a phase control which can affect the soundstage quite a bit. The Loki does not. The Foz has a tube buffer, the Loki does not. The Foz adds a bit of warmth to the overall tone (great if you want it). The Loki is fairly neutral when bypassed. The only thing that is duplicated is the bass tone control.