Jungson JA-88C Budget Int Amp

any comments on this $400 intergrated? build quality and sonics? remote?
I bought one recently (used on Audiogon) to replace an older Audiolab 8000A. What I really wanted was something of decent quality with a remote; my goal was to get a piece that would be competitive with the Audiolab at a budget price.

What surprised me was how much better the Jungson is sonically. Sounds much more powerful and at the same time more refined than the Audiolab. Superior bass (and "control"), a much more refined and detailed midband with more information. More laid back than the Audiolab; I'd describe the Jungson as more of a "mid-hall" presentation with the Audiolab tending to be more toward the front rows. This appeals to me and allows for less fatigue, but this is a subjective issue and others may prefer more "excitement" and the upfront presentation. To me, the Jungson sounds very natural and much more like live music than the Audiolab. The Jungson sounds superb at lower volumes as well as when you play it loud; in retrospect, I always felt I had to crank the Audiolab a bit to get it to sound good.

I have not had the unit apart, but exterior build quality is exceptional and much more like a $1500 piece than a $400 one. It makes the Audiolab look (and feel) like something from Best Buy. The rosewood remote is very simple: mode, mute and volume controls. The mode button can be depressed to cycle through volume changes more quickly (can be a bit slow in regular remote mode) and the display can be defeated, which, in my opinion, results in slightly better sound quality.

Drawbacks: only 3 outputs, 2 RCA and one balanced. No tone controls for those who are interested (I'm not), and no phono stage (I am, and am still looking for a decent budget phono stage).

If you can live with the minimalist design and limited inputs, I have a hard time believing you will do much better than this amp for at least twice, maybe 3X the price.
I have owned the 88C for about four months, and now also have the 88D- but only for two days. Similar to HDM, I have never heard anything under $1000 that comes close. It has a good grip on a wide variety of speakers, beautiful midrange, excellent bass and is fairly detailed. It sounds a lot like pure Class A biased solid state amps without all the heat. Not quite as refined as the Plinius 9200 I recently owned, but close, and more musical than the Plinius to my ears. The 88C probably won't be good match if you are trying to balance a very bright source or speakers (not overly forgiving). Build quality and remote are excellent. A taste of the hi-end for relatively little money.

My main complaints with the 88C is that only the first 10-15 steps of the volume control are useful (it goes up to 100)- can be hard to make small adjustments at low volume. Also, I get a loud buzz whenever I attach my phono stage, which I have never been able to figure out (stage works fine with other amps). The larger 88D has the same issues with the volume steps and the incompatability with my phono stage.

Comparing the 88C to the 88D driving Usher CP 6371 speakers, so far I have been struck by how close the two amps are. The 88D runs a lot hotter, and is slightly smoother and more forgiving, but seems to have less punchy bass. Need more listening time to give a better comparison.
I agree with the previously made comments about the 88C. Build quality is great along with the sound. As mentioned earlier I would watch out when using it with a bright source. It was definitely an energetic piece, but when it is coupled properly with a nuetral to darker source the results are excellent. I ran mine successfully with a pair of Usher X-719 speakers and a ESound E5 CDP.

That's it - I give. I've done blind tests with this Jungson and tube amps from Onix & Dared. Then put it up against the Consonance a120 and a120S Bi-Amped (This is a hybrid). Driving Von Schweikert 4 genii and Eastsound CD-E5. The Jungson was sonically more accurate, smoother in the mids and had as much punch in the lower end as the 2x the juice Consonance bi-amp'd. The good news IMO is the Jungson has to be one of the best buys in audio. The bad news, I'm going to have to spend alot more $$$ to beat it.
Yep, I still love mine as well (actually bought it from Q007jb above!). I never used the stock cord with mine, instead using a cryoed DIY JPS Labs in-wall cable with Marinco connectors, and I have never found the 88C to be bright with this cord.

I'm looking at upgrading my phono stage to a fully balanced unit and am really curious as to how things will sound through the balanced input on the Jungson.

The bad news (for new buyers at least) is that Jungson and the U.S. retailers seem to have combined to make very minor changes (an additional input I believe) and jack the selling price up substantially into the $1000 range, although from a sonic perspective that price point can probably be justified. Anyone who bought one of these in the past year or two for $400 or so got a downright steal in my opinion.