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Jones Audio PA-M300 Series 2 Solid-State Monoblock Amplifiers Review

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What sort of packaging would you expect from such a serious outfit as Jones Audio? Perhaps a matching futuristic aluminum case or velveteen bag enshrouding the amp? How about a Barbie-bright pink plastic bag? Consequently, I have decided this piece of equipment needs an anthropomorphic angle, a bit of humanity injected into it like the sentient cyborgs on TV. In a nod to HAL 9000, the name of the computer onboard the ship in 2001 A Space Odyssey, I have shortened this amp’s name to PAM. Of course this is absurd, but not entirely without precedent. HAL had a measured, steady and coolly reassuring tone; I find that PAM has quite a lovely calculated “voice” of her own.

HAL was a soulless cad, a hardened murderer with a file for a brain. PAM is no less sterile in faculties, but what a charmer she is! Audiophiles speak of equipment having a “voice” or character, and PAM has a very sultry voice reminiscent of those beguiling female directors in GPS NAV systems. An amp may put you on edge or put you to sleep, but PAM has been engaging and has sounded like music to my ears no matter the rest of the system. I really like the voicing of the PA-M300 Series 2. Spending time with it is like having a conversation with a woman who has a beautiful voice; it’s best to shut up and let her talk.


I thoroughly enjoyed my listening sessions with the Jones amps which I will discuss at length. However, there are a few operational and idiosyncratic features which need to be discussed first. Jones Audio supplies a 20A power cord, but I chose to go with the Clarity Cable Vortex, my “go to,” power cord lately. One of them was looser in the socket than usual, a discovery which is not uncommon when a lot of gear passes through an individual’s hands. When using heavier power cords with diminished flexibility and a fixed positioning of the component relative to the outlet, one may have some looseness at the connection point. I took a small cardboard box just the right height and used it to prop up the cable such that the plug was level, and all was well.

Just as some people have obvious, unevenly distributed weight, so also the weight of the amp is not evenly distributed, which can surprise an individual when picking it up. It also has no handles, so if one were to pick it up unaware of the uneven weight distribution, they may find it tricky as one arm will be challenged with the bulk of the amp. Be aware of this and test lift the unit with hand grips; when I move it my hands are not placed parallel.  It is not a light amp at 80 pounds, so having a suitable hand hold greatly aids in moving it about. (When lifting, always keep your back frigid straight but bend your knees, so the strong bones and muscles in your thighs take the stress and not your highly breakable back. -Pub.)

Finding the ON/OFF switch was a bit of an adventure, too. The Owner’s Manual discusses the switch being on the front of the unit. Perhaps I take instructions too literally; I found myself pushing the blue LED, which happened to look like it might be a switch. When that didn’t work, I felt under the unit at the ends since I know that some manufacturers place the switch there. Finally, I ran my fingers along the front underneath and discovered the switch in the middle, which had a feel like an eye dropper bulb. Pushing the rubber bulb activated the switch, which activates the startup relay leading to the main power supply. After a sequence of flashing blue LED winks –“PAM lives!”

One of the units which was sent was involved in a fork lift accident just as it was about to be sent. Cheryl called, quite apologetic explaining that the amp would need to be reconditioned. I do not have difficulty with reviewing B-stock units if they function sonically identically to new ones, and I told her so.  Jones immediately sent out another amp even before the faulty one was returned. The amps have worked faultlessly the duration of the review period.

With Purity Audio Preamplifier

One of the systems I enjoyed immensely with PAM incorporated the Purity Audio Design Silver Statement Preamplifier and Simaudio Moon Evolution 750D DAC/Player with the Kingsound King ESL speakers. (See also the Kingsound King III Review. -Pub.) It was the kind of sound that someone with means might be highly motivated to write a large check to obtain. There are components which when heard cause one’s hand to reflexively reach for the wallet in order to push it down firmly. Other components cause the Ownership Spasm, which makes one reach for the wallet to pull it out and remove paper or plastic. PAM is that kind of amp, as nearly aside from the price, one is motivated to say, “I want this!”

I recently attended an open house featuring the sensational Vivid Giya G3 speakers, at which I met Phillip O’Hanlon, importer and proprietor of On A Higher Note. I returned with a couple of Philip’s demo discs, a rather good assortment of tunes for assessment. I thought my system was sounding pretty good with these demos as powered by my Pathos Classic One mkIII amps until I put PAM into the system. In comparison to the PA-M300 Series 2, the Pathos’ sounded relatively old, tired, and lacking in vitality.

One particular piece of music was illustrative of the influence a power amp can have on a system. Flanger’s “So What?” featuring upright bass was moving; I have never heard the body of an acoustic bass so clearly audible and with such sonorous richness. The thickness and agility of the bow’s work on the strings was immensely satisfying.

Jones Audio PA-M300 Series 2 Solid-State Monoblock Amplifiers

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