A couple of days ago I received my OBJECTIVE2 amplifier from JDS Labs. It is too early to have any definitive opinions about it (I probably still suffer from some “new toy syndrome”) but from what I have seen, heard, and felt so far I am very, very pleased.
I have bought several other amplifiers in the past but the OBJECTIVE2 is my first and so far only amplifier that truly works superbly well with my “FitEar ToGo! 334” and that is tremendously satisfying. Really, answer to my prayers. Here are some of the OBJECTIVE2 pros in my opinion.
1. Silent and I mean dead silent with all of my IEMs including the “FitEar ToGo! 334”. All of my other dedicated amplifiers make the 334 hiss to at least some extent and some – such as the ALO Rx-Mk3-B - annoyingly much so. This is the first time I’ve heard music coming out of the 334 from an absolutely black background while being connected to a dedicated headphone amplifier. Wow, didn’t even know it was possible!
2. Channel imbalance ceases just below my lowest listening level (and I do sometimes listen at very low volumes), and the volume knob is exquisite. It feels very exact, has just the right size and feel of resistance when adjusted. Sure, it crackles a little but not really audibly while playing music, so it doesn’t bother me at all and maybe it will disappear after some use.
3. The OBJECTIVE2 has a very satisfying sound to me. At this stage I don’t think any of my other amplifiers (“ALO Rx-Mk3-B”, “TTVJ Slim”, “Portaphile 627X”, “CEntrance DACport”) rival it. Indeed, it is neutral and sounds very authentic. Whatever slightly altered FR I may on occasion have felt or experienced from my other amplifiers giving me a sense of distortion or being tainted by some artefacts (don’t know what word or phrase to use) - say for example from an aggressively played tenor saxophone - is gone. Not just with the 334 but also with my other two TOTL IEMs (Etymotic ER-4PT and AKG K3003i). I sense improved, wider dynamics, more natural transients, better balance between instruments; nothing sticks out where it shouldn’t, and more defined width and depth projection. Very smooth and balanced overall. Well, what I’m reviewing here sound-wise of course isn’t really the OBJECTIVE2 but my “CLAS –dB” DAC connected to it. All the OBJECTIVE2 seem to do is giving me the ability to amplify the sound that I get straight out of my DAC. Just what I wanted!
4. The build quality seems to be impeccable; far and beyond my expectations and all the more so considering its price of $129. Although small, it has a very nice weighty feel to it. It just feels “expensive”. The on/off and gain push buttons feel solid and have just the right kind of resistance and click when pushed. The 3.5mm input ports sit solidly in the chassis and have no inner or outer gaps. Overall it has a very solid feel to it and I just love this simple straight forward design. Ok, it would have been nice to have the VAC port on the back panel but I can live with it on the front panel. No big deal. Again, wow, just $129, almost too good to be true, but it indeed seems to be true. Please, don’t wake me up.
5. It is battery powered. So, that means I can bring it along to wherever I go. It is way more than just transportable, I would say almost but not quite portable.
Asked JDSLabs to modify the gain switch to 1x/2.5x. They did so free of charge and I do recommend this modification for use with sensitive IEMs such as the 334. Great service BTW!
So what about cons? Can’t think of any right now… I’m sure there is one or two but I’ll have to come back about that.
So, there you have it; my first impressions of JDS Labs’ take on NwAvGuy’s OBJECTIVE2 Headphone amp which I first read about in this thread. Thanks!
I must say I’m really in awe of this NwAvGuy giving us such a fine headphone amplifier for free. Too bad he’s met the same fate as so many (too many) other interesting, experienced and knowledgeable Head-Fi members. At the end of the day I guess it’s…
Edited by Aero Dynamik - 4/9/14 at 1:24pm