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Just got my new JDSlabs c421! (Look out, this might turn into a review thread!)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 



Not yet burnt-in....


I'm gonna try to post up a review when that's done.*


What I can say, right now, is that, cosmetically, it's GORGEOUS.

Sweet black brushed aluminium case, thickness is about the same as two ipod nano biscuits stacked on top of each other, or the FiiO e11. Length is the same as that e11,including the e11 knob. Width maybe 6 mm greater than the e11, a tad heavier. In a "feels more solid and better built" sort of way.

SMALL switches and a recessed volume knob.

VERY CLEAN construction and appearance, which I find esoterically quite appealing.

All of the switches feel tight and crisp, yet effortless.

A very "finger friendly" feel to the thing.

I don't like shiny, finger-printy surfaces much, so this one really does it for me on that issue.

Very classy and refined, sleek.....yet adequately masculine.wink.gif



I will post up some pix and do a modest audition review, once I feel that it's been burnt for long enough.

Will try it with several IEMs and a couple of cans.


This will be my first real review on HeadFi......

I hope you guys will bear with my lack of review experience.

I certainly can't say that I have CREDENTIALS on any of this, except a REALLY good set of ears and a solid appreciation for acoustic qualities that make speakers,(large and small), and gear sing for us.

And I'm working on the proper vocabulary to talk about these things intelligably here in these forums.


stay tuned.....









*yah, yah, I'm sure somebody has beat me to this little amp and a review.....just a different set of ears, I guess.........cool.gif


Edited by DogMeat - 9/10/12 at 6:08pm
post #2 of 5

Nice. Congrats.

My iBasso D-zero comes in tomorrow. I'll use that for the next couple of months and retire it to computer duty and replace it with a C421 for portable use(sooner if there's a sale).

Did you get the custom laser engraving done? I'm still trying to figure out what I want on mine.

And I take it you got one of the new all black units?

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

No custom engraving, but yeah, did get the black. It is SO choice!


I've been a fan of iBasso for some time now.

Got an older Boa, a Mamba, and a new Anaconda.

I have to say, I like them as much as I like my Pico Slim.


I just purchased the Audeze LCD2,(new bamboo cans), and I admit that I bought this amp particularly for them.

I have heard so many nice things about the combo of the LCD2 and the O2... yet I wanted to try this amp because of it's features.

I believe that this amp will be every bit as sweet with the Audeze as it's sibling from JSD.


The Audeze will arrive this week.








couldn't help myself.

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

First listen,(on a set of Beyerdynamics T1's,source is an old iPod Classic 64G,LOD by Alo), have some of Jon Serrie's space music in there ;

Very lucid, precise, you can hear EVERYTHING that Serrie has produced for the music.

PLENTY of bass presented in the "Flat" mode,(this thing has a switch for "Flat" and "Bass"), without being overwhelming, switch to "Bass" mode, and you get a nicely deepened bass without an attenuated mid/high range. Boosting the bass does not result in "bloat", either.


Ocean waves,(I use nature sound recordings as part of my burn-in, as there is the WHOLE gamut of white and pink noise frequencies presented), sound REALLY REAL on this little amp. On the Fiio 11, I felt like they were "ocean waves in a tin box"... iBasso,for instance, produces natural sounds more normally early on, than do the Fiio products, so I find myself favourably pleased to note that the c421 also does this well. Gulls crying, thunder crashing, all presented faithfully through this amp.


I chose the T1's because they are very honest about what an amp is doing. To the point of being unforgiving. Which is fine, when  one wants to hear how the source and the amp are doing. We'll be putting several IEMs on here, probably my Senn 600's and,of course, those LCD2's. I'm even going to put this in line between my iMac and  a couple different tube amps, maybe the Carver, as this also acts as a DAC, and we certainly need to check out how it does this, and how WELL it sounds when challenged by a set of Celestions or a pair of Polks.


I chose Jon Serrie's music because it's electronic-which means that the notes and sounds are "pure" and one is not listening to performance fault. And there is ALL KINDS of subtle stuff in there- little high pitched squeals and whistles and rattles and clicks running underneath the main melody that almost are a test to see if you and your dog have similar hearing acuity....and there is often very low, rumbly bass, (meant to sound like a space ship), or booming hollow sounds,(meant to sound like an open,cavernous space), and an amp that can play his stuff coherently, without crackle, hiss, or failure to produce the dog-hearing lowest and highest frequencies is doing it's job well. As this amp burns in more, we'll haul out the live, the jazz, the violins,voices,and guitars....


So far, it's a tight little amp with a great deal of visual and tactile appeal. It's a good size match with my iPod Classic and, if you want somebody to notice your HiFi head rig at the library, well, just lay THIS baby down on the table strapped to a Big Black Classic! Use your Alo LOD so it justifies your use of the Alo rubber band.....


Next post, I hope to have some pix uploaded and have another headphone trial to add.

Hmmm.....Shures? Ety's? Westone?


to be continued............. ksc75smile.gif

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 



NOTE: this thing can be a REAL dust magnet.

You could probably use it as a hair brush for your black sweater.


Not saying bad things about it, it's just truth that you want to keep it inside some sort of slip case or box when not in use, if there is ANY dust in your environment at all.

I do wish this one thing; that it had come with just such a case. But the cost of the c421 is so nicely low that I can see JDS not wanting to add cost to their product by adding a case to the package.

I'm sure I have a nice slip case around here that I never use with some other amp or gizmo.....

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