I wont go into too much detail yet as its early days and im still chatting with John.
-brings out heaps of detail! excellent sound qualities
-same size as the C421
-sound in most respects better than the C421
-bass boost **
-anodised color rubs off easily on my model, i mean its never been in my pocket, and im wearing the silver/white on my hands. But im told this is an easy fix so im not worried about it.
-in my box, no rubber feet- minor to some, but i gripe about this a bit, as im not someone who has rubber feet lying around at home. So i have to drive to a hardware store before i can use an amp if they arent included. The C421 had them (and spares) included. So im imagining this was an unintentional oversight by an exemplary company! :D
-wont easily power my Fischer Audio FA011 (laptop, more than enough with iphone for some reason), these are 160ohm, but still disappointing. I had it maxed out on full gain constantly with these and it was sorta loud, but if i was serenading a broom or mop i would have wanted more.
-listening with the USB plugged in gives terrible results, the noise floor is VERY high, and the volume pot clicking is exaggerated around 30-50X. But again minor problem as it charges SO FAST!
**This is where things get good/bad. I actually did a quick side by side of the C421 and C5. Without writing a novel about it (although questions are welcome), i didnt buy the C421 again new- even though i could have. The C5 sounds better in almost every regard, other than the bass boost for CERTAIN cans. If like me, you love bassy cans, then the C5 in its unadulterated state is gorgeous! If you want to flick that bass switch, turn it down first mate- your in for a rough ride! I mean it sounds very very good, but its a bit much, even for me. Anyone who has read any of my reviews knows im a admitted bass junky in the most depraved of ways with no intention of recovery. So i do like the bass boost here, i just think its a tad too much. If someone were listening to their bassier cans at high volumes and flicked the switch it may affect the driver and their hearing long term. This is an achievement in itself as ive never experienced an amp that can do that. My biggest gripe with the E12 was its pathetic bass boost, the C5's is a weapon by comparison. Good/bad bass boost is something im still happy to have, and glad for the switch.
If i were to change the C5?
In a utopian world, i would have the gain move to where the bass boost switch is.
Then i would have the push button selector function of the new volume pot act as a toggle for bass, once pushed you can control bass via the digital +/- pot, then pressed again will take you back to volume enabling the same action of left right +/- db.
Superficially, i wouldnt anodise them. Id do all the casings in the same finish and material as the endplates, and either etch, powdercoat, or spray, any logos. The anodising just doesnt work.
As it comes its a great amp and worth every penny. Its intended for portabe use, so its shortfalls on my macbook pro are accepted, plug it into an iphone and it magic, with oodles of power, detail, and utterly amazing sound. If you want a dr jekyll for your hyde- thats provided for. The drama of the bass boost is what might very well make an icon of the C5. As always its small and light, and the service of JDS labs is more than just above and beyond, its supernatural.