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JDS Labs Element - Page 28

post #406 of 557

i didn't even notice imbalance until you pointed it out and i really lowered the volume all the way down to check. at less than 7'o clock and below i hear it (when the volume goes down really low below that its definitely there) but at not at any of the volumes i use while listening.

Low gain, with my klipsch x10 i go between just under 9-10'o clock usually. Maybe email them and see what they have to say? 


Edited by jayeshrc - 11/13/15 at 3:08pm
post #407 of 557

I'll definitely email them (and the same sentiment I have sent to schiit).  I feel like I am in a weird niche spot of wanting a really nicely made (physical design as well as technical design) mid powered amp rather than all these 1.0W+ (at ~30ohms) amps.  I love the physical design of several available devices, but they simply overpower my devices/ears.

 

I want to be able to use more than a 10% range on the volume knob on an amp.  I haven't been able to use anything above the halfway point on a volume knob on any of the desktop amps I've gotten in the last 3 years, and it appears that amps are simply getting more powerful overtime while headphones are typically getting more efficient (even audiophile grade headphones).

 

I don't begrudge anyone wanting the more powerful amps (although I can't understand how anyone can be safely listening at some of these volumes), but I don't see a lot of options for clean audio at mid/low volumes these days. (aside from portable amps which typically have batteries, which I do use for travel, but don't want to use at my desk).

 

In any case, I'll gather some more test points and see if I can make it work. I'll be sad if I have to send it back.

post #408 of 557

I agree, for the most part, that the advertising focus is on how much juice these amplifiers can swing. And it is often with sacrifice made to ability to drive low impedance or easily driven headphones. I personally have had no issues with the volume of the JDS Labs The Element.

 

Have you considered a USB DAC/AMP with a digitally controlled volume? Or have you tried something with a volume control which either operates in the digital realm or through a stepped attenuator? Another option, which unfortunately just closed but is likely to re-open, is the Grace Design m9xx. I have read that volume is non-linear for the first 50 (perhaps percent, but not exactly clear what this means). The initial gradual rise in volume is specifically to allow for precise volume control with IEM, but would also work for your case. Then the volume rises much more rapidly (I guess 50 - 100) to provide ample power for headphone use.

 

USB DAC/AMP can be relatively inexpensive. The other options are likely to cost considerably more than the JDS Labs The Element.

post #409 of 557
@Manhole - Considering your low volume requirements, your difficulty originates at the DAC, not the amp. At unity gain and volumes below 40%, you're seeking a DAC signal which is 60% weaker than the average aftermarket DAC.

You can either reduce DAC volume (at the PC, or via additional hardware attenuation), or pursue a weaker DAC. Most DACs will provide similar output voltage of 1.5-2.1VRMS. Since you listen in the range of 0 to 0.6VRMS, no DAC on the market will provide exactly what you hope to achieve. Thus, decreasing source volume is the only strategy to pursue. Good luck!
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post #410 of 557

ok, that's interesting.  When you mention that I should reduce DAC volume, do you just mean that I can lower the volume slider on my PC, or that I should get a different DAC that happens to output at lower VRMS?

 

If the former,  I have a question about this, because I've seen a lot of conflicting information on the forums about PC volume. If I reduce the PC volume to 50% am I losing any sort of signal integrity when I amplify it back up?  Most threads that refer to the source (PC) volume suggest that it should be 100% so that's what I traditionally do.

post #411 of 557

I'm slow in the mornings... I just reread your post that says that there are no DACs will the VRMS I am looking for.  So I guess I just have the question about lowering pc source volume and re-amplifying.

post #412 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manhole View Post
 

I'm slow in the mornings... I just reread your post that says that there are no DACs will the VRMS I am looking for.  So I guess I just have the question about lowering pc source volume and re-amplifying.

 

Yes, you'll find contradicting information in this area. Short answer: it's perfectly fine to reduce PC volume as long as the DAC has a sufficiently high dynamic range (free of hiss).

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post #413 of 557

Thanks for the clarification.  What led me to buy the element for home listening is that when I plugged my headphones directly into my computer headphone jack, the sound was terrible.  I could immediately tell very clearly that the sound was inferior.  When I connected a portable dac/amp that I have, the sound instantly improved drastically.  I am not one to generally hear night/day differences in audio stuff, and I am generally very skeptical when it comes to some of the more intangible/subjective stuff that audiophiles tend to argue about.  I try to limit my equipment choices to things that address a clear problem (too much treble, audible distortion, clipping, etc) that I can clearly detect.  

 

This afternoon I've been playing around, and it seems like I have to lower my pc volume to roughly 30-40% in order for me to use the volume knob on the Element at 9 o'clock (with my lower impedance headphones). At these settings, I am easily out of the range of the channel imbalance, and I think it sounds pretty good.  Easily better than the raw headphone jack previously mentioned, and I can't detect hiss or noise on the amount of casual listening I've done so far.

 

So I guess if that setup doesn't raise any alarm bells I'll stick it out.  It feels slightly un-intuitive to lower the PC volume and raise the volume knob on the amp, but in any case it's an improvement over the onboard pc audio.  I just worry I'm overlooking an obvious solution to my problem that doesn't have me potentially neutering this device from operating optimally.

post #414 of 557

The more I listen the more I feel its a punchy and controlled sounding unit. first impressions are changing a bit.

Because I don't have the LPS yet for my pulse infinity, I reach for this a lot more than my infinity. There is a lot better balance with the JDS. Warmer sounding. However, I wish it was a bit more dynamic and sweet sounding. It is always an engaging listen but there isn't much difference in sound levels. Most of the music seems upfront. That is probably what I meant by wanting a blacker background and used the wrong words at first. Overall though I am very satisfied still. On a first listen it wowed me. Its just that my more laid back songs can sound a bit forced at times. 


Edited by grizzlybeast - 11/16/15 at 9:00am
post #415 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzlybeast View Post
 

The more I listen the more I feel its a punchy and controlled sounding unit. first impressions are changing a bit.

Because I don't have the LPS yet for my pulse infinity, I reach for this a lot more than my infinity. There is a lot better balance with the JDS. Warmer sounding. However, I wish it was a bit more dynamic and sweet sounding. It is always an engaging listen but there isn't much difference in sound levels. Most of the music seems upfront. That is probably what I meant by wanting a blacker background and used the wrong words at first. Overall though I am very satisfied still. On a first listen it wowed me. Its just that my more laid back songs can sound a bit forced at times. 


Really digging your impressions... :popcorn:

 

Trying to wrap up a review myself. One more amplifier en route to compare against. I think it takes a lot to surpass - meaning you have to go up-up-up in cost to get something considerably better. But your in-depth analysis does provide more insights for people to understand.

post #416 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheldaze View Post
 


Really digging your impressions... :popcorn:

 

Trying to wrap up a review myself. One more amplifier en route to compare against. I think it takes a lot to surpass - meaning you have to go up-up-up in cost to get something considerably better. But your in-depth analysis does provide more insights for people to understand.

I agree. Its got tons going for it. 

post #417 of 557
I've made a video with brief impressions.
post #418 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzlybeast View Post
 

I agree. Its got tons going for it. 

I had the standard Geek Pulse, and ended up accepting a trade for the JDS Element. I didn't really realize how bright and tinny the Geek Pulse sounded until I used the Element. All the ranges of frequency seem more in tune and balanced on the Element. The Element is like (minus the slightly lean towards brightness the O2 sometimes had) a super-O2 in a way. I kinda wish I still had my NFB-28 to compare, as this reminds me a lot of that amp.

post #419 of 557

its interesting that the geek pulse has been getting not so favourable reviews, while the geek outs have glowing ones.

how does the element compare to your NFB-15? 

post #420 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayeshrc View Post
 

its interesting that the geek pulse has been getting not so favourable reviews, while the geek outs have glowing ones.

how does the element compare to your NFB-15? 


The NFB-15 is a darkish, warmish amp that a decently raw sound. I like the Element more, however. I've sold the NFB-15 just recently. For the price though, the NFB-15 is damn good.

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