Intro: JDS Labs, Is an American company based in Collinsville, Illinois. They make headphone amplifiers & DAC’s. Mr. John Seaber is the man behind JDS Labs. We might remember JDS Labs when they produced the popular cmoy-BB amp & later on, their Objective2 which was a game-changing amplifier. JDS Labs has also manufactures their own products: C5/D Portable amplifier/DAC, Element desktop Amp/Dac along with ofcourse their Cmoy BB amp.
Special mention is about my experience with Mr. John. From my experience & interactions with him, he is the kindest & very prompt person I have ever spoken to in audio world. He answers to all questions in person & makes sure doubts are cleared. I’m a proud owner of JDS Labs O2 amp, (my first headphone amplifier, in early days of my Head-Fi days) Enjoyed it a lot, had a wonderful time with it. O2 holds a special place for my ears.
My profound thanks to Mr.John for arranging a sample unit of ODAC RevB for my evaluation. The ODAC got updated in circuit board. The latest model is ODAC Revesion B, improvised on previous & original design of ODAC. So ODAC Rev.B is basically designed to supplement component shortage & along with few minor yet audible improvements.
About ODAC: ODAC is the DAC counterpart of the famous O2 amplifier, & was released in 2012. The ODAC was jointly developed by NwAvGuy (The legendary engineer who created O2 amp) and Yoyodyne Consulting . Yoyodyne generated ODAC’s circuit board, and NwAvGuy provided performance analysis. Yoyodyne has remained responsible for all production engineering & distribution. ODAC was certified as Objective by NwAvGuy; Yoyodyne generated the design and controls its manufacturing.
The new Rev.B uses SA9023 & PCM5102A, and the Low dropout regulator has been updated to a ceramic stable Analog Devices ADP151 equivalent part. Fixes include: Added 16x vias to USB support pads to improve mechanical strength of mini-USB jack, new improvised circuit board & locked EEPROM to prevent IC failures, fixed USB supply stability, & minor performance improvements.
Technical specifications of ODAC Rev. B:
Freq. Response 20Hz-20kHz +/- 0.04dB
THD+N 100 hz -0.15 dBFS 0.0028%
THD+N 20 hz -0.15 dBFS 0.0015%
THD+N 10 Khz -0.15 dBFS 0.0024%
IMD CCIF 19/20 Khz -6.03 dBFS 0.0015%
IMD SMPTE -6.03 dBFS 0.0015%
Noise A-Weighted dBu 24/96 -103 dBu
Dynamic Range (A-Weighted) > 112 dB
Linearity Error -90 dBFS 24/96 -0.08 dB
Crosstalk -10 dBFS 100K 3.5mm -86.40 dB
USB Jitter Components 11025Hz -112.3dB
Maximum Output Line Out 100K 2.1 VRMS
Audio Formats (Bit/Freq): 16/44, 16/48, 16/88.2, 16/96, 24/44, 24/48, 24/96
Native Driver OS Support: Windows XP & Later, OS X x86, Linux
Distortion: < 0.005%
Interface: USB, Audio Class 1
Output: 3.5mm (or RCA), line level
Power: Self-powered by USB
Packaging & Accessories: The ODAC comes packed in JDS Labs stamped strong black cardboard box. It withstood a rough journey across the globe, yet remained in perfect shape. That explains everything.
Instructions: Contains instruction about operating the device & some warranty information.
USB Cable: Mini USB cable with ferrite bead, Monoprice brand, has very good quality with 28+1P/24+2C AWG gauge, matches very well with ODAC.
Design and Build: It has an aluminium case, & the ODAC Rev.B which Im reviewing is the RCA version (with RCA connection) The RCA version ODAC is a tad little longer than the regular ODAC with RCA jacks being connected to ODAC via soldered wires. This version also retains its regular 3.5mm jack. The Rev.B physically exactly same as the original ODAC, & has same dimensions. On one end we have both Mini USB connector & 3.5mm output. On the other end (for RCA versions) we have RCA output jacks.
The DAC itself is very small, nimble & has small footprint. Can also be used as portable DAC, as it is self powered. It does not require any drivers & works on low current draw, which is a plus for compatibility with portable android smartphones. The Rev.B has the same (or even better) benchmark reliability, performance than the ODAC.
Points : 10 out of 10, Excellent, very practical, feasible & well implemented.
Sound: The ODAC Rev.B puts out a very impressive performance, especially its transparency & soundstage. It does not any particular coloration of its own. Soundstage is amazing. It has a fully circular 3D imaging. Detail retrieval, and dynamics are excellent. Overall the sonic presentation contains high level of transparency and accuracy. Absolutely zero audible hiss/noise, and zero EMI pickup.
Benchmark performance for the price. It has supreme value for money. In practical conditions, the performance of ODAC Rev.B is perhaps is beaten only by fancy multi-hundred dollar DAC. Amazing clarity & transparency, it completes the objective parameters set for an ideal DAC. Overall, ODAC Rev.B puts up a highly impressive performance.
Points: a full 10 out of 10, Simply amazing. Delivers beyond expectations.
Comparing ODAC with ODAC Revision B: Physically they are both having exactly same dimension. Just components & signal paths in some areas have been updated. Audibly, it is very hard to tell the difference between the two. But Rev.B definitely has slight audible edge over original ODAC. Practical differences are: ODAC Rev.B supports 88.2 KHZ & has higher 2.1VRMS output, SA9023 ensures better compatibility with android & I devices. Redesigned circuit means bullet-proof reliability. The 2.1 VRMS really helps, providing decisively better output. In case of O2 amp, Rev.B helps in more powerful driving of headphones & a lower gain of 1X/3.3X as optimum.
| SPECIFICATIONS|| ODAC|| ODAC RevB|
| Frequency Response, 20-20kHz|| +/-0.14 dB|| +/-0.04 dB|
| THD+N 100 Hz, -0.15dBFS|| 0.0022%|| 0.0013%|
| THD+N 20 Hz -0.15dBFS|| 0.0017%|| 0.0015%|
| THD+N 10 kHz -0.15dBFS|| 0.0056%|| 0.0024%|
| Noise, A-Weighted|| -102 dBu|| – 103 dBu|
| Dynamic Range (A-Weighted)|| > 111 dB|| > 112 dB|
| Dynamic Range (Un-Weighted)|| > 107 dB|| > 109 dB|
| Crosstalk @ 1kHz, -10dBFS (3.5mm)|| -80.4 dB|| -86.4 dB|
| Sum of Jitter Components @ 11025 Hz, -1dBFS|| -105.8 dB|| -112.3 dB|
| IMD CCIF, -6.03 dBFS, 19/20kHz, 24/96k|| 0.0027%|| 0.0005%|
| IMD SMPTE -2 dBFS, 24/96k|| 0.0008%|| 0.0008%|
| Linearity @ -90dBFS|| -0.09 dB|| -0.08 dB|
| Maximum output|| 2.00 VRMS|| 2.10 VRMS|
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Conclusion: I consider ODAC Rev.B as an exception DAC, because in my experience I never came across a DAC as reliable, as functional, & as performing, yet affordable as it. The Rev.B continues the legacy & reputation of ODAC forward, with even better level of practicality. Overall it performs extremely well. Highly impressed. The ODAC Rev.B has a benchmark performance. Objective: Completed
Overall, I can award a full 10/10 for ODAC Rev.B owing to its supreme performance in all aspects. My strong recommendation for all enthusiasts who want a truly objective performance.