OL DAC & O2 AMP STACK
OL DAC & O2 AMP STACK
Many of you already have an acquaintance with JDS Labs because of their widely popular O2 and CMOY amps. I’ll look at the new OL DAC and O2 stack today! Interview with JDS is also available to read at www.QuantumEars.com
- AK4490EQ DAC
- USB Type B and TOSLINK Input
- RCA Output
- Case Dimensions: 11 x 8 x 3 cm
- Weight: 370 grams
- RCA Input
- 3.5mm Output
- Max Output @33 Ohms: 613 mW
- Max Output @150 Ohms: 355 mW
- Max Output @600 Ohms: 88 mW
- Dimensions: 11 x 8 x 3 cm
- Weight: 310 grams
Designed, sourced and manufactured in USA. Packaging is quite straightforward, the stack comes in a static bag inside a cardboard box. Like the packaging, the design itself is simple and practical. JDS aimed for one thing. Efficiency. Both of the devices have excellent thermal capabilities so they run cool and occupies little to no space. Switches and plugs feel solid, well made. One thing I can’t seem to wrap my around is why RCA plugs are not aligned? I can’t use my ultrashort RCA interconnect with them because of this. It’s not a big deal though, I am sure if you leave a note they’d adjust plugs accordingly.
OL DAC offers a rare feature for a relatively affordable price tag. Optical input! Good news folks! We will not be enslaved by petty USBs anymore., I always prefer Optical because with my high-end desktop computer USB audio is tricky, USB ports are not as clean as I’d like, fortunately my motherboard offers an optical out so I pair it with OL DAC without any jitter/noise issues.
Oh by the way, OL DAC is driverless! Just plug it in & you’re ready to go!
Unfortunately I ran into several problems with the shipping & customs. They flagged the shipment “volatile/flammable” and in result this delayed the review quite a long time.. In every step, JDS was understanding, patient and solution-oriented. Thanks again Jude!
Transparent. This is perhaps only label that we could put on the JDS Stack. Both OL DAC & O2 sounds raw. Clean. Clear. If you’re looking for pure performance, you’re in the right place. If you’re looking for fun signature, look elsewhere. Converting the signal from digital to analog, nothing more. No colouration, no particular band elevation, no emphasize, nothing. Pair it with a studio monitor and you’ll have the perfect mix/master combo.
Low frequencies are tight and snappy. “JDS Stack” does not overdo the low section, you hear exactly what is in the recording. Entire bass freq line is flat. This results in accurate reproduction but it is not as musical as, say, something like Centrance Dacport. The bass detail level and attack/decay is impressive as well.
When we look at the mid region, it is easy to see that they are similar to rest of the spectrum. They’re accurate, articulate and linear. Tonal balance is impressive. No out-of-place elements in the presentation. Lower mids are perfectly balanced, there is no sign of any humps. Upper mids are similar as well, they’re not boosted therefore no sign of harshness. Cymbal & Hi-hats are crisp and well controlled.
Treble has excellent control just like the rest of the spectrum and I did not encounter with congestion of any kind. (I even tortured it with Blind Guardian - Mirror Mirror)
Detail-wise it is ahead of many and it offers great value for price.
Treble extension and attack/decay is really impressive.
Instrument Separation, PRaT, Soundstage
Soundstage is wide, rather than deep. Instrument separation is good, instruments have plenty air and space between them. Presentation does not suffer from PRAT issues, which is quite amazing at this price because many do. JDS Stack’s background is vantablack.
They’re in the same pool but there are some distinguishing factors between them. Modi&Magni’s soundstage encircles you, JDS stack does not. JDS Stack have more distinctive soundstage area. Blacker background. Detail wise JDS is 1 step ahead. I find JDS tad better in the control area, especially during complicated metal passages.
Audioquest Dragonfly Red
Red sounds tad lighter, little more emphasis on the treble section. Similar soundstage. JDS stack is much more powerful. JDS stack offers much better PRAT and handles congestion without any “screeching”. Also compared to DF Black, JDS combo sounds relaxed and spacious.
O2 vs H10 (both with oldac)
H10 adds warmth to the sound, low frequencies get slight boost and authority, treble takes a step back compared to O2. Both are great, detail-wise but with good recordings H10 is more revealing. H10’s soundstage is deep rather than wide.
When you add the performance, features and JDS support into the equation, OL DAC & O2 combo is a no-brainer. You can even customize them to your liking. Even the gain. Today, the JDS stack is inseparable from my desktop rig. It really doesn’t matter whether I am gaming or listening. I know that I am in good hands.
Thanks for reading.