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OL Switcher

  1. Mshenay
    Passive PreAmp Perfection
    Written by Mshenay
    Published Nov 7, 2017
    Pros - Size, Function, Weight, Versatility, Volume Knob
    Cons - ONLY 2 Inputs & Outputs

    It must be MAGIC, or maybe it's a BIRD or a PLANE or SUPER
    MAN? Actually, it's none of those things. It's something better, it's a Pre-Amp! Specifically the JDS Labs OL Switcher to be exact, and at $45 it's by far the one of the best purchase you can make for your system!

    What it does is allow you to switch between 2 source inputs and two outputs, with 1 set of RCA and 3.5mm Inputs and outputs the OL Switcher makes it easy to manage multiple pieces of equipment. It's one of those little things you always mean to get, but some how never get around to purchasing, I know for my self I've been meaning to get a dual input/output pre amp for quite some time... but for what ever reason I never got around to it. Though it's sheer functionality and simplicity make me wonder how I subjected my self to such time consuming manual wire swapping over the years!


    Simple put this is a product that will best serve any of you who have multiple amps or digital sources. For example, if your feeding a single line out of your DAC into a headphone amp that has Pre Outs to a pair of self powered speakers, having the Pre Amp in between makes it even easier to switch.

    An having to use the same amp for your headphones an speakers, isn't really all that bad... except it limits how and where you'll place both set's of equipment! For me having the OL Switcher, gave me the freedom to place both my Headphone amp and my self powered speaker in a position where they individually serve me best! Where as before I had to compromise an settle on a mutually beneficial spot on my desk for both. An at the end of the day having the OL Switcher just gives me that much more freedom to organize and optimize the space I have!

    An while many of you may not be doing comparisons like I do, you'll still enjoy having the ability to quickly feed a portable source right into your desktop amp. Maybe you don't want to turn your computer or laptop on just to get to your music, if your a student like my you know how easy it is to get distracted from school work, especially when you have the ENTIRE web at your finger tips! Again, having the OL Switcher, I can easily feed the output of my iRvier H140 right into my the JDS Labs EL Dac without having to manage a ton of cables OR even turn my PC on! That means I can still enjoy some pleasant music while I'm doing my nightly reading for class.


    If you notice, I've got my speaker in the center of my monitor set up with it being fed right from the Switcher, what's no evident though is the input from my NFB10ES2 nor the input from the EL Dac, so on one side I have a rig that's entirely dependent on my PC, on the other I have one that is entirely separate from my PC. An in both cases, regardless of what my source is I have access to my powered speaker and do my Vali 1 via the OL Switcher.

    Certainly, the flexibility and freedom gained from the OL Switcher far exceeds the cost. An for those more discerning ears, I can say it's impact on overall quality is quite marginal. Yes, while it does ever so slightly soften the inputs fed into it, I found it to be more than transparent enough. I used my HD 800 to compare the out of my Ember II with and without the OL Switcher in between, ultimately I found it's impact is not enough to hinder a critical listen or comparison. At worst, there was maybe 1 out of 50 songs where a previously apparent transient was lost or smeared.

    I'll admit, if I'm comparing two flagship level pieces of equipment where 1 out of 50 is some times the deciding factor, I wouldn't use it. But for the majority of my listening, with both desktop and portable products in and around the entry and mid range performance points the OL Swticher's function FAR exceeds it's almost non existent impact. For level matched comparisons, the time it takes to unplug from one source and plug in another is often more detrimental than just flipping the switch on the OL Switcher.

    While I don't personally do second to second A/B listening, I do like to listen to songs I know well 3-4 times on a headphone I'm intimately familiar with before doing any level matched comparisons. Having the OL Switcher makes my work just that much easier especially for Dac/Amp/DAP comparisons!

    Just as important as function is build quality, & the OL Switcher is rock solid.


    There's little to no play from any of the inputs or outputs! I get a nice solid click when I'm plugging into the 3.5mm's and good grip from the RCA's. There's also sufficient spacing for both thicker and thinner Jack Sheathings as well, which is one of those things you don't often consider. Many of my nicer Blue Jean Cable cables have a more streamline physical design, but my Mono Price cables have thicker wires and sheathings in some cases! Especially that massive 3.5mm to 3.5mm male to male cable! Quality aside, those things have lasted my YEARS with little to no wear and tear, but they're big! An with some gear it's very difficult to fit both it and another 3.5mm cable side my side. Again though, with the OL Swticher, the crew at JDS Labs have taken these kinds of little details into consideration and made sure there's no issues with crowding! An most important of all, the Volume knob feels amazing! Super smooth with just enough resistance and weight to it, changes can be made precisely and quickly without any fuss!


    All in all, if you've ever even considered getting a Pre-Amp I highly recommend you do so! At only $45 I can say the OL Switcher is an absolutely worthwhile investment for any one whose managing multiple systems in a single space. Not only does it make cable management easier, but also helps cut down on wear and tear! Rather than plugging and unplugging cables from one piece of equipment to the other, the OL Switcher act's as a hub for all your gear! From a budding audiophile in his or her dorm, to even a more established audio/video enthusiast the OL Switcher is one of those products that's brings a level of connectivity, simplicity and freedom that every one will appreciate!
      Raphael DeLaGhetto likes this.