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Mine has superficial imperfections. I don't care. You're weird about it.
I examined very carefully shinning a torch onto it. Those lines could be barely seen. However they are not visible to naked eyes. Said that I am very happy with the sound quality of the amp for its neutrality and totally black background. I suggested John, if he ever develops a premium case for this marvel, design it in a way for existing users to upgrade easily. He took the suggestion positively.
Many users keep its single ended performance above that of Drop THX 789 amp, which is quite an achievement at this price point. However I agree JDS Labs should have kept the option open for users to have a premium enclosure.
@moriez - Thanks for your email and link. I recall the recent message from your retailer. Please find my unedited response from Aug 23 pasted below:
Thanks for bringing this customer concern to my attention. Yes, all Atom enclosures exhibit the marks you have identified. These are flow marks from the injection molding process which cannot be avoided in the given design.
Within the first months of release, customer feedback indicated a few areas for possible improvement:
1) Gate ejection mark on the volume knob [Resolved in March 2019 batch]
2) Injection molding marks on top surface [Resolving in September 2019 batch]
3) Flow marks on front of enclosure [Acknowledged]
The knob update was integrated by March. I am pleased to report that marks on the top surface have been successfully eliminated in the production batch arriving today.
There is no ETA for item (3) due to isolated customer comments and high risk of altering the mold (problem could worsen or persist, while delaying production). Let me know if there is more I can do to help.
Your Atom was built in August. If you would like a flawless top, feel free to email and I can mail a Top from the latest September batch to your retailer.
Appreciate the swift reaction on a Saturday! Reading now what you explained to the retailer is soothing. I'm content I brought it up and think that knowing the background is beneficial to owners and those interested in the amp.
Speak to you soon John
JDS has the best customer service you will find. That is a fact.
You are welcome John!
I read these observations about the imperfections of the enclosure and I have just one thing to say - my Atom is perfect. I bought it in June or July and the plastic enclosure is built very well without any visual imperfections. No dents, no artifacts from molding, nothing. I am very lucky I guess. I think the build is very adequate and I personally wouldn’t pay more for a premium enclosure. The sound is fabulous. The vocals to me, when using a DAC with Atom, sound more natural than both TXH 789 and Burson Fun. I sold my TXH and kept the Atom. The only negative would be related to the preamp of the Atom. The preamp to speakers in Burson Fun is definitely better, I can hear it. The Atom is strictly for headphones and is fantastic.
I have an early example from November(launch day) and haven't noticed any molding marks at all, even under flashlight. Regardless great to hear the response from jds, I know many have said it, but they're a truly wonderful company with some of the best customer service and interaction I've ever experienced.
I just received one Thursday and there were no noticeable blemishes but the volume knob around 2 o'clock has some grind to it until maxed. I use it to power some andro golds so I never go beyond 10 o'clock anyhow. Very happy with it so far.
I've been intrigued with this little Amp for some time now and was about to pull the trigger and get one of them but I just got aline on a very lightly used Beyerdynamic A1. I only use Iems so I'm curious what you all might have to say.... Atom or A1
I'd be using it with a Topping D50 to power Xelentos, Tin P1s, IMR R2 Aten and oBravo Cupids. Would either of these amps be a better choice?
Ok. So I know I'm late to this game but got the atom delivered today. For the most part I'm very happy with it... but ... how long did you guys typically burn it in for the bass to fill up?
I also only have 2hrs on it. Reason I ask is I used to run my cayin n5ii line out(no eq) into my speaker amp. Now I run it into the atom and the atom feeds the speaker amp. I have definitely lost some bass. I can easily go back and forth between the connections to compare and the n5ii is not a bass heavy dap.
You are correct. The Atom's preamp is not good. I am using Burson Fun as preamp and it is spectacular but the preamp of the Atom does not give remarkable mids or sufficient bass, sadly. I use the Atom as headphone amp only. You have two other options. To use a dedicated, preamp like Shiit Saga or to install Equilizer APO and to increase or decrease certain frequencies such as the bass and or others system wide.
Thank you for the quick and to the point response. Decisions. I need more than one input and the burson fun doesn't have that, if I remember correctly.
I might sell the Fun and the Khadas and to keep the Atom and Topping D50s. I like the Atom headphone amp slightly more for headphones than the Fun and like the Fun as preamp a lot more as preamp for speakers but is silly to have two DACs and two amps. At RMAF this year I auditioned Shiit Saga preamp and I really liked it soundwise and feature wise. I was really impressed with no audibile sound degradation (and the aluminum remote is convenient too). But not the tube based Saga, the solid state Saga preamp. I don't have anything against tubes, just in this case solid state sounded much better to my ears. It has five inputs and two outputs and it can work in passive or active mode. I am thinking to have Topping D50S as input and use one output to the Atom amp and the other output to the speakers amp.
I run a Topping D50s into the Atom. The D50(s) can operate as preamp and it provides USB coax and optical inputs. I too only use the Atom as headphone Amp but this might work for you and the D50 is a stellar DAC. Actually have 2 of them, one of which is at the the center of my living room AV setup feeding into a B&O System