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JDS Labs Bass Boost CMoy v2.02 Impressions

Discussion in 'Archived Blogs' started by thegame21x, Mar 5, 2010.
  1. TheGame21x

    Headphone amps are pretty much standard equipment in the setups of audiophiles everywhere. Over the past few weeks, I've been doing a lot of research on headphone amps and come across a number of different amps in all shapes and sizes but the one type of amp that piqued my interest was the "CMoy" amp. This type of amp, designed years ago by Chu Moy is an unconventional but powerful amp design that can be made by anyone with the right parts and a soldering iron. Well, I don't consider myself one of the handiest of guys with a soldering iron at the moment so, instead of taking a chance and trying to build one myself, I decided to buy one that had been pre-made from a company called JDS Labs. After a few hours of listening, I'm impressed.


    My previous experience with headphone amps is definitely limited, as the only ones I've ever owned are the Fiio E5 and E1 portable amps. I decided to get these after buying my RE0s because of their relatively high impedance and thinking that they would need a bit more power than my iPod Touch could provide on its own. The Fiio amps are good for what they are but they really don’t pack a big enough punch to add that special something to most of my headphones. So, I decided to pick up a more powerful amp that I could use to power the headphones I currently have and those I add to my collection in the future. A CMoy amp was a natural choice because they are plenty powerful, offer great sound quality and are inexpensive. As long as you get a good one that is.

    And let me tell you, the JDS Labs CMoy BB is definitely good.

    It would be good enough if it merely amplified the signal going to my headphones enough to unleash their full sonic potential but the one thing that makes this CMoy stand out from the average homemade CMoy amp you can find on eBay for varying amounts is in its very name. I am of course talking about the bass boost feature.


    As you can see in the picture above, there's an internal toggle switch that boosts the low end considerably. The Fiio E5 had a similar feature but it was nowhere near as impactful or enjoyable as the boost generated by this amp. Toggled off, the frequency response is quite flat and neutral; coloring the sound no more than any other amp I’ve used but with the bass boost feature on, the bass comes alive. This feature turns my normally neutral RE0s into bass monsters. The RE0s already had good bass detail so the result of this amplification merely allowed that aspect of the RE0’s performance stand out. As much as I enjoyed my RE0s before, I enjoy them even more now with the increased bass response which benefits my tastes in music.

    Honestly, the bass boost feature is almost worth the price of admission by itself. For people who desire more transparent sound, as I said before, without the bass boost feature toggled on, the frequency response is flat which is good if you have headphones that already have enough bass for your tastes. Seeing as I love my bass and the RE0s are relatively light in that regard (but not too much so that it sounds imbalanced), this was a natural choice for me. The geek factor of owning a headphone amp that’s enclosed in an Altoids tin is a nice bonus too.


    Overall, despite my limited experience with headphone amplifiers, I can tell that this one is pretty good. I don't expect that this can compete with the likes of more expensive amplifiers that can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars (!) but for the price (about $70 including shipping); the performance is excellent so far and I'm sure that this competes well above its price range. I’ve heard that many headphone amplifiers (as well as this one) need a few dozen hours of burn in before they sound their best but even now, I’m definitely impressed. This is an easy recommendation for people on a budget who need a little more juice to power their high impedance headphones and/or would like to add a bit more “oomph” to the low end.
  2. brokenbeat
    This particular cmoy takes the audio signal from my fuze and straight up rapes it!! Talk about an eargasm...
    Now I got bass fa dayz
  3. brokenbeat
    only downfall is that the amp comes w/ "customized" gain depending if you have low or high impedance phones.  I got mine tailored for low impedance phones, but I do have some high impedance onces that I would like to use with this cmoy amp.  Not sure how or if you can reconfigure the gain setting when using different cans.
  4. drew.haynes
    Google CMOY Tutorial to get to Tangent's page. If you fiddle around in there you'll find where he talks about swapping resistors (R4 in the schematic I believe) for altering gain.
  5. faichiu
    can this thing be moded to use rechargable battery?
  6. sluker


    You don't need to mod it just buy a rechargable 9v.
  7. Eric_C


    Might be easier to just order a PA2V2 instead.
  8. faichiu
    PA2V2 has better sound and output power?
  9. Eric_C
    Can't say for sure. Besides, it depends on your preference (for "better" sound) and headphones (for "better" output).
  10. faichiu
    do you own both?  can you compare the sound between both?  Thanks!
  11. Eric_C
    No I don't have both, just the PA2V2, and I don't have any of your headphones, so I can't do any meaningful comparisons anyway.
    Have you looked up the impressions on each amp individually?
  12. drsamdc
    I'm an IEM guy who inherited some very nice circumaural headphones. There is really nothing in my collection of IEMs that benefit from an amp as I've discovered by experience. My Cowon J3 for example has plenty of power to drive anything you'd consider for portable use.
    I have returned amps and never missed them. The headphones needed some oomph however. I purchased the Cmoy V2 and love it. It's an amp. It amplifies, it doesn't hiss, it's transparent, it's reasonably priced and built like a battleship out of quality parts by guys that know what they're doing. Even the Altoids tin doesn't bother me, I mean who cares? The bass boost with my RE-0s and Carvins is perfect. I'm listening to stuff with stuff I'd essentially given up on and really enjoying it. I really like this little guy. And they drive my headphones out of their mind.
  13. mathyou
    Does anyone know if the Panasonic RP-htf600-s will be able to handle this? I know this has the bass boost option, I just don't want to blow my cans out. Also, will this increase the actual sound quality? Or can I achieve the same "sound quality" with the regular EQ (obviously I understand this amp is also for boosting sound level itself, but that's not a huge factor for me).

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