JDS Labs EL / OL DAC Owners (AK4490EQ DAC's with filter switch)

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by ostewart, Jun 29, 2017.
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  1. Oscar-HiFi
    I installed the DIP switch and it's handy but the differences are very subtle.

    Both the EL and OL DAC's are superb for their prices
  2. TheGame21x
    I ordered a B-Stock OL DAC a couple days ago and it arrived on my doorstep today. I got it hooked up to my Magni 3 and, while I've only listened to it for about an hour or so, I'm pretty pleased with it. It's very smooth and musical, living up to the AKM "velvet sound" moniker. All in all, it's a very good sounding DAC and well worth the price. So far, I mean. I doubt my opinion will change much after extended listening sessions.
    Jimster480 and Oscar-HiFi like this.
  3. geoxile
    Any chance this and the objective2 will go on sale for black Friday? Thinking about replacing the schiit stack with the OL/O2 stack with the switcher.
  4. Louis Felix
    What schiit do you have...? I'm not an expert, but my time researching these products makes me think you won't get much of a difference! Maybe try to find something higher-end second-hand?
  5. geoxile
    Modi 2u and magni 2u. Honestly it's more of an aesthetic thing since I want a switch that matches the DAC and amp. The el stack is also an option since the el amp has an output switch and the DAC has optical in and analog in, but the price is steep so eh.
  6. Louis Felix
    Yeah I get that (mehehe). Maybe look for black Friday sales on those EL DAC and amp... Heard the upgrade is worth it ! (but I haven't actually heard the devices)
  7. Mshenay Contributor
    Honestly, I really love the EL Dac both functionally and aesthetically. JDS Labs products always look super slick!!! An while most people aren't going to spend the extra cash to use Coaxial, it's a handy option to have. The USB input is also excellent as well. The overall sound quality compete's well again'st my GO V2+ with even basic entry level amps like my Vali 1.

    DAC wise, I've not heard the intro Schiit stack... but sites else where put the GO V2+ combo unit above the entry level Schiit Stack, so using the GO v2+ as a common reference, I feel the EL Dac pair'd with the right amp can match and out perform even the GO V2+ an for less. @geoxile what headphones are you using?
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  8. musicfan145
    Wouldn’t it make more sense to buy a Schiit Sys for $49?
  9. Mshenay Contributor
    maybe but then it's silver on silver, and black on black looks so much slicker in my book ;3
    musicfan145 likes this.
  10. musicfan145
    Weird USB question: I’m trying out an OL DAC, primarily for use with an iPhone 8 Plus through the USB 2.0 CCK. I first started using it with a new 6’ Mediabridge USB cable and was getting error messages saying the device was incompatible. I tried the USB troubleshooting steps on the JDS website and got it to connect, but it was behaving erratically. I tried connecting it to a Raspberry Pi as a Roon endpoint using the same cable, and it worked fine. I went back and tried connecting it to the iPhone using an older USB cable I had sitting around, and I got even stranger error messages and stranger device behavior. Neither of these cables had problems with the other DACs I’ve tried.

    I decided, as a last bit of due diligence before sending it back, to try it with the 3’ Monoprice USB cable included in the box... and it works perfectly with this cable!

    So my question is this: What are the exact requirements for a USB cable to work with the OL DAC and the basic, unpowered iPhone CCK? Unfortunately, the 3’ cable is too short. Obviously, I could just order a 6’ Monoprice cable, but is the length of the cable the issue? I don’t mind spending $30 or so for a fancy USB cable, but I want to make sure it will actually work.

    (I should note that I’m not trying to start a debate about USB cables and sound quality. My question is concerned entirely with the reliable function of the cable with these devices.)

  11. jseaber
    Sporadic error messages and inconsistent behavior from iOS is most often due to the CCK. It's a mystery to me how many different versions of the CCK exist, and unfortunately, only some are reliable. I keep a few of the best CCK model #'s at the office, and they just work.

    To answer this question, you'll need to study characteristic impedance, which I'll abbreviate here as 'Z'. In short, there are no such "requirements".

    OL DAC's USB input stage fully adheres to USB specifications. Its D+/D- traces have differential characteristic impedance of 90 ohms, manufactured in cooperation with our PCB supplier's requirements. USB spec allows for Z deviation of +/-10% IIRC. Suppose a USB host (the CCK) is slightly above or below the target of 90 ohms. And suppose the USB cable also has its own impedance discontinuities along its path. Every point of impedance variation along the USB path causes signal reflections. Digital signals are actually analog signals, interpolated as 0s and 1s by the receiver. With several reflections along a path, interpolation is likely to be erroneous. The longer the USB cable, the more likely it is for the digital signal to experience unrecoverable errors. Even if the USB receiving end (a DAC) is perfectly ideal and in compliance with USB spec, there's no guarantee the digital signal will be recovered after travelling along an out-of-spec signal pathway.

    Real world advice: Try another CCK. Some model #s are more reliable than others.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
    musicfan145 and Mshenay like this.
  12. geoxile
    Right now i'm using an AD700, mostly for gaming. I've been meaning to upgrade to a pair of R70Xs but I haven't found the right time to do it... Too many other hobbies. If there are any deals on black friday I'll probably upgrade then, or put it off until January, I also need to upgrade the speakers which are just using onboard audio now.

    Also an option but I personally prefer the brushed black, and the JDSlab switcher has more connections.
    Mshenay likes this.
  13. Mshenay Contributor
    With the AD700 and possibility for an R70X upgrade, I think you'd appreciate the naturalness of the EL Dac pair'd with Hybrid Tube Amp, I'd sell the Modi and keep the Magni Around in case you ever want to try Planar Magnetics. The multiple inputs of the OL Switcher are nice, in terms of keeping with the black on black there are many hybrid tube options depending on your budget
  14. musicfan145
    Great explanation. The impedance differences between devices would seem to explain why the cable would work with one device and not another. The impedance variations/signal reflections would also explain why a 3’ cheap cable might work better than a 6’ cheap cable.

    This CCK has worked flawlessly with a Dragonfly Red and several desktop DACs I have tried out recently (including the OL DAC with 3’ cable), so maybe I will try a better quality 1.5m USB cable first, then the CCK.
  15. Mshenay Contributor
    Welp we got a TV today and the EL Dac is now serving in that system! I also grabbed some LS 308's from Sweetwater, wanted to get the 305's but the sale price on the 8s was stellar so I figured the extra 8 hrz down low would be worth while!

    In a few days I'll have my first in home speaker listen with the EL Dac an OL Switcher ^^ already know what Movie I'm going to watch :D
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