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. ostewart
    My EL DAC has been happy in my home setup for a few weeks now, it's a superb DAC :D

    IMG_20171124_074514.jpg IMG_20171124_074726.jpg
  2. Mshenay Contributor
    That's excellent! I'm really impressed with how well the EL Dac handles Optical input, especially compared to my own NFB10ES2, really it does a better job with a Optical Source than my balanced dac does, seeing as the TV we got only has Optical Out it's serving as the perfect compliment! Though I'm going to be needing a second OL Switcher my self! Got some JBL LS 308s and I intended to have the OL Swticher control the both!
  3. musicfan145
    Hi @jseaber, I noticed that the OL DAC has a volume/gain control that can be adjusted with the iPhone and with Roon. Can you give us any information about this? Is it analog? Digital? Lossless digital?
  4. jseaber
    @musicfan145 - This is the OS/driver level volume adjustment. It can be disabled in firmware, but disabling is equivalent to setting volume to 100%, so we prefer to give everyone freedom to use their DAC as they wish.
    musicfan145 likes this.
  5. musicfan145
    Hopefully you took advantage of their Black Friday sale, but if you’re still deciding, I’ll offer this: I built a test rig that lets me switch instantly back and forth between two USB DACs playing a synchronized stream of the same song. I compared the OL DAC with my Dragonfly Red (at full volume) and I could not hear any difference. None. I had to check several times to make sure my switch wasn’t broken. My hearing is far from perfect, but if there are differences they were not night-and-day huge. Since the DF Red is supposed to have a better DAC than the DF Black, maybe the OL is also better than the Black.

    Perhaps more important is the output voltage. The DF Red is rated at 2.1V, the OL is rated at 2.0V, and the DF Black is rated at 1.2V. As someone else pointed out, any noise that enters the system before your amp is going to be significantly louder (relative to the signal) using the DF Black. (In order to play at the same listening level, your amp has to boost the signal—and the noise—more with the DF Black.)

    The DF Black and the new OL USB model are both $99 (give or take tax & shipping). For that price, the advantages of each seem to be:

    DF Black: portability, MQA rendering, analog volume control, ability to drive some sensitive headphones directly.

    OL USB: self-powered, significantly stronger output (better SNR), better DAC chip, much more rugged construction.
  6. Cheffy
    I get dead silence from my Dragon fly black from my laptop. Mind you my phone are very sensitive so I keep Windows volumes to 2-4% most of the time.
  7. davidland
    looks cool!
  8. musicfan145
    @jseaber, Could I trouble you to get out a magnifying glass (or check the settings menu) and check the model numbers of the ones that work?

    My original CCK was part #MD821AM/A, and says model A1440 on the back of the adapter. I purchased the discontinued part number recommended on your blog (MD821ZM/A) and it also says model A1440 on the back. In the iPhone settings (General > About > Apple USB Camera Adapter), they both show exactly the same thing. Since this was purchased used, there is some chance it is a MD821AM in an MD821ZM box. Before I purchase a bunch more adapters or give up on consistently being able to use the OL DAC with my iPhone, I’d like to know exactly which adapters I should be looking for.
  9. jseaber
    I'll see what I can find on Monday.

    Edit: Both say A1440 on the rear side. I hand marked one of them with "2015". The other was obtained in 2016.

    Our office iPad needs to charge before I can check the firmware. Sorry, most of us have switched to Android.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
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  10. ostewart
    Productive afternoon changing the green LED to a red one to match my O2 amp :D

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  11. Mshenay Contributor
    Took a bit longer than I'd like but my review for the EL Dac is posted! On my blog as well as here on Head Fi in short, I really felt the EL Dac is a phenomenal performer all around. The interface is super easy to use and overall installation of it into a system is straight forward and painless! Even better it's practically invisible in my system and offers an exceptionally black, well resolved balanced sound overall!
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
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  12. Mshenay Contributor
    Just to hopefully get the ball rolling again, I recently upgrade my HD 800 to a silver cable and WOW I noticed quite a bit more detail out of my EL Dac system than I did before, you guys have really done an excellent job with this unit! It's resolve is pretty stellar, with what I feel is now a true flagship headphone [HD 800 with SDR Mod an Silver Cable [that stock one sounds icky] the EL Dac performs even more closely to my own NFB10ES2

    I was also surprised to hear that it was actually a bit more natural than the first time I listened to it, I compared it with a Burson Play and found the Play was a little wider sounding with a cleaner output, less noise, but the EL Dac in comparison while just a little more intimate and a little nosier, was quite a bit more resolving! Transients, a sense of air, and micro dynamics really stand out with the EL Dac and that was fed into my Schiit Vali Gen 1. I can only imagine how much better it'll sound with an upgraded amp!

    Either way guys, this is an excellent product and sadly I love it so much... I've moved it out of my TV room and keep it on my desk lol as part of my dedicated Secondary system. Even got another USB to Coax interface so I can have it up and running quicker, sadly the TV room has been downgraded to a Fioo D03k! Hopefully the wife and I don't notice too much of a difference
  13. Darthpool
    what is the volume control to the left of your Element and El Dac? I know it has been awhile, but I am using this same setup currently and will be getting powered 305s this week and this looks like a good solution to controlling the volume.
  14. Haris Javed
    sorry its been a while since I logged in :) - the volume knob you inquire about is a passive volume control unit. it is great! it controls the output from the EL DAC going to my power amplifier

  15. Darthpool
    Haris Javed likes this.
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