JDS Labs Element II vs. Schiit Asgard 3
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gooeyrich

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Hello, I am considering both of these amp/dacs. Can anyone help with how they compare? With the dac upgrade to the Asgard, the Element is still $100 more. The Asgard amp seems more powerful, other than that can anyone give some insight?
 
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Hello, I am considering both of these amp/dacs. Can anyone help with how they compare? With the dac upgrade to the Asgard, the Element is still $100 more. The Asgard amp seems more powerful, other than that can anyone give some insight?
I was pretty much set on Asgard before finally landing Element II. Here’s what made me choose Element over Asgard :

- JDS Labs have a distributor in Canada, Schiit doesn’t (and doesn‘t seem to care about the crazy high duties, taxes and fees we get r*ped with)
- The element II knob and form factor was a big factor in my decision
- JDS Labs customer support is known to be excellent. I chatted with them and they seemed to care about me and took time to give advice
- I felt Schiit was extremely well marketed and designed, but reviews about sound quality were not as unanimous as Element II or Atom
- JDS Labs was very honest about Element II vs El Dac II + El Amp II. They basically encouraged anyone who doesn’t need the SPDIF to buy the cheaper option (Element II) cause everything else is the same
- Schiit B products discounted only by 3% felt ridiculous for me


That being said, it probably doesn’t really help you choose but I felt like sharing anyway. Good luck and keep us posted.
 
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cgb3

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JDS Labs have a distributor in Canada, Schiit doesn’t (and doesn‘t seem to care about the crazy high duties, taxes and fees we get r*ped with)
You do realize Schiit has no control over what your government levies? Not getting political, this is an audio board after all. Maybe vote differently next time?
 
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kebel87

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You do realize Schiit has no control over what your government levies? Not getting political, this is an audio board after all. Maybe vote differently next time?
I absolutely understand and rest assured I’ve voted accordingly for many years.

I have a lot of respect for them and they don’t make the rules, neither do I unfortunately. That being said, refusing to have distributors is totally on their hand. While I guess it make sense for their business, it might not be ideal for foreign customers.
 
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gooeyrich

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I was pretty much set on Asgard before finally landing Element II. Here’s what made me choose Element over Asgard :

- JDS Labs have a distributor in Canada, Schiit doesn’t (and doesn‘t seem to care about the crazy high duties, taxes and fees we get r*ped with)
- The element II knob and form factor was a big factor in my decision
- JDS Labs customer support is known to be excellent. I chatted with them and they seemed to care about me and took time to give advice
- I felt Schiit was extremely well marketed and designed, but reviews about sound quality were not as unanimous as Element II or Atom
- JDS Labs was very honest about Element II vs El Dac II + El Amp II. They basically encouraged anyone who doesn’t need the SPDIF to buy the cheaper option (Element II) cause everything else is the same
- Schiit B products discounted only by 3% felt ridiculous for me


That being said, it probably doesn’t really help you choose but I felt like sharing anyway. Good luck and keep us posted.
My thoughts mirror yours. While both are reputable companies, Schiit does seem to have more issues with quality control, and there do seem to be more critical observations about audio quaity(the Schiit "glare" for example).

JDS customer support is a huge factor, though given that both have warranties it's reassuring I'll have help if anything happens. Yet something going wrong is not something I want to have in the back of my mind and it is definitely a bigger concern with Schiit.

I do like the design of the Element better, but I am planning to drive higher impedance headphones and more power at a lesser cost is definitely a huge factor too.
 
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I don't have the Element 2, but I do have the Asgard 3 and THX 789. I really love the Asgard 3 and prefer it over the 789. The 789 does have a very analytical sound whereas the Asgard 3 has more body.

I personally think the Asgard 3 + Modius stack would be better than the Element 2. You wouldn't be tethered down to a AIO and would be able to upgrade the amp/dac separately.
 
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I have had the Element II for a few weeks now. I really enjoy it for my headphones and it has a great form factor on the desk having the AMP and DAC together. As others have said also customer service is great from JDS Labs. My only real complaint is when I switch over to my Vanatoo T0 speakers there is a bit of drop in bass something lacking slightly overall vs when I run the Vanatoo speakers off optical into the computer directly. I suspect I need to play around with my SUB settings manually as the speakers have their own crossover. But for headphones the element II is great. I was considering a THX 789 at the time also but I don't use headphones a whole lot so options for XLR were not a big deal to me.
 
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I listened to the Asgard at the Schittr, intending to leave with one, and felt it was too "warm and soft" for my tastes. I have no idea if it had the DAC card in it, or it was the source they fed it, but I brought my own headphones and was less than impressed. I bought the El Amp II and it is clear and neutral to my ears. If you would need the excess power for something insanely difficult to drive, then you may want to consider something else, but the Element is fine for my ears.
 
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I also realized that the Asgard has two DAC options, one is $100 and one is $200, while the standalone DAC from JDS that is included in the Element is over $200. So maybe the Element has a better DAC than the $100 option with the Asgard.
 
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I have an Element II, an Asgard 3 with the 4490 DAC card, and a Modius.

The Element sounds great, neutral and clean. It’s basically an Atom amp in a much nicer box combined with a pretty good performing DAC. My only complaints are the fact that the large knob is attached to a small volume pot so it wobbles, and the finish is highly susceptible to fingerprints and scratches. Otherwise it’s a solid package.

The Asgard is also a very competent amp, more powerful than the Element and, to my ear, a little smoother and warmer. I like the fact that the power supply is built in and the volume pot and headphone jack are nicer than those on the Element.

I wouldn’t recommend the Schiit DAC card, which far underperforms the amp. My favorite combination is the Modius feeding the Asgard, which sounds better while also providing more input options. I don’t think you can go wrong either way, but at $400 for either the Element or the Asgard/Modius stack, I would recommend the latter for the reasons mentioned above.

559A5177-5EE8-495D-B03D-75BC53848AD1.jpeg
 
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I went with the Asgard 3 with multibit card and have not looked back with a 15 day return and a 5 year warranty what's not to like one month in and no complaints.
 
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