JDS Labs Element sounds worse than my Fiio E10K? Amp/Dac for Hifimans?
Aug 27, 2019 at 2:25 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


100+ Head-Fier
Jan 18, 2015
I've had the Fiio E10k for years, used it up until I got Hifiman Sundaras and until today. I ordered Hifiman Ananda's recently, so I figured I'd finally get a real amp, so I got The Element.

I'm disappointed the Element. Like I can tell that it is cleaner, has better imaging, and even slightly richer in the mids, but it's just so much more boring than my E10k. It's mainly missing the deep and punchy sub-bass that my E10K accentuated with my Planars, and the Element just absolutely neuters them by comparison.

Is there a more "fun" and lively dynamic amp and/or dac that you would recommend over he Element for Planar Magnetic headphones? I'm not looking to "color" my headphones, but my god did this amp take the life and soul out of my Sundara's by comparison to my puny E10k. The E10K isn't even on Bass boost either....

Max budget $500ish, but under ~$300 for the package is more ideal.

I've been considering the Monoprice Liquid Spark or the Lyr 3, as I've heard the Magni 3 is too bright and the JDS Atom would likely sound the same as my Element?

I mainly listen to Punk, Metal, and Hardcore, so this neutered sound has really been killing my vibe.
I appreciate any and all insight and recommendations!
Aug 27, 2019 at 8:13 AM Post #2 of 2
You've tapped into the essential argument with headphone amplifiers: whether to design for the best in specs and performance, or whether to design for the best in musicality.

The very best amplifiers do pretty good at achieving both, but they are 3-5 times your maximum budget.

Users who are viewing this thread