O2 AMP + ODAC
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Double-A

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Hey guys, I'm thinking about using an Aune T1se as the DAC for my just-purchased 600-ohm DT 880s and an O2 for my amp. The Aune will have to wait a little bit because it is a little pricey for my humble means, but I can purchase the O2 now.

Which version would be a better match for my setup? The JDS Labs version, the Massdrop version, or (if there is one) a third version? I could save a little money by going with the Massdrop version, but if the extra money buys me something slightly nicer, then maybe I'll go with JDS Labs. What do you guys think? Does there seem to be a general consensus in this thread about which version is the best?

Thank you,
Alec
 
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ostewart

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JDS Labs have been producing the O2 for years, and their customer support is the best in the business. Always been a pleasure dealing with them.

Also JDS Labs is now available in the UK from Hifiheadphones, along with being on Amazon :)
 
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Arkady Duntov

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Hey guys, I'm thinking about using an Aune T1se as the DAC for my just-purchased 600-ohm DT 880s and an O2 for my amp. The Aune will have to wait a little bit because it is a little pricey for my humble means, but I can purchase the O2 now.

Which version would be a better match for my setup? The JDS Labs version, the Massdrop version, or (if there is one) a third version? I could save a little money by going with the Massdrop version, but if the extra money buys me something slightly nicer, then maybe I'll go with JDS Labs. What do you guys think? Does there seem to be a general consensus in this thread about which version is the best?
Alec
I've had excellent customer service from JDS Labs, just like @ostewart said. Plus, JDS himself posts here.

Have you considered the JDS' ODAC+O2 combo? Both the O2 and ODAC are neutral, the O2 has 0.54Ω output impedance so that it can better control more headphones, and it's less expensive than the Aune. I'm completely satisfied with the sound and operation of mine. BUT:: I haven't heard the Aune.
 
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ostewart

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I've had excellent customer service from JDS Labs, just like @ostewart said. Plus, JDS himself posts here.

Have you considered the JDS' ODAC+O2 combo? Both the O2 and ODAC are neutral, the O2 has 0.54Ω output impedance so that it can better control more headphones, and it's less expensive than the Aune. I'm completely satisfied with the sound and operation of mine. BUT:: I haven't heard the Aune.
For roughly the same price, if you have the desk space, JDS Labs OL DAC + O2 would be my choice over the O2+ODAC combo.
 
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Arkady Duntov

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For roughly the same price, if you have the desk space, JDS Labs OL DAC + O2 would be my choice over the O2+ODAC combo.
The only thing about the OL DAC which made me not consider it for my office was the wall-wart. Otherwise, it looked quite good.
 
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ostewart

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The only thing about the OL DAC which made me not consider it for my office was the wall-wart. Otherwise, it looked quite good.
Yeah fair point, it does need an extra socket :)

I have the OL DAC, Subjective3 + O2 stack, at home that is.

At work I have the Topping D30 + A30 as I'm not as worried about it being a pure reference system.
 
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Double-A

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Have you considered the JDS' ODAC+O2 combo?
The reason why I want to go with the Aune is that it is a tube DAC and I want to get a taste of that "tube magic" that I hear members rave about on this website. I know that tubes are associated with followers of the subjective philosophy and, thus, could be considered antithetical to what the O2 is trying to accomplish, but, from reading on the Aune T1's thread here on Head-Fi, there seem to be several people who have paired the two products together and liked the result.

Thank you for your recommendations, @ostewart and @Arkady Duntov , I will be going with JDS Labs.
 
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There was an article online recently suggesting that "2nd order distortion" makes good amps sound great - since apparently even-order distortion is pleasant and odd-order distortion is not. It would be fun to find a way to test that hypothesis on my own, but for the article a dedicated piece of hardware was used. Of all the amps, they seemed to hate the O2 the most, for some reason, but I am sure the reason is that they believe that negative feedback ruins amps even if it makes them measure clean.

ANYWAY if you go with the O2 combo to save some $$$, I would stick with the ODAC revision B - it should be more bulletproof reliable.

The OLDAC probably sounds lovely - I have the AKM4490 in another audio device and it sounds great, or at least, no worse than the ESS in the ODAC. Sometimes I think the AKM is ultimately a bit more detailed and "musical" but I don't even know what I mean by that! It is good that the OLDAC has a dedicated plug-in adapter - you avoid all the issues with USB power that way, and you won't be "computer bound" if you decide to use it in a stereo stack instead. But sure . . . one more outlet!
 
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Arkady Duntov

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The reason why I want to go with the Aune is that it is a tube DAC and I want to get a taste of that "tube magic" that I hear members rave about on this website. I know that tubes are associated with followers of the subjective philosophy and, thus, could be considered antithetical to what the O2 is trying to accomplish, but, from reading on the Aune T1's thread here on Head-Fi, there seem to be several people who have paired the two products together and liked the result.
Does the Aune T1se have an analog (tube) DAC? If so, your plan sounds good.

If not, maybe you'll want an ODAC, OL DAC, ODAC+O2, or OL DAC+O2, and later replace it (them) with the analog Aune T1se. I don't know if this fits your plan.

P.S. I'm an objectivist.
 
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Double-A

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There was an article online recently suggesting that "2nd order distortion" makes good amps sound great - since apparently even-order distortion is pleasant and odd-order distortion is not.
What does this mean? If it is too hard to explain more simply, don't worry about it.

ANYWAY if you go with the O2 combo to save some $$$, I would stick with the ODAC revision B - it should be more bulletproof reliable.
Compared to the OL DAC, you're saying? Or compared to the T1se?

Does the Aune T1se have an analog (tube) DAC?
From what I read from the product thread, the product has a DAC chip, a solid state amplifier, and a "tube buffer". I assume this just means that the sound passes through the tube before it reaches the amplifier.
 
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What I mean is that the distribution of harmonic distortion and its so-called "masking" effects might be subjectively pleasing to some, or all listeners of an amp. Amp distortion might create some "character" that is subjectively pleasing. Solid state amps with low THD sometimes get there with a lot of negative feedback, and that negative feedback suppresses 2nd and 3rd order distortion, which some claim sounds a lot better than the higher-order distortion that remains or is placed in line with the lower-order distortion after lots of negative feedback is applied.

Do I believe this stuff? I'm very skeptical. For one, the transducer / speaker is usually the object in the signal chain with the highest distortion, significantly higher than a clean amp. If the "harsh, cold, analytical" high order distortion of an amp like the O2 is even a problem, how am I supposed to hear it when its level is far below the level generated by the headphone? How do I hear it when I am not actually pushing the amp hard enough for some distortion to appear? Naw mean? At what listening level would any distortion be great to listen to? 60 dB? 70 dB? Don't say 80 dB - that's almost too loud for me.

That said, people seem to love tube amps and Samsung was making some "hybrid" amps for home theater stuff I played with in a store. So there are reasons / a "market" for this stuff. Not to mention, a lot of modern music uses effects like actually distorting guitars or straight up synthesizes beats that sound like a 15 inch subwoofer bottoming out so "distorted sound" has a place in our lives even at the level of recordings.

As for the ODAC rev B, I recommend that over the ODAC rev A (the first version). Rev A sounds fantastic but as I learned from JDS are ultimately not as reliable as they could have been - my original one failed after a year or two but John hooked me up with repairs and eventually a replacement, which was beyond fair (I will definitely buy from JDS again). They tend to start crackling / having channel dropouts at some point. The OL DAC is a different product and uses a different (and awesome) DAC so I'd have to hear both to know which I really liked more. The nice thing about the ODAC is that it is setup to run straight off a computer USB like a little sound card and uses the 3.5mm jack which is ubiquitous.

I love the integrated O2/ODAC but after experiencing problems with my ODAC, I am glad I went with separate units. Its nice to have the flexibility of mixing/matching separates, and when something blows up, its easier to trouble-shoot. I also like switching around from my Onkyo to iPad to O2 and so on to see if anything changes.
 
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That is a nice flat line.

When you read the reviews of "high end" (e.g. ridiculously expensive amps), the distortion is often not the same across frequencies. Notably, the midrange-treble areas may be the area where you see rising distortion at power (though, typically, max power or high power so your ears would already be bleeding out). I've sometimes wondered if that is why some amps sound a little "hard". Just because it looks clean at 1K doesn't mean it is at all drive levels. Then again I tend to think that I reach the limits of driver distortion before I ever reach the limits of amps / preamps.

Note, I am really more of an objectivist / enthusiast. Just sayin'.
 
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Plus on the combo as well
 
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My personal Objective stack (OL DAC + O2 Desktop version) doing it's thing in the office today. Headphone demo and we have run out of O2 + ODAC combos so I brought my stack in from home.

IMG_20180606_144236-01.jpeg
 
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