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Geshelli JNOG2 Review (Balanced DAC)

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 9 5.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 56 31.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 97 55.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 14 8.0%

  • Total voters
    176

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Geshelli Labs JNOG2 (J2) balanced stereo DAC. It was kindly drop shipped to me by a member and costs US $299.99.
Geshelli Labs JNOG2 J2 Review Balanced Stereo USB DAC.jpg

Strangely in this day and age, USB as an option ($50). The look is typical of Geshelli products with use of plexiglass. I am not a fond of the user interface with single input button that cycles through inputs with LEDs lighting up in different formation. There is no manual for the unit in the box and I could not find one online either. So just kept pressing the button until I saw signal out of it. Back panel is the same:
Geshelli Labs JNOG2 J2 Review Back Panel Balanced Stereo USB DAC.jpg

I could barely read the left/right indication on XLR connections. The S/PDIF jack is too close to Toslink for me to be able to connect both at once.

Geshelli J2 Measurements
I started with balanced XLR output and was surprised to not see 4 volts out:
Geshelli Labs JNOG2 J2 Measurements Balanced Stereo USB DAC.png


I could not find a spec on company website to know if this is right or not. One channel has worse distortion which brings the average SINAD down enough to land in a lower category:
Best balanced stereo dac review 2022.png


Not that this is bad but just isn't competitive in this day and age. I tested unbalanced and was surprised in reverse to see the same 2.5 volt out:
Geshelli Labs JNOG2 J2 Measurements Unbalanced Stereo USB DAC.png


Can't figure out what is going on with these output levels.

EDIT: there is a way to select three different output levels (see a few posts below).

Dynamic range does vary depending on which output you use:
Geshelli Labs JNOG2 J2 Measurements Dynamic Range Balanced Stereo USB DAC.png


IMD distortion while competent, was again below the mark I expect these days:

Geshelli Labs JNOG2 J2 Measurements IMD Distortion Balanced Stereo USB DAC.png


Multitone was the same:

Geshelli Labs JNOG2 J2 Measurements Multitone Balanced Stereo USB DAC.png


As was THD+N vs frequency:
Geshelli Labs JNOG2 J2 Measurements THD vs Frequency Balanced Stereo USB DAC.png


It is not all lukewarm news. There is good execution in linearity:

Geshelli Labs JNOG2 J2 Measurements Linearity Balanced Stereo USB DAC.png


Jitter:
Geshelli Labs JNOG2 J2 Measurements Jitter Balanced Stereo USB DAC.png


And filtering:
Geshelli Labs JNOG2 J2 Measurements Filter Balanced Stereo USB DAC.png


The latter is something few companies get right. Good thing as there is no way to change the filter.

Conclusions
I am sure the J2 sounds good but as objective results go, it is just not keeping up with the competition. Its packaging and interface simply are not to my liking. A display is standard on desktop DACs these day sand company needs to bite the bullet and put one in there.

The Geshelli J2 is not my cup of tea but you have the results to decide for yourself.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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digicidal

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I certainly agree on the aesthetics, but the result is competent at least. I understand the desire to do everything (or nearly) in-house with familiar fabrication processes... but I think almost all potential customers would prefer paying an additional 5-10% and receiving a well machined aluminum case. Maybe not though.

Even just using hardwood faces with laser etched lables, etc would be an improvement - while still providing a "bit of flair" to an otherwise utilitarian design. I'd definitely stop short of going the Chord route however. There's only so much "art" a utilitarian device can withstand.. ;)
 
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amirm

amirm

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I don't think it needs a display, just four buttons with the inputs labeled on them and an LED above to identift which is active.
Without one, you are in the dark as to sample rate. This is important to see especially when one is trying to play high-res files and wants to make sure it is bit exact path.
 

_theLaughingman

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@amirm any possibility to verify with Geshelli Labs directly about this being a faulty unit even though this was drop-shipped to you by a member? Just odd to see < 4 Volts on xlr and have issues on one channel.
 
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amirm

amirm

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As per the user manual which is easily found on Geshelli's website, the J2 has three different output levels which you cycle through by holding down the input button:
Good grief. I ran into this before with their product but forgot about it. I don't know why they don't include a little manual in the box. Anyway I don't expect substantive change in the review but does resolve the oddball output level issue. I will note this in the review
 

MZKM

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Visited their room at the Florida Audio Expo (they were also there previously as attendees, stating they were scoping out the competition). The daughter was the greeter for the room and really went in on how it’s a truly family-run operation and stating what she, her brother, the mom, and the dad did in the company.
 
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staticV3

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Full volume might improve IMD performance some.
Also note that the Brick wall filter's poor THD+N vs Frequency shown in this review only exist when you're sampling up to frequencies far beyond human hearing.
With standard 20-20k bandwidth, the graph will be flawless (except for noise maybe)
All-THDN-Ratio (2).jpg
 
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Matias

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Topping E50 is a lot better value in my opinion.

 
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I personally don’t mind being able to get it cheaper without USB. I don‘t use a computer as a source for my main setup so USB inputs always go unused for me.
 

5th element

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Also this DAC is customisable to use different DAC chips too so it would be nice to know which one this is. And now that Amir has found the manual maybe retesting is necessary to see what SINAD can be achieved using different gain settings.
 

sam_adams

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Unfortunately, for this manufacturer, at this point in time, DACs without a display that clearly tells the user what the selected output is—without having to consult a manual—are just not competitive. USB audio should not be an option as it is more-or-less the standard for computer audio use. Weird combinations of button presses to set the output and level are just not user friendly and will drive all but the most hardened old-timer to other vendors product.

Sure, it has that DIY feel—what with the plastic case and all—but most of the market is way past the point of the DIY kit-built feel. If this were 1999, this is what cutting edge 'might' look like. Now, no one can be bothered with bespoke, artisanal products like this at this price point. Maybe—just maybe—if this measured like a D90s, the other shortcomings could be overlooked.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Also this DAC is customisable to use different DAC chips too so it would be nice to know which one this is. And now that Amir has found the manual maybe retesting is necessary to see what SINAD can be achieved using different gain settings.
Company specs SINAD at 111 dB which is what I already got:

1654830144051.png
 

respice finem

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Not really better than the first version. Considering the competition, "not terrible".
 

alpha_logic

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I bought the J2 just a few days ago. No, the J2 is not the best measuring DAC on the market at this price-point, but I dig the eccentric case design, and the fact that it's a product made in the USA. I'll keep buying Geshelli's products, and I look forward to seeing the company grow and produce even better gear in the future.
 

sweetsounds

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Hi, i would prefer that a "review" spends some more minutes on a product, not only running some tests on a bench.
The performance of this DAC is very good BTW.
Maybe listening is not needed anymore, true.

Looking at the web page would have not only revealed the adjustable output voltage, but also that Geshelli offers a customizable case, DAC etc. at a low price point.

There are wood and aluminum cases in various colors. This is differentiating in a world where all DACs are believed to sound the same.
 

fordiebianco

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There are wood and aluminum cases in various colors. This is differentiating in a world where all DACs are believed to sound the same.

Do you think a wood case might lift the veil?
 
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