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JDS Atom Amp 2 Headphone Amplifier Review

Rate this headphone amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 3 1.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 3 1.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 13 4.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 275 93.5%

  • Total voters
    294

amirm

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This is a review, listening tests and detailed measurements of the JDS Labs Atom Amp 2 headphone amplifier. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $129.
JDS Labs Atmp Amp 2 Headphone Amplifier Review.jpg

The solid metal case makes an instant impression, erasing memories of the plastic case of the previous generation. A white LED surrounds the volume control giving it a nice touch. While 4.4 mm headphone output is provided, note that it is not "balanced" (differential). So it is for convenience, not more power. An input selector lets you choose between RCA and 3.5mm inputs:
JDS Labs Atmp Amp 2 Headphone Amplifier back panel 355 mm Review.jpg


Typical of other JDS products, it comes with the AC transformer which gets a bit warm.

JDS Atom Amp 2 Measurements
Let's feed the amp 2 volts and measure 2 volts out into 600 ohm load:
JDS Labs Atmp Amp 2 Headphone Amplifier Measurement.png

Very nice! Distortion is vanishingly low leaving us noise to dominate SINAD, easily landing the Atom 2 into our top 20 best headphone amps ever tested:
Best headphone amplifier review 2023.png


While noise dominates SINAD, it is still exceptionally low resulting in superb signal to noise ratios:
JDS Labs Atmp Amp 2 Headphone Amplifier SNR Measurement.png

most quiet headphone amp review.png


No worries here driving very sensitive IEMs.

Frequency response is flat and seemingly goes forever:
JDS Labs Atmp Amp 2 Headphone Amplifier frequency response Measurement.png


Multitone shows the excellently low distortion:
JDS Labs Atmp Amp 2 Headphone Amplifier Multitone Measurement.png

As does our THD+N vs frequency:
JDS Labs Atmp Amp 2 Headphone Amplifier THD vs frequency Measurement.png


While not a nuclear power plant, there is plenty of clean power to drive just about any headphone:
JDS Labs Atmp Amp 2 Headphone Amplifier Power 300 Measurement.png


JDS Labs Atmp Amp 2 Headphone Amplifier Power 32 Measurement.png


And compliant with the spec as well.

Seems that the gain is set conservatively as we don't get clipping down to whopping 20 ohm:
JDS Labs Atmp Amp 2 Headphone Amplifier Power vs impedance vs distortion Measurement.png


Channel balance is excellent:
JDS Labs Atmp Amp 2 Headphone Amplifier Channel Balance Measurement.png


JDS Labs Atom 2 Headphone Listening Test
As usual, I start with my everyday challenging headphone load: the Dan Clark Stealth which has low impedance and sensitivity. The Atom 2 had no trouble pushing this headphone as loud as I wanted it to get. Comfortable (loud) listening was at 1:00 o'clock in high gain. Fidelity was superb with excellent detail and dynamics.

The Sennheiser HD-650 was an easier load (as is typically) for the Atom 2 which it was able to drive to insanely loud levels with no distortion. Crank it up and you get bass like you have not heard from this headphone. Then you worry about your hearing and turn the volume down but still enjoy the excellent fidelity of this combo. If I didn't have to take a picture of the Atom 2 for this review, I would still be listening to it!

Conclusions
For $129, you get an essentially flawless, state of the art headphone amplifier in the form of Atom 2. It is nice to see the company back in the saddle showing others how it is done while still designing and building in US. Combine this with their superb customer service (in US anyway) and you have an unqualified winner here. With the case lightness dealt with, you now feel good touching the unit as much as listening to it. Really, I can't think of anything negative to say even though I am good at that sort of thing!

I am happy to recommend the JDS Labs Atom Amp 2 headphone amp.

------------
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/
 
Last edited:
OP
amirm

amirm

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No, I was only given this amp.

Forget to reserve a post spot for Specifications. So here they are:

Manufacturer SPECIFICATIONS:​

Performance​

  • Frequency Response, 20Hz-20kHz+/- 0.01dB
  • SINAD @ 2VRMS, 1kHz (Low & High Gain)120 dB
  • SINAD @ 50mV, 1kHz93 dB
  • SNR (20-20kHz)124 dB
  • IMD SMPTE-97 dB
  • Noise (20-20kHz)1.33 μV
  • Crosstalk @ 10kHz (RCA Out)-101 dB
  • Input Impedance10k Ω
  • Output Impedance0.7 Ω
  • Channel Balance< 0.6 dB
  • Max Continuous Power @ 600Ω143 mW (9.28VRMS)
  • Max Continuous Power @ 300Ω286 mW (9.27VRMS)
  • Max Continuous Power @ 150Ω570 mW (9.25VRMS)
  • Max Continuous Power @ 32Ω2.65 Watts (9.22VRMS = 26Vpp)

Dimensions​

  • Case Dimensions145 x 131 x 34 mm (5.7 x 5.1 x 1.3 in)
  • Weight1 lb (454 g)

Connectivity​

  • Headphone Outputs4.4mm and 6.35mm (1/4")
  • Analog InputsRCA and 3.5mm
  • Preamp OutputRCA

Configuration​

  • Dual Gain1.0 and 4.7x
  • Volume Potentiometer Taper15A, Hand Matched Gangs

Packaged Items​

  • Atom Amp 2
  • 16VAC Power Adapter
 
Last edited by a moderator:

IAtaman

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Thank you for the review Amir, and for clarifying what a lot of people suspected - a great performance.

What a nice amp from a reputable, boutique company at an amazing price and no bullshit marketing. I don't need a headphone amp but I will buy new the JDS stack anyway.

Frankly, I think they should be asking a bit more for these.

The only problem with JDS is their lack of distribution network around the world - 20% of what I pay will go to shipping
Edit : That, and the separate power bricks.
 
Last edited:

thewas

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Nice to see such performance to price ratio for something still made in a land with decent wages and hopefully working standards which now that I am getting old(er) is a very important criterion in my buying choices.
 

DanTheMan

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I’ve been using the original with the HD650 for a few years. I have no complaints and no reservations with my setup, but this version is once again SOTA and fixes the most common complaints from the older versions. Now we just need to get our mitts on the DAC. I imagine it still hasn’t caught up with the Topping, but JDS has excellent reliability and customer service and support. This is an appetizing combo.
 

respice finem

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This is a review, listening tests and detailed measurements of the JDS Labs Atom Amp 2 headphone amplifier. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $129.
View attachment 328685
The solid metal case makes an instant impression, erasing memories of the plastic case of the previous generation. A white LED surrounds the volume control giving it a nice touch. While 4.4 mm headphone output is provided, note that it is not "balanced" (differential). So it is for convenience, not more power. An input selector lets you choose between RCA and 3.5mm inputs:
View attachment 328686

Typical of other JDS products, it comes with the AC transformer which gets a bit warm.

JDS Atom Amp 2 Measurements
Let's feed the amp 2 volts and measure 2 volts out into 600 ohm load:
View attachment 328687
Very nice! Distortion is vanishingly low leaving us noise to dominate SINAD, easily landing the Atom 2 into our top 20 best headphone amps ever tested:
View attachment 328688

While noise dominates SINAD, it is still exceptionally low resulting in superb signal to noise ratios:
View attachment 328689
View attachment 328690

No worries here driving very sensitive IEMs.

Frequency response is flat and seemingly goes forever:
View attachment 328691

Multitone shows the excellently low distortion:
View attachment 328692
As does our THD+N vs frequency:
View attachment 328693

While not a nuclear power plant, there is plenty of clean power to drive just about any headphone:
View attachment 328694

View attachment 328695

And compliant with the spec as well.

Seems that the gain is set conservatively as we don't get clipping down to whopping 20 ohm:
View attachment 328696

Channel balance is excellent:
View attachment 328697

JDS Labs Atom 2 Headphone Listening Test
As usual, I start with my everyday challenging headphone load: the Dan Clark Stealth which has low impedance and sensitivity. The Atom 2 had no trouble pushing this headphone as loud as I wanted it to get. Comfortable (loud) listening was at 1:00 o'clock in high gain. Fidelity was superb with excellent detail and dynamics.

The Sennheiser HD-650 was an easier load (as is typically) for the Atom 2 which it was able to drive to insanely loud levels with no distortion. Crank it up and you get bass like you have not heard from this headphone. Then you worry about your hearing and turn the volume down but still enjoy the excellent fidelity of this combo. If I didn't have to take a picture of the Atom 2 for this review, I would still be listening to it!

Conclusions
For $129, you get an essentially flawless, state of the art headphone amplifier in the form of Atom 2. It is nice to see the company back in the saddle showing others how it is done while still designing and building in US. Combine this with their superb customer service (in US anyway) and you have an unqualified winner here. With the case lightness dealt with, you now feel good touching the unit as much as listening to it. Really, I can't think of anything negative to say even though I am good at that sort of thing!

I am happy to recommend the JDS Labs Atom Amp 2 headphone amp.

------------
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/
Wow. My only slight worry is, it does seem to be on all the time. Or is there some auto on/off?
 

LearningToSmile

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Awesome, now if only local dealers here in Europe wouldn't have scalping prices on JDS Labs products that would be great(seriously, Atom Amp+ is $248 here while it's $99 on JDS labs website... there's VAT but that's only 23%, it's a bit of a joke)
 

oscar_dziki

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This is a very similar product to my topping L30 II. Topping is $ 10 more costly but provides a little better performance. Lol, you can open reviews in neighboring windows and see how similar they are, while in basically every aspect Topping is a little better. That being said, I would totally understand someone preferring Atom.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ds/topping-l30-ii-review-headphone-amp.36027/
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Wow. My only slight worry is, it does seem to be on all the time. Or is there some auto on/off?
You rotate the volume knob to min and then off. The transformer will always be on though.
 

Shadrach

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@amirm Did they fix the one fault in my opinion with earlier models and that's the stupid plastic volume control knob that comes away in your hand?
 

Aperiodic

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No, I was only given this amp.
Those b@$+@rd$! What were they thinking?!?

Atom was such a good value / performer but the cheesy feel was kind of a turn-off. Good to see a budget amp crashing the SOTA party. For a company that was supposedly “getting out of the SINAD race”, they sure delivered on that. Wonder if this change of heart will carry over to the next Element?

FWIW the company told me in response to a query about the Atom 1 and the CRINACLE Zero Blue ( a 10 ohm load) that the amp would handle such a low impedance load with no problems, which seemed to be borne out in use. No reason to expect any less here.
 
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