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JDS Atom Amp 2 Headphone Amplifier Review

Rate this headphone amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 3 1.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 2 0.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 12 4.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 266 94.0%

  • Total voters
    283

restorer-john

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Topping was founded in 2008. They are not going anywhere. I have 3 devices made by this company at home - all under heavy usage, and I have experienced 0 problems these few years I have used them. I buy them from China, but I could as well buy them in a local store in which case the warranty would be a seller, and not a manufacturer problem as far as I am concerned.

This review is about the Atom Amp 2, not Topping. But if you want to drag Topping into the thread, OK, let's do it.

Topping's after sales service, backup and support is non existent. Zero. They provide NO help, NO schematics, NO service and NO parts. There is NOBODY you can email and ask a question. The company is a complete joke- but sadly the joke is on the poor customers/lemmings that keep lining up to buy their garbage. More fool them.

Buy from a company who answers your emails, who has a phone number you can call and who employs people in your country.
 

Suppa92

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Amazing review as always. Thanks Amirm

As an Atom+ stack owner, I couldn't say enough nice things about jds labs. They're amazing company. I've emailed them few times and every single time they responded unbelievably fast like within minutes with a very informative and helpful manner. They stand by their product and support the customers really well. I wish every other product or service company can do that level customer support & guidance.

It's really nice what they've done with atom 2, But for people outside US (like me) and eying to buy the new atom 2 stack, you'll have to calculate the shipping costs bit more carefully now since with the new metal casings (which is amazing), weight is noticeably higher. When considering two new chassis & two power bricks of the atom 2 stack, it maybe wise to go with element 3 when you add the shipping costs.
 

julian_hughes

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In UK there is an official retailer, hifiheadphones.co.uk I'm not affiliated but I have bought a few things from them, some new and some ex demo or open box, and they are very reliable and easy to deal with. Their JDS Labs stuff is well priced and definitely cheaper than importing a single item yourself once you factor in shipping, import fees and VAT.
 

kemmler3D

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Just wanted to say congrats to JDS and glad to see a company that's "out of the SINAD race" keeping up with the leaders quite handily. At $129 with this performance, a metal case, and high quality US-based support... I'd say this amp is a no-brainer for Americans unless you have a weird headphone it can't drive.
 

Jimster480

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Amazing review as always. Thanks Amirm

As an Atom+ stack owner, I couldn't say enough nice things about jds labs. They're amazing company. I've emailed them few times and every single time they responded unbelievably fast like within minutes with a very informative and helpful manner. They stand by their product and support the customers really well. I wish every other product or service company can do that level customer support & guidance.

It's really nice what they've done with atom 2, But for people outside US (like me) and eying to buy the new atom 2 stack, you'll have to calculate the shipping costs bit more carefully now since with the new metal casings (which is amazing), weight is noticeably higher. When considering two new chassis & two power bricks of the atom 2 stack, it maybe wise to go with element 3 when you add the shipping costs.
I agree that they are a great company and have great customer service. I mean when you compare this company's products versus other companies in the same price range they are definitely in the top if not the winner.
This review is about the Atom Amp 2, not Topping. But if you want to drag Topping into the thread, OK, let's do it.

Topping's after sales service, backup and support is non existent. Zero. They provide NO help, NO schematics, NO service and NO parts. There is NOBODY you can email and ask a question. The company is a complete joke- but sadly the joke is on the poor customers/lemmings that keep lining up to buy their garbage. More fool them.

Buy from a company who answers your emails, who has a phone number you can call and who employs people in your country.
Since when is this the case? I remember them having email and even having people present on this forum.
 

restorer-john

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Since when is this the case? I remember them having email and even having people present on this forum.

I think we'll keep this thread about the JDS. I responded to someone about the T brand and I don't want to drag the JDS review thread off track. Mea culpa.

I reckon this Atom 2 is a winner.
 

delta76

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One of the cases when our US folks are the winners. Too bad they seem to have closed their EU business, the option to buy now is to order directly from them ...
 

restorer-john

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the option to buy now is to order directly from them ...

Just do it. I often buy things from the US and have them sent to me in Australia. Sure, the postage/freight can be expensive, but when you consider I can get stuff so fast it's almost like they put it on a rocket, sent it into space and then re-entered over Australia. I've had 36hrs from Texas to my door and the most recent one was in Australia 2 days after leaving Colorado! I honestly don't know how that can be done- stars aligning if you ask me.

I'm gonna buy more chit from the US going forward, as I've never had a single issue with US made tools, electronics or precision gear.

Who knows, I don't know where the Atom 2 is made- it could be not in the US, or the PCBs could be coming in already stuffed and merely assembled- somebody else might know. But I'll bet regardless, the QC is better than other brands I dare not mention. ;)
 

Sokel

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Strangely!? How am I supposed to take issue with a post that responds in support to another one of my own!?
Also, I made sure to (twice, even!) point out that having a preference and making claims/inferences is not the same. There are clear inferences and fallacies in the post I quoted. What exactly is your argument with your post or what do you disagree with me? I do understand that according to many here the JDS Labs customer support is good. I have never argued against that. What I am trying to point out is that just because JDS Labs customer support is good, that does not necessarily mean that the competitor's (Topping) is bad. Even more - it does not mean that one should necessarily end up needing to use customer support services at all. Nor does it mean that persons A, B, and C's (supposed) experience with (for example Topping) should mean that person X's experience will be the exact same. Just because some people value a certain aspect of a product (or a company) more than others does not mean that other aspects of the product should not be discussed.
One discriminator only:

In low cost items like this after sales support and WAY of support is crucial.
From what we know so far the cost of sending something to China for repair,service,etc is close to 70$ and the procedure is also shady in some manners (you have to declare a smaller price as value,etc) and if it gets lost you're on your own.

That's half the price and you're still in warranty.
 

Philipp

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Just do it.
Exactly, because at least in my case, once I cleared all the technical questions I like to also value the own time investment, peace-of-mind-value and comfort a decent after-sales support brings. And I order from Germany, thats shipping and customs.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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They provide NO help, NO schematics, NO service and NO parts.
Very true of every iphone and Samsung phone. And large majority of audio gear sold today, including this product. You speak of times long gone.
 

pablolie

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I have a JDS Labs Atom 3. Having owned pretty capable desktop DAC+headphone-amps before (and haven't been able to really hear discernible, hearable differences in over 10 years), I didn't expect to hear any new magic performance envelopes open for me. It was all about the functionality and layout, and the fact it measured well is just a checkmark for me when it comes to DACs these days (and thanks ASR for helping us establish that).

JDS Labs support and responsiveness is uniquely awesome. That said, it's always best if you never ever have to reach out to support with any device, ultimately. I suspect that may be the reason why the Topping or SMSL etc devices are pretty straight-forward devices without bells and whistles (the more features, the more questions you'll get from customers). JDS Labs can afford to pack more feature punch into their stuff, and that of course means it is nice they're very reachable to answer questions - the Atom 3 at least has several features that made me reach out, and it was great to have my questions answered every time.

In any case, this thread should not be a war of the brands. It is a review of a JDS Labs product, and whoever prefers another solution is free to do so. And take their thoughts on the competing product to the appropriate discussion thread. :)
 

restorer-john

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Edit:
Address, phone, and 2 different email addresses.

Contact them just for fun. Ask nicely for a schematic for something and see how you go. Ask for a parts list or a service manual and see how you go. Shame them into lifting their abyssmal game.

When you've got one of those things, post the results here. I won't hold my breath.

You speak of times long gone.

That's blatantly wrong and you know it.

Let's pick a random example shall we, from a company that has produced freely available service manuals since the 1970s.

Current model: https://au.yamaha.com/en/products/audio_visual/hifi/a-s3200/index.html


Oops! What do we have here? 96 pages of it.
1701210576621.png


Want to check the protection history and firmware?

1701210780873.png


Want to set the bias properly?
1701210846076.png

Want to investigate a muting issue somewhere in the schematic?
1701211026989.png




Want a few transistor types?


1701211123476.png


Want some parts for your front panel?
1701211234743.png


Every Yamaha product has a full service manual and full parts availability. Shall we do Marantz and Denon as well? Or Accuphase? They all have the same full documentation.

Topping? They provide absolutely nothing. Their broken stuff goes in the trash.

I'll bet even this tiny little JDS has a schematic (or even a section of schematic) they would provide someone on the other side of the world who needed to fix their broken product. Shall I ask them just for fun? Want to take a bet on the outcome? Companies like Benchmark provide technical help to anyone, usually within 24hrs. That's a company worth supporting.

You cannot continue to recommend products from brands that offer ZERO support when their products fail. It is unconscionable in 2023. Nobody cares for that when their supposed SOTA POS is lying prematurely dead on the bench with no chance of repair.
 
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DLS79

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Contact them just for fun. Ask nicely for a schematic for something and see how you go. Ask for a parts list or a service manual and see how you go.

That's blatantly wrong and you know it.


Your response is utterly ridiculous. There is is a massive difference between consumer goods in the sub $500 category, and those that sit a few cents shy of $8000. And that's just the begging of how wrong you are!
 
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raif71

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I'm gonna sprinkle a little Topping of praises for JDS Atom 2 :p
 

pablolie

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Your response is utterly ridiculous. There is is a massive difference between consumer goods in the sub $500 category, and those that sit a few cents shy of $8000. And that's just the begging of how wrong you are!
Not all those Topping etc products are sub 500 bucks. But haven't owned any, hey, I can't offer any first hand opinion on how much their support matters. To me, personally, pretty much anything that is under $2k is a throwaway if it fails and I shall not waste a lot of my time trying to get it fixed under warranty etc. And it is only in rare instances I spend time fixing stuff myself, and when I do so it is probably rather as a learning experience rather than really trying to fix something (but it's nice when the two coincide :-D).

MY one experience with Chinese gear is a Qinpu A6000 integrated amp from forever ago, and that thing served duty as my outdoor garden amplifier and spent time exposed to the elements, and now it is still ticking reliably in my niece's dorm at college (and I am proud she is into classical). Indestructible stuff, it seems. So there are two ways to adress the issue: (1) build an indestructible tank, or (2) provide awesome service and exchange policies.

Ideally I prefer the previous, but the second option is much appreciated when something happens. I know I have been told by a respected audio brand that, hey, my stuff was out of warranty for a few months, so buzz off. Or, contact an authorized service center, which in turn tells you to buzz off. My point here is that I can attest to the fact JDS Labs is 200% committed to support customers. I have zero affiliation to the company.
 

kemmler3D

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Very true of every iphone and Samsung phone. And large majority of audio gear sold today, including this product. You speak of times long gone.
Perhaps times yet to come, also:


The European Commission proposed a new law in March obliging sellers to repair a product for free within the two-year legal guarantee period, if the cost is no more than a replacement, and to provide repairs for products for between five and 10 years after sale.
Undoubtedly this would push prices up somewhat... but imagine a world where every device is engineered for >10 years MTBF... ah, what a dream...
 

julian_hughes

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It clearly is ridiculous and irrational to expect or demand the same level of service for a $100 amp as for one selling at $8000. Why do people even introduce this kind of specious nonsense? If your $100 amp goes wrong you should get a refund or replacement. If your $8000 amp goes wrong you should get an apology written in the CEO's blood, and a replacement.

Anyway I bought my original Atom amp from the UK agent 3 years ago and it has been fine. The same company is the agent for many other audio brands and I have had cause to return some stuff (not from JDS!) to them and they have been straightforward, easy and honest. I've found the Atom amp to be excellent and if I was now looking for a headphone amp for my desktop I would not hesitate to buy the latest iteration.
 
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