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JDS Labs Element III Review (DAC & Amp)

Rate this product:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

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

    Votes: 18 6.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 152 58.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 88 33.7%

  • Total voters
    261

Veri

Master Contributor
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Feb 6, 2018
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Something super strange just happened, I'm on the latest firmware revision (2.2.0) and while watching a clip in MPC-HC for a split second the volume felt like it was raised to the maximum at high gain or something because it was loud enough that it startled me. I usually listen at -54.0 DB with my KSC75 (using them for work calls) and when it happened I didn't notice the volume change on the OLED display or anything but it almost looked like the Element III soft-rebooted or something, is this something that has happened to anyone else? I've listened to this amp basically every day for the past few months since I use it during work and have had zero issues.

Is there some kind of log I can view if I had the JDS Labs Audio Device Control Panel running at the time? I'd like to see if I can nail down what happened.
I would contact jseaber/jds labs support if I were you.
 

Rokkzul

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May 7, 2022
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Hello everyone.
Being a proud owner of a JDS Labs Element 3 and loving the sound, ease of use, quality and practicality of the big volume knob, i have been experiencing a very random bug: the unit seems to enter a non-responsive state with either using Spdif or USB inputs and only turning it off and on again seems to fix it, it still functions, but at the fixed volume level it entered this unresponsive state before failing. Mostly it can go for days (i leave the unit on 24/7) without any problem, but sometimes, every other day or week, this weird behavior occurs. I have the 2.2.0 firmware and it didnt happened with the previous firmware. Anyone experienced this? Is there a way i can revert the firmware?
Thank you!
 
Last edited:

VMAT4

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Hello everyone.
Being a proud owner of a JDS Labs Element 3 and loving the sound, ease of use, quality and practicality of the big volume knob, i have been experiencing a very random bug: the unit seems to enter a non-responsive state with either using Spdif or USB inputs and only turning it off and on again seems to fix it, it still functions, but at the fixed volume level it entered this unresponsive state before failing. Mostly it can go for days (i leave the unit on 24/7) without any problem, but sometimes, every other day or week, this weird behavior occurs. I have the 2.2.0 firmware and it didnt happened with the previous firmware. Anyone experienced this? Is there way i can revert the firmware?
Thank you!
I would phone JDS about this they are very helpful and costumer oriented.
 

Rokkzul

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I'll try emailing them instead of phoning, since i'm from Europe.
Thank you for the reply VMAT4.
 

VMAT4

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As Amir states in the review,
"I am going to recommend the JDS Labs Element III. It is a well thought of product with excellent customer support."
 

Rokkzul

New Member
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I'll be testing the 2.1.0 firmware and see if this bug disappears, i didn't noticed the same behavior with the 2.1.0 firmware.

I can already attest the excellent customer service. Emailed them with my problem and got a response quickly. Very good indeed!
 

confucius_zero

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shindigira

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Howdy all. I have a HD800s and a JDS Element II. I was wondering what perceivable difference would I hear from upgrading to a JDS Element III?

Thanks!
 

Veri

Master Contributor
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Feb 6, 2018
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I was wondering what perceivable difference would I hear from upgrading to a JDS Element III?
I believe JDS themselves stated the difference is in user experience, performance-wise it is mostly academic: noise and distortion are already sufficiently low.
 

Prism24

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Apr 16, 2022
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Anyone have experience using the Element 3 with Modhouse Argons? I know that Modhouse recommends the Atom, but some of the big YouTube reviewers (not just Z) claim you need lots and lots of power to drive Argons.

My Fiio K5 Pro is about tapped out with the T60 Argons, so wondering if an Element III would provide a noticeable difference and not leave anything on the table compared to a more powerful amp.
 

Wafflest1ck

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May 24, 2022
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Anyone have experience using the Element 3 with Modhouse Argons? I know that Modhouse recommends the Atom, but some of the big YouTube reviewers (not just Z) claim you need lots and lots of power to drive Argons.

My Fiio K5 Pro is about tapped out with the T60 Argons, so wondering if an Element III would provide a noticeable difference and not leave anything on the table compared to a more powerful amp.

Element 3 + MK3 Argon owner here. Element 3 is more than enough to drive these cans and can get pretty loud. You will have no issue driving Argons.
 

Swtoby

Active Member
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Jun 13, 2018
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Element 3 + MK3 Argon owner here. Element 3 is more than enough to drive these cans and can get pretty loud. You will have no issue driving Argons.
Agreed. I've had no issue with an EL Amp II.
 

junki

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Mar 24, 2018
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I don't know why it took me this long to find this DAC+AMP. This is an amazing product. JDS chose to focus on all the right things here and ended up with at first glance the highest value product at its price point bar none. Going to pick one of these up.

This is being slept on by the entire audiophile community.
 

confucius_zero

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Nov 22, 2018
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jseaber

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Jan 15, 2018
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@confucius_zero We still have not heard back from @pablolie, despite an open offer to exchange. You may find this note more helpful: https://blog.jdslabs.com/2022/06/on-el3-manufacturing/

I don't know why it took me this long to find this DAC+AMP. This is an amazing product. JDS chose to focus on all the right things here and ended up with at first glance the highest value product at its price point bar none. Going to pick one of these up.

This is being slept on by the entire audiophile community.

Thank you! Interesting to read read this perspective, as we've been struggling to maintain stock.
 

pablolie

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@confucius_zero We still have not heard back from @pablolie, despite an open offer to exchange. You may find this note more helpful: https://blog.jdslabs.com/2022/06/on-el3-manufacturing/



Thank you! Interesting to read read this perspective, as we've been struggling to maintain stock.
I stated very clearly I was sure I would fix the issue when I had time. I don't doubt the quality of the product. It's just I am building myself a new workstation, rearranging my office setup and I'll get back to the JDS, which I don't intend to return. I think the issue may have been the KVM switch I have to switch between private and work computers... and which I intend to eliminate.

Thanks for the exchange offer.
 

phrosty

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Been using the Element III for a few days now and I'm really liking it!

Starting with the C5, moving to O2 and then ODAC, then Atom stack, now Element... I must say I'm a pretty loyal JDS Labs customer. I appreciate the consistently excellent support and lack of snakeoil.

Since JDS mentioned they are focusing on UX now that sound quality has been perfected, here are some thoughts/ideas I'd love for v4:
  • If you have the Element in front of you and to your left, you can see the knob LED through the OLED window.
  • The knob shouldn't be fragile enough to necessitate a warning about clicking it from the side vs the center.
  • Consider using Bluetooth or USB to configure instead of having a screen. Would clean up the look a tiny bit.
  • Balanced line out.
  • Optical out that acts as a passthrough output mode that can be turned on/off like line out. It wouldn't work with the preamp feature but this would make keeping noise out of speaker systems a lot simpler and still let it all be toggled by a nice button.
  • USB-C has supported Power Delivery for a while now and it'd be super cool to remove the extra power brick and cable if audio quality could be maintained. Admittedly I use optical so I don't think I could use this, but I've wanted it ever since USB-C PD was a thing :)
  • A breakout box that can be mounted under a desk, so the element only has a single cable coming out the back.
 
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