• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Review and Measurements of JDS Labs EL DAC

kanade96

New Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
3
Likes
1
It shifts the problem to your S/PDIF from the computer is well buffered or not. Certainly worth a shot.
Please excuse my ignorance but, how do you make this connection work? I've just hooked RCA to RCA cable from EL DAC coax input to my mobo's coax S/PDIF output.

Unlike USB connection, there are no "audio device" to use in the desktop. I'm confused as to how I'm able to use this coax connection on my PC.

Edit: Nevermind, I'm dumb, I didn't even realized that I've disabled my mobo's audio device.
 
Last edited:

wadec22

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2018
Messages
319
Likes
236
I've had this thing for a few days now and i'm really impressed. this with the atom are now my desktop solution. I am sending back my RME ADI 2.

I can't hear any differences between this and the RME. The unit is very sharp looking, amazing service (I've been exchanging several emails/day since getting it and they reply within a couple hours). If I decide I still need EQ - I'll go back to using Equalizer APO.... RME unit is a piece of art, I just cannot justify the price difference based on my personal use of the feature set and my frustration with it being a bear to use.

this unit is fantastic.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
75
Likes
114
Yes it is but numbers are only part of the story. Personal preference comes into play also since everyone perceives music differently
True. One piece of gear may have features or appearance you prefer despite another being measurably superior, but still both are audibly transparent. I might not concern myself with one less zero after the decimal in a distortion measure to get those features while someone else wouldn't make the trade-off. Personal preference. However, I think you're falsly attributing an emotional state at the time of hearing a piece of music to the hardware and not your brain. I've been moved to tears by music one day and left cold another. All do to factors not related to the audio equipment.
 

Johny

New Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
1
Likes
0
Hello. Tell me, please, is there any noise in the speakers from this device with no signal at the input? If I understand the measurement results correctly, there should be practically no noise. The fact is that at the moment I own NFB-11.28 and it is very noisy, the more you turn the volume, the more noise, both on the linear output and on the headphones, and this is very annoying. And as far as I understand, judging by the measurements of other Audio-GD products here, EL DAC should be much better than NFB, is that so? Sorry for my bad english.
 

Veri

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
5,859
Likes
6,766
Hello. Tell me, please, is there any noise in the speakers from this device with no signal at the input? If I understand the measurement results correctly, there should be practically no noise. The fact is that at the moment I own NFB-11.28 and it is very noisy, the more you turn the volume, the more noise, both on the linear output and on the headphones, and this is very annoying. And as far as I understand, judging by the measurements of other Audio-GD products here, EL DAC should be much better than NFB, is that so? Sorry for my bad english.
EL Dac should have no noise.
NFB is simply, bad.
 

imagidominc

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
57
Likes
132
I just purchased this DAC. I'm currently listening to music with it paired with the THX 789 and beyerdynamic 770/80ohm. The transparency is phenomenal. I work with live audio equipment for a living, so I am VERY familiar with the unfortunate buzzing/hum/unnecessary noise coming from poorly built amps/mixers/speakers. What a sigh of relief it is to be listening to music without any interference. I initially ordered a Topping D30 but they sent the wrong power adapter which I had to return, so I just didn't want to deal with Topping any more after that. The Khadas Tone Board was also considered but I didn't want a bare board dac and I think they raised the price?? While the EL Dac is more expensive, it is definitely worth the price. I got my EL Dac engraved with the opening words you see at Disneyland, "Here you leave today...", but there was a typo in my wording I noticed after I placed my order. So I emailed JDS Labs about it and not only were they quick to respond, they fixed all my typos and spelling errors for me. What service!
Presentation is impeccable, I love the little light on the front of the device. It is so simple and atheistically pleasing. And of course, this measures extremely well. I haven't tried Coaxial, but Toslink hooked up to my Apple TV was fantastic, and from what I understand, they measure the same. JDS Labs are a small American company that makes great products, and for all those reasons I am happy to buy from them. I will definitely keep buying from them, and if they come out with a new Dac down the line that measures even better than this, I'll be sure to snatch it up. But I can hardly imagine it getting better than this (without spending $$$$$$). And even then, can we really hear the difference, or is it all in our heads?
10/10
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2019
Messages
18
Likes
11
I bought the EL DAC and amp to replace my Schiit Magni3 and Modi Multibit and I'm very happy I did because I feel both are better than their Schiit counterparts.

The EL DAC has an overall cleaner more level sound than the Mimby which is more colored and not as smooth sounding to me. The EL DAC presents the music just the way it was recorded in a nice clean and clear manner which was exactly what I was looking for when I got it. There may be a touch of warmth sometimes but overall to me it sounds neutral most of the time. I use the coaxial out so I don't think I get the interference that there is from the USB connection.

Very happy with both the DAC and amp and going through the measurements gives me a better understanding as to why it sounds the way it does, and also just educates more on measurements of audio equipment, so thank you for the post.
 

AndrovichIV

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
May 25, 2019
Messages
158
Likes
212
Sorry for the off-topic but, will using coaxial input for the EL DAC eliminate any chance of buffer underrun/overrun, thus eliminating any potential popping or crackling sound?

I've been spending days to troubleshoot this problem with USB input and one of the solution which the JDS Labs suggest to fix this problem is "using modes other than USB". Fortunately, my motherboard has a gold plated (not sure if that'll make any difference) coaxial output which, I'm thinking of buying a single RCA-RCA coax cable to test it out.
it's possible that your computer is not assigning a high enough priority to audio. Check this thread https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/linux-settings-for-an-audiophile.7775/ on how to increase the priority in Linux for instance.
 

bequietjk

Active Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2019
Messages
291
Likes
307
I happened to be glossing over JDS' website for Element specs... And noticed El Dac II and Element II have been released!
 

wadec22

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2018
Messages
319
Likes
236
Man, reading the blog, I'm bummed no cool new features.... Display, remote, digital volume control.... All still lacking in a DAC for $299...
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2019
Messages
98
Likes
48
I bought the EL DAC and amp to replace my Schiit Magni3 and Modi Multibit and I'm very happy I did because I feel both are better than their Schiit counterparts.

The EL DAC has an overall cleaner more level sound than the Mimby which is more colored and not as smooth sounding to me. The EL DAC presents the music just the way it was recorded in a nice clean and clear manner which was exactly what I was looking for when I got it. There may be a touch of warmth sometimes but overall to me it sounds neutral most of the time. I use the coaxial out so I don't think I get the interference that there is from the USB connection.

Very happy with both the DAC and amp and going through the measurements gives me a better understanding as to why it sounds the way it does, and also just educates more on measurements of audio equipment, so thank you for the post.
Interesting. Is there anything that the Mimby does better than the El Dac?
 

Hazi59

New Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2019
Messages
1
Likes
0
Does anybody have any idea how this thing measures using Optical? Coaxial is not possible on my motherboard and I would really prefer to run this via optical instead of USB if there is indeed a measurable benefit. I know USB normally is a better option, but that is not the case with this DAC. The reason I'm asking is because I also own a Geshelli Labs Enog2 Pro and would prefer to run whatever is measurably better via optical toslink...
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Messages
11
Likes
2
Sorry for the off-topic but, will using coaxial input for the EL DAC eliminate any chance of buffer underrun/overrun, thus eliminating any potential popping or crackling sound?

I've been spending days to troubleshoot this problem with USB input and one of the solution which the JDS Labs suggest to fix this problem is "using modes other than USB". Fortunately, my motherboard has a gold plated (not sure if that'll make any difference) coaxial output which, I'm thinking of buying a single RCA-RCA coax cable to test it out.
I know this is older but I am dealing with what I feel is an extremely unique situation with mine. What motherboard do you have?

All-

My issue is in regards to only a few applications. What happens is audio is EXTREMELY quiet and flat/dead/no dynamics. This is using USB on a dedicated port (not shared). I'd have to have everything at max volume and with my ATOM high gain and nearly max for decent volume. I have tried everything I can think of. Even rebuilt my machine. The only way for me to get around the issue with these applications is to run enhancements with loudness equalization (not ideal sounding). Once that's on we're good volume wise. The issue with that, is I have to run through toslink. Not a fan of EQing and it has to go from my onboard DAC to my EL DAC to my ATOM. The reason being is the EL DAC does not have an enhancement option and onboard audio does.

I just don't know. I initially thought my ATOM as just bad.

  • Win 10 64, v1909.
  • Latest drivers including rebuilding.
  • Tried SAVI ASIO drivers.
  • Naturally I removed all onboard audio drivers.
  • Disabled Onboard Audio in BIOS (BIOS is up to date).
  • As mentioned, tried multiple USB ports except the fronts making sure all are dedicated.
  • Made sure USB power options are correct.
My PC is one I custom built and it is extremely light for software. Ryzen 3900 (12 core 24 thread), Gigabyte Aorus Master X570, 3 PCIe 4.0 1tb nVME drives, 16x2 32gb memory @ 3800 cL14 1T, Gigabyte 2080 Ti.

I tried disabling all additional audio options not in use (Nvidia for example) not that I would think it would matter. Tried various bit depth and sampling rates. It's just driving me crazy at this point.

Anyone seen this?
 
Top Bottom