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Review and Measurements of New JDS Labs Atom Headphone Amp

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I have an Atom and it works great with my Topping DAC and Mr. Speakers AFO headphones. Was wondering though if anyone here knows of a similar quality/price point amp that can be used to power bookshelf speakers (and perhaps other passive speakers) instead of headphones. I'm looking to get a non-headphone setup. I'll probably still use a topping DAC, but I'm unsure of what to use for the power amp/preamp or integrated amp, because there aren't as many measurements or reviews of these types of devices
 
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"I know that the iFi iDSD Micro (Black Label or original silver) and the iCan Pro can make the HE-560 loud enough to probably destroy your hearing with lots of room to spare."

Yes. Easily. You could even use something smaller/more portable than the IFI Micro, such as the topping nx4 dsd for HE-560s with the volume at about 12-1 o'clock, and it will probably be louder than you ever need it to be.
 
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I know that the iFi iDSD Micro (Black Label or original silver) and the iCan Pro can make the HE-560 loud enough to probably destroy your hearing with lots of room to spare.
When I owned the iDSD Micro I never used the turbo setting, and use the +9db gain setting on only a few cans with the iCan Pro, one being the HE-560.
I never use the +18db setting, insane power.
The iFi iDSD Micro seems good:D, but the iCan Pro is too expensive for me:facepalm:.
Since I already have a pretty good DAC, I might prefer a standalone amp.
 

mt196

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Thank you for your detailed reply. I have a HE-560 and I believe it needs more power than the Atom can provide.
I hope @tomchr can release more information about HPA-1.
Not true at all, @filo97s has them and can power them without any problem. If you are still looking for something more the thx AAA 798 balanced output is even more powerful (but you don't need it anyway)
 
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Not true at all, @filo97s has them and can power them without any problem. If you are still looking for something more the thx AAA 798 balanced output is even more powerful (but you don't need it anyway)
Totally agree.
The Atom has a ton of power available for the 560 but you know what? I have also a Teac UD-503, I use it as a dac and as a balanced amp (I converted the 560 in balanced operation just for trying something new but it hasn't changed that much... maybe just details, don't know if it is suggestion or what) and it still has power to handle the 560 without the minimum problem, with its 500mW per channel (less than half of the atom power). In my experience with those cans and and an infinite number of headamps to which they were plugged in, the power is definitely not a problem if it's above 270mW per channel.
Doing some math tells us also that with only 1mW of power, you still reach 90dB which is a considerable listening level. With 100mW you reach 110dB SPL which is actually quite a lot and leaving also some power for transients, anything that produce more than 270/300mW it's perfectly fine.
With the Atom I never go past the half of the potentiometer in high gain, counting that it is logarithmic, says enough regarding the power left.

(PS: this damn Atom sounds just a liiiiiiittle bit better than the Teac... 1000eur vs 100eur :confused: - or well, i should say 1000 eur vs 0 eur since mine is a review sample)
 
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Totally agree.
The Atom has a ton of power available for the 560 but you know what? I have also a Teac UD-503, I use it as a dac and as a balanced amp (I converted the 560 in balanced operation just for trying something new but it hasn't changed that much... maybe just details, don't know if it is suggestion or what) and it still has power to handle the 560 without the minimum problem, with its 500mW per channel (less than half of the atom power). In my experience with those cans and and an infinite number of headamps to which they were plugged in, the power is definitely not a problem if it's above 270mW per channel.
Doing some math tells us also that with only 1mW of power, you still reach 90dB which is a considerable listening level. With 100mW you reach 110dB SPL which is actually quite a lot and leaving also some power for transients, anything that produce more than 270/300mW it's perfectly fine.
With the Atom I never go past the half of the potentiometer in high gain, counting that it is logarithmic, says enough regarding the power left.

(PS: this damn Atom sounds just a liiiiiiittle bit better than the Teac... 1000eur vs 100eur :confused: - or well, i should say 1000 eur vs 0 eur since mine is a review sample)
The Atoms can drive the HE-560 to loud volumes. But one thing I noticed is that, if I use high gain, I will get a considerable sound improvement. I attribute it to higher output power in high gain.
 

JohnYang1997

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The Atoms can drive the HE-560 to loud volumes. But one thing I noticed is that, if I use high gain, I will get a considerable sound improvement. I attribute it to higher output power in high gain.
That's total misconception. You gain nothing in terms of output power by switching to high gain. You only introduced a voltage amplification in the signal chain. Output stage is untouched.
The difference you hear is only the louder volume it gives making you "feel" the sound is better but actually not. In fact SNR and distortion performance is a bit worse on high gain.
 
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That's total misconception. You gain nothing in terms of output power by switching to high gain. You only introduced a voltage amplification in the signal chain. Output stage is untouched.
The difference you hear is only the louder volume it gives making you "feel" the sound is better but actually not. In fact SNR and distortion performance is a bit worse on high gain.
I made this comparison at the same volume, and high gain didn't make the sound worse but better. I'm confused nowo_O
 

JohnYang1997

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I made this comparison at the same volume, and high gain didn't make the sound worse but better. I'm confused nowo_O
You shouldn't hear a big difference if any. Would you describe the difference? Is it more snappy, dynamic, forward and wide, generally more engaging? If it is, it's the volume. It's hard to match level with different gain settings also your mind may trick you thinking that way.
 

deafenears

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You shouldn't hear a big difference if any. Would you describe the difference? Is it more snappy, dynamic, forward and wide, generally more engaging? If it is, it's the volume. It's hard to match level with different gain settings also your mind may trick you thinking that way.
It has more plankton ;)
 

maxxevv

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You shouldn't hear a big difference if any. Would you describe the difference? Is it more snappy, dynamic, forward and wide, generally more engaging? If it is, it's the volume. It's hard to match level with different gain settings also your mind may trick you thinking that way.
Agreed. If there are differences, its very subtle at best, largely indiscernible.

Most definitely the volume differences if one doesn't use any measuring devices to match them.
 
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I made this comparison at the same volume, and high gain didn't make the sound worse but better. I'm confused nowo_O
If you have not got any measuring devices to match the volumes, you can try listening to the high gain at slightly lower volume. Is it better as well this way?
 
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My understanding when you switch gains all you're doing is swapping a resistor value or two. You're not really flipping a switch supplying the circuit with more power. The low gain setting can output the same max power as high gain. It just requires a larger voltage input signal to begin with.
 
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