Are JDS Lab Atom & THX 789 actually good or just overhyped?

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by PinkyWeeWee, May 30, 2019.

  1. PinkyWeeWee

    PinkyWeeWee Rando

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    Hello everyone!
    I've had this question for quite some time now , some people say those two products are quite gamechanging as they measure up very well , and can easily perform on equal ground with more expensive amplifiers in this industry .

    Is there some truth to this? I find it a little odd despite hearing the Atom hype on many different platforms (reddit , discord servers v.v....) but when i google it there aren't many results , except for the topic on ASR . I would have used it as a reference point but i've heard that there is something off with Amir's measurement so i don't know .

    Are they actually as good as what people say?
     
  2. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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  3. PinkyWeeWee

    PinkyWeeWee Rando

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  4. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Yup, really not much talk of the Atom here. Something I noticed back when I was considering picking one up a few months back, haha.

    Also, introductions please!
     
  5. RedFuneral

    RedFuneral Facebook Friend

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    The Atom is real, I've owned one for a month and it outresolves the Schiit Ragnarok & SPL Phonitor e in my vocal legibility tests. It sounds remarkably clean & fast without audible flaw.

    It's a good reference to own but that's all it is to me. I don't enjoy listening with it, the Atom demands perfection through the entire system. Perfection I'm not interested in because it'd involve a new taste in music with audiophile quality recordings.

    Still it's worth a buy, you'll learn if chasing technical perfection is worth your investment. It will also show you that some aspects of performance you may care about don't exist in headphones with a clean system, the Atom won't give you soundstage.
     
  6. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    @PinkyWeeWee, you should introduce yourself in the appropriate thread linked above be @Lyer25. However, this question is probably valid enough to warrant its own thread, so I'll answer here:

    Overhyped.

    IMHO, the Atom is sterile, clinical, and sounds boring. My test is seeing if I have the urge to surf the web and/or pull my phone out while listening, within the first few minutes. Suffice to say, I did both those things.

    The Drop THX AAA 789 trades blows with the Schiit Jotunheim. My friend owns both and I auditioned with my LCD-3; I liked the Jotunheim more. It seems to slam more in the bass and is smoother in the treble.

    Might be of interest: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...assdrop-x-thx-aaa-789.5852/page-3#post-194140
     
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    Last edited: May 30, 2019
  7. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    ^
    This

    THX789 is not bad by any means. Very passable and tolerable. Measured performance is probably legit. But I can't justify its "time premium" (need to wait for months) and "risk premium" (limited return policy) over Jotunheim.

    Things that THX789 does better than Jotunheim: slightly cleaner, sharper, and blacker (not only in appearance but also sonically)

    Things that Jotunheim does better than THX789: better bass control, more nuanced bass and mid, better scale with good balanced sources, less sterile and strident, more involving

    I don't want to have THX789 in my rig any day, but can understand why some groups of people use it -- it can do similar jobs with benchmark $$$ amps only at a fraction of benchmark price. And I personally prefer Liquid Platinum and Lyr 3 to above all, although these two are slightly pricier. Plankton delta fully justifies price delta in my book.
     
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  8. DEATHxMACHINE

    DEATHxMACHINE Friend

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    Hype is real for the THX 789 is real if completely uncolored and transparent is what you are looking for. So tends to be too analytical for some folks which is why being described as sterile comes up a lot. Makes it easy to review dacs. But 6 Wpc for balanced output, it has a lot of juice for its price and size and scales well with every headphone I have tried.

    I personally like it over the jotunheim. I didn't think the jotunheim had that much better bass control and wasn't as resolving in the highs. But the dac used in the comparison was a Border Patrol dac which is pretty warm. So that may have kicked up the bass of the THX.
     
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  9. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Atom is pretty good with metal and such kinds of music where you don't want smoothness.

    THX AAA 789 is for when you are in between... where you don't want to doze off because you are listening to soft jazz, and yet you don't want vocals and such to be shouty/sibilant/piercing/zingy/etc... when any of that comes on in your playlist.

    Neither is truly "all that" IMHO, but the THX is closer to what my speakers sound like, for when I can't turn the speakers on.

    Granted, all of my headphones are kind of on the dark side of neutral, so there's that.
     
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  10. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    THX is great if you want neutral only with the jack of all trades personality (IEMs, SE, Balanced). It was worth the $350.00 when I gotten it. Great part of my computer desk.

    The Jot current rev is for warmth and maybe more bass. They are similar yet different. I like both of them, but I do find the THX to be a little more flexible for my needs at times.
     
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    The Atom measurements are probably legit. Opamps and chips and massive amounts of negative feedback (low gain) equate to perfect measurements.
     
  12. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    I bought an Atom and sold it within a week or so, yes it was burned in!

    Magni 3 with some slight faults was more my cup o tea. What I have discovered over the past year or two in headphones but even more so with speakers. Amp differences are big in comparison to dacs.

    eg. Just got my ears on some virgin Pass Aleph monoblocks, holy cow!
     
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  13. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    tangentially, THX AAA 789 vs. JDS Element (amp only) was pretty significant delta. 789 was much cleaner, tighter, and more defined lower octaves. BUT, as many have mentioned, both of those amps are pretty dry/square/boring or bright-ish.

    789 is clinical, like getting your teeth cleaned. Sure it might be necessary once in a while, but it's generally not a pleasant experience all the time.
     
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  14. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    I'd buy Atom, but I already know the interest in it will be 1.7 people given the last cheap amp fad with the Loxjie.
     
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  15. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    My 2 cents
    1. There is no such a "game-changer" or "giant-killer". Avoid those terms and people who often say them. Those are in most cases (95-99%) just BS marketing or shills. Of course there are so many shit-sounding gears for its asking prices. But all f*** products excluded, I learned that performance is positively correlated with price. Product prices can be viewed as "freedom" of developers in using better parts and compromising less. Personal preference and specific need/taste can override everything though.
    2. Beyond a certain performance point, good measurement results can be a bad signal. Particularly for amps and dacs. This is because such are often argued via fakable or manipulable indicators -- for example, total/intermediate harmonic distortions (aka THD/IMD), noise floor level, and/or output impedance. Stronger (global) negative-feedback loop or overuse of dc-servo circuits through op-amps can significantly make those indicators great-looking (note that numbers usually locate beyond human thresholds even in bad-measuring gears). The cost is user experience, which I believe really matters. Products heavily based on these tricks tend to sound clinical, eliminate true small details (but sound "detailed" lol), and not scale well with resolving gears.
    3. Great engineers know how to compromise wisely. Unfortunately, there are only a few of them in the industry.
    Regardless, exceptions always exist. Finding them is one way of pleasures in this hobby. So, it might be better for you to experiment by yourself.
     
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  16. DEATHxMACHINE

    DEATHxMACHINE Friend

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    Yeah, just give the THX 789 a go yourself. If you don't like it, you can sell it on ebay for a profit. Then use the profits to buy the Atom.
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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  18. BillyJimmy556

    BillyJimmy556 Rando

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    I love both.. they do a create job for their prices.. hard to beat.
     
  19. starence

    starence Facebook Friend

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    I'm enjoying the Atom more than I expected to. It feels like a cheap plastic toy, but it sure doesn't sound like one. Its greatest strengths are speed and balance. Definitely what I would call a "fun" sound, not extremely resolving or refined, but a bit forward and energetic, without excessive brightness. The Atom is a good all-rounder, but it excels with music that is complex or fast paced. All my listening so far has been with the Modi 3 and JAR 650.

    I ordered my Atom with the LEDs disabled, I'm sure having a blue ring around the volume knob would have annoyed me at night.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  20. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    Had the THX 789 and now the Atom. Quite shocked, the Atom is a real nice amp! Bought it to burn in some headphones but ended up listening to it. It's very similar sounding to the THX 789, I think the Atom is at about 90% of the Thx. Does not sound like an juiced up Objective 2 amp as has been reported. Pairs really well with zmf headphones. As for comparison to the Magni 3, the Atom is just cleaner and maybe a tad more plankton. They have about the same power.
     
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