JDS EL DAC Measurements

Discussion in 'Source Measurements' started by purr1n, May 7, 2018.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    65,620
    Dislikes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    I like JDS. I have fond feelings from long ago when they used to sell high quality CMOY kits. With more efficient headphones like Grados, AD2000s, or even HD6x0s, the CMOY actually sounds better than than Objective 2 amp. So it pains me somewhat to me say that I really dislike the EL DAC. I didn't like the JDS Element either, but I wanted to make it clear that I didn't have an axe to grind with JDS.

    These are super early impressions. I will give the DAC a few more days to warm up and get back to proper subjective impressions. Unlike the Topping D30 which just sounded sucky, the EL DAC does certain things OK, but has terrible glare that just grew on me. The bass was also kind of one note without texture or pitch differentiation. Don't tell me, is this ESS Sabre based? I haven't searched Google yet so I do not know.

    JDS El DAC 1kHz 0dbFS
    EL 1kHz.png

    JDS El DAC 1kHz -90dbFS
    EL 1kHz -90db.png

    However, something is wrong with the -30dbFS 1kHz measurement... stay tuned.
     
  2. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,444
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I won't spoil all the fun, but it's not a Sabre DAC.
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    65,620
    Dislikes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    OK. So this is where I am going to need help for you guys. Not sure if its my, the gear, or the DAC, or combination thereof. Usually when I see something off like this, I want to check to see if I am doing wrong.

    This is the 1khz signal at -30dbFs. Using coax input here.
    EL 1kHz -30db.png

    Now, this is with USB using ARTA as the signal generator. This is to eliminate that coax might be the issue. (Ignore "notes" in image because of external siggen)
    EL 1kHz -30db USB.png
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  4. dubharmonic

    dubharmonic Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,515
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    It's an AK4490EQ chip.
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    65,620
    Dislikes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    Just in case it was frequency based. Here I try 500Hz via USB. (Ignore "notes" in image because of external siggen)
    EL 0.5kHz -30db USB.png

    So now I wonder, does this happen at -29dbFS and -31dbFS? Is this some sort of bug that just happens at -30dbFS?

    -29dbFS (via coax)
    EL 1kHz -29db.png

    -31dbFS (via coax)
    EL 1kHz -31db.png

    Behavior at -29db and -31db looks normal. So is definitely looks like that his behavior is centered around a sine signal at -30dbFS. Still scratching my head around this.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    65,620
    Dislikes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    Let's take a look at THD+N on a db scale here. This seems to confirm the localized behavior.
    EL strange.png
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    65,620
    Dislikes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    OK, so trying to get to the bottom of this. Here is a 100 step THD+N run at 1kHz from -40db to -15db. The finer granularity of the steps is picking up another spike around -24dbFS.
    EL THD+N -40 to -15db.png

    Confirmed via -24dbFS 1kHz sine FFT here.
    EL 1kHz -24db.png
     
    Clemmaster likes this.
  8. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,383
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    San Diego
    Hopefully the iFi sounds better or there won't be much reason send out a loaner box.
     
  9. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,625
    Dislikes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Northwest France
    Your gear and setup is obviously perfect. No further analysis is necessary and you should draw conclusions prematurely.
     
    9suns and Clemmaster like this.
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    65,620
    Dislikes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    I'll pull out the Q401 and see if I can get the same results.
     
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    65,620
    Dislikes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    Oh, the iFi Nano BL sounds good! A step up from the non BL original Nano.
     
    dmckean44 likes this.
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    65,620
    Dislikes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    So here are the Q400 results (using SE in, too lazy to hook up the balanced probes which has less spuriae)

    -24db and -30db - both look clean. So we can probably rest assured that these results might be some specific interaction between the device the measurement gear.
    EL DAC -24db.png
    EL DAC -30db.png

    However, this time around the -1db 1kHz looks odd.
    EL DAC -1db.png

    Don't want to come to any conclusions at this time, other than measurements are hard: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/measurements-are-hard.5159/

    I'm inclined to give the JDS EL DAC the benefit of the doubt. It doesn't sound defective. The fact that I do not like its sound is wholly another story.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
    Baten, Priidik and Vtory like this.
  13. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,444
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Are those jitter spikes at exactly 1k intervals? Seems like something about the way the signal is sampled by the instrument.
     
  14. Speedious

    Speedious Rando

    Joined:
    May 7, 2018
    Likes Received:
    10
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    The OC SoCal
    Purr1n, I have an EL DAC which you can use or borrow to verify against.
    Let me know.
     
  15. DivineCurrent

    DivineCurrent Rando

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2017
    Likes Received:
    11
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    New Jersey, US
    The USB interaction with Windows and the EL DAC, for me at least, is somewhat buggy. I had to uninstall the default drivers it came with, because it wouldn't output any sound. Apparently you don't need the drivers anymore with the new Windows updates, because the EL DAC runs natively with Windows' new UAC2 stream, instead of UAC1. But, it looks like you are using both USB and coax, so drivers are probably not the issue...

    Also, I noticed the EL DAC sounds slightly warmer/darker than most ESS Sabre based DACs I've heard. Including the ODAC.
     
  16. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,300
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    It is an AKM chip as mentioned earlier in the thread.
     
  17. DivineCurrent

    DivineCurrent Rando

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2017
    Likes Received:
    11
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    New Jersey, US
    Yes, I forget to mention I knew it is an AKM chip. It sounds warmer to me when compared to Sabre DACs I've heard. I've never heard any other AKM based DACs besides the EL DAC, so I don't know if that is a known characteristic of their chips.
     
  18. Baten

    Baten Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2018
    Likes Received:
    664
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Belgium
    Supposedly, yes. I have the EL Dac and it admittedly sounds warmer than other DACs using Sabre chips. I've actually liked its sound unlike purr1n, although I admit there's room for improvement (wouldn't call it end-game or anything).
     

Share This Page