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JDS Labs Objective 2 + ODAC – First Listen

JDS Labs O2 3

If my experience with the Schiit Stack taught me anything…it’s that one should never settle. That’s what I did when I ordered the Schiit Stack. I wanted the Objective 2 and ODAC combo and I guess the Magni breaking down after less than 24 hours in my possession was an omen. It was life’s way of telling me that I should’ve gotten what I really wanted, even if it cost more. Now, with the thought of not only having to pay return shipping for the Schiit Stack but take a 15% hit on my refund in the form of a “restocking fee”, in the back of my mind, I at least know that I have the best of the best of the “cheap” amplifier and DAC set on my hands.

Yes, I ordered the O2+ODAC combo I thought of getting before I settled on the Schiit Stack from JDS Labs, the company I bought my first portable amplifier from nearly three years ago. It still works like new and I’ve been very happy with it so I figured they would have their stuff together with the O2+ODAC. Well, I guess I’ll find that out tomorrow when I turn it on again. If it works, they’ll have beaten Schiit, that’s for sure.

So how does it sound? Simple. It sounds just as good as I’d expected.

Now I’m not going to sit here and bash the Schiit Stack as, for those fleeting few moments, it did sound quite good and I certainly can’t take that away from it. Does the O2 Sound noticeably better than the Schiit Stack? I couldn’t tell you as I don’t trust my auditory memory on things like this. I’d have to have them right next to each other and do some blind testing to give you a definitive answer. But the peace of mind alone is good enough to justify the additional cost and I think that’s as good as it’s going to get.

JDS Labs O2 1
The O2 + ODAC, perched atop my Toshiba SD-3960 DVD/CD player

So, that’s that. For people still looking to buy from Schiit Audio in the future, you’ve been warned. I’m not going to say they’re universally bad at what they do but seeing as one of the two products I’ve bought from them broke within 24 hours, I sure as hell ain’t gonna recommend them myself. So, there’s that. As for the O2 and ODAC combo? It sounds great. I feel like I’m listening to the music, not the amplifier and DAC, which is to say it’s the most transparent amp I’ve used. But I felt the same way about the Schiit Stack too so take this with a grain of salt.

A full review will come in a little while, after the “new toy jitters” have worn off.

About Justin McBride

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  • brainlessmoron

    The O2/ODAC is a new era in audio, really. NWavGuy has proven that audio is a mature (and inexpensive) technology while also giving us guaranteed hifi where ever we go. Incredible. Now we can concentrate on the headphones.

    Speaking of which, I noticed that my modded t50rp Orthodynamics bring a serious amount of ‘texture’ to the audio, unlike my Etymotics. Where does it get it from?

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