USB audio devices using isolated power.
Order taking will resume by end of January
(20 day home trial on all devices)Price drop on Sabre based JKDAC - now
€400. All devices now charged from a spare USB port & FREE bundled cable.All devices use a modified Hiface which has USB input capable of 24bit 192KHz USB input & can be operated at 32/192 This is an aysnchronous USB device which means that it doesn't use the computers clock for it's timing but rather has 3 discrete on-board clocks. One to time the USB connection & the other two clocks to time the audio output. I use 2 internal LiFePO4 batteries (very low ripple & very low noise) to power all the circuits in the
MK3 instead of USB power which is used in the stock Hiface. This means it is immune to the bad power supplies typically found in computers. The devices now have the user controlled option of charging the batteries while playing music - no more concern over batteries. Operating from two very low jitter/phase noise clocks, it delivers some of the highest sound quality you are likely to encounter. The transport is the most important part of the signal chain to get right which is proven by the various reviews both end-user & in the press that attest to the improvement in sound which adding a MK3 device brings to their system. ............ more
The JKSPDIF MK3 outputs SPDIF via a true 75 ohm BNC socket. A BNC/RCA adapter is provided if requested. The MK3 is bundled with a RF attenuator which reduces cable induced jitter - see here
The JKDAC32 integrates, via I2S, a 32/192 Burr Brown DAC together with a MK3 into one box. It handles 32/192 signals natively - no upsampling & outputs a stereo analogue line level signal via it's RCA connectors.! Probably one of the few truly 32/192 end-to-end capable DACs available. See here
The JKDAC integrates, via I2S, a 24/192 ESS Sabre DAC together with a MK3 into one box. It handles 24/192 signals natively - no upsampling & outputs a stereo analogue line-level signal via it's RCA connectors!
Latest Press Reviews:
In many respects how the JKDAC32 presented music reminded me of those great Decca recordings of the 50s and 60s which are so rarely matched these days - a wonderfully large airy soundstage combined with exquisite precision and clarity that wasn’t the last word in warmth and body. Think of Solti’s Ring and all those awesome Karajan/Vienna recordings; and of course those of Ernest Ansermet and his delightful L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Particularly impressive was that clarity and incisiveness did not come at the expense of treble smoothness and ease. No glare, no edge, no brittleness, no digital nasties.
Over the last several weeks I've been enjoying Bertrand Chamayou’s incandescent reading of Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage [Naïve 16-bit/44.1kHz WAV], a truly staggering piece of music interpreted with exceptional verve and passion. I thought the JKDAC32 admirably captured the attacks and sustain of Chamayou’s instrument—there was real thunder on those huge dynamic peaks—and revealed the light, nuance and beauty of the softer moments. On a recent recording of Kalevi Aho’s Chamber Symphonies [BIS 24/44.1 WAV] I noted a distinctly open, clear and very involving sound. Strings came across clean, clear, crisp and extended without any undue edge or shrillness. . .............. More Reviews
JKDAC32 (April 2012)
John Kenny JKDAC32 (M2Tech Hiface + PCM5102 + LiFePO4) See here
I don't intend to insult your intelligence (dear reader) with clichés of how the JKDAC32 "competes with units two or three times the price". Or that it is "recommended". Or that it is "superb". Despite superlatives meaning little in a comparative world it is all of these things.. .............. More Reviews
JKDAC32 (Oct 2012)
TNT Audio - JKDAC32 See here
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JKDAC32 (April 2012)USB DAC shootout featuring JPLAY and the Rega DAC, Beresford TC-7520 (modified + Burson Buffer), Halide Design DAC HD, JKDAC , MK3 JKSPDIF and JKDAC32.
Review by Clive Meakins
1st Place: JKDAC32
Bass is very impressive, the equal of the Halide DAC HD, so it's got a great bass dynamic, it goes deep, it's tight, textured, indeed it's really propulsive. Where the JKDAC32 wins extra points is that the upper-mid and treble are sweeter yet still very detailed. This is no treble cover-up job! The next thing that struck the auditioning panel was the separation between the instruments; this was a step ahead of the best of the other DACs being tested here. Imaging was found to be very three dimensional and we agreed there was an especially strong focus for the central image whilst the expansive nature of the soundstage was maintained.
The best DAC here? The panel was unanimously in favor of the JKDAC32. So much so that the owner of the Rega sold it the next day. He purchased a JKDAC32. So have I. .............. More Reviews
JKSPDIF MK3 (Feb 2012)
Regardless of what cables I used with the MK3, the difference between stock hiFace and MK3 was so huge as to make it difficult hearing any similarities between the two. With the MK3 playback was bigger, bolder and more dramatic but also smoother, less aggressive and edgy.............. More Reviews
JKSPDIF MK3 (March 2012)
............How does the Audiophilleo compare to the JKSPDIF? I get asked this question a lot. I've tried them both with a wide array of budget DACs over many, many months. There really isn't that much to separate them sonically. I could happily live with either (in the long-term) but I distinctly preferred the JKSPDIF with the Metrum Octave - it seemed to bring out more elasticity and tame some of the glassiness.
........... we both agreed that the Audiophilleo seemed to overcook the upper-mids on a couple of decoding boxes. This anomaly was tamed with a digital attenuator. The JKSPDIF MK3 seems to be kinder/gentler overall. Perhaps it's the battery technology? ............. More Reviews
The first impression was wow!! Compared to my psaudio digital link on usb your dac sounds much better.
Then i compared a ripped cd played over usb and your dac to my cd-player with the psaudio.
This was quite a surprise, cause they sounded pretty even, the psaudio had a little more pressure, your dac has less pressure, but sounds finer.
The next day's i will connect the Equipment to my STAX Headphone and do more comparison.
With your dac, i tried some hd-samples from the internet and they sound really great!
That's really a new dimension for me!
Well, the last 2 days I have been using your JKDAC32 with the Marantz in direct mode with JPlay mini or the Foobar JPlay plug-in. You had mentioned that I should find an improvement in the bass, but I was skeptical and was actually floored by the huge improvement - really night and day over what I was listening to before - deep tight 3-dimensional bass. You're right, I don't need the sub at all! I was hearing the bass that I got from these modified B&Ws many years ago when I had an analog setup. In the first day of listening (about 12 hours burn-in, about 2 hours of listening), I was also very happy with the soundstage - very wide, 3 dimensional, and imaging was solid. My only reservation was the highs and mids had a digital tinge to it. In day 2 of listening (about 24 hours burn-in and another 2 hours of listening), that digital tinge seems to have gone away. What is apparent though is that highs are very crisp and distinct (in a good sense), that lets me hear so much more detail that I never heard before. It also really brings out the differences between recordings, and I'm hearing the "space" of the recording studios. In summary, so far, I'm well pleased and thank you for renewing my interest in music listening! And also thank you for pricing your products reasonably - all too often the "audiophile" components tend to be priced out of the realm of many people's budget.
Got the DAC today and right out of the box its sounding very seductive. A lush and satin smooth presentation; tons of detail; beautiful interpretation of voices. Great job! Is it going to get better as it burns in?
...........Yep she’s getting better. What’s cool, is that a lot of music I didn’t like before is listenable and enjoyable now. Lots of nice texture in wooden string instruments and there’s a sparkle to high-frequency notes. I wonder if it’s because of the elimination of that digital pre-echo effect you talk about. Soundstaging, balance, finesse, reminds me of my old Linn turntable.
I'll get back to you with a better write up but for now I can say you really get the feeling your hearing the cuts as they should be heard, quality old productions really shine through, rejuvenated. Its like my digital collection is even more precious than it was. Listening to Steely Dan alive in America, jeeeze the drums, you gadget's floored me more than once John. Cheers for the best hifi purchase I've ever made, last time I heard anything remotely close to this was my old thorens td160s and grace arm, and this slays that. Many regards Michael
DAC32 compared to M1 DAC & Havana
I also have a balanced Havana and a M1DAC from musical fidelity and yours is the most musical for sure . The soundstage is different in yours , it is deeper , maybe the deepest I have heard and I heard many world class dacs from levinson, modified bel canto, audiolab, meridian accuphase and many others.
Let me tell u this little dac keeps getting better. What a treasure u came up with. The dac now has better soundstage and imaging that was lacking a little before. It just sounds wonderful, It is becoming my favorite dac the more I listen to it.
Both DACs Compared agianst Audio Note 2.1 Signature DAC
First up was the Sabre-based JKDAC, which was immediately impressive. This DAC gave particularly outstanding body and weight to the sound – rarely does a digital component allow loudspeakers to be steeped in such a level of complex tones, but this one does just that.
Next was the JKDAC32 and the improvement was immediate. All the body of the previous JKDAC was there, but with a bigger and more open presence to each musician, more tunefulness, even more bass power in the the lower registers and much less grain. It gave a highly involving and dramatic sound that demanded the listener’s attention without being too fatiguing. Excellent timing too. Considering the 25% price difference (€100) between John’s two DACs, the JKDAC32 is a no-brainer. The performance jump is far greater than the price difference implies..
In conclusion, the JKDAC32 is really special – even more so when considering its price-point and balance of strengths that approach my Audio Note DAC. It really was a “Special Delivery” and John Kenny is onto something good here. http://www.hifispotter.com/?p=1677
The first cut I listened to was the Oscar Peterson "We Get Requests" that we mastered for FIM. The DAC was very coherent from top to bottom. Nothing sticks out to me in a bad way. The hardest part of a DAC is to recreate the soft parts. I can sense the size of the venue and reverb tails go out all the way without falling off into the black.
The bass is nice and tight. Imaging on upright basses are spot on. They have good definition and body. Nothing bloated or unnatural. Snare hits are fast. I can hear the body of the snare for 1-2sec. It doesn't fall off like other converters. Piano is strong throughout the whole range. Voices are very natural and brass doesn't make my ears bleed.. especially muted trumpet. The only thing I found lacking are tiny cymbal hits. We mastered the Sheffield Track and Drum album for FIM as well and the quiet cymbal hits aren't quite there. I can hear the initial transient, then it falls off too quickly into the noise. If I turned the volume up, I could hear the decay though. I really had to nit pick to find anything wrong with this converter. Remember, right behind me was the best of the best, so I knew what it had to do to impress me.
All in all.. I'd say it's the best inexpensive converter I've heard yet. I'd put it up against anything under $5k. ...........Bruce Brown from Puget Sound Studios....... More Reviews
JKSPDIF MK3 Vs Audiophileo
The JKSPDIF Mk3 is working out very well with my Berkeley Alpha DAC Series 2. My initial impressions have pretty much held true since the beginning. The most noticeable impact has been the solidity and definition of images and instrument separation. There is great detail, but above all it sounds natural and organic, which is something I could not say at all about the Audiophilleo 2. There is a refinement and depth to the sound that is difficult to describe. It just sounds more real is all I can say. More analog-like vs digital, to use an abused cliche. But, it is unlike a turntable in that at the same time there is enhanced clarity to the sound. Great job with this device! I can't imagine more expensive products like the Alpha USB or Off-Ramp offering any considerable gains and am not even thinking about upgrading the transport aspect of my system............Eugene........ More Reviews
JKDAC32 Vs M2tech Young DAC
Since listening to the JKDAC32 for a good week or so in my own system, I've put the M2Tech Young (w/ Teddy Pardo power supply) out to pasture. I have been amazed how much the JKDAC32 DAC has opened up. I am not one for all the hi-fi jargon but the best way I can describe the sound is something like this: it now has a weight, body, depth and detail that had hitherto eluded my PC-based setup. This evening for the second time I ran an experiment using my analogue set up against the JKDAC32 using Jplay. For the first time the PC based system left the analogue system behind. I used a fresh vinyl copy of Van Morrison’s “His Band and the Street Choir” against a FLAC rip from the CD for comparison. After repeated switching back and forth with both playing simultaneously all I could hear were the weaknesses in the analogue setup. Now I understand why people spend such crazy money on cartridges, turntables and phono stages. The analogue system sounded soft and lacking real separation. Don’t get me wrong here: if you had not heard the PC based system, the turntable setup is a sound you could easily live with and enjoy daily .............Pearse............ More Reviews
I'm really quite impressed. After playing music with my TagMcLaren combo(AV32R + DVD32) for years I thought it couldn't get any better. Well, not by a margin anyway. Burning in took about a day.To me the whole experience resembles that of switchting from Redbook to 24/96, but still playing Redbook. The level of detail is stunning and very addictive.Some songs sound so profoundly different, more clear, more real, it makes you wonder whether you heard it before even when you know you have. It's the always pleasing experience of listening to all your music over again, like you do after every significant upgrade.There's also an ease to the sound that is quite pleasing.
At first you feel like cranking up the treble, but then you realise it's all there, and then some.All the bells and tinkles I've never heard before! The bass is solid and deep, giving the proper feel of a full range system.It feels like a shock to find out there's so much more to Redbook recordings than what I've been listening to for years.Even the recorded piano's sound a lot closer to live and they are so difficult to reproduce.The TagmcLaren DVD32 is arguably one of the better players on the planet but a 300 euro laptop and the 335 euro MK3 leave it in the dust all together.The full scale of improvement is not yet clear I as need my DEQX repaired. Right now I'm using a BSS Minidrive, a professional DSP crossover, but this works through AD/DA and only at 48kHz, compared to the digital in/96kHz of the DEQX........... More Reviews
JKSPDIF MK3 (May 2012)
I finally installed your MK3 in my setup, it is definitely better than my previous hiface EVO. The sound is more relaxed, I'd say more analog and real, vivid, the soundstage is thicker, the sound is meatier, more solid. I will never know what's inside the box but I think the EVO gives a more digital, "upsampling" sound, while yours has got the sound I really like best!........... More Reviews
JKDAC32 (May 2012)
Bass, is as the reviews already indicated, very nice instead - fast, tight, very detailed, basically all the things I was hoping it would improve on compared to the DACMagic I was using before. And I got that in spades. Bass has always been important to me, not that it needed to be extremely deep or overbearing, but it's apparently very difficult to find a DAC, or transport and amp for that matter, that accurately presents the recorded bass material. The JKDAC32 does do a wonderful job do, very pleased with that side of the DAC.
Mid range is wonderful, voices always intelligible, centered when it's recorded that way and good, stable placement when not. Tom's have punch and the initial striking "tock" of the drums presents a good presentation of the force the drum was struck and accurately represents the specific sound the material drum head is made of. Bass guitar slaps, piano notes, drums, percussion, vocal body, all have a substantial quality to it which is how I like my mid range to sound. In most cases I am not impressed with orchestral strings, but with your DAC they have that warm quality and at the same time the initial strike of the bow on the instrument as well as the string and body noises you can expect of such an instrument.
The higher regions of the frequency spectrum are well presented. Cymbals, bells, shakers have a nice ring to them (pun intended). The sound is airy and is very impressive in how it reproduces these sounds - not hard or harsh, but ethereal, rounded and easy to listen to. I think other DACs might provide more insights into what material the cymbal is made of, but this is eminently listenable and not fatiguing at all.
It's very interesting how on some recordings the vocals are centered, or should I say anchored, in the middle and the rest of the instruments or additional vocals are all around it and to the back of it. Very interesting "effect" (I know, it's not an effect) and not something I have heard in my system to this degree yet when testing other DACs ............ (Rene De Bruijn)................ More Reviews
JKDAC32 (Mar 2012)
The thing sounds amazing! A day of solid play did wonders to sort the sound out, but after 24 hours, it seems to have found it's voice. Probably the most tonally correct and gently detailed sound I have ever heard from digital, that's just as easy for me to groove out to, as it is for me to read a book while listening to. Every time I try to listen analytically to music coming from this thing, I just get lost in the music. That's the biggest wow factor of your dac for me...that it excels at all the audiophile stuff (soundstage, black background, blah blah), but I'm too busy enjoying the music to get wrapped up in that stuff.
Even typing this out, with it playing music in the background, I've stopped writing for minutes at a time, cause it just sounds soooo good!The one audiophile thing I want to mention, that has impressed me most, is that I can't see the bottom on this thing! Here's what I mean..................... More Reviews
JKSPDIF MK3 (Mar 2012)
John I just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying the MK3! It is fabulous. I have been using it with my Macbook Pro, with several DACs (PSAudio Perfectwave, Centrance DacMini, Burson, Benchmark DAC-1 HDR)--it sounds superb with all and is a significant step up over the USB inputs on each, with a very smooth sound--extended highs, tight bass and very nice soundstage. I would put the Perfectwave with the MK3 very close to the Metric Halo ULN-8 firewire DAC (the USB implementation on the Perfectwave DAC is not very good), which is my reference. I haven't spent as much time as I had planned with A/B tests simply because I have been enjoying listening to the music too much!.............. More Reviews