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Ciúnas range of devices launched

posted 7 Apr 2013, 09:36 by John Kenny

The new range of audio devices is called Ciúnas (Kew-ness) meaning silence in Gaelic. 
"After Silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
New Website here

The highlighted features are:
  • High end sound in a small & very affordable package
  • Runs off isolated power supplies - solves the many neglected noise issues in audio
  • Uses DAC with lowest out of band noise
  • Low latency digital filter brings more realism to the sound 
  • Utilises asynchronous USB & low jitter independent audio clocks
  • Reclocks signal at the optimal point in the signal path for best signal conditioning 
Its small size,  fitting in the hand, belies the exceptionally high end sound  this converter delivers. On the previous devices(JKSPDIF & JKDAC32), many users commented on the fact that such a small device could deliver such an expansive and captivating sound. The new Ciúnas devices delivers even more subtle detail & greater realism.

New Products

posted 7 Feb 2013, 18:59 by John Kenny

New Devices: A range of new devices will soon be available which are USB input only devices. These are NOT based on the Hiface USB device. The new devices operate with the native USB drivers found in Mac OS 10.6+ & Linux with UAC2 compliant kernel. KS/Wasapi/WDM/ASIO Drivers supplied for MS OS XP to Win8 32-64bit. 

The same low jitter clocks as used in the Hiface are also used here. These clocks are now situated as close to the output stage as possible i.e on the SPDIF output board or on the DAC board & are used to reclock the data signals close to the output. This provides the lowest jitter possible at the stage where it is most beneficial.

The devices are known by the name Ciúnas (pronounced Kew-nes) which is the Gaelic for silence. The background noise of these devices is even lower than the Hiface based units & as a result more details & more air around instruments/voices 

Shipping of new device will not start for another 4-5 weeks.
Price fo 
Ciúnas SPDIF €385
Price for 
Ciúnas DAC
Pictures, more details & preliminary user reviews will follow.

Drivers for Linux/Unix now available

posted 26 Oct 2012, 07:29 by John Kenny

Open source drivers for the original Hiface devices (not the new Hiface 2 which already has Linux/Unix support) are now available from a 3rd party See here - https://github.com/panicking/snd-usb-asyncaudio
See this post from someone using my JKDAC32 with this driver on Linux http://theartofsound.net/forum/showpost.php?p=375868&postcount=142
This will work with all my Hiface based converters & DACs

Battery Charging Options

posted 16 Aug 2012, 11:09 by John Kenny

The devices are now all charged from 5v supplies through the 2.1mm DC socket on the device case.
A special USB charging cable terminated in 2.1mm plug is now supplied free with each device.
Which means that the internal battery charger can be charged via a spare USB port, via an external 5V supply.
My attention has also been drawn to this option - a $29 external battery from Aldi which is a universal charger for many devices - a Traveler MPP 7400

Pricing Updates

posted 2 Jun 2012, 04:17 by John Kenny   [ updated 2 Jun 2012, 05:27 ]

My last email to subscribers contained a listing of all announcements since the site was set-up. This was a mistake & arose because I was recently made aware that no emails of announcements were being received. In correcting this the system automatically generated an email of all announcements. Apologies if this has caused anybody any inconvenience.

In that email there was a an old announcement entitled MK2 to MK3 upgrade which has been superceeded & expanded as follows: 
Anybody who has already purchased a USB-SPDIF or DAC device from me qualifies for the following discounts on a second purchase:
€50 discount on USB-SPDIF devices
€75 discount on JKDAC32

So for previous purchasers the following pricing (including shipping) applies:
MK3               normal price €335 (includes RF attenuator); discounted price €285
JKDAC           normal price €420 (there is a €100 discount already applied to this while stocks last); discounted price €345
JKDAC32        normal price €520; discounted price €445 

There are further discounts that apply to active members of Jplay & Stereo.net.au forums - a free shipping discount (-€20)
Furthermore, customers of mine can avail of a 10% discount on the purchase of Jplay (€89 instead of €99) just let me know if you want to purchase it & I will send them an email verifying you!

20% discount on Sabre based JKDAC

posted 1 Jun 2012, 03:40 by John Kenny

The price of the JKDAC has been reduced by 20% to €400 while stocks last.

Charging from USB & auto-charging

posted 6 Apr 2012, 06:37 by John Kenny   [ updated 29 Mar 2013, 17:01 ]

These devices now auto-charge the batteries automatically i.e when the battery drops below its nominal 3.3V charge it is automatically topped up. This charging scheme can be manually turned on or off by a push button.
The charging will now operate form a 5V power supply. This leaves the option of powering the battery charger from a spare USB port separate to the one used . A suitable USB cable is required with USB A male to 2.1mm plug.  

Improving USB Audio

posted 6 Mar 2012, 04:36 by John Kenny   [ updated 17 Nov 2012, 10:22 ]

After testing this & a number of independent people also doing this test, I can confirm that a USB adapter rather than a USB cable sounds best. It seems to match, if not better expensive USB cables although it hasn't been auditioned against very expensive ones yet.

So here's what you need - for my devices - a USB B male to USB A male adapter. 
In the USA you will find them here
In the UK you will find them here

You will also need a USB A male to A female adapter to do two things:
- give you extra clearance between PC/laptop & device for the plugging in of other cables
- orient the device the correct way up

You may prefer to get swivel type USB adpaters but these have not yet been tested:
Ones to consider:


Comparison of JKDAC(32) to dCs digital front end

posted 20 Nov 2011, 10:48 by John Kenny   [ updated 20 Nov 2011, 10:48 ]

Spent an interesting afternoon listening & comparing the JKDAC & JKDAC32 to a very high end dCs system. The dCS system consisted of the following 3 units:
Verdi La Scala CD/SACD Transport
Scarlatti DAC
Verona Clock
Together with Airtight ATC-3 preamplifier, AirTight ATM-3 monobloc tube amplifiers & kharma cermic 3.2FE I think, with a kharma CE SB1.0 sub This is a high-priced system.

It threw up some interesting but confusing issues.
One issue was that the JKDAC was preferred over the JKDAC32 but this was not too surprising as the JKDAC32 did not have enough burn-in.
The biggest issue was that I had -6dB of digital attenuation in my playback software, Jplay & this collapsed the sound completely - no dynamics, no ambience cues! This is not what I have found in other systems.
Anyway, not surprisingly, the dCs came out as the winner. It was close enough that there was no shame on my DACs & close enough that the 60 time multiplier in price difference was not reflected in the sound.
Read about the event here

Improve the Sound of Hiface Devices

posted 13 Nov 2011, 11:08 by John Kenny   [ updated 25 Mar 2012, 05:01 ]

A customer of mine made this discovery recently - you can use the Young DAC driver with my Hiface devices, MK3, JKDAC & JKDAC32. I prefer the sound of the Young driver to the Hiface driver - richer, more laid back, more analogue like but without losing any detail.

Instructions for installation on a PC:
Go to the M2tech Young driver & download it & run setup
With the device plugged in & working, Go to Device Manager & right click on the Hiface & choose properties - choose the driver tab - choose update driver - choose "Browse my computer for driver" - now you need to choose the option that says "Let me pick from a list of drivers"
There is a checkbox that you need to turn off "show compatible hardware"
Scroll down to M2tech in the left window & the Young driver should be seen in the right window
Windows will warn you that "this driver may not work with this device" but go ahead - it's worth it.

The USB port that you do this on will always use the Young driver - any other USB port will use the Hiface driver (unless you install Young on it :))

If you have a Mac - the installation instructions are here 

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