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JKDAC32 Review

posted 29 Mar 2012, 03:52 by John Kenny   [ updated 10 Apr 2012, 11:38 ]
April 2012

USB DAC Shootout!
Six Budget USB DACS Put To The Test!
USB Audio Heaven In Two Affordable Steps
Clive Meakins checks out some USB equipped DACs and how to get the best out of them.

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
These three DACs sound so good - a couple of years ago you couldn't have dreamt of achieving the quality we have here with any of these three for less than something like $10,000 or probably rather more. There has to be a winner, it is the JKDAC32. The JKDAC32 sports the now familiar aluminum enclosure with plastic end plates, NanoPhosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, modified 24/192 HiFace async USB to I2S. This time the I2S feeds a Burr Brown PCM5102 32/384 capable DAC. I should mention that with this DAC you may find you need to flick the on-off switch in the front panel to reset the DAC itself if no music pays, the USB connection is fine, it's a foible of the configuration.

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.

Full Review