As with Cambridge Audio recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find we had already covered JDS Labs in the past with the Objective2 amplifier and integrated DAC. That review was over eight years ago, and the unit cost $285 at the time. Going to the product page on the JDS Labs website confirms it is indeed discontinued, but what is more interesting is the recommendation for the Element II instead. Isn't that just fitting since we are re-introducing JDS Labs to TechPowerUp readers with the Element II today? Thanks again to the company for sending a review sample to TechPowerUp!
One of the reasons I wanted to get more familiar with JDS Labs is that the brand just keeps getting recommended left and right by audio enthusiasts as well as PC DIY community members. In particular, there's enough love for the customer support of this Illinois, USA-based company for a dedicated page. The new Atom+ DAC and amplifiers are also what many consider among the best value offerings to drive even many demanding headphones and speakers. I do have that set here, but you might have seen the Element II already used in the review of the Audeze LCD-XC, so I decided to start with this integrated unit instead. The photograph above shows off one of the three color options (copper, red, or black) for the over-sized volume wheel that is a prominent feature, with my sample having the red option. We begin the review with a look at the product specifications below. Given there are so many line items, I thought it prudent to use an image from the product page you can click on twice to view the full-size version.