JDSLabs is like savior in audiophile world, long know their Cmoy amp that probably one of the best headphone amplifier in the price range. They are well known for their Cmoy for long time already, JDSLabs is a creative and innovative company for me,they not only selling products,but they are open minded, they built the Objective 2 amp and widely sell,create their own C421 and share the Cmoy’s recipe in their web,which is not only making money for me,they made some fun and innovative moves besides just selling their products. For me, I respected anyone who contributed to this audiophile world.
This JDSLabs CmoyBB V2.03R is the latest Cmoy variant in the lineup,my version is the one that built in single rechargeable 9V battery with OPA2227 from Texas Instrument, this is a cheap amplifier (price) which only cost 50USD(Sadly in Malaysia after some currency conversion and postage it priced around RM240), if you can build your own,it is even cheaper.
Before we start,let me addressed my thanks to John Seaber from JDS Labs Inc.,to send me this review unit all the way from USA to Malaysia, I always believe that Music makes no boundary, and thanks for the passion to answer all of my questions that I asked to make this review more complete. He is indeed a good guy that provide incredible back up service.
Description,Features and Specification
This is a pure headphone amplifier (Not referring to amplifier class),it has no built in DAC, it designed to be work with a DAC, so you will need a DAC to make it sound(Computers’ sound card and mobile phone has DAC as well). So if you purchase the Rechargeable version,you can used it as a portable headphone amplifier that should work well with your portable audio player. And what sweeten this Cmoy deal is the BB variant has Bass Boost function that many will like.
- Run-Time: 8-50 hrs
- Frequency Response: +0.01, -0.01 dB (20Hz-20kHz)
- Output Impedance = Impedance of Opamp
- Volume Potentiometer Taper: 3B
- Enclosure Size: 116 x 64 x 21 mm
- Weight: 3.6 oz
- Version: 2.03/2.03R
- Alps RK097 Volume Control and On/Off Switch
- Bass Boost Toggle Switch
- DC Auxiliary Power Jack
- Automatic On/Off (senses headphone cord)
- Texas Instruments OPA2227 Opamp in Gold-Plated DIP Socket
- Texas Instruments TLE2426 Precision Virtual Ground (2x optional)
- Decoupling Capacitors on All IC Supply Pins
- Custom 2-Layer PCB: Compact Layout with Ground Plane
Design and Working Method
Design is nothing to say much, if you know Altoids candy you will sure know how this CmoyBB looks like, it is creative for JDSLabs to use the tin of the candy to make a headphone amplifier,basically it is a PCB board with electronic component inside a candy box. The soldering work is neatly done, the layout is clean and simple, and it quite cool for me. I brought the Cmoy to office and everyone is impressed by its look,there is even a colleague that wish to buy it for collection,well,this is strange.
JDSLabs has make a complete instruction manual so that consumers can read before purchase Cmoy. It works wonder and simple,just connect a 3.5mm cable (normally both male,depend on your DAC adapter type) to Cmoy from a DAC,and plug in the AC adaptor (it can work while charging,but from John has advised,it is better not more than 12 hours to charge while using it), switch the volume controller, and you are good to go. If you want more juice and want to inject more excitement and juice to your music,flip on the tin,and turned on the ass Boost switch, then wait to be impressed.
After you make purchase order through JDSLabs online mart, JDSLabs will send you the headphone amplifier inside a thick envelope that has a lot of bubble pack,then you will get few sheet and a John’s namecard,then nothing… Yes,nothing more,no DC adaptor and no 3.5mm cable as well,both are unnecessarily to be provided as it will be troublesome and it is easily available in anyplace.
I won’t be saying much on how it sound in each frequency this time,because for me,the most important part is how CmoyBB makes the music soud greater.
High : High is good,with good extension and it is not recessed,just not sparkling.
Mid : Mid is great, with some sweetness and smoothness that I can’t believe in this price range.
Low: Good and it is enough already even when the bass boost features is off.
Bass Boost On : After the bass boost toggle is switch on,honestly,you will get a bit less treble but nothing really worth to mentioned, high and mid won’t be influenced by much, it will be adding up some weight for high,mid and low frequency in a good way,still sounded great with good clarity. Bass will become dominant spectrum,in a very good way, become more pronounced and fun. By just switching on the bass boost toggle,you will get a nice and fun sounding headphone amplifier. The bass thumped with good strength and depth,added with bigger body. Bass boost is the features this amplifier stand out of the crowd. From what I remembered,its bass boost features is way better than Fiio E10’s bass boost features.
Sound Signature : Once I start to play music,I soon in love with CmoyBB, it is not forward sounding as some,it give you a good distance. What make it so good is the thick/full sound signature with impressive smoothness,it is so smooth and thick, maybe it is just me,but the sound is easily enjoyable. Anyway,it is not transparent and neutral,but it is enjoyable.
Soundstage : It is average,nothing special in depth nor width.it has focused sound stage,but it is not bad given the price and its marketed crowd.
Pairing and power
It paired exceptionally great with all of the headphone I throw to it,that is including Beyerdyanamic Custom One Pro,Musical Fidelity EB50, Beyerdyanamic XP1,2,3,Creative Aurvana Live!,Incase Sonic,Yamaha HPH 200,Soundmagic E10 and Razer Mooray, all worked great with this candy tin. Even with some bass centric headphone like Custom One Pro,it will harden the bass and provided bigger body.
Good : Audio quality, Bass boost feature, warm,fun sounding, smoothness of sound,cool looking, PRICE/Performance ratio,good battery life,powerful.
Bad : Read the instruction manual and it is a lot of safety precaution need to be followed,Charging time,Soundstage and transparency,Clarity is not top or revealing(Eailyforgiven by its price and it still has good clarity only not optimum)
Seriously, I think most of the people will love JDSLabs’ creation (CmoyBB V2.03R),even me myself,loving it. It is really very good, its sound is a bit laid back but nothing short of excitement. Detail level wise,it is good as well. I can hardly think of any amp in this price range can surpass this CmoyBB,it has what a good headphone amplifier should has,a good audio quality. By far,I promised,this will be the candy that is sweet and you can taste it for a long time,and not get bored to. The bass boost feature is Godsend,too good and I often switch it on when the music is calling it. I admire how JDSLabs team able to tune the sound of it after the bass boost is on,its frequency response is unbelievable, both high and mid are less influenced.
I have difficult time to find reason to not in love with Cmoy,it is that good. Without any doubt,I recommended this headphone amplifier to you,especially if you need some juice for your headphone.