“Hey, I was just wondering what the major differences were between the ODAC and the OL DAC.”
This fine question continues to pop up in emails, on the phone, on reddit, on Head-Fi, etc.
I was excited to push OL DAC into the wild last November for a number of reasons. I’ve always placed great trust in JDS Labs customers, finding them to be knowledgeable value hunters, and OL DAC set a new bar. Alas, we omitted too many details at release, like why we created another transparent DAC in the first place. Rumors took off. My favorite assumptions include:
- ODAC and OL DAC are the same circuit in different boxes (False)
- OL DAC costs less, so performance must be lower (False)
In short, the DACs share few similarities, aside from comparable transparency.
|Powered By||USB||AC Adapter|
OL DAC clearly has the upper hand in terms of performance.:
|SPECIFICATIONS||ODAC RevB||OL DAC|
|Frequency Response||+/- 0.04 dB||+/- 0.15 dB|
|THD+N, 20-20kHz||< 0.0029 %||< 0.0010 %|
|Noise, A-Weighted||-103 dBu||-109 dBu|
|Dynamic Range (A-Weighted)||> 112 dB||> 114 dB|
|Crosstalk @ 1kHz, -10dBFS (RCA)||-86.4 dB||-108 dB|
|Sum of Jitter Components @ 11025 Hz||-112.3 dB||-116 dB|
|IMD CCIF, -6.03 dBFS, 19/20kHz, 24/96k||0.0015%||0.00033%|
|IMD SMPTE -2VRMS, 24/96k||0.0015%||0.00031%|
|Linearity @ -90dBFS||-0.08 dB||+/- 0.01 dB|
THD+N Sweep (24/96kHz, 20-20kHz)
Frequency Response (24/96kHz, 20-20kHz)
USB Jitter @ 11025Hz
Why Another Transparent DAC?
ODAC was interesting five years ago for its claim of transparency at only $149. DAC performance and features improve every year; OL DAC is the logical successor. While there’s no need for “greater transparency”, few can argue with getting more for less.
There remains one potential advantage to choose a Standalone ODAC–running from USB power can be useful in certain scenarios. Thus, we decided to maintain ODAC and OL DAC concurrently. Confusing? Yes, sorry about that.