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JCally JM20 Headphone Amp Review

JCally JM20 Headphone Amp Review

Author:Andy.EF

DAC Chip: Cirrus Logic CS43131 (Single)

32bits/384KHz, DSD64, DSD128, DSD256. SNR: 120dB, Distortion=0.0003% (32Ω load, 1.2vrms), Power: 0.95 Vrms@32Ω, 2 Vrms@600Ω, USB Type-C Male, 3.5mm SE (Microphone: NO), Compact, Braided SPC Cable 120mm, Painted Aluminum Chassis

 

Strengths:

  • Exceedingly crisp, coherent timbre – sparkly neutral and natural
  • Clean Treble textures with graceful decays, mild airiness
  • Excellent Treble extensions, comparable to Cayin N6ii and Topping D10s
  • Commendable Bass extensions and details with tasty textures
  • Strong, commanding Mid-Bass with lush decays.
  • Bass exhibit solid texture definition, Mids moderately rich
  • Moderately strong sounding sub-Bass seismic sensation and impact
  • Lively guitars and stringed instruments attack
  • Reference grade speed and transients handling
  • Neutral, slightly forward, and clear male/female vocals, good depth
  • Excellent micro details, almost reference grade
  • Great Piano, Violin and Cello tones, attack, and decays
  • Commendable sibilance resistance despite being sparkly bright.
  • Clean background with zero floor noise

 

Weaknesses:

  • Slightly dry overall timbre tonality, sometimes barren (sterile)
  • Average dynamic vibe overall, mild visceral bite and groove
  • Less-organic, less-analogue timbre disposition
  • Bass rolls off slightly shorter compared on reference grade comparison.
  • Can be unforgiving on some songs, dependent on recording quality.
  • Moderate layering, instruments sounded spaced closer together.
  • Less than spectacular headstage, soundstage cramped in slightly.
  • Spatial imaging is precise but less holographic compared to reference samples.

 

VERDICT:

JCally JM20 turned out to be adeptly capable to stand proud among the two reference DAP/DAC/Amp of Cayin N6ii and Topping D10s/A50s, on a condition that the other two runs on Single Ended mode and in low gain settings, with limit set to 100 Ohm and below. Switch the other two to High Gain Mode and Balanced, then admittedly there’s slight superiority in heightened sense of space and separation. What they all do share very similarly are the exceedingly clean and coherent attributes as DAC/Amp, even if I must nit-pick then I would say D10s/A50s being the most articulate – only by tiny margin. And I regard all three of them as similarly fashioned in overall timbre and tonality – with subtle nuances separating them. D10s/A50s being pristine clear, N6ii being euphonic and dynamic – JM20 exhibiting a bit of both, proudly. Small and powerful, what is there not to like about this little wonder?

 

OVERALL RATING: 85/100

Recommended Pairing: Flexible choices (100Ω max)

 

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Previous article JCally JM01 Headphone DAC Review
Next article HiliDAC Audirect BEAM 2S Headphone Amplifier AMP Review

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Comments

Tommy Gunn - July 18, 2022

fyi, this dongle DOES NOT encode DSD natively.. i was only able to get it to encode DSD64/128 via DoP. this review – authored by someone else and shared ALL OVER the web – never took the time to thoroughly test this dongle so if you require native DSD encoding, do not buy this one. it’s great for HR PCM and DoP DSD encoding, but that’s it.

Tommy Gunn - November 4, 2021

Nice review. Just got mine and it works great w FLACs. But, I’m having issues using it to play native DSD (keep getting errors that it’s not recognized for native DSD). I’m using UAPP, which should work with it.

What’s your experience w DSD and this dongle? Any suggestions?

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