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Aune X1S+X7S vs JDS EL Amp+EL Dac (vs Element)

Just another budding Audiophile with a pair of 6XX's. I want my first stack to be my end game, or al least last a long while.
reason I am considering these 2/3 is based off Z Reviews and DMS3 TV. Both of them went nuts about the NFB - 11 & R2R - 11, which were what i was considering for a while. but recently DMS replaced his NFB - 11 with the JDS EL stack.
he has never used the Aune X1S and X7S.
Zeos is in love with the X7S, he also reviewed it after the element and kept it, so I assume he liked it more.
He seemed just kinda fine with the Element (though he never tested the EL Stack).
the EL stack comes at around $500, and I think the Aune stack is $380 if you go the massdrop route.
I am not really sold on balanced output, but either way, would Aune be a better buy than JDS or the other way around? if anyone has experience with either or both I'd love to hear about it. hopefully yall can help me out before the Aune drop ends. thanks!

Aug 23, 2018
Good questions. So here's the quick facts. The NFB-11 and R2R-11 are decently powerful, decently priced, units. Both offer single ended output only, but have a myriad of inputs, line/pre-outs for using with other Amps or powered monitors respectively. By all accounts they sound great. The NFB uses a delta sigma dac, and the R2R uses a, you guessed it, Resistor ladder dac. Different sounds, Audio-GD recommends going for the NFB-11 if you're going for your first product. The Aune X1s and X7s are both fine units. However, the 10th Anniversary Ed of the X1s has a more powerful built in amp than the one Zeos reviewed but it's DAC is considered older and less high end these days. Personally, there's DACs I think are more resolving, tho whether I can hear it or it's confirmation bias is up for debate. The X7s offers a balanced output via 4-pin XLR and is Class-A (which is better, I guess?), but because it isn't balanced inputs, and it uses a Phase Split, it's not considered fully balanced. The EL Stack by all accounts is good, and offers some power to just about any headphones. But is also not balanced. Though it's amp does have a lower distortion. Whether or not you could hear it is up for debate since it's something like point 003 or something, and the EL DAC is like point 0003 percent. So that's a thing. So, all that said. The EL Stack is probably amazing. The Aune Stack is alright, but there may be better options than the X1s for the DAC section, and the X7s isn't fully balanced. The NFB and R2R are both by all accounts fine choices as well. For a while, Z used the Jotunheim, because it's fully balanced, class A and has a great Delta-sigma dac with a Multibit option. He is also using the Aune S7 balanced amp, but he said the EL Amp offers similar power for less money and easier availability so... Yeah. Edit/Note: if you can get one from the next drop, the THX AAA 789 is a fantastic amp for the money. That's from personal experience too. Edit/Update: the Monoprice Liquid Spark and JDS Labs Atom are also fantastically measuring Amps for ~$100. Can pair them with an SDAC for the same price as the X1s (as of March '19). Of course, that's a stack and not an all in one. So that's also something to consider. Anyways, if you have any more questions, feel free to ask. Good luck.
Mar 13, 2019
I guess i'm gonna go with the JDS OL-DAC+Atom and be done with this whole thing. It can't go wrong with any of it. Again, thank you for your help brother, I appreciate it.
Mar 14, 2019
maxevanlpGood luck, guy.
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