I never planned on buying another AKM 4493 dac after getting a Modius, certainly not a Geshelli one! I like Geshelli as a company and I had their previous dac the ENOG 2 for a very short time paired with a THX 789 but that combo left me somewhat disappointed. It sounded great but didn't give me the wow factor I had hoped upgrading from Magni/Modi level stuff. My impression of the ENOG 2 was that it was a pretty solid AKM based dac, at least as good as the Modi but nothing mind blowing aside from the much appreciated XLR outputs. It didn't have USB though which was ultimately a deal breaker and why I kind of wrote off Geshelli (For dacs). I recently picked up a Geshelli Archel 2.5 to use with Modius XLR and I intended to pick up the Zen DAC Signature to have a DAC OFF with. But Drop utterly dropped the ball on the zen dac leading me to cancel my order. Right after I canceled the order I saw Geshelli had a limited release of their new AKM 4493 based dac that had USB! Me being a dumbass (have to be to buy a D/S dac to compete with another dac based on the same chip!) , decided to give it a shot thinking at worst it will probably sound only a little worse than Modius and at least will match Archel better. I really have to thank Drop for dropping the ball, because damn the JNOG is good, amazing really. Against all odds I actually prefer it to the Modius! I have never had a dac change give me so many moments of “I never heard that before” in songs I have listened to a load of times nor as many moments of awe at how gorgeous something sounded. JNOG has an incredible ability to make songs sound better than they actually are, even low DR schlock sounds surprisingly good. It has the best vocal presentation of any AKM based dac I have tried, vocals have a real nice sense of depth to them and actually achieve the intimacy that I find AKM stuff lacks. The JNOG avoids sounding robotic or lifeless and has a real emotional engagement factor while staying very clean sounding. On paper it looks like it would be a ultra neutral sanitized Topping esque squeaky clean but flat and lifeless style of sound but it is not that at all. JNOG has a somewhat warm, dynamic but soft kind of sound to it. The main focus IMO is on vocals, on most every track I listen to I find myself drawn more to the vocals while everything else takes its place in the background. I find it excels at most everything other than really intense metal/rock. I think metal should be painful at times and its not on the JNOG, it sounds pleasant. Like I have a shitty 256kbps amazon mp3 of Slipknots Wait and Bleed which should make blood shoot out my ears, but damned if it doesnt sound good on the JNOG, I can still headbang to my hearts content but the guitars dont shread my ears, the heavy ass rifts dont give me a headache and my goodness don't the kickdrums sound good. It still doesnt sound as good as the flac version I have, but its actually tolerable! This is a round about way of saying I dont think the JNOG is going to make the “I WANT TO HEAR WHAT IS IN THE RECORDING EXACTLY AS IT IS NO MATTER HOW SHITTY AND I ONLY LISTEN TO BEYER DT880 ON A WIRE WITH GAIN” crowd happy. It is a polite version of reality, rather than the ugly truth. To be honest I kind of want to call it the HD 650 of DACs because its sound really does remind me of the 650, very natural, a little soft, some upper bass warmth, and a focus on vocals, perhaps even a bit of upper mid sparkle. The only thing that differs from the 650 esque sound is that the JNOG doesnt cover up sibilance much at all, if its there and your headphones are prone to it, its there in all of its stabby glory. That is really the only negative I have for the JNOGs sound. Things I Like Very natural clean sound, no odd glare that I can hear, or any odd shimmers Incredible separation ability, does a great job placing all the instruments in a distinct spot in the mix Excellent level of detail, on par with the Modius XLR, perhaps better? Too close to call! Vocals take center stage have a great level of detail and tonality is quite correct-perhaps slightly warm Great Dynamics, excels at tracks which involve dramatic shifts in tone I think there is some slight sweetness/sparkle in upper mids/lower treble which adds a really gorgeous effect to female vocals/lead guitars Drums have a real nice snap to them which adds to the dynamic feel and bass guitars have a nice body/presence to them. Think there is some extra upper bass energy that brings out bass guitars more in the mix. Does an amazing job with less than stellar recordings/bad digital mastering, smooths them over and adds some warmth. Amazing DAC for gaming, my favorite thus far, the pleasant sound signature helps a lot with shitty mixes and the soundstaging/imaging is stellar. 3 “gain” settings allows you some breathing room for use with IEMs KILLER DSD performance, actually does DSD 512 Native, no other dac I have tried has been able to do that (this includes some who said they could!) I dont care so much but you might! RCA performance nearly as good as XLR, gap is not large, XLR I think is just slightly more dynamic with a little better bass punch. You can use both at same time like Modius. You can get different color faceplates and change them later, as well as choose multiple colors Things I dont Doesnt hide sibilance at all and the more forward vocals (compared to typical AKM) bring with them more forward sibilance. This is really the only major negative soundwise and for me its not bad enough to be a deal breaker, but if you are REALLY sensitive to it and listen to really sibilant tracks, might be a issue. Obviously depends on your headphones too, DCA Aeon RT has this issue AD2000 doesnt. Extremely aggressive tracks get a bit smoothed over, if you NEED THE BLEED, might be a let down. Not textbook neutral IMO. The Amanero ASIO drivers are not great, they have a odd issue where if something on your PC tries to make sound they will randomly stop playing your music and make some annoying static noises. Like if you are listening with JRIVER via ASIO browsing twitter and a video autoplays it can cut your music and cause annoying sounds. Doesnt happen every time, most the time it doesnt but its annoying enough that I just use Wasapi which works great. If you want to do Native DSD you stuck with Asio though. Someone on another forum mentioned issues with USB sleeping too. Supposedly Amenero is going to fix it with a future driver, and there is a newer one out, but I havent confirmed the fix. Maybe it is already solved. Doesnt stack well with anything, the JNOG is a odd size, its wider and longer than the Geshelli amps and its slighty too wide to put ontop of Asgard as it covers the vents. Maybe Geshelli is planning a amp in this form factor? Maybe not. You will need to keep the user manual handy to figure out what input you have on and what gain setting, everything is indicated by 4 led lights being on, off or blinking and its a bit confusing. Once you get use to it its perfectly fine, but can be a source of frustration. Petty Bitch Complaints The USB connector on the Amanero is kind of shitty. It doesnt hold the cable in snugly, it wobbles a bit. I have never had it actually come disconnected or drop connection but it doesnt inspire confidence. This is actually more bitching about the Archel 2.5, but the XLR connectors for the JNOG and the Archel are opposite. The JNOG has them the “correct” way which is that the right connector faces your right when looking at it from the front, while the Archel is the opposite, its left connector is to your left when looking from the REAR. I guess that the JNOG will be the way Geshelli does it from now on and I agree with the change, it is just slightly irritating to have to cross your XLR cables when stacking the Archel and JNOG.