Element III Mk2

Element III Mk2

Clean, powerful yet in a small, elegant package: JDS Labs Element III Mk2. More power than most headphones will ever need, and with smarts for efficiency and ease of use.

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Color: black
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JDS Labs Atom III Mk2

Not many people outside of the US have yet heard about JDS Labs, but within the states, they are already a mainstay. Take the Atom III Mk2:

Clean power, smart features yet the package is sleek and stylish. Among other things, it offers:

1.3W at 32 Ohms/Ch standard, 2.3W at 32 Ohms/Ch Boosted! (for details, check out the technical specs section)

Auto Gain - If you switch from an in-ear or very efficient headphone to something really power hungry, you just turn up the volume until the Atom switches to high gain and applies volume adjustments such that you will never know what happened, if you don't glance at the OLED screen that shows you what happened.

Parametric EQ: A built-in DSP for 2-bands of parametric EQ allows you to drastically - or subtly - change the sound to your liking.

RCA pre outs: This can also be used as a preamp.

Perfect channel balance through digital volume control down to -127.5dBFS.

In addition, not only can you choose between 3 cosmetic variants, namely the ring around the volume knob being copper, red or black, but you can also - for free! - put a custom engraving on it, see pictures for examples and technical specs page for how that works.


Auto Gain

We regularly hear from customers fretting over when to use gain. Element III eliminates this confusion by automatically toggling gain for you at exactly the right volume level. As you turn the knob beyond 0 dB, high gain activates and volume is compensated for a near seamless transition to higher listening levels.

Perfect Channel Balance

Element III delivers audibly perfect channel balance all the way down to -127.5 dBFS. You'll immediately hear and appreciate soundstage accuracy.

OLED Display & Options

An OLED display momentarily presents status information while you interact, then powers down to minimize distractions. The Options menu further allows you to adjust OLED and backlighting LED behaviors, DAC filters, and more.

Exceptional Power

Element III's rail-to-rail gain stage provides extra headroom and no distortion penalty when listening at high gain versus low gain. With +/-15VDC rails and continuous clean power, Element III drives all headphones on the market to extraordinary levels, from balanced armatures to planar magnetics. Think you need even more? Choose Boosted Power!

Preamp Outputs

Element III provides preamp RCA outputs so that you can control volume of your powered speakers. Volume of preamp output is managed separately from the headphone output for quick toggling.

Input/Output Selection

Press the tactile volume control to listen to USB or Optical Input, or press the Mode button to toggle between headphones and powered speakers. No need to disconnect cables!

Relay Muting & Safety

Designed for desktop listening, Element III's full relay muting eliminates pops and thumps during startup through both its headphone and preamp outputs. And for extra safety, Element III's dual, independent processors continuously monitor internal communications and verify volume of the ESS DAC.

Parametric Bass & Treble EQ

Element III's latest firmware adds a 2-band DSP engine: Parametric bass boost and treble controls coordinate perfectly with auto volume and gain logic. Equalization runs in real-time with virtually no impact on THD. Tweak your headphones to your taste, without extra hardware or software!

USB Audio Class 2 - PCM & DSD

Element III supports up to 32/384kHz PCM and DSD128 through our second generation XMOS XU208 engine. While we claim no measurable superiority of high sampling rates, UAC2 with an ASIO endpoint will satisfy your pursuit of high fidelity listening.

Mains Isolation

Element III's amplifier and DAC are 100% powered by its external AC transformer, with 13 regulators ensuring consistent rail voltage, super low ripple, and mains isolation.

Reviewers agree, this is the full package:


The Element III offers superb performance in a compact, aesthetic chassis. It is built with quality materials and looks absolutely stunning on a desk with its dimly lit white LEDs and shimmery copper ring.

If you need a capable, technically proficient all-in-one DAC & AMP, the EL3 is one of the finest options on the market. Plus, it is backed by JDS Labs’ fantastic after-sales reputation!


The all new Element III isn’t a simple refresh. It was built from the ground up around a new DAC chip and offers up the same excellent sound signature people have come to love. This upgrade comes in an all round improved package. The perfect channel balance, auto-gain and other additional features mentioned above make the Element III a very enjoyable device to use. Along with being aesthetically pleasing too.

Rating: ★★★★★


Element III is one of the market’s best DAC/AMP combos. It’s super nice to use, offers an amazing sound, and looks good. If you aim for transparent sound and reference sound staging, you will be in heaven.

Specific References



Frequency Response: 20-20kHz  +/- 0.11 dB
SINAD, 1kHz Low Gain: 112.5 dB
SINAD, 1kHz High Gain: 112 dB
THD+N Sweep 20-20kHz:   < 0.0004%
IMD CCIF 19/20 kHz -6 dBFS: -101 dB
IMD SMPTE @ -20dBFS:   -95 dB
Signal to Noise Ratio:  117.7 dB
Noise Level:     -112 dBV
Dynamic Range (A-Weighted):   120 dB
Linearity Error -90 dBFS:  -0.01 dB
Crosstalk @ 0 dBFS, 100k RCA  -130 dB
Jitter Components – USB @ 12kHz, DPLL 5: -131 dB
Channel Balance, -∞ to 0 dBFS: < +/- 0.01 dB
Output Impedance: < 0.7 Ω
Max Continuous Power @ 600 Ω: 146 mW (9.37 VRMS)
Max Continuous Power @ 150 Ω: 584 mW (9.36 VRMS)
Max Continuous Power @ 32 Ω - Standard: 1.3 W (6.43 VRMS)
Max Continuous Power @ 32 Ω - Boosted: 2.3W (8.68 VRMS)

Data Support

USB Sampling Rates PCM: 16, 24, 32-bit @ 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 384 kHz; DSD: 64-12
S/PDIF (Optical) Sampling Rates 16-24 bit @ 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 192 kHz
USB Interface UAC2 with UAC1 Fallback
Operating Systems Windows XP/7/8/10/11, macOS, iOS, Linux, Android, PS5, Nintendo Switch


Digital Inputs USB B, TOSLINK
Preamp Output RCA
Headphone Output 6.35mm  (1/4")


Case Dimensions  14,7 x 14,7 x 4 cm
Weight 540g


Laser engraving is like printing with a laser printer - black-and-white images will come out pretty much perfect, and the more contrast, the better. Colors will be inverted, so everything white in the original image will be left black on the device, everything black is what the laser will engrave and will turn out white. Example:

This is the original image and then the engraving. It doesn't matter if the image or logo is perfectly centered, JDS Labs will do their best to center it for you. However, it should be "cleaned up" to perfect white where nothing should be engraved:

Here we have the original image, then the inverted color version for engraving, and then the result - notice the grains on top.

But if you have a monochrome image or logo, it will turn out pretty great!

In terms of formats and resolution, please provide either a high resolution .png image (>500ppi) or a .ai or .svg vector drawing. You can either send it to shop@levelaudio.at or reply to the order confirmation with an image of your choosing. 

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