I was planning to spend more time with both my Cambridge DacMagic 100 and the JDS EL DAC, but circumstances detailed below have made this a one-pony show. I want to say that the JDS DAC is a fine-sounding piece of equipment and would be easy to live with... except that it's not a good choice for my specific use case.\n\nFor those who don't know, I use my Windows PC as my media hub. After we moved, noise issues (possibly from the electrical in the rental house) have led me to trying external DAC's vs the PCI-Express sound cards I've relied on for so long.\n\nI purchased two external units, the Cambridge DacMagic 100, and the JDS EL DAC. \n\nSound-wise the JDS is virtually indistinguishable from the Cambridge (to my ears), other than my perception of a slightly stronger bass response with the JDS. It could be my imagination, and even if not, it isn't a huge difference. Both sound fantastic.\n\nOverall I give the EL DAC a 4 out of 5 stars. The lost point is because of the horrendous POP that emanated from my speakers when I turned on the DAC for the first time.\n\n\n\nTurns out, the JDS does not have a soft-ON or a relay. Larger power amplifiers generally don't have volume controls so the sound level is controlled from the source. If the amp is on, then the speakers get the full brunt of this turn-on noise. I contacted JDS and they confirmed as much.\n\nI'd have to remember to always turn on the amp after turning on the DAC (and never before), and I can't trust my memory to do that every time. I'm certainly not going to risk damage to my speakers on my brittle short term memory. The Cambridge has a relay that affords 2 seconds of silence, so it stays and I'll have to sell the JDS unit.\n\nNow in no way am I angry, nor it this a bad review. More just a PSA for anyone who might be considering this for a hi-fi system and connecting it directly to their speakers' amp. If you're buying this for connection to a headphone amp or an integrated amp, where the amplifier can be set to low gain on startup, by all means put it on your short list. I replied to JDS and suggested that they make a mention on their website about the lack of a delay mechanism. My disposition would probably have been 180 degrees different had I lost a tweeter or woofer.\n\nI would advise against custom engraving however, since, while that is a cool perk, they do not take returns on custom designs.