JDS Labs makes one of the most notable DAC/Amp combo units on the market – the Element. After years of perfection for hobbyist audiophiles and lovers of minimalist design, the king has handed down his crown to the successor: the Element II.

On Monday, JDS Labs announced that it has released an amped-up version of its flagship DAC that may look familiar, but is packed with much more capable internals.

One of the most exciting features that the Element II adds is an integrated preamp. Simply press the Mode button on the unit and it will begin supplying low gain to the RCA outputs. When you’re ready to return to headphone mode, the Element II will remember your previous gain settings to avoid any further knob fiddling.

The second iteration of the Element tightens up its tolerances across the board. Frequency response alone has become 80 percent more accurate, targeting 0.02dB rather than the original’s 0.1dB.

Power output has also been increased. The new unit permits for 165mW of power to be delivered at 600 ohm (which is great for easy to drive cans like the Beyerdynamic DT 990). More power hungry 32 ohm headphones will also enjoy a 15 percent increase in power, permitting for up to 1.3W of continuous output.

Despite being a new product, JDS Labs says that the Element II is the hard-earned result that only comes from years of engineering. The company had previously considered launching the new Element in 2018, but after a flurry of performance issues and electromagnetic compatibility testing failures (which was the first in the brand’s history), the launch was delayed.

You can purchase the Element II today directly from JDS Labs for $399, complete with your choice of copper, red, or black decorative ring.