JCally JM10

DAC Chip: Cirrus Logic CS43131
PCM 32bit – 384kHz, SNR: -120db, Power: 1-2 Vrms Adaptive, USB Type-C Female, 3.5mm SE (Microphone: YES), 10g Metal Chassis & USB-C Cable


LISTENING EQUIPMENT USED IMPARTED HUGE INFLUENCE TO SOUND IMPRESSIONS & RATING


💚PROS

  • Reference grade, crisp balanced neutral flat timbre
  • Polished coherent dynamics, full bodied with smooth presentation
  • Great Micro and Macro details retrieval, very transparent
  • Balanced Mids with detailed textures and definition, naturally toned Male/Female vocals
  • Sparkly smooth Treble with equally smooth decays, great extensions
  • Smooth impactful Mid-Bass, tight, fast with crisp decays
  • Sub-Bass with audible seismic response, natural decays.
  • Crisp and vivid guitars, piano, percussions (chimes, bells) and drums and taps
  • Great holographic spatial imaging with sharp precise placement/layers
  • Amazing speed and dexterity on complex passages and transients
  • Super clean background, zero floor noises
  • Super clean layers and sharp separation lines
  • Drives Magnetic Planars and BA at 80/100 volume, great fidelity
  • Excellent synergy with many type of IEMs/HPs
  • Forgiving on Lo-Fi and lower quality sources
  • Does not heat up easily
  • Easy switch to iOS Lightning or Android USB-C/Micro

💔CONS

  • Driving power for great fidelity maxed out below 250Ω and with no less than 90db sensitivity.
  • A bit flatter dynamics compared to the top 3 performers
  • No volume adjuster

PS: There’s two variant of JCally JM10 available. The one I have with me is smooth bodied version with minimal decals. I have no idea how the other JM10 sounds like as I never tested it

VERDICT

JCally JM10. This unit is nothing like any JCally I have listened to before, and I have owned over 10 different models of JCally (in fact I have tried all of them). Despite using the very same CS43131 as JM20, JM10 is audibly much more polished and matured sounding. JM20 is bright, sparkly crisp and euphonic – can induce fatigue and occasionally exhibit Treble sheen and glare that makes peaky music sibilant. JM20 also has micro grainy edges which is evident when paired with highly resolving IEMs. JM10 fixed all that, any deficiencies found in JM20 all gone, replaced with matured presentation that is well balanced and smooth.

In comparison to the other CS43131 dongles that I have owned and tested so far, the duo of iBasso DC03 and DC04, those two are more energetic and outright more powerful. But those elements are also their Achilles heel. DC03 and DC04 are euphonic and aggressive for extended listening indulgence. I cannot use my DC04 for more than 1 hour with my Etymotic ER4SR, but with JM10 I was able to have it plugged on for over 6 hours until I fell asleep (marathon session I had started with FOSTEX T40RP, Etymotic ER4SR and VE Asura).

JM10 offers very balanced neutral sound that does NOT offer immediate WOW factor. But it is the sort of quality that I appreciate the longer I listen to it. Similar to the experience of appreciating Lotoo PAW S1 and VE Odyssey HD. The other two dongles that I regard as super smooth and polished. So where does this JM10 fits then? I am confident enough to declare that JCally JM10 is actually a mini Ovidius B1 🙂

Compared to my No.1 personal favorite the Ovidius B1, JM10 is a mini version of it. Tonality wise they are practically similar, these are the things that separates them:

  • JM10 only has 1/3 of B1 driving power
  • B1 has better airy presence between layers
  • B1 has a hair more weight in timbre dynamics
  • B1 synergize better with BA
  • B1 has better Macro details resolution
  • B1 has better nuanced Micro details

Despite the variance as noted above, they are really very alike in many ways. Timbre coherence, speed, imaging, soundstage depth, tonality and smoothness are quite similar.

Synergy factor for JM10 is also quite spectacular. Drives my FOSTEX T40RP Magnetic Planar properly at 80/100 volume and keeping it tidy with no hint of strain or timbre/dynamics instability. The sound wholesome with great dynamic range despite not as meaty sounding as the top performers (B1, S9 & S9 Pro). In fact JM10 Magnetic Planar driving prowess is similar to Luxury & Precision W2 – a bit laid back and flat neutral sounding.

JM10 synergize great with my Etymotic ER4SR, VE Monk GO and VE Asura 2.0. Three of my favorites for DF Neutral sound indulgence. With ER4SR and Monk GO the presentation is truthful to Diffused Field Neutral which mean Bass responses are leaner and exceedingly fast, natural sounding Mids and smooth sparkly highs. On Asura it is slightly warmer compared to the other two, with a bit of focus on Mids section. I totally enjoyed all three with JM10 pairing.

JM10 shines the BEST with the pairing of Moondrop Aria and HZSOUND Heart Mirror. With Aria bass responses controlled really tight, tidy and fast. Treble section gets similar treatment with very smooth and crisp Highs that will never induce any fatigue. Aria actually sounded so very well balanced with JM10. On Heart Mirror JM10 complemented the already vibrant dynamics of that beautiful sounding unit. Similar effect as well to Aria except of course Heart Mirror will always be the sparkier one with upper segment brightness. Good thing is the brightness well nurtured and controlled to mitigate any chance of sibilance. Simply put, both Aria and Heart Mirror are nothing short of spectacular with JM10.

For the ultimate test, I paired JM10 with my Endgame IEM – Shure KSE1500 Electrostatics. Serving as an AUX to the ultra-resolving, ultra-transparent unit. I normally would not do this unless I feel the Dongle has decent chance to provide clean output to KSE1500. And I am glad I did, the sound that I heard from that pairing being wholesome and oozed quality to melt my brains. It is decidedly well balanced with dynamic range stretched as far as KSE1500 can reach (which is quite FAR reaching). Details jumped into my senses with delicate nuances only an Electrostatic of KSE1500 or STAX SR-009s pedigree can deliver. It remained realistically natural sounding despite the ethereal transparency.

To summarize, yes admittedly it is easy to laugh at JCally when we see it in AliExpress or Shopee. This is not entirely unfounded because 90% of JCally dongles are cattle-class meme quality at most. The likes of JM20, JM08c, JM08L and JM04Pro does exhibited some refinement but they are mostly 4 star performers. JM10 is a 4 ½ Stars performer to me, deservedly so – earned through sheer performance and quality.


⭐⭐⭐⭐ ($40.00)

Best Pairing: Flexible for anything less demanding under 250Ω

Back to #donglemadness

85 Comments

  1. Sagarmatha says:

    How to differentiate two variant of jm10

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      The one I tested is probably an early model. The ones that are available now have better looking case. But the internal specs are the same

      Like

  2. Andres says:

    Hi Andy. Do you know if there is any ASIO driver to play dsd files with this dongle?

    Regards

    Andres

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Sorry I can’t help with this as I always use my Dongles on my phones, very rarely I use them on my laptop

      Like

    2. Hung Hoang says:

      some JM10 owners say it works with Tempotec Sonata HD/BHD Asio driver

      Like

      1. Andy.EF says:

        Yes it is true

        Like

      2. Don says:

        Hi,
        I saw someone on Reddit claiming to remove the need to trick the DAC to go into high gain mode by flashing the Tempotec Sonata BHD firmware into the Sonata HD Pro (which runs on the same CS43131 chip).
        Would be fantastic if that would work on the JM10 too…but I’m worried about bricking mine or significantly altering the wonderful characteristics.
        Also, I’m a noob and have no idea how to flash it. Have only flashed a Hidizs Sonata before. I’m guessing the process is similar?

        Like

      3. Andy.EF says:

        I have done this. Yes the loudness gets higher but also the sound signature will be slightly different. It will be a bit warmer sounding. The stock JM10 FW is very neutral

        Like

      4. Don says:

        Hi Andy,
        Thank you for doing one of the few reviews online on the JM10. Your detailed review was what convinced me to get the JM10.
        That’s a bummer if the sound changes with the FW. I might stick with the adaptor trick for now. Hopefully JM10 will have a better lifespan than the dongle styled ones like the Meizu Pro or Hidizs Sonata. At least I can replace the usb-c cable when the connector wears out.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Erphiera says:

    Have you tried jcally jm6 & jcally jc type-c mate?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Those are still very new and will be probably included in September. For August I have overspent my budget buying dongles

      Like

  4. dw1narso says:

    Andy, reading this JM10 and ZooAux… I get the impression that ZooAux is actually a little better than JM10, despite the power limitation in ZooAux. Do I got it right?
    Thanks (dw1narso @ heaf-fi)

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      In a way yes. But the tuning between the two differs, ZOOAUX is euphonic and energetic. JM10 focuses on polished presentations. So it boils down to taste. Also take note that the ZOOAUX I tested was one of the last 1st Gen which is no longer available. Current ZOOAUX uses different DAC chip altogether

      Like

      1. dw1narso says:

        yes, I read that… I’m considering the Avani.
        Importing Avani to my country (Indonesia) + import tax + postage fee etc. is about $16
        JM10 could be get locally about $34. Both are quite affordable still…
        thanks..

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Zek says:

    One question for JM10 owners:
    Can JM10 play DSD256 files on MacOS Catalina?

    Like

    1. Zek says:

      No Mac users out there?

      Like

  6. Luis says:

    does it improve the imaging/soundstage on Moondrop Aria?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Yes it does widen the soundstage of Aria a bit

      Like

  7. Hou yanyang says:

    but the voice I heard has a little fullness

    Like

  8. Hou yanyang says:

    but the voice I heard has a little muffled, just like covered a piece of paper

    Like

  9. Hung Hoang says:

    What information do the two LEDs on the JM10 show? Thanks!

    Like

    1. hou, yanyang says:

      the red color means DSD MUSIC. The green color means non-DSD MUSIC

      Like

  10. Fredrick says:

    Hi! between this and the Tempotec sonata’s, which is better for planar headphones, and perhaps IEMs like the Moondrop Aria?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      For planars you need a bit of power and I would recommend Xnyocn Q2 instead (which also works great with Aria). Otherwise any of the 5 Star dongles will be great for planars assuredly

      Like

      1. Fredrick says:

        Thanks Man!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Aaron says:

    If i pair this with the blessing 2 do you think it will sound fine?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      I dont have Blessing 2. But JM10 is a versatile unit that synergize great with many IEMs

      Like

  12. CJ says:

    hello friend jcally jm10 vs shanling Ua2
    is there much difference in sound? which one is better for rock?
    considering the price.

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      For Rock/Metal better choice would be UA2

      Like

  13. Audio Looser says:

    Hi Andy, what cable you use for iPhone on last pic? My original cable is broke

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      JCally JM10 can accept any Lightning to USB C cable. In the pic it was using my L&P W2 Cable

      Like

  14. Hidayato says:

    hello, will this Jm10 produce higher volume than JA04? and above commenter said about flashing the Tempotec Sonata BHD firmware into another DAC with same chip, may i ask you how to do it?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Yes, JM10 has higher loudness being 2 Vrms instead i=of just 1 Vrms of JA04. As for the BHD FW, you can check the discussions here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2386473901653225/permalink/2670849183215694/

      Like

  15. Nguyen says:

    Is the jm10 an upgrade to the cx pro? Does it has greater driving power?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      JM10 has 2 Vrms. CX-Pro limited to 1 Vrms, so yes it has better driving power

      Like

    2. Andrés says:

      To play DSD files in a PC you have to download the driver for ibasso in this link https://ibasso.com/dcseries2/

      Like

  16. Ivan says:

    Is there any difference between the JM10 and the Tempotec Sonata HD Pro on sound quality? If so, which is better?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      JM10 and HD Pro are equally impressive on the technicalities. What separates them is the tuning aspect of tone and timbre. HD Pro is the brighter one with more pronounced sparkle. JM10 has emphasis on smoothness and mature timbre deposition. It depends on the preferences

      Like

      1. Ivan says:

        Oh thank you. Which one is better for the Moondrop Aria for you and why? I am planning to purchase the Moondrop Aria as my upgrade from the BL03 and I also want to get a DAC as well.

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        HD Pro then because Aria is natively warm and dark sounding

        Like

  17. DavidJ says:

    Jcally jm10 vs tanchjim stargate which one hits the bullet for you? Since they’re at the same star list

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      JM10, a more balanced unit and not as bright as STARGATE

      Like

      1. DavidJ says:

        And cheaper one at that, thankyou!

        Like

  18. CJ says:

    Do you have the Pro version of this? I don’t know whether to get this JM10 or the Pro version. The price is pretty similar.

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      No. But from what I read the internals are practically the same. Just the exterior has some cosmetic change. They added the Pro moniker probably to differentiate it from the earlier release which look slightly different

      Like

  19. danixmen says:

    When Jcally JM50 MQA?
    Thanks!!

    Like

  20. Hiep says:

    I’m using Tripowin Mele and have a budget around $50 to buy a dac. I listen to rock (not metal or heavy) and a little pop. Is this dac fit for me ?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Yes it will be a great choice for your usage

      Like

      1. Hiep says:

        Is there any dac better than this around $50 ? How about ibasso DC05

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        DC05 is also a good Dongle. Can’t go wrong with any one of them really. But for myself I still prefer JM10

        Like

  21. Ghelo says:

    This is one of the deciding factor for me to buy the dac (on my birthday Feb 28)
    Still on shipping tho (seller is slow)
    Few questions, is this still a solid choice in 2022? Given by the other competitors and new ones?
    And what is the difference between this and the pro version? This is the smooth shelled one and the pro is that rough shelled one?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Yes. JM10 is totally still relevant in 2022. What was a great dongle will remain great. But I have no idea how different the Pro and non pro version sounds like. Cheers

      Like

      1. Ghelo says:

        I don’t think there is a pro version since even on the JCALLY website there isn’t any JM10 pro. Hopefully mine turns out great! Only problem is my phone is micro usb and I need a lot more stuff to use the dac.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Erphiera says:

      The Jm10 “pro”
      *Use tempered glass
      *Cable upgraded
      *Distorsion 0.0003 (Previously 0.0006)
      *Output 0.95vrms@32Ω (Previously 1vrms@32Ω)
      *FR 20hz-40.000khz (Previously 20hz-20.000khz)

      So there may be a slightly difference sound colour between regular and pro, who knows 😁

      Like

  22. Bui Viet Bao says:

    I’m about to get the Kato and, my salesman said the Kato need some juice to shine and recommended my the DC05 for driving power, but I don’t really prefer the DC05 because it doesn’t fit my budget, so I wanna ask if the JM10 sound great with the Kato and still can drive it properly.
    Thanks!

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Yes I would prefer JM10 as well within that budget. Despite not being the latest, it is still a great dongle regardless

      Like

      1. Bui Viet Bao says:

        Any specification of the output power of the JM10 in Mw at 32Ohms ?

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        The numbers I have no idea as I rely on what the manufacturer state on their products. However I do know that CS43131 is natively capable of 2 Vrms

        Like

  23. noman hossain says:

    i recently got the Dunu Titan S and hovering around the 50$ market to pair with it
    will this be a good choice for that? I like technicalities and analytical/bright sound signature. I would prefer the brighter one over warmer one anyday.
    As this is priced very similarly to Ibasso DC05, which one do you think i should get for titan S?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      If you prefer brighter presentation, then consider the older TempoTec Sonata HD Pro which is cheaper than DC05 and also performs equally great. Just that DH Pro does not have MQA

      Like

      1. noman hossain says:

        sonata hd pro is not available here for purchase sadly
        even jm10 have to be imported 😦

        Like

  24. Ghelo says:

    Hi, I recently got my order on the JM10 and I cant connect it on my pc…
    I have read the manual it says you need to contact JCALLY themselves for the “special drivers.”
    I contacted them and no response so I might just ask you if you have the so called “special drivers.”

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Sorry, when I use my JM10 on my laptops, there was never a need for special drivers. My JM10 connects without any issues every time. I run Windows 10 64 Bit and USB 3.0

      Like

  25. Arthur says:

    Can this drive planar iems like the Tin P1/P1 Plus? And wich would you choose beetwen this and the Shanling UA1 for iems?
    I don’t have a favorite signature.

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      UA1 definitely not powerful enough to drive P1 or P1+ for proper dynamics. Yes you may get usable loudness but it will be short of what those IEMs truly capable of. JM10 will fare better if you can force it to run 2 Vrms mode and use USB Exclusive mode via HiBy Music App. To activate High Gain mode, you need to insert either an Impedance adapter or a stereo extension. Otherwise I would recommend getting something like Creative SX-FI or Colorfly CDA M1 which is still within the price of JM10. They definitely performs better with demanding IEMs

      Like

  26. Arthur says:

    Can this drive planar iems like the Tin P1/P1 Plus? And wich would you choose beetwen this and the Shanling UA1 for iems?
    I don’t have a favorite signature..

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      JM10 has enough power to drive P1. But if you want the best driving synergy then look for something like Colorfly CDA M1 (4 Vrms) or TempoTec Sonata E44 at least. I would highly recommend CEntrance DACport HD or Cayin RU6 or xDuoo Link2 BAL for these hard to drive planars

      Like

      1. Andrés says:

        Hi Andy. I’ve bought the JM10 and mine doesn`t have mic input

        Like

  27. Tri Binh says:

    Have you tried the Jcally JM45C and JM45L yet? how is it compare to the JM10

    Like

  28. Hiep says:

    Does this dac run native dsd ?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      I have no idea as I never use DSD files. Please refer to manufacturer specs to see if it can

      Like

      1. Kaung Lay says:

        May I know JM10 significance difference with Sonata HD pro. And which DAC: Hiby FC1 or Sonata HD pro or JM10 will be the best match with Tanya.

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        The difference between JM10 and HD Pro would be the energy level. JM10 is more moderate and focus on smooth transients, HD Pro is slightly more energetic than JM10. So it depends on what you prefer the most

        Like

  29. carliber123 says:

    This dongle surpassed my expectation and is perhaps one of my best purchases on AliExpress so far this year. This has forced me to re-listen to many IEMs in my collection, swapping eartips and cables as necessary in the process…been pleasantly surprised or impressed most times. Now I am curious. So, wasted no time purchasing Abigail and AVANI, ¿can anyone tell I am enthusiastically expecting their arrival? Lol
    Thanks man for your careful and credible review of JM10.

    Like

  30. Sajith says:

    Hi Andy, after reading your review and out of curiosity I picked up a JCally JM10 and I have to say I am absolutely bowled over by just how good it is for the money. I have been using it on my relatively easy to drive Harman Kardon CL and 1More H1707 and it made marginal difference in how both the cans sound. I also read up your post on activating the High Gain mode for the dongle by plugging in an impedance adapter. I have a couple of 75Ω and 150Ω plugs lying around the house and am wondering if they might do the trick? You did sum up your review by saying the dongle can handle less demanding gears below 250Ω impedance so I am curious to try this out. Cheers!

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Only one way to find out, experiment it yourself! There’s no better way to have fun than finding out and getting pleasant surprises

      Like

  31. truong pham xuan says:

    Does Jm10 work with impedance trick? Sajith

    Like

  32. Deepanshu says:

    Can you please tell me list of usb dacs that are most euphonic and have an enjoyable sound signature irrespective of budget.

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      JM20, iBasso DC03, DC04, PEE51 etc….

      Like

  33. Pramod says:

    Hello Andy,
    Purchased this based on your review.Spot on review!! I am truly stunned with the audio quality of this usb dac.It simply sounds way more musical then HD pro,I find HD pro harsh.Unfortunately,found your site now.I believe the pro version of this dongle uses savitech 9312 usb interface,same as the one used in Tempotec sonata HD pro.
    Thanks for this accurate review.

    Liked by 1 person

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