Home Amps JDS Labs cMoy Review: What Ever Happened To This Thing?

JDS Labs cMoy Review: What Ever Happened To This Thing?

by Stuart Charles Black
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Big Shoutout to JDS Labs for sending me this unit for demo. I am not being compensated in any way by them. I’m simply giving my impressions of the Amp/DAC. Read on to find out what I thought!

Greetings mate and Welcome aboard! Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…

Today we’ll take a look back at an old favorite and discuss its legend in the cMoy BB; an amp/dac that makes me a bit nostalgic.


I don’t know. It reminds me of different times and thus makes me feel weird. Go figure. I kept some of the old graphics and review format in this article for a reminder. A reminder that times will always change, and sometimes, it’s useless to try and romanticize the past or go back – even for a second. 

Though it’s been discontinued, the memories remain.

Towards the end of the article, we’ll go over why it’s no longer around, if kits are still available, and an alternative you can try.


JDS Labs cMoy


The build of the cMoy is very good considering it’s a repurposed Altoids can.

It feels very solid in your hand. The input jacks on the front are very respectable, but the charging port is a tad wonky for my liking.

Still, it charges fine and there are no technical issues with it. It’s more of a cosmetic thing.

JDS Labs did a great job assembling this unit.

Plugging your headphones into the 3.5mm jack feels fine, and the 3.5mm line output is rugged as well.

The bass boost switch is fairly standard and feels dandy too.



The only real feature on this Amp is the Bass Boost.

Simply flip open the lid and flick the switch. It adds a tasteful amount of bass and isn’t overdone like your mom’s meatloaf. 😛

Back when it was still available for purchase, JDS even included a personalized Bass EQ tailored to your specific headphones.

I found the extra bass did well with headphones like my Sony MDR-7506 and HD600.


Ergonomics & Sound

This amp does what it’s designed to do, and that is to deliver a neutral, clean, and powerful sound to your headphones.

My HD600s require 20mW of power to perform optimally, and the cMoy drives them with ease.

As far as options, you have:

  • Standard 1x9V: This is similar to the power output of a smartphone. The battery is not rechargeable.
  • Standard 2x9V: This is likely the model that I had. It works better for headphones 120 Ohm and over.
  • Rechargeable 1×9: This comes with integrated charging circuitry and powers most headphones.

Paired with the HD600 I was completely satisfied with the volume level and didn’t desire any extra.

The cMoy is a definite upgrade over my phone’s internal DAC as it will not drive the 600s to acceptable listening levels.

Sound quality is very clean and neutral, which we’ve come to expect from JDS Labs.

Make sure that you use a very short 3.5mm interconnect cable to eliminate noise and distortion from your PC/Laptop or phone.

Hook it Up

Just plug one end of the 3.5mm interconnect into your phone or laptop, and the other end into the left jack on the front of the unit.

The headphones plug into the jack on the right.

Turn the volume knob clockwise to power it on, and you’re ready to go!


Photo Gallery

Power Jack and LED indicator.
Volume Knob, Line Out Jack and 3.5mm Headphone Jack.
Guts. You can also see the bass boost switch in the middle of the DAC Chip.
Another look.
One more with Power Brick in the Background.

Closing Thoughts


There’s not much more to say about this little beast. In its time, it was a force to be reckoned with like Evander Holyfield.

It did the job admirably and sounded clean and pristine.

The power jack isn’t perfect, and I would have liked a gain switch, but those are minor nitpicks.

That said, JDS has discontinued this unit, but why?

After starting an Amp/DAC rankings list article thing covering all of the 74+ I’ve demoed, I became curious about the cMoy; now just a lost memory in a sea of millions. 

Back then, audio was fresh, new, and exciting. I used to play with Lego men on top of headphone amplifiers and DACs; surely a sign that I was losing it.

But it was fun. The Altoids tin was cool. The HA-2 still makes me smile. The Objective 2 is legendary. The Magni/Modi was a piece of Schiit. I’ve since retired the D1 from any of my recommendations simply because it’s outdated and outclassed by newer, better products.

The only DAC still in circulation from the above image is the DAC Magic 100, and I don’t recommend that anymore either because it’s overpriced.

But all of them are pretty much gone forever, sorta.

I recently reached out to John Seaber to learn more about the cMoy in particular:

Hey Stu,

“cMoyBB was retired because I was the only person in the facility with the muscle memory to reliably punch Altoids tins, and more importantly, the cMoyBB circuit was no longer competitive at 1VRMS output. It was difficult for new customers to comprehend how the 2018 Atom Amp could be 100x stronger at only 1.3x the price bump. 

We still keep cMoyBB DIY kits around for hobbyists. The bass boost switch is still fun, and the kit is occasionally used as a learning tool in classrooms.”

Best regards,

John Seaber

So there you have it. It’s still around, but you have to put it together. Sounds pretty fun to me. If you’re down to try it, click here.

Otherwise, a fantastic alternative to the cMoy is of course an ATOM 2.

Learn More:

And with that, stay sane friends. Enjoy the moment. Bask in it. Be appreciative of it. Because it’s all we have.

Well, that’s about it for today! I hope you’ve enjoyed this JDS Labs cMoy BB Review and came away with some valuable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

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Are you going to build a cMoy? I would love to hear from you! Until next time…

All the best and God bless,





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JDS Labs cMoy BB








Ease of Use



  • Easy to Use
  • Insane Value
  • Loads of Power
  • Fantastic Sound


  • Connections are a bit loose/wobbly

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perry l thomas February 13, 2023 - 2:27 am

Not a DAC . Just an amp

Stuart Charles Black February 13, 2023 - 2:25 pm



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