The Sound I Was Looking For
- Clear and spacious, open, deep, defined and high resolution sound.
- Quality of the screen, both for visualization and touch operation.
- Very easy to operate, fast and precise.
- Connectivity capability: USB, Bluetooth and WiFi.
- Design and size.
- Lower power than direct competition.
- It has no line output and cannot be used with a USB amplifier.
- Cannot be used as a DAC connected to a PC.
- Slightly cramped interface.
- Headphone jack easily detaches from the 3.5mm output of the DAP.
- When turned on, it is a little slow to recognize the memory card.
- It’s not Gapless.
- The battery percentage does not correspond to the icon, nor to reality.
Link to the Store
The JWD JWM-115 is an interesting player, based on the RK3308G 4-core processor. It features a large, three-inch retinal IPS display. It is built with a dense metal frame and two sides of 2.5D glass, very resistant. It has bi-directional Bluetooth, supports file transmission via WiFi and also bi-directional transmission, via USB port type C, with high-speed OTG function. It also has 10-band equalizer, with 8 preset styles. It is capable of decoding DSD256 format and its battery provides up to 10 hours of continuous playback.
- Screen: 3-inch IPS HD colour touch screen, resolution 360*640.
- 4-core processor RK3308G.
- Audio format: supports DFF/DSF/APE/WAV/FLAC/AIF/M4A/WMA/OGG/AAC/ALDAC/MP3.
- Voice search: WIFI online voice search songs.
- WIFI transmission: 2.4GHz WIFI to transmit songs.
- E-book: Support TXT format.
- TF card: Supports TF card with 128GB maximum capacity.
- Recording support: MIC recording support, WAV format support.
- USB: USB2.0 high speed transmission, bi-directional Type C USB2.0.
- Battery: 1700mAh lithium polymer battery built-in.
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth Reception Protocol: SBC/AAC; Bluetooth Transmission Protocol: SBC
- Size: 94.1mm x 51.5mm x 11.2mm
- Weight: 110g.
The JWD JWM-115 comes in a simple dark box, dimensions 160x120x38mm. On the top side, there is the brand name and the slogan, in silver letters. On the back, there is a sticker with the serial number and information about the manufacturer. The packaging is very simple, after removing the top, you can see the DAP, inside a white bag and fitted in the center of a large velvet mold. Underneath it is the load/transfer cable, the instructions and the warranty seal (the attenuator is not part of the original packaging). The screen is protected by plastic. Nothing else. As you can see, maximum simplicity and only one accessory. I would have liked some silicone sleeve to come, to avoid knocks and scratches.
Construction, Design and Comfort
The JWM-115 is constructed with a dense metal frame and two thick layers of 2.5D glass. All physical buttons are located on the frame: the ON/OFF button is on top and has a blue LED inside. On the right side there are 4 buttons: the upper one is the Play/Pause button, followed by the + button, then the – button and finally the M button. On the other side there is only a small hole, which looks like the microphone. On the lower side is the headphone output, 3.5mm, the memory card slot and the USB C-mount.
On the back side, which is a glass panel, with a black background, you can see the logo of the brand and model.
On the top side, there is the 3″ IPS screen, which takes up almost the entire surface.
The design is very simple, but very elegant, due to the glass surfaces and the metal frame. Its average weight gives it a lot of consistency and solidity, but it would have been advisable to reduce it to improve handling.
Its reduced dimensions, give it a very adequate use, an ergonomic and simple grip. Although the lateral buttons do not have the most comfortable distribution. In the same way, I would have preferred the headphone output to have been on top. Such smooth surfaces have a tendency to slip, and a silicone sleeve could have improved the grip and protected the DAP.
However, the screen looks very good, with high contrast, as good as a mobile phone.
Use and Handling
The JWM-115 has two screens, with 6 icons each. The first screen shows the following icons:
On the second screen, the icons are:
At the top of both screens, the volume, the play mode icon, the time, a memory card icon, the playback status icon and the battery status are displayed in very small letters and icons, in one icon and in percentage. As mentioned above, this top line has very small letters and icons and is difficult to read. Also, the battery icon does not fully match the percentage.
The top button, in addition to turning the device on and off, turns the display on and off, for use. When the screen is black, it is locked and so are the play/pause and M buttons.
Pressing the «Music» button accesses the folder menu, if playback is stopped, or the playback screen. Here you can see the cover page, the status bar, the song title and number, the playback time, the track and the total and full length of the song. At the bottom, there is a button with three horizontal bars, which accesses the «Playback settings» screen. Then there is the back button, play/pause, forward and add to favorite button. At the top there is a back to song list button and the «home» icon. Again, the top buttons are very small.
The EQ is 10 band, and allows a range of ±6dB to be modified. It has 8 presets (popular, sad, classical jazz, rock, dance, metal, vocals, custom).
The Bluetooth is bi-directional, the DAP can be used as a transmitter or receiver.
WiFi is used to transfer songs between similar connected devices. You can search for songs by voice, once connected to WiFi: Just press the icon and say the name of the song.
In the «Settings» menu, you can select and configure the rest of the operating parameters. The device does not work as a DAC, does not have line output and cannot be used as a transport, connecting a USB dongle to its port. You can change the background of the menu between 6 fixed ones or you can use an existing image in the memory card.
As you can see, there are only two screens. The number of final options is not very high, so the handling is very simple. On the other hand the gesture movement, through the screens is very good and fluid, there is never any lag. The fact that it has neither DAC, nor the possibility of recognizing a USB dongle, limits the operation of the system, especially when the power of this player is low.
32 Ω 0.674V 14.2mW
100 Ω 0.677V 4.58mW
240 Ω 0.678V 1.92mW
320 Ω 0.679V 1.44mW
Extrapolating, to 16Ω, the JWM-115 provides 28.39mW, a low amount, comparatively speaking with other similarly priced DAPS, but one that is sufficient for IEMS and low impedance earbuds.
In terms of frequency response, the linearity is remarkable. There is only a 0.7dB drop between 200Hz and 20Hz. In the high part, something similar happens, from 3kHz on, a very slight gain increase starts, which ends up with a difference of 1.4dB. This is not really noticeable: there is no significant low loss, nor is the DAP particularly bright.
The profile of the JWD JWM-115 is characterized by a fairly open, clean and clear sound, surprisingly refined, for its price range. I don’t consider it overtly analytical, even though it enjoys a remarkable level of resolution. I could conclude that its profile is quite neutral.
The lower zone is at the height of good DAPS, totally juicy, luminous and expressive, open and neutrally natural, full of power and depth. The bass strikes with a lot of weight, without a hint of absence or lack of resolution. All the planes are well represented, the lamination and the frequency breakdown is precise, the width and depth reached is irreproachable. A range of book, without losing sight of the emotion, nor the fun.
The mid-zone of the JWD could be summarized as transparent and vivid. Light continues to flood the sound, but without any artificiality being perceived, nor is it purely analytical. I cannot speak of a sweet or velvety sound, but neither is it hard, nor cold, but it possesses a neutrality and a very suggestive balance, which brings soul and a certain passion, a pose of satisfaction produced by a very well elaborated execution, which is felt and enjoyed. On this stage, the voices stand out totally liberated, without a trace of darkness or veil, explicit and enjoyable. The instrumentation, likewise, tends to expand, without disturbing the voices, or even surpassing them. Again, the JWD presents a range without which it can emit any objections, only praise.
The upper zone is extensive and has a very slight emphasis, hardly noticeable, without implying that the treble is prominent or predominant. That character will be determined by the connected headphones. However, at no time is there any tone output and the balance and neutrality continue to be the great highlights of the JWD sound. The consequence of all this is the amount of air that this DAP is able to generate, one of the strong points of the sound, as well as its great sense of neutrality and openness.
The scene that originates this DAP, is quite large, for its price range. But this scene is not huge; it is wide, high and deep, it is quite three-dimensional, it is very realistic, natural and pleasant. The neutrality of the sound is expressed, in this occasion, in the balance that the instrumental recreation has, since it never feels forced, but comfortable in an adequate and well-proportioned size.
Thanks to the excellent amount of air, the sound has a chordal separation and is integrated into the overall sound balance. All the sound characteristics of the JWD are in complete harmony, one with the other, to propagate that feeling of tranquillity and restlessness of sound, which allows a very pleasant listening, with a high level of resolution and representation of details, which can be perceived almost without noticing them.
One of the first references in price, is the classic QNGEE X2, a DAP that has a sound above its price and handling performance. But, finally the time has come to be beaten. The X2 has a very pure, somewhat cold sound, full of cleanliness and clarity. But the JWD is capable of generating more light, something that can be noticed in the voices and in the greater separation. The instrumentation is also more explicitly defined in the JWM-115. But not only that, it is also capable of generating more width, soul and emotion, an extra, intangible component, which provides a more perceptible satisfaction and fullness, in the sound of the JWD. The lower zone is able to reproduce more completely and the voices sound vivid, clear and crisp, with a point of passion, which the X2 did not possess.
The differences are not great, but after long listening with each one, the level of pleasure achieved with the JWD is more positive.
The JWD, on the other hand, is far superior to the X2 in terms of ease of use, handling, ergonomics and display. There are also no undesirable clicks, nor cuts at the beginning of songs, as sometimes happens in the QNGEE. The JWM-115 just loses power.
Tempotec Variations V1-A
The next reference is the V1-A, a DAP that has a great handling, a very reduced size and infinity of characteristics, although also, a higher price. Both have touch screens, but the JWD is bigger and brighter than the V1-A. In number of options, the V1-A, with its Hiby OS, is practically unbeatable, while the JWD has a lighter and simpler OS, without so many options. But it can’t be used as a DAC either, it has no line output, nor can it be connected to a USB amplifier, to be used as a transport. Besides, it has a bigger size and weight, although the construction is better and I find it more comfortable than such a small size, with a smaller screen. However, one of the best features of the V1-A is that it has Gapless playback. And it also has more power, as its maximum output is around 1V.
In terms of sound, both have a fairly similar profile, with the central part having the best conditions. But, I must admit, the JWD has a unique ability to generate a great clarity and definition, a colder sound, more analytical, but also more explicit. The V1-A is a little more relaxed, a darker point, or rather, something warmer and more suggestive. In my case, I prefer that more revealing and open sound that the JWD has, which leaves nothing to the imagination, spitting out all the notes with more force, but in a more surgical way and with greater resolution. The V1-A’s sound is a little more dense and compact, tighter and less airy, something that can be noticed in genres with thick bass. The JWD offers greater cleanliness and precision in the execution of the low zone, allowing greater depth and width, in addition to offering a wider scene and a freer sound. The midrange reflects similar differences, with the cleaner, clearer and more exciting look of the JWD barely outperforming the sound generated by the smaller V1-A. The JWM-115’s sense of openness, better definition and accuracy is slightly greater, and although the difference is small, it is noticeable.
The upper zone reflects less doubt, the analytical capability of the JWD stamps the highs in a way that the V1-A only senses. Details are more explicit and in the foreground, while the V1-A is softer and more backward in this respect, offering a feeling of greater distance, where in the JWD everything is proximity, but without losing perspective or depth.
At the level of scene, separation, recreation and instrumental positioning, the greater sense of openness, clarity and resolution of the JWD, gives it a more advantageous position in these aspects.
The JWD JWM-115 is an alternative DAP: as standard, it features a distinctive display and a finish that is more reminiscent of a very small mobile phone than a player. When you turn it on, you think you’re looking at a mini Android, with only two icon screens. It has great connectivity capabilities: USB, Bluetooth and WiFi. On the negative side, it has no line output, can be used as a DAC and cannot be connected to a USB amplifier either. And although the power is not very high, it works perfectly for IEMS and earbuds, below 50 Ω. On the other hand, it offers great qualities that allow to compensate for these aspects: possibly, it has the best display and the simplest, most reliable and efficient operation, of all the DAPS I know, under 100$. But above all, the JWD produces a great sound, full of an excellent sense of openness, clarity, definition and resolution. And that in itself justifies the purchase and the fact that it has become my reference player, for daily use.
Headphones Used During Analysis
- Ikko OH10
- Dunu DM-480
- NS Audio NS5 MKII Extra Bass
- Magaosi V3
- Shozy Neo BG
- OurArt QJ21
- Smabat M1
- BGVP ArtMagic DH3
- TFZ My Love III