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Good DAC with Multi-Connect and output

A Review On: iFi Audio micro iDSD

iFi Audio micro iDSD

Rated # 2 in Amp/DACs
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stevenyu2000
Posted · 404 Views · 5 Comments

Pros: Flexible with lots input and output. Musical and Powerful AMP.

Cons: Not Support DSD with Coxial input

IFI Micro iDSD Black Label

 

IFI released their new upgrade model of Mirco series , the iDSD Black Label , we called it BL .

According to the IFI wed page ......

 

In short, iFi Audio Micro iDSD Black Label has:

 

re-designed output stabilisation

OV2627 op-amps upgraded analogue section

Panasonic OSCON capacitors loaded power supply

OV2028 op-amps loaded DAC power supply

DAC voltage decoupling based on audio-grade ECPU film capacitors

GMT® Femto precision clock system power supply upgraded

 

In short, iFi Audio Micro iDSD Black Label is:

 

a tweaked to the roof original Micro iDSD

a satin black version (with silk orange writings) of original Micro iDSD

sonically much better version of original Micro iDSD

loaded with latest 3D+® and XBass+® tech, superior over ones in original Micro iDSD

10% higher price of $549 (ex-tax) / Euro599 (incl VAT)

superior to original Micro iDSD

 

 

 

You can expected the improvement in power supply to provide a clean and good support to the DAC circuit.

A Black outlook let it looks cool and much high class than the original silver color.

 

Thank you IFI for let me be one the BL tour in Hong Kong. My BL was totally new in box . I opened it from the box and hear its sound from zero run in .

 

Talk back my setup with the BL.

My setup was a transportable headfi setup. A DX50mod with coxial out to BL . A Venture 4 core Coxial cable was connected between DX50 and BL.

The BL as DAC with direct mod , RCA out to my DIY AMP , A 8 core pure silver RCA cable was connected between BL and AMP.

The IEM I used was IE800 with Earmod , 8 core pure silver cable used.

 

 

BL provided lots of solution for me such as PC with USB connect to BL , DX50 coxial out to BL and use BL own phoneout for my IE800 , and my transportable setup , DX50 > BL > AMP > IE800.

 

BL support DSD with its USB but cannot support DSD with coxial input. I have try some players with coxial out but BL cannot playback the DSD with coxial in.

 

BL has powerful AMP inside, even IE800 can drive well and muscial . the bass+ and 3D+ effectted with more bass and better sound stage.

 

I used BL as DAC for my AMP. It was a musical DAC , Warm sound with good punch. Its same style with the old IDSD. Since my BL was new in box , the sound with tight, the dynmic range, Treble extend and Bass punch was not as good as the old one.

The old IDSD was demo at shop , maybe the run-in time not enough let BL as good as the old one. The good news run-in was improve. The BL at last when I return , it was better than before but still not as good as the old one. But I believe the BL will better than the old model as new BL change lots of capacity as they need run in as well.

5 Comments:

Nice review.  I currently have the old iDSD and the Dragonfly Red.  They perform very close to one another, but the Dragonfly Red is only $200.  I'm having a hard time justifying the extra cost of the iDSD.
I haven't found any DAC that supports DSD over coaxial or optical natively. In my experience DoP or conversion always has to be used. The Mojo, for example converts everything to PCM--it doesn't do native at all. Therefore, I think your one negative is probably a bit unfair. I think there is a firmware flavour that does DoP, but why compromise the sound?
 
With regards to Dragonfly Red, it only plays to 24/96, doesn't do DSD, and has a weak-sauce amplifier compared to the iDSD. If you don't need DSD, PCM above 24/96 or a powerful amp, then the iDSD is probably overkill for you.
Even with the somewhat-inefficient Beyer T1.2s, the amp in the iDSD is overkill.  I still run the iDSD on eco mode with the T1.2s.  I'd say unless you're looking for a portable unit that can power the HE-6, you'll never use all the power that the iDSD can output.  Headphones now are becoming more and more efficient every day.  The ability to do DSD is nice though, and something I definitely miss with the Dragonfly.
@jsplice You must have more sensitive ears than me, or have a much lower preferred listening level. I listen at about 78dB and the iDSD BL needs to be in Normal mode to drive my HD600 adequately. The Beyerdynamic T1s are more demanding than the HD600, so I have to wonder if you are actually driving them fully. I'd turn the BL to at least Normal (I wasn't a fan of Turbo as noise shot up)--but if your listening level is really low you might get channel imbalance--and see what the headphones sound like.
@glassmonkey I haven't measured the db level after I've set my listening level, so I can't say where I'm at there.  I've also never used the iDSD with the HD600 so can't make that comparison.  Yea, I've got the channel imbalance thing before when having the volume set low in normal mode.  That's the main reason I've kept it in eco.  Also, the Elear are so efficient that there's no way in hell I can use normal mode with them.  Even on eco mode with the Elear, I can't really get the volume past 10 o clock.  I will probably end up keeping my Dragonfly Red instead of the iDSD if I stick with my Elear and get rid of the T1.2.  If you have super efficient headphones, the amp in the iDSD is just overkill IMO.
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