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iFi iUSB Power

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #7 in Computer Audio

Posted
iFi iUSB reached Earmass!
iFi iUSB reached Earmass!

I have received this review unit of iFi iUSB from Vince few weeks back, and I used it extensively with my rigs. It is indeed a sin for me to enjoy the iUSB so much but delayed the review for so long, in fact, I intentionally delayed this review because lately I have bunch of DAC and Amp arrive at Earmass, so I think this is a good chance for me to truly test the iUSB, after some extensive use, I can say I am positive with what iUSB have achieved in sound.

Why you need a ‘regulator’ for USB?

From Left, a Power supply input Jack and, ISOEarth toggle switch and USB input.
From Left, a Power supply input Jack and, ISOEarth toggle switch and USB input.

iUSB is selling for 199USD and I am sure most of you are questioning, why should we need a external regulator or power conditioner for our USB port? And is this all matter?

If you are an audiophile and you have some room for your budget, I will says good sound is not only about how good or expensive is your audio equipment, synergy or matching, but every components and process in your audio equipment do count, they are all equally important in role playing to me. You can’t expect a good spaghetti with a bad sauce mixed with good ingredients, or with a bad cook. Same thing goes to audio equipment, a good power supply/source is very important, this is something that we often overlooked when setting up our audio system.

iFi iUSB explanation

I can’t provide any technical data for you nor frequency chart, but a cleaner and stable power source is every important. For home audio/theatre system, they often used a AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator) for generate a clean and stable power. Nothing is difference for the headphone system, our DAC and amplifier need a clean and lean power source as well.

Packaging Box

Worth to get one? Definitely
Worth to get one? Definitely

Unfortunately our USB power supply from computers is always unstable and dirty. This is why iUSB exist in the market. I have been long time searching for something like this, a truly good regulator for USB. Yes it is quite true that our computer USB provide a 5v output for devices, but have we ever think that is this real? I have read from some place that our computer (Especially the budget one) is not cannot constantly provide the 5V for u, and there is another section (Sorry can’t provide you more as there are too many scientific terms that I don’t understand) that straight USB from computers are bad to.

Description and Operation

iUSB

You will get a good quality PSU adapter along with this iUSB and you needed that to supply the power for iUSB, and a USB cable to iUSB for sending information.

Means, in order to make iUSB work, you have to:

1) Plug USB cable from your computer to USB input of iUSB.

2) Plug power supply unit from included PSU adapter/ USB power supply (Also included in the package).

Then you can connect your devices to output of iUSB. I am sure that you have seen there is 2 types of output on iUSB which is output for Power only and output for Power + Audio. Let me explained these in layman term.

I switched on the IsoEarth all the time except that there is one time it can't work with my device. An empty battery XDuoo XD-01, however when it has some power cell inside the battery, it worked fine even I switched on the IsoEARTH.
I switched on the IsoEarth all the time except that there is one time it can't work with my device. An empty battery XDuoo XD-01, however when it has some power cell inside the battery, it worked fine even I switched on the IsoEARTH.

1) Power Only : means you can plugged in the device that require no interaction with computer, such as USB phone Charger, Charging your music player (But cannot transfer file, just charging),  mainly just for anything that require power to charge/power up them but require no interaction/information transfer with your computer.

2) Power + Audio : These will be used for DAC, file transfer (Thumbdrive, Hardisk, Mouse and keyboard), and it can also function as like ‘Power Only mode’.

What I wished and praying for are 2 Power + Audio output, as this will work way more versatile and convenience. However this is considered reasonable though. It is just that if iFi Audio made both of the output that can communicate/transfer file with computer, it will surely better, especially when I connected my DAC and Hardisk together to my computer.

Sound Changes?

Well, the most important and decisive factor is still sound quality, and is iUSB helping DAC to sound great. For short answer, YES and improved by a big scale.

How often am I pairing my devices with iUSB? To be frank, I am using this iUSB all the time since I got it. For me sound differences are just obvious, and I wish just the best from my system. Every time when I want to plugged in my DAC to computer, I always find iUSB as my companion, not a single time missed.

Tried iUSB with iFi iDAC and iCAN

I called them 'The Triad'
I called them 'The Triad'

I have tried the iUSB with iCAN and iDAC, forming the team that I called ‘Triad’, I played La Campanella (Diabulous in Musica by Aerpr), with iUSB added into the combo, I can heard more details and also seems to have more energy. Instrument are sounding more real, for example violin sound lean and textured, triangle sounded crisp. The differences are quite obvious if you noted how the instrument sounded, with iUSB instrument sounded leaner and cleaner, and much more real in comparison with better body.

When I listened to vocal in some songs, the ending nuance of vocal is much more present and expressive when I paired with iUSB. The piano sounded muddy without iUSB in comparison. Adding in the iUSB do improved sound further.

Tried with Audinst HUD-mx2, XDuoo XD-01 and JDS Labs Objective DAC

Sound is definitely cleaner, leaner and fuller with iUSB. I played Hotel California (Hell Freeze Over by The Eagles), I can hear every nuance and plucking of guitar fuller.

I tested with some vocal tracks, same as the ‘Triad’, vocal has more space to breath, expressive and fuller (Nuance) than without iUSB, everything has better clarity and richness. Bass is filled with texture.

 

How about Yulong Audio U100 and D100 II?

Same casing as iCAN and iDAC, I have no problem with the design, tough and elegant
Same casing as iCAN and iDAC, I have no problem with the design, tough and elegant

U100 and D100 II are different device, becaused they are powered by external PSU or power source, unlike those power supply is directly from USB port, however I have noticed some improvement although not as subtle as previous setup but differences are definitely there.

Conclusion

Worth to get one? Definitely
Worth to get one? Definitely

I can’t say just go and buy this now as everyone has different perception regarding the sound that one is after, but for me I will just get it, because I seek clean power source as an important factor that can definitely improving the sound, and a constant power supply do prolonged your audio devices too.

If there is anything that I wished can be improved it must be adding one more Power + Audio output, this will make iFi iUSB a better bargain.

On the boxbeside my laptop

Anyway, the improvement is subtle, you will get better high, mid, low, space and speed with iFi iUSB, this is a good thing and when you have clear power for your DAC, then you just should start to look at a better DAC, if you love how your DAC sounded, then get an iUSB instead, you will love your DAC more.

Posted

Pros: Great audible result, especially for the money.

Cons: None what-so-ever

I power it from Van der Graaf from M2Tech, use it together with iFis dual USB cable and iFis purifier, which then plugged in to M2Tech Young DSD. Might be an overkill, but for the price that this setup gives its very good value.

 

Tested my setup without the iUSB, and indeed could hear the result, very interesting product.

 

Our PCs/Macs are very dirty in power outputs, due to fans etc etc. This this is very good in eliminating those.


Total recommend. 

Posted

Pros: Huge leap when it comes to smoother and cleaner sound

Cons: nothing what so ever!!! price? nah it was worth it 100%

My setup before:

   

 

 

 

My setup used to be Magic Tube D1 and HD650 which is a really good high end set up <3.

 

The only problem was that the HD650 have open dynamic drivers! This is almost like speakers so this was the deal breaker for me, the sound can be heard outside of my room etc...

 

 

pre iUSB setup:

 700

 

 

 

 

 

DacPort LX ---> Uha.6S.MKII ---> UM Miracle

 

There was something missing and i thought that it is the cables, I tried the Toxic Cable's Copper and even went even to buy the 700$ tralucentaudio's latest cable with the OCC silver +1% gold which was approved by many of my head-fiers friends,

 

I was mad because there is no way that such a setup can sound so harsh and bright!! and not so 1st Tier nor near my old setup!!!! few head-fiers said they didn't encounter what i encountered what so ever!

 

 

you don't know how good, clean and smooth is a setup unless you try something else, thats why anyone with same setup as mine don't know how good is Magic Tube D1 + HD650.( will point why later) 
 


iUSB:

 

 

 

why the iUSB and what made me think about it?

 

i usually listen to my music on the PC so since my new rig is portable i took it to the collage and used it with my Laptop, i wasn't happy at all , because in the home i was listening to the same

 

tracks and i was happy with it, so thats how i noticed what can the Dirty Evil Volt can do to our usb powered Dacs!!!! in short moving from dirty PSU to Dirtier laptop made me know the difference!!

 

 

how good is the iUSB?

 

The very first two min!!! it was like a heavy rock just removed from my setup!!! the problem was the PSU after all!!! the Real sound was released from the Jail! and i hear my music the way that it

should sound! 

A LOT of harshness is gone!  so if you are on a PC most of the time and using usb dac/amp then iUSB is really a must for you if you want to enjoy your music the way that i used to enjoy it with my old setup and the current setup to!

 

 

PSU differ from another one:

 

when i record my voice there is huge Bzzzz and Hsss due the dirty MOBO/PSU provided power, thats why there were few who didn't get a huge leap, because their PC already had a clean PSU,

my PSU is Corsair GS800 which is from one of the best aftermarket PSUs, yet it was super dirty and it was causing a bottle neck case to my setup!

 

What is a bottle neck case?

if you had a 460 GTX card on an old PC with low RAM/CPU and PCI 1.0, will it perform 100%? no it will show you 20% of what can it do, and this was my setup's case till i used the iUSB

 

 

Would i recommend the iUSB?

 

i really do!!! you will notice the difference!!! we all want cleaner and smoother sound right?

iFi iUSB Power
By:
Description:

The most important feature of any USB audio device (USB DAC, USB Amplifier and USB Speaker etc.) is the power supply. The USB system as well as audio, carries its own power. Perfectly adequate to power anything from USB memory sticks to tablet computers; it falls far short from being a suitable noise-free power supply for high-quality music reproduction. To improve all USB audio devices out there, we wanted to develop not just a better power supply, but the best power supply for all audio devices. With the iUSB, quiet passages are whisper quiet. The climaxes are fiercer, and everything in between is richer, more vibrant and no longer grainy.

Details:
DetailValue
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Related Media/Links:

http://ifi-audio.com/en/iUSB.html

 

 

Specifications:  
Output Voltage: 5V±0.5%
Output Current: 1A
Output Noise: 0.1uV(0.0000001V)
High-Speed USB 2.0: 480Mbps
Input Voltage: AC 100 - 240V, 50/60Hz
(Ultra Low-Noise Power Supply included)
Power Consumption: < 9W (includes powered USB device)
Dimensions: 158(l)x68(w)x28(h)mm
Weight: 195(0.43lbs)

 

 

 

 

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