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post #346 of 380
Thread Starter 

iFi is going to send me a pair of attenuators to use with the Nano amp to see if it will then work for me with the sensitive JVC iem's. Hopefully that will lower the levels enough that the hiss will no longer be a problem.

post #347 of 380
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nirmalanow View Post
 

iFi is going to send me a pair of attenuators to use with the Nano amp to see if it will then work for me with the sensitive JVC iem's. Hopefully that will lower the levels enough that the hiss will no longer be a problem.


Does anyone know if this makes sense. I was thinking about this some more. How would an attenuator affect any hiss that is being generated by the Nano amp? It seems like an attenuator on the line in would reduce the signal going into the amp which should give more usable volume on the volume control. But if you are then able to turn the amp's volume control up higher, it seems that any hiss would then be louder also with the attenuator than without.

 

Am I missing something here?

post #348 of 380

can I turn the volume up on ican up to 12 o'clock with akg 550 without damaging my ears?

post #349 of 380
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nirmalanow View Post
 

Does anyone know if this makes sense. I was thinking about this some more. How would an attenuator affect any hiss that is being generated by the Nano amp? It seems like an attenuator on the line in would reduce the signal going into the amp which should give more usable volume on the volume control. But if you are then able to turn the amp's volume control up higher, it seems that any hiss would then be louder also with the attenuator than without.

 

Am I missing something here?

Hi Nirmalalow.

 

 

Specs, IEMs and Dynamic Range (with a dash of hiss)

 

Short answer:

Attenuators do NOT attenuate the line, but the headamp signal to the headphone, so hiss is attenuated equally along with the signal, but NOT the line.

 

As the nano iCAN has more than enough power/gain for some of the IEMs (too much power in some cases), adding an attenuator between the headamp and the headphone, it will reduce the overall hiss and improve overall sound/enjoyment.

 

 

Long answer:

At the outset, it is worth outlining that that the iPhone has a 15mW amplifier. The nano iCAN puts out 150mW so 10x the power output (and most other aftermarket headphone amplifiers have even more power).

 

Set against this is the headphone market which is as broad as it is wide. At one end you have super high-sensitivity IEMs and at the other end, very demanding headphones like the very impressive HE-6.

 

Therefore, using an IEM designed for the iPhone and inserting into a medium-power headphone amplifier like the nano iCAN will not be a “match made in headphone heaven.”

 

This particular JVC IEM, normalizes to 124dB/1V (this is exact same as the official spec of 106dB/1mW, just normalised to one common format - which we use internally).

 

What does a sensitivity of 124dB/1V mean? This means the iPhone (output is ~0.9V) can produce near 124dB of sound pressure, this kind of sound pressure is just below "threshold of pain". By comparison a chainsaw at 1 meter is "only" 110dB.

 

If using the iCAN nano, maximum available SPL will be around 134dB! (Painful, hearing damage unavoidable). And if playing at 115dB peak the dynamic range is only 73dB, so noise will be 73dB below 115dB or at 42dB absolute (to arrive at those figures, one needs to use the below mentioned excel file for proper calculations and conversion). This will be quite audible.

 

Now before anyone says “hang on, the iFi iCan nano has lots of hiss,” if we compare the numbers for a competitor’s DAC/Amp rated at 116dB Dynamic Range @4.25V, once we NORMALISE with the same headphones the noise floor in absolute terms will be 41dB, only 1dB difference. So for both this competitor’s product and the iCAN nano the headphone is way, way too sensitive and it needs to be attenuated to become useful.

 

If we use a 24dB Attenuator with these IEM's, the maximum SPL with iCAN nano is reduced to 110dB (chainsaw @1m) and the competitor’s product can deliver 113dB, crucially in both cases noise will also be attenuated by 24dB, so we will get 18dB/17dB absolute noise, which is way below a "quiet bedroom at night" and the actual dynamic range is equally increased, due to SPL Limitations to 92dB for the iCAN nano and 95dB for the competing product.

 

And of course the volume control needs to be turned up 24dB (say 2 o'clock instead of 10 o'clock) for the same playback level.

If anyone is curious, we have an excel where customers can "plug" their headphones specs in and allows the pertinent specs of 3rd party products to be entered. It will give an indication of the pairing with all of the iFi headphone-based products.

 

Just pm/email (tech@ifi-audio.com) and we shall email it through.

 

Background reading on Sound pressure levels:

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/TableOfSoundPressureLevels.htm

post #350 of 380
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for this thorough reply. My misunderstanding was due to the fact that I had tried some attenuators before on my larger iCAN that go on the line in to the amp, not on the headphone out. So I was assuming that the attenuators you were offering were also meant to go between the source and the amp.

 

It makes complete sense that the attenuators could help with the hiss if they are placed between the amp and the heapdhones. So I really look forward now to trying out the Nano with a pair of the attenuators. I will post my observations here and on the review I posted of the Nano.

 

PS: I also just picked up a pair of Soundmagic HP100s on Amazon for under $100 (cosmetic issues), so I will also have a headphone with lower sensitivity to try with the Nano when it gets back to me from Avatar.


Edited by Nirmalanow - 4/11/14 at 9:49am
post #351 of 380
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nirmalanow View Post


Does anyone know if this makes sense. I was thinking about this some more. How would an attenuator affect any hiss that is being generated by the Nano amp? It seems like an attenuator on the line in would reduce the signal going into the amp which should give more usable volume on the volume control. But if you are then able to turn the amp's volume control up higher, it seems that any hiss would then be louder also with the attenuator than without.

 

Am I missing something here?

 



Got a reply from Vincent of iFi about the effect of added attenuator/resistor on FR:

"The ifi Attenuators are designed to keep this change of frequency response to an absolute minimum. Worst case, the drive impedance to the headphone is a bit under 3 Ohm (12dB attenuator) and under 1 Ohm (24dB attenuator).

With most headphones, even complex multidriver CIEM's this will keep the frequency response variations below the limit of audibility."

Just thought I should share this useful info.
post #352 of 380
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by abchead View Post
 
=Got a reply from Vincent of iFi about the effect of added attenuator/resistor on FR:
"The ifi Attenuators are designed to keep this change of frequency response to an absolute minimum. Worst case, the drive impedance to the headphone is a bit under 3 Ohm (12dB attenuator) and under 1 Ohm (24dB attenuator).

With most headphones, even complex multidriver CIEM's this will keep the frequency response variations below the limit of audibility."

Just thought I should share this useful info.


Good to know. I have heard of other attenuators messing up the sound. I will see if I can hear anything other than a reduction in spl when they arrive.


Edited by Nirmalanow - 4/13/14 at 7:20am
post #353 of 380
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nirmalanow View Post


Good to know. I have heard of other attenuators messing up the sound. I will see if I can hear anything other than a reduction in spl when they arrive.

 



Not necessarily "mess up", though. ER4P gets a "flatter" FR with added resistance.
post #354 of 380
Quote:
Originally Posted by iFi audio View Post
 

Hi Nirmalalow.

 

 

Specs, IEMs and Dynamic Range (with a dash of hiss)

 

Short answer:

Attenuators do NOT attenuate the line, but the headamp signal to the headphone, so hiss is attenuated equally along with the signal, but NOT the line.

 

As the nano iCAN has more than enough power/gain for some of the IEMs (too much power in some cases), adding an attenuator between the headamp and the headphone, it will reduce the overall hiss and improve overall sound/enjoyment.

 

 

Long answer:

At the outset, it is worth outlining that that the iPhone has a 15mW amplifier. The nano iCAN puts out 150mW so 10x the power output (and most other aftermarket headphone amplifiers have even more power).

 

Set against this is the headphone market which is as broad as it is wide. At one end you have super high-sensitivity IEMs and at the other end, very demanding headphones like the very impressive HE-6.

 

Therefore, using an IEM designed for the iPhone and inserting into a medium-power headphone amplifier like the nano iCAN will not be a “match made in headphone heaven.”

 

This particular JVC IEM, normalizes to 124dB/1V (this is exact same as the official spec of 106dB/1mW, just normalised to one common format - which we use internally).

 

What does a sensitivity of 124dB/1V mean? This means the iPhone (output is ~0.9V) can produce near 124dB of sound pressure, this kind of sound pressure is just below "threshold of pain". By comparison a chainsaw at 1 meter is "only" 110dB.

 

If using the iCAN nano, maximum available SPL will be around 134dB! (Painful, hearing damage unavoidable). And if playing at 115dB peak the dynamic range is only 73dB, so noise will be 73dB below 115dB or at 42dB absolute (to arrive at those figures, one needs to use the below mentioned excel file for proper calculations and conversion). This will be quite audible.

 

Now before anyone says “hang on, the iFi iCan nano has lots of hiss,” if we compare the numbers for a competitor’s DAC/Amp rated at 116dB Dynamic Range @4.25V, once we NORMALISE with the same headphones the noise floor in absolute terms will be 41dB, only 1dB difference. So for both this competitor’s product and the iCAN nano the headphone is way, way too sensitive and it needs to be attenuated to become useful.

 

If we use a 24dB Attenuator with these IEM's, the maximum SPL with iCAN nano is reduced to 110dB (chainsaw @1m) and the competitor’s product can deliver 113dB, crucially in both cases noise will also be attenuated by 24dB, so we will get 18dB/17dB absolute noise, which is way below a "quiet bedroom at night" and the actual dynamic range is equally increased, due to SPL Limitations to 92dB for the iCAN nano and 95dB for the competing product.

 

And of course the volume control needs to be turned up 24dB (say 2 o'clock instead of 10 o'clock) for the same playback level.

If anyone is curious, we have an excel where customers can "plug" their headphones specs in and allows the pertinent specs of 3rd party products to be entered. It will give an indication of the pairing with all of the iFi headphone-based products.

 

Just pm/email (tech@ifi-audio.com) and we shall email it through.

 

Background reading on Sound pressure levels:

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/TableOfSoundPressureLevels.htm

that's a very thorough explanation indeed.  When will these attenuators be available?  Being that I have almost the complete ifi micro (and idsd) stack,I am extremely interested in getting hold of these attenuators specially with the amount more sensitive headgear that i have. Also any chance we get it discounted if not free for being so loyal? ;)

post #355 of 380
Quote:
Originally Posted by rptlead View Post
 

that's a very thorough explanation indeed.  When will these attenuators be available?  Being that I have almost the complete ifi micro (and idsd) stack,I am extremely interested in getting hold of these attenuators specially with the amount more sensitive headgear that i have. Also any chance we get it discounted if not free for being so loyal? ;)

 

Hi,

 

Sorry but no discounting for iFi! We already have people over at the Crowd-Design thread asking about "getting in early" for the micro iDSD. Sure you can pre-order, but you dont pre-pay. We are giving away micro iDSD units over there as we do not like and do not need our customers to fund our projects.

 

Customer loyalty is different and given your loyal commitment, you should speak to your retailer and ask them to look after you. Drop us a PM and let us know how you get on.

 

We'll direct you Avatar Acoustics (AMR/iFi North America) who will put your name down for the next set of iFi attenuators.

 

If you are in England, let us know and we'll send to you direct when we have supplied to the existing waiting list.

 

Once we have got the customer feedback from all the major countries around the world, we are likely to roll the iFi attenuators into production as it increasingly obvious this predicament is not exclusive iFi products.

post #356 of 380
Quote:
Originally Posted by iFi audio View Post
 

 

Hi,

 

Sorry but no discounting for iFi! We already have people over at the Crowd-Design thread asking about "getting in early" for the micro iDSD. Sure you can pre-order, but you dont pre-pay. We are giving away micro iDSD units over there as we do not like and do not need our customers to fund our projects.

 

Customer loyalty is different and given your loyal commitment, you should speak to your retailer and ask them to look after you. Drop us a PM and let us know how you get on.

 

We'll direct you Avatar Acoustics (AMR/iFi North America) who will put your name down for the next set of iFi attenuators.

 

If you are in England, let us know and we'll send to you direct when we have supplied to the existing waiting list.

 

Once we have got the customer feedback from all the major countries around the world, we are likely to roll the iFi attenuators into production as it increasingly obvious this predicament is not exclusive iFi products.

Well, I had to try :D. But thanks so much.  Unfortunately I am in US so i guess no direct sending for me.  However, I would appreciate it so much if you can add me to the wait list for the ifi attenuators and the ifi iRack. Is this the correct site?  http://www.avataracoustics.com/home.html  and do i just need to call them? Or do they have a preorder page somewhere?  Thanks!

post #357 of 380

Hi,

 

Never know if you dont ask!

 

Drop us an email tech@ifi-audio.com and we'll put you in touch with Avatar Acoustics.

 

Also, let us know who is your retailer.

 

We'll put you on the list of customers to try the attenuators - not an issue at all.

post #358 of 380
Quote:
Originally Posted by iFi audio View Post
 

Hi,

 

Never know if you dont ask!

 

Drop us an email tech@ifi-audio.com and we'll put you in touch with Avatar Acoustics.

 

Also, let us know who is your retailer.

 

We'll put you on the list of customers to try the attenuators - not an issue at all.

Email sent! Been ordering from Musicdirect and amazon -- and after looking into my amazon history, i noticed all of my orders there were actually from Avatar Acoustics! :D

post #359 of 380

Hi All,

 

micro iDSD Crowd-Design (latest update: 16th April)

See this poll:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/711217/idsd-micro-crowd-design-phase-2-desktop-vs-portable-listening-poll-open-to-everyone-5-ipurifiers-up-for-grabs

 

 

 

What % of your listening is Desktop vs Portable? (click on ONE answer)

 

This poll will close next Tuesday 22nd April.

 

Please click on ONE answer. (you do have to be a HF member).

 

We will put all the names into a hat and 5 names out of the hat will receive an iPurifier (from their local dealer). The iPurifier placed at the USB port of the DAC, audibly improves sonics by filtering out grunge on the audio+power lines.

 

More details here:

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

 

Thank you for voting AND for noting your moniker in a post.

 

It seems the poll only shows the number of voters and not the actual voters.

 

Keep it up and we welcome your family and friends!

 

Chance of a free iPurifier? - heck yes!

 

:atsmile: 

post #360 of 380
Thread Starter 

I got the attenuators from Vincent and added an addendum to my review of the Nano amp to describe my experience with them: http://www.head-fi.org/products/ifi-ican-nano-portable-headphone-amp/reviews/10801

 

Scroll down in the review to skip ahead to the addendum at the bottom.

 

In brief, they work great to reduce hiss on both the Nano and the Micro iCAN amps.

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