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iFi Audio Nano iDSD discussion + impression - Page 48

post #706 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by john57 View Post
 

I also have the Loki but I find that my Nano iDSD sounding more like analog tape, like my old Barclay Crocker open reel tapes I used to have. I miss that sound and the iDSD just brings that back for the most part. I think that IFI is on the right path with products that would be interesting for a  wide range of users and tastes.  It may be possible for IFI be a key player in getting people more interested in DSD recordings? The small high end audio store in Boulder on 30th street had three iDSD nano's for sale when I went there for a CAS meeting. 

 

I agree that the Loki does sound more clinical compared to the Nano. I'm not sure why that is, but while Schiit makes some good stuff, their disdain for DSD is kinda... not hidden. Which is unfortunate.

 

It's not bad, but it is more "digital" sounding - but that seems to line up with AKM's "house sound" imo, which is what they use in the Loki; not speak for their analog loop.

 

I think the Nano will be key actually in bringing DSD recordings to, well, maybe not the masses, but more people.  The price and portability, for one, appeals to a lot of folks. Those are all the right buttons.  Hi-rez playback on portable devices is going to mature in the next few years, there's basically no stopping it.  Right now the software side has to catch up to the Nano.


Edited by michilumin - 6/30/14 at 11:06pm
post #707 of 1711

Great contributions to the thread michilumin. While I understand the kerfuffle that happened the other day may have definitely left a bad taste in your mouth, I hope you still chime in once in a while, even after you fall back into your read-only mode. It was interesting to see discussions with actual data and substance as opposed to the "fluff" that gets thrown around a lot here.

post #708 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by obsidyen View Post
 

iFi team, what do you think of AKM's new high end chip, AK4495SEQ? I really hate the digital sound signature of Sabre chips so I can see you guys are very good at choosing the right chips for your products. AKM says this is their best chip, have you tried it or are you thinking of using it for any future product?

 

Hi,

 

This particular AKM IC is not yet available for purchase or as evaluation sample, so we cannot possibly comment.

 

Prior AKM Chip's have seen widespread HiFi/Pro applications, and has been picked up as a DSD DAC. So far our experience has been that while AKM offers solid performance, their DAC's do not give the qualities to the sound we prefer.

 

This new one promises to be different. We will try once released (as opposed to announced).

post #709 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by michilumin View Post
 

"Datasheets never include the parts you really need to know."

 

So, I've learned a valuable lesson on this.  And - folks, please, I need to implore. This isn't about it "measuring well vs sounding well".  I just, okay, well, let me back up a bit.

 

I do indeed work with the Super Audio Center, making SACDs and, specifically, helping engineer Sonoma. That will beget a boo and a hiss from some, and an "Oh, OK" from others. I understand - we're trying to make it better and trying to get it to do the higher DSD rates. Really. That's my "stake" in the game.

 

However, if that could be called a "night job", my "day job" is working with Software Defined Radio and high frequency digital signals.

 

And then, paired with my DSD alter ego, I'm kind of always thinking about how this fits in with audio. So, I do apologize that that's what's flying through my mind most of the time.

 

So to answer AMRs question: I have a whoooole lot of scientific acquisition ADCs and signal generating DAC setups in the lab, to test into the GHz range. I've got DSD sweeps at least for DSD128 up to 150khz, and the ability to generate tones and heterodynes up to 500khz for up to PCM 768khz. When you get into the realm of sampling and reproducing RF, this kinda stuff is needed. Most of this is my own software "test harness", some of it comes from RF engineering, some of it from audio.  I'm currently in a "chipset mess" myself, dealing with two high frequency ADCs that aren't doing what they're supposed to. So yeah, that's where my head's been at.

 

Please don't kill me. I'm not just talking about measurements.

 

I had been familiar with the DSD1700s in the Meitner DACs, and watched TI/BB's development into the DSD1791/DSD1793 chipset (same thing, different flavor; SW vs HW control), and later on into the DSD1792/1794 chips, and most recently, the PCM1795.  (Which, I will admit, has good 'gozinta' specs, but not so great 'gozouta' specs. And sounds kind of dull.)

 

Funny thing, out of those setups, the old, dusty DSD1700 in the Meitners always sounded ... a little bit better to me. According to the spec sheet, they shouldn't.  In sound, they just did. So trust me, I am no stranger to the disparity between measurements and sound.

 

But my concern wasn't "is it good, or is it bad" - for most people, that's all they should have to worry about.  For me I really wanted to know if "this new Nano thing" really could "exhibit" DSD128 and DSD256, and, it turns out, indeed-it-do. 

 

To determine that, "true or false", not qualitative - a "benchy, measure-ey"  test was needed. Again, a "litmus test", Y or N, not a qualitative test. Needless to say that "while I was in there", I noticed that the Nano performed... impressively. Please understand: Performing a heterodyne test near Nyquist frequency is a legitimate way to tell what sample rate a device is operating at, at least "positively". It's not a "measurement", it's a binary check. If there's not a filter in the way, it'll tell you.  If you put a 180kHz heterodyne into a system running at 24/192kHz PCM, you'll get either nothing, or a real mess, out. However if you do get the same clear signal you put in, out of it, then, that's proof that it is running at that rate.  So I'm not suggesting the "quality" of such a device should be measured, this was more of... exploratory surgery.

 

And now that I think of it, after all this mess - there's more oddity in the mix: The old DSD1700s can do DSD128.They're not supposed to. The old DSD1700s can almost do whatever you tell them to. Sorta. I mean the specs sure don't say they can - they were made in a time when if you said "DSD128" you'd get a blank stare. Or if you even said "PCM 24/192" you'd maybe get a tilted-head glance. So, really, AMR basing these DACs on the "slight" evolution of those chips, the DSD1793, makes a whole lot of sense now.. 

 

Basically, I had my eyes glued to the damned TI/BB spec sheet.  And was doing what a lot of engineers tend to do after being mired in projects after a while: not thinking outside of the parameters. What AMR said about needing to know what went on inside the silicon, and even knowing some of the chip developers, all makes a whole lot of sense to me now.

 

I really feel that my approach here on head-fi was wrong. I meant to be incredulous but not outright denying, and I took that too far.  Trust me, I feel bad. I had to take a few days off listening to my Nano because of what transpired here.  And i'll probably go back to read-only mode after this.

 

But it was based on a cynicism that I've gathered up dealing so often lately with "promised functionality" not being "delivered functionality". And I am sorry that that colored this. And I need to put it in check.  When I heard "AMR runs the DSD1791/1793 in a secret, unsupported manner", my first reaction was "Oh come on."

 

But, after testing it, and finding out that, indeed, it does, I gotta say, thanks for doing engineering "the right way" vs the "confined" way. I always preached that, and this week I found myself caught up in it.

 

Not good. But maybe there's a reason for everything that transpires. Think outside the box, and all that. AMR is certainly doing that.

 

Hi,

 

Your test lab is indeed very neat and more important still, you know and are able to fully-maximise. Nice!

 

You would be surprised how many people measure but do not truly know what they are measuring and when it is published, it is taken as gospel. Just because someone has a probe, it doesn't mean they know where to stick it! :smile:

 

Your point is valid about measuring to verify that the nano iDSD indeed is capable of Quad-Speed DSD et al. It can happen to all of us and we're all on the learning curve. Nonetheless, all good and keep sharing your thoughts on this matter as it does make for interesting reading for all of us.

 

We hope you stick around and consider offering the Test material (as Super Audio Centre) to the community and other professionals at a reasonable fee. Testing High-Resolution DAC's (be it DSD or > 96KHz) is mainly limited by the test signals and other items one can get...

 

We have created our own, but it would be nice if there was a "standard suite"  of DSD Test signals everyone could access and feed a DAC or Player and the other end to an AP2, Prism dScope or other good industry standard analyser.

 

At iFi we are format agnostic. DSD512, 176.4K/24Bit or even MP3 - if it sounds good it is good and customers are entitled to get the best out of the music they got, whatever the format.

 

> The old DSD1700s can do DSD128.They're not supposed to. The old DSD1700s can almost do whatever you tell them to. Sorta. I mean the specs sure don't say they can - they were made in a time when if you said "DSD128" you'd get a blank stare. 

 

Burr-Brown (Japan) and Burr-Brown (TI) are two different companies. As you know, the Japanese are fanatical about doing things well, hence they did extra things that nowadays would not be allowed by the accounting department.

 

Take another example, the Philips TDA1541A. The datasheet says "put SMD cap across pins 16 + 17." But AMR about a decade ago came across one of the Philips engineers who had put an "Easter Egg" inside the the TDA1541A. The Dynamic Element Matching circuit is a separate circuit that connects to pins 16+17. This improves the linearity one heck of a lot on the standard TDA1541A and brings it much closer to the rare as rocking horse poop TDA151A S2 Double--Crown.

 

 

So you see, it really does pay to research these puppies down to the silicon-die level.

 

We are not against new chips per se and we can't wait to get our paws on them but quite often it costs less money to implement new chips - which usually is not a good sign.

 

It all worked out and we are glad that you know we haven't been telling porkies!

 

iFi team


Edited by iFi audio - 7/1/14 at 9:40am
post #710 of 1711

Wow! this has been a great, and stimulating, conversation/argument - I'm like pissing myself...

post #711 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by iFi audio View Post
 

 

Hi,

 

This particular AKM IC is not yet available for purchase or as evaluation sample, so we cannot possibly comment.

 

Prior AKM Chip's have seen widespread HiFi/Pro applications, and has been picked up as a DSD DAC. So far our experience has been that while AKM offers solid performance, their DAC's do not give the qualities to the sound we prefer.

 

This new one promises to be different. We will try once released (as opposed to announced).


I see... Let's hope it's as good as they say it is. For now, Burr Browns are the best.

post #712 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by michilumin View Post
 

 

I really feel that my approach here on head-fi was wrong. I meant to be incredulous but not outright denying, and I took that too far.  Trust me, I feel bad. I had to take a few days off listening to my Nano because of what transpired here.  And i'll probably go back to read-only mode after this.

 

 

 

Classy post. Please don't feel the need to go away unless you just want to. It is good to have a knowledgable people here.

post #713 of 1711

Hello everyone I am interested in a DAC up to 300$ to connect to my CRACK > HD650 and as an dac/amp for my IPHONE > gr07 BE IEM's 

I have thought about the HRT microstreamer and heard a lot of good stuff about it, I have recently discovered the IFI NANO, to be honest I have no use for dsd decoding since i barely know what it is and most of my music in FLAC 16/44 and up,, but the other options like battery and volume knob sound good and for future insurance it also support dsd.. 

Anyway beside all of that I have a few questions: 

1) I mainly listen to electronic so BASS is important to me, I don't want something that is too flat sounding (dac wise), how is it compared to the HRT Microstreamer sound wise?

2) What is the button minimum/standard stand for? gain ?

3) Whats the point of having a digital output? what do you guys use it for?

post #714 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by atraf View Post
 

Hello everyone I am interested in a DAC up to 300$ to connect to my CRACK > HD650 and as an dac/amp for my IPHONE > gr07 BE IEM's 

I have thought about the HRT microstreamer and heard a lot of good stuff about it, I have recently discovered the IFI NANO, to be honest I have no use for dsd decoding since i barely know what it is and most of my music in FLAC 16/44 and up,, but the other options like battery and volume knob sound good and for future insurance it also support dsd.. 

Anyway beside all of that I have a few questions: 

1) I mainly listen to electronic so BASS is important to me, I don't want something that is too flat sounding (dac wise), how is it compared to the HRT Microstreamer sound wise?

2) What is the button minimum/standard stand for? gain ?

3) Whats the point of having a digital output? what do you guys use it for?

 

Hello,

 

I had the Microstreamer for a couple weeks (returned it, wanted battery power thus) have now owned nano iDSD for a few months, and love it!

(especially with iPad/iPhone and Mac/PCs)

answers:

 

1.  I have found the bass (especially drums) to sound more realistic (live) than the GO450 and microstreamer.  it's one of the strengths of nano iDSD I believe.

sounds a bit more like being in a room acoustics wise,
drum skins sound a bit more real as do other drum kit elements (wooden or cymbal taps).
sometimes bass drum feels more enveloping, with more initial punch. 
 
2.  the flip switch is for a "minimum" filter applied to the sound, whereas Standard is "no filter" and better for pure measurements.
I can't really tell any audible difference in the flip switch selection when listening to songs.
 
3.  haven't used digital output feature.
 
 
nano iDSD features/sound blew me away so much, I've pre-ordered the micro iDSD.
should you want to buy a mint condition nano iDSD, send me a PM.   
post #715 of 1711

Thank you for your response, exactly the answers I needed.. 

I didn't even notice the micro it looks like a very big upgrade and improvment over the nano, the spdif input and more power is great for my needs, but I can't seem to find where can I preorder it or what is the price? 

 

By the way, I see you have the HD600 how is it with the nano? can it drive them?

 

 

EDIT::: 

 

Ok just saw the price 500 euros o_0 

I am tempted but i just bought the crack and the overall expenses were very expensive crap dunno what to do :P


Edited by atraf - 7/2/14 at 2:10pm
post #716 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by atraf View Post
 

Thank you for your response, exactly the answers I needed.. 

I didn't even notice the micro it looks like a very big upgrade and improvment over the nano, the spdif input and more power is great for my needs, but I can't seem to find where can I preorder it or what is the price? 

 

By the way, I see you have the HD600 how is it with the nano? can it drive them?

 

 

1.  for micro iDSD pre-orders, you would want to find European iFi Audio resellers via the iFi web site.  then email each dealer directly.  pre-orders are limited.

I understand the price is quite a jump, which is why the Nano is quite an amazing product for $189 USA.

micro has a ton of features, bigger size, more power etc.

 

2.  I have not driven the HD600 with nano.  don't have a 3.5mm plug on m HD600 with a new cable installed, but hm.  I might look around the house for the stock Senn cable and hook it up to the nano this weekend just for curiosity.

doubt it would be "awesome sounding" when calculations show HD600 need 200mW at 300ohm to blow the doors off at 120dB.

and nano provides 130mW at 13ohm IIRC.

 

I do find the nano great for my IEMs (not overly sensitive UM3X, Heir 4.AiS) and NAD HP50.

post #717 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by atraf View Post
 

By the way, I see you have the HD600 how is it with the nano? can it drive them?

 

Hi

 

Pertaining to the micro iDSD:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/711217/idsd-micro-crowd-design-hifi-man-he-6-takes-on-the-meaty-monster-page-82/1215#post_10681580

 

 

The music is belting out from the HE-6! It is NOT the backing music!

 

Hope you all get a kick out of watching the HE-6 being tamed by the micro iDSD. :regular_smile : 

post #718 of 1711

A few months back I did an A/B between my iDSD (as a DAC) and ODAC and decided that while it was close and there wasn't too much between them, I preferred the extra detail provided by the ODAC.  Today I decided to give the iDSD another go, as I had some hi-res tracks that the ODAC couldn't deal with and discovered to my dismay that the sound from the RCA outs was terrible, as in zero soundstage and a thin and veiled sound.  No volume level, min to max, helped at all.

 

Anyone know what happened to my iDSD?  

post #719 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by exsomnis View Post
 

A few months back I did an A/B between my iDSD (as a DAC) and ODAC and decided that while it was close and there wasn't too much between them, I preferred the extra detail provided by the ODAC.  Today I decided to give the iDSD another go, as I had some hi-res tracks that the ODAC couldn't deal with and discovered to my dismay that the sound from the RCA outs was terrible, as in zero soundstage and a thin and veiled sound.  No volume level, min to max, helped at all.

 

Anyone know what happened to my iDSD?  

Abandoned lovers may well be "a bit" troublesome upon we return :rolleyes:.

 

It happened today to me - much the same thing. Usually, it will be some USB power issue - i forgot to turn on the power supply  for the USB hub. ( not a recommended practice to use any USB hub to begin with !  ). Switchin the nano to battery power (power it down, disconnect the USB cable, power it on, reconnect the USB cable ) should do the trick. It could also be that the battery is flat - recharge first. And/or use good USB power supply, like ifi own USB iPure.

 

Good luck !

post #720 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

Abandoned lovers may well be "a bit" troublesome upon we return rolleyes.gif .

It happened today to me - much the same thing. Usually, it will be some USB power issue - i forgot to turn on the power supply  for the USB hub. ( not a recommended practice to use any USB hub to begin with !  ). Switchin the nano to battery power (power it down, disconnect the USB cable, power it on, reconnect the USB cable ) should do the trick. It could also be that the battery is flat - recharge first. And/or use good USB power supply, like ifi own USB iPure.

Good luck !

I should've thought of that! The battery was flat, surprising since it's been off all this time. I'll give it an overnight charge and see how things go. Thanks!


Edit: I can confirm that it's back to normal biggrin.gif
Edited by exsomnis - 7/4/14 at 12:31am
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