Originally Posted by iFi audio
Yesterday, we posted about the iPurifier inside of the micro iDSD.
Following-up from your previous concerns that CCK/OTG port may involve the use of an adapter but whilst this is an additional connector in the signal path, we would like to refer you back to the Global Master Timing/Jitterless Lite technology which along with the iPurifier means the micro iDSD has built-in technology that is second to none when it comes to addressing USB transmission issues.
We also promised to explain more in detail the thinking behind this port.
Addendum on the CCK/OTG Port
We thought long and hard about this feature and internally, this was a keenly-debated feature for micro iDSD.
Consider the following global trends:
- More and more people want high-quality sound on the move, just look at the explosion of headphone market, especially IEMs.
- The undisputed Portable Audio Player (PAP) market leader - Apple iPod, its sales is falling by 50% per year. Apple is downsizing the iPod department and slowing the development.
- The audiophile type of PAP sales is only stable,
How does one reconcile the above facts? Where have all the missing iPod users gone? It doesn’t make any sense, does it?
If we look closely, all those iPod users have switched to Smart Phones instead. Using a Smart Phone to replace the PAP makes a lot of sense actually:
Excellent user interface
- By contrast, most PAPs have a UI that feels 10 years behind (except the iPod Touch of course) when pitched against the constantly evolving iOS and Android user interfaces.
- For PAP, one can’t freely choose his favourite player. So no iTunes, Onkyo HF Player, Capriccio, Hibiki, USB Audio Player Pro etc.
- PAPs do not stream, on 3G or wifi
Streaming via the mobile network is the future
- Hugely popular are:, iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Last.fm, Slacker Radio, Rhapsody; also big plans from the big guns: Sony, Nokia, Microsoft. Further, one can now easily set up a streaming host in his/her own house by using a simple Network Attached Storage (NAS, e.g. Synology Diskstation) and start his/her own streaming services.
- With 4G mobile networks (actually 3G is more than sufficient for audio streaming) rolling out across the globe and data plans are falling in price drastically, streaming is the future of music on the move and this needs a smart phone.
- So in a perfect world, iFi would team up with Apple and Samsung, and bring out an iPhone/Galaxy by iFi. We should be so Kylie.
If one has to carry an extra item, why not carry the best?
- For casual listeners, using the Smart Phone for music playback means one less item to carry and sound quality is improving all the time (especially with a better aftermarket headphone).
- For serious listeners, adding a separate DAC to the smart phone makes much more sense, as quality wise, even the best PAP out there cannot match a hard-core dedicated DAC. So far, none of the PAP (or those promised for 2015) will support DSD256, at best they will only support DSD128.
- So making the micro iDSD most portable and mobile-friendly is one of the top design priorities. The micro iDSD already has a built-in battery and phone charging function. Hence to make it even more mobile-friendly, the inclusion of this USB port which can directly connect to a mobile device using CCK/OTG cable with no additional adapter/cable makes sense.
Disadvantages of the direct CCK/OTG connection
Nonetheless, we did foresee the disadvantages of this feature, namely for desktop user:
- A male to A female “audiophile” USB cable is not common; or
- Need for an extra USB adapter.
The micro iDSD will come with a understated but high-performing USB A-to-A cable (see below).
In our opinion, one can spend upwards of US$600 and get but diminishing returns is severe.
To add an adapter in the USB signal path is not ideal. However, if you recall, we have provided an overview of the micro iDSD’s technologies.
- GMT and ZeroJitter– to cut out jitter from the computer and the USB connection
- iPurifier– deals with imperfect (DC offset, Unbalanced, Noise) USB signals coming through the USB cable/adapter
Both of these technologies more than compensate for the potential addition of a USB adapter and makes it far less of a compromise.
Hence from a sonic perspective, this lent extra weight to why we were happy to go with the CCK/OTG port.
So in the end it is was a toss-up between:
1. Maximum mobile friendliness but with a perceived slight compromise on the USB connection for desktop use.
2. No compromise on the USB connection for desktop use but mobile-friendliness not as good.
It was a tough design decision to make, but since we added GMT/Jitterless and iPurifier to minimise the effect of the USB cable and adaptor, we all agreed to go for maximum mobile-friendliness.
You may not agree with our reasoning, but we hope that at least now you understand our logic and justification.
Down the road, if you use your micro iDSD on-the-go more and more, we hope you warm to our thinking (if you are not already converted).
What Accessories are included in the micro iDSD box?"
Here you go (from top to bottom):
1. iFi velvet pouch
2. Silcone sheet with 2 x Silicone bands - situated between Smartphone+micro iDSD with silicone bands to hold firmly together
3. USB 3.0 cable (A male > A female)
4. Purple copper RCA cable
5. USB 2.0 cable (B male 90 degree > A female)
6. Silicone feet (white strip with 4 "feet")
7. Headphone adapter for (3.5mm>6.3mm)
8. Coaxial>Optical converter
9. USB 2.0 cable (B male > A female)
10. Jumper (3.5mm > 3.5mm) for Smartphone headphone out into 3.5mm in of the micro iDSD
11. USB Adapter (B female > A male)
Previously, we could not disclose the Accessories list until it was final, final and now it here - it pays to be patient cos we are pulling out every stop for you guys.
So after all of this, an adapter is not essential. Choices, choices,..have it your way.