patience is a virtue... but the wait is nerve wrecking
iDSD micro Black Label. Tour details (page 147). Release info (page 153). - Page 19
Poll Results: What % of your listening is Desktop vs Portable? (click on ONE answer please)
22% (30)Desktop (100%)
36% (49)Desktop (75%) & Portable (25%)
18% (25)Desktop (50%) & Portable (50%)
17% (24)Desktop (25%) & Portable (75%)
5% (7)Portable (100%)
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Small update: we are waiting to hear back from some customers on FaceBook and some on email. All you guys on Head-Fi have pretty much replied - so you guys are very responsive.
Without this, we cannot marry up all the total contributions. We'll wait till midnight Sunday.
Quite a few have emailed and posted on HF and/or posted/messaged us on FaceBook.
Thorsten and his team would argue otherwise but its as painful as laying traces on the micro iDSD circuit board.
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The following is a small tech note to you all from Thorsten Loesch - he saw your posts and thought this would give you all some idea of the "behind the scenes stuff."
Sabres (at the) ready?
ESS has made a name for itself with very innovative products that combine headlining spec's with very easy implementation. We always find their products interesting and evaluate them. And we probably would like to use them in many of our products. We might even included the above Headphone amplifier chip, though it is designed mainly for one very large customer of ESS who is a major player in the Chinese high-end Smartphone/Tablet market.
There is a problem however. ESS likes to announce products so long before they are in mass production, they are hard to design in for any company who is not on the preferred customer list (which is quite short). It is difficult to even get datasheets, never mind samples. And if you look and spend time to optimise the system it is easily possible to get the same or a greater level of sound quality as ESS deliver, with less headaches.
Last year when we first started the nano iDSD development, our first design studies actually called for a lower budget ESS Sabre DAC with DSD and HD Audio. When it became clear that such a chip may not be available for some considerable time our design team started to look further afield and originally intended to use the Niigata Seimitsu DSD/HD PCM DAC Chip.
This was was compared against some other options we felt could deliver what we wanted from DSD and PCM and the eventual chip selected was based on above all, sonic merit. Throughout all this process, the design team worked on a parallel platform that would have filled the DAC Socket with an ESS part. This duplicated efforts and caused some delays as well as additional costs.
When we had already our Burr-Brown based solution near shipping readiness and were showing prototypes, we suspended production to wait for the ESS Chip samples that had finally made it to silicon. We were even prepared to delay the iDSD nano for another few months, just so we could give our customers the "ESS Sabre". When we got the samples we found they worked, but the sound quality was not so good. A bit of a disappointment. Apparently these samples were still Beta and we could not get a firm shipping date for production level chip's or samples to audition.
By that time we had already evaluated and benchmarked the Quad-Core Burr-Brown based iDSD mini against some extremely expensive competition including some ESS Sabre Reference based options.
Unwilling to risk ending up with production chip's that sounded no better than the samples and unwilling to tie our product schedule to ESS's delivery schedule (which would likely have had us a few places in the queue behind Oppo and other "preferred customers") while at the same greatly confident that our Burr-Brown solution delivered the sonic goods, we instead fast-tracked the Burr-Brown based iDSD nano into production and shipped at the end of 2013. The rest is history.
So, no Sabre in the iDSD nano, not because we did not originally want to. Looking back, we feel that the problems with ESS delivering goods came as a blessing in disguise, as we might have just delivered "another Sabre DAC," while missing the great and unique sound quality provided by our chosen Burr-Brown solution.
Sometimes, life's twists and turns end up being for the better - despite the best laid plans.
Thanks for the info. It's good to know how choices were made.
So BB was picked over Sabre ES9018-2M, because the latter was unavailable at that time? I always thought that the choice was made, because the former is the only few DAC chips in the market that does native DSD. So 9018 does native DSD as well?
The first version of the ESS did not sound any better than the Burr-Brown. The sonics of actual production ESS was better, but still did not trump the Burr-Brown.
ESS do a great job and they are well-known. It would have been easier for us to go with convention.
HF Forum policy does not allow us to be specific about others products, we can however tell you what our product does different from most others, namely it operates DSD natively, unchanged in the digital domain.
You can also read about DSD and PCM in the recent interview between Thorsten Loesch and AudioStream.
Despite the BB's not being the "latest and greatest" chipset, swimming against the tide doesn't bother us.
Edited by iFi audio - 4/14/14 at 7:52am
The 10 12 lucky winners of a micro iDSD are:
After spending a long weekend emailing and PM'ing customers and tallying up all the total contributions, we are really pleased to announce the winners of the micro iDSD (when it is launched in July).
As they say on TV, in no particular order.
Renato Bosque B <email@example.com>
The keen-eyed amongst you will see there are 12 rather than 10 winners.
As we said previously, it was like splitting hairs. So instead, we all agreed that it would be good karma to give out an extra two micro iDSDs!
We would like to thank all who joined Phase 1 of this Crowd-Design project.
Below is a pie chart of the top-5 most popular features put forward by you.
At this stage, we are working all hours (good job McDonalds is open 24/7) to get these features incorporated into the micro iDSD.
We will keep you posted in Phase 2 (see below).
If you are one of the winners, what is next?
We will contact you (PM and/or email) and gather your name, address and telephone info, This is solely for delivering the iDSD to you when it is out in July. Or you cant drop us a message too and beat us to it.
Phase 2: Crowd-Design
Over the coming weeks, we will announce the features that are likely to get into the micro iDSD. Because the situation is dynamic, please bear with us as some features may make it, some may not. And there may be a few nice surprises in store too!
Also, for those who did not win the micro iDSD, we will be running polls to get your feedback on questions that have arisen over the course of this project.
And for those who vote in the poll, we will put up iFi prizes. More details to follow. So watch this space!
Many thanks again.
Edited by iFi audio - 4/16/14 at 2:47pm
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wow, i didn't think i added anything meaningful to the conversation, but thank you iFi! it'll pair nicely with the iUSB that i have coming...and now looking at the iTube as another component :)
now, when do we start talking about that mini iDSD
You all asked...and you shall receive!
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 to vote).
We will put names into a hat and the 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:
Edited by iFi audio - 4/15/14 at 10:35am