I say if IFI can come out with a finished product in July, maybe August my guess. That would be one of the shortest product development cycle I would ever see.
iDSD micro Black Label. Tour details (page 147). Release info (page 153). - Page 43
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Ifi are great, I really think their products are great, and also good value, but also their customer support and listening to suggestions is also great. I quite often speak to Vincent from iFi, he's a really down to earth and friendly guy who has a genuine interest in audio and is keen to hear everyones opinion. They are one of the best audio companies out there.
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Bit perfect filter option....
Does this mean no filter? Either analog or digital? For instance, in the iDSD nano, DXD had no digital filter, only analog. Does the new bitperfect designation eliminate all filtering, including analog?
A few days ago iFI China asked if I wanted to audition the iDSD micro since they had a few sample units coming to China, so today I went to visit a local dealer here in Beijing to have a listen.
P.S.: They had my contact info because I won an iPurifier a while ago
Source: iPad mini w/Retina + Onkyo HF Player
Music: DSD64 and FLAC (some 16/44.1, some 24/96)
Phone: JH Audio Roxanne, HD650 (dealer's, not mine)
At first I had some trouble getting my iPad to work with the micro but after a while everything was sorted out (had to turn on the micro before connecting to the iPad).
Sound: My initial impression was: the bass was really impactful and sub-bass went low (compared to my current source which is a Fiio X5 and iPod Classic). Mids were full bodied / meaty with good transparency (reminds me of the HIFIMAN HM901)
Vocals sounded a bit veiled on the Roxanne (too much bass dialled in I guess, but I didn't bring the screwdriver with me to adjust it) but on the HD650 it was clear. IMO the signature isn't completely neutral, I would even say it was a little V-shaped and fun-sounding.
3D HolographicSound: Worked very well with acoustic music. It sounded a bit strange at first since the sonic image seemed to have not only widened but also shifted upwards a bit. But after my brain got used to it, it's all good. I would use it judiciously with vocals because of the potential hole-in-the-middle effect (perhaps recording-dependent).
XBass: Bass didn't bleed into the mids and wasn't overdone however I had it switched off most of the time 'cos my Roxanne was already pretty bassy. Worked great with the HD650, though.
Filters: Only tested them once. Not sure if the sample unit had the filters implemented, but I couldn't really tell the difference...
If I had one complaint, it would be the volume control. For my Roxanne (119dB @ 1mW) the volume got loud too quick. I'd like some more volume range to play with in the final product. On the bright side I didn't hear any hiss.
I also got to try the iDSD nano and you can tell it definitely shared the same iFI house sound as the micro. Of course the latter is better in every imaginable way (well except the volume control) but I felt the nano was a huge bargain.
Will definitely buy it when it's out (in fact I placed some deposit on the spot to reserve a unit)
BTW I saw some photos of the upcoming mini series (iCan, iTube and iDSD) in an iFI brochure. It seems they can't be far away :)
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cool! thanks for the update...really looking forward to this in hopefully another month or so.
but i'm also very intrigued by the mini line of products. i guess the mini iDSD won't have a balanced headphone port, but the mini iCan will...i guess these will be in the $1000-1500 range....
Bit-Perfect = or some call NOS which stands for Non Over-Sampling.
There is no manipulation digital or analogue messing. As much as possible, we like to "leave the music file alone."
If you check out the AMR DP-777 on the Head-Fi, there is a lot of info there.
Software Design Team's Notes (3)
Part three of Mark and Gordon's blood and sweat is the microprocessor. We hope you like it.
Microprocessor – Real-Time, just like Jack Bauer
We use an advanced 32bit ARM (given we spend US$ with TI, nice to £s back in the UK ) core microprocessor (similar to an Intel Pentium in computing power) that has multiple high-precision 12bit ADCs. They are there to monitor the voltages in real-time in the micro iDSD, just like the voltage sensors built into a BMW. So we are sure all the voltages are spot on, as designed.
Together with the 12bit DAC (yes, even the microprocessor has a DAC built-in, and no, we are not using it for audio decoding), we can adjust the supply voltages to the most appropriate values (very precisely to 0.0008V if we wish).
We will refer to this later as OTW feature #2 and #3 would not have been possible without this infrastructure. Hence this is why we published this software note today ahead of announcing OTW #3 this week.
Further, this advanced ARM core microprocessor has Ultra-Low power consumption, less than 5mA when running and ~2uA when sleep.
So what is the benefit? The micro iDSD gets a longer playing time which no-one will be unhappy to discover.
Not only these, but all are strictly implemented via our “Quiet-Bus” technology (another high-end technology we inherited from AMR), so all the communication buses are completely quiet (except when an adjustment is required.)
Automated Extras - no power cycles needed
No, this is no a logo for Ghostbusters.
All the features, including the Super SPDIF Input/Output port, the special headphone matching feature, the digital and analogue filters, WWW, XXX, YYY, ZZZ features (right now can’t give away too much, sorry) , ALL of them can be operated in real-time, no need to power up/down.
Also all these features have been implemented using discrete components for the best sound possible, no software DSP is to be found anywhere.
Changing all these pure hardware discrete components in real-time without the need for a power cycle for the micro iDSD is no easy task in itself. Sometimes what goes on behind the scenes has taken a lot of head-scratching, sleepless nights. We really do hope you enjoy the micro iDSD not just the sonics but the functionality.
Edited by iFi audio - 6/2/14 at 6:15am
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Not knowing anything about the tech behind this feature, I'll ask:
is the "special headphone matching feature"
a) designed to "auto adjust" something for sensitive IEMS vs. 300ohm full sized headphones? (via the same 1/4" jack?)
b) is it remotely similar to a Dynamically Adaptive Output Stage ? (Class A to Class AB amping?)
We can confirm the Filters switch was not active in the prototype.
3D Holographic and XBass have since been fine tuned some more and so should be better.
Edited by iFi audio - 6/3/14 at 7:28am
Super Duper Features 1.3
The Intelligent SPDIF port:
The coaxial port on the micro iDSD enables:
SPDIF transmission via:
- Coaxial In/Out
- Optical In (via supplied adapter)
Nowadays, cable set top boxes, Network Streamers, TV Boxes, DVD/Blue-ray players etc, all usually come with (co-ax/optical) SPDIF connectivity.
Sometimes the customer would like to have USB > SPDIF conversion (with digital output) or SPDIF input (with analogue output).
Normally, the iDSD Micro expects optical or coaxial SPDIF in, but when USB PCM (up to 192KHz) is sent through the USB port, it automatically switches the coax to put out an SPDIF signal.
If no USB Stream is playing, it will automatically switch to SPDIF (it will first look for coaxial signal, if that is not present then an optical signal, if that is not present it will go into power-save mode.)
As soon as a USB Stream plays again, the SPDIF port becomes a Coax SPDIF Out (no optical output).
It is "bi-directional" and uses Global Master Timing/Zero Jitter for the receiver part and re-clocking / driver. It will not perform at the level of the iLINK but it is pretty flexible and more than capable of high-quality SPDIF duties.
How this benefits the listener
In practice one might connect the SPDIF connector as input from an external SPDIF source (in this case to power the iDSD, no USB source is needed, a 5V Charger will do). The source may be a streamer, DVD Player or some such component.
One may even connect USB and SPDIF together, just remember that playing USB overrides SPDIF.
There is no risk of damaging either the iDSD or SPDIF source when the SPDIF input becomes temporarily, an output.
Alternatively one may use the SPDIF output to drive another (PCM) DAC. In this case there will be no SPDIF signal when there is no USB stream and the iDSD just goes to sleep after a minute or so.
Nice flexibility, multi-options. We hope you like it and of course enjoy it!
This was by far, the most popular choice on this Crowd-Design thread and while we knew SPDIF output was popular, we did not really place much importance on SPDIF input. So a big thanks to you all for this one.
The iLINK is a pure USB>SPDIF converter.
SPDIF is not a able to transmit a DSD signal (only PCM up to 192kHz)
So in JRMC to play DSD, you need to set DSD>PCM conversion.
Thanks for the confirmation.
I am a little confused... Does that mean when acting as a SPDIF DAC, the micro iDSD can't be powered by the internal battery?
Yes it can but after a good few hours of use, when the battery is flat, you can recharge with 5v. It doesn't have to go back to USB supply. As it may be located somewhere not convenient for access via PC.