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iDSD micro Crowd-Designed. A Teeny-Weeny Update! (page 104) - Page 6

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

Poll expired: Apr 22, 2014  
  • 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%)
135 Total Votes  
post #76 of 1603
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hellopanda View Post

I guess all the technical stuff are covered. How about aesthetically having more colors like champagne Gold or bright Red replaceable casings?

Hi,

 

Maybe later on, but the silver kind of matches the Apple range of products so it looks neat and professional.

 

Noted on our "customer wish list!"

post #77 of 1603

another vote for  champagne Gold!

post #78 of 1603
I would have liked a pure DAC - no battery, no headphone amp - but as I see that is not going to happen, I have just one wish for the micro iDSD:

1) 'optimal transient' digital filter option - no pre-ringing, no post-ringing.


The ES9023 in the iDAC limited the filter choice to 'fast roll-off' or 'show roll-off'. These filters are now pre-historic and horrid. As John Westlake also found when he tried to build a DAC around this chip, you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Against my Audiolab 8200CDQ, the iDAC was found seriously wanting so it went back for a refund.

The 'minimum phase' filter was a step in the right direction about 4 years ago but is also old now. The game has moved on. John Westlake implemented the optimal transient filters in the popular Audiolab M-DAC 3 years ago now and they are by a very large margin the preferred filter option of users of that device (and also the Audiolab 8200CDQ which I own). They sound better than the minimum phase filter - more natural, more real, less fatiguing and with better separation of instruments and better timing.

I fear that without this filter option, the micro iDSD will not be competitive against the likes of the Musical Fidelity V90-DAC (astonishing for just £199), the Meridian Director (now £299 at Sevenoaks) and the Arcam irDAC (What Hifi product of the year at £399) not to mention of course a second-hand M-DAC which can be had for less than £400. It's a tough market. Only cutting edge is going to cut it. Come on ifi Audio! I'm holding off on one of these other options to see what you produce as I would really like to slot one of these in between my iUSB, iTUBE and iCAN. Don't let me down this time. Please.
post #79 of 1603

My feeling is that DSD has different filtering requirements from PCM. With DSD you just need a simple LPF filter that can even be passive and analog and just pass the DSD data through it and you have music. You can not just put a LPF on PCM data and have anything that resemble music at the output.  I think that the simplicity of DSD filter requirements is what  gives DSD its unique sound. It seems that PCM filters are still evolving. Not sure if IFI will update their iDAC product.   

post #80 of 1603
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by john57 View Post
 

another vote for  champagne Gold!

Hi,

 

Are you guys AMR customers in disguise? :tongue_smile:

 

 

This is the AMR CD-77 Processor in Champagne! 

 

Our larger dealers usually order several hundred DACs each time so if there is a chance that we can arrange to have our usual production run of 1,000 units, done in a different finish/colour, there may be a special colour edition in the future.

 

People, think of the anodising finish you would most like to see.

post #81 of 1603
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by technobear View Post

I would have liked a pure DAC - no battery, no headphone amp - but as I see that is not going to happen, I have just one wish for the micro iDSD:

1) 'optimal transient' digital filter option - no pre-ringing, no post-ringing.

The ES9023 in the iDAC limited the filter choice to 'fast roll-off' or 'show roll-off'. These filters are now pre-historic and horrid. As John Westlake also found when he tried to build a DAC around this chip, you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Against my Audiolab 8200CDQ, the iDAC was found seriously wanting so it went back for a refund.

The 'minimum phase' filter was a step in the right direction about 4 years ago but is also old now. The game has moved on. John Westlake implemented the optimal transient filters in the popular Audiolab M-DAC 3 years ago now and they are by a very large margin the preferred filter option of users of that device (and also the Audiolab 8200CDQ which I own). They sound better than the minimum phase filter - more natural, more real, less fatiguing and with better separation of instruments and better timing.

I fear that without this filter option, the micro iDSD will not be competitive against the likes of the Musical Fidelity V90-DAC (astonishing for just £199), the Meridian Director (now £299 at Sevenoaks) and the Arcam irDAC (What Hifi product of the year at £399) not to mention of course a second-hand M-DAC which can be had for less than £400. It's a tough market. Only cutting edge is going to cut it. Come on ifi Audio! I'm holding off on one of these other options to see what you produce as I would really like to slot one of these in between my iUSB, iTUBE and iCAN. Don't let me down this time. Please.

Hi,

 

John Westlake implemented heavily ringing filters. AMR/iFi tends to go for non-ringing approach. If you look at the CD-77 from 2006 onwards, we tend to go for non/nil filters or Non-OverSampling.

 

http://amr-audio.co.uk/html/dp777_tech-papers_ringing.html

 

As for the nano iDSD, there is just put a low-pass onto DSD and for DXD in the nano. In the micro we can do so - selectable for any format (listener's discretion advisory).

 

The Audiolab 8200CDQ is a rack-based component that retails for £999 at Sevenoaks. The iDAC is £275 - by rights, it may be close but we would be surpprised if it did better it.

 

At RMAF, we ran the iDAC with the US$5k DP-777 and switched between for people and the iDAC with the iUSB and Gemini was not embarrassed (was a great way to demo!) in this company (along with Dr Feickert Turntable).

 

thanks

post #82 of 1603
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by john57 View Post
 

My feeling is that DSD has different filtering requirements from PCM. With DSD you just need a simple LPF filter that can even be passive and analog and just pass the DSD data through it and you have music. You can not just put a LPF on PCM data and have anything that resemble music at the output.  I think that the simplicity of DSD filter requirements is what  gives DSD its unique sound. It seems that PCM filters are still evolving. Not sure if IFI will update their iDAC product.   

Hi,

 

The iDAC is focused on doing PCM. It is going to run side by side with the micro iDSD. The former is desktop-based as it was the first iFi product using trickle-down technology from the AMR DP-777.

 

The micro iDSD is likely to have technology that should trickle-up to the future AMR products.

 

Exciting times.

post #83 of 1603
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bedlam inside View Post
 

Gentleman,

My friend Gazza just told me this knees-up here is on.

This is extremely clever what you are doing. Hat off to you gent's at iFi.

Reading through the thread so far, much has me baffled me to say the least.

Balanced? What for? Naim always said the problem was not balanced or not, but those useless RCA connectors with two ground path's...

Also, sure, I know my iDAC has an ESS Sabre Chip. iFi made sure to put it in big letters on the box, so I cannot forget, even it means nothing to me.

 

My Naim CDS, I know has a Philips DAC Chipa (Gazza tells me it is a bit of a "legend").

 

My buddy John has a NAIM DAC, which has, or so I am told, Burr Brown Dac Chips, just like the iDSD nano (which I yet have to try).

 

You know what, you might as well be talking Fish & Chips instead of DAC Chips to me. Charlotte or King Edward, Pollock or Cod, no idea. I just scoff 'em after a game.

And guess what, the three different DAC Chips, I'd say make those three machines sound more alike than different (compared to a lot of other digital audio gear I have encountered). I tested the Dragonfly, which is supposed to have the same chip as my iDAC and it does not really sound a lot like the iDAC, to these ears.

And what brand is FPGA? I'm no expert, but I never heard of FPGA brand DAC chips. Are they supposed to be good? Why doesn't anyone seem to use them then? Or are they so new, no-one knows?

I think I'll leave the debate on the merits of DAC Chips alone before I hurt myself and leave it to those learned and interested in this sort of thing and stick to Fish & Chips instead.

I suspect in both cases it matters more how it's fried, not what "brand" potato it is... You should taste the stuff at that chippy off Barking Road near Upton Park. I bet you it is in the fat he fries them in, not in the taters, I suspect he ads lard, darn right tasty no matter what he does.

Bluetooth, don't get me started on bluetooth. 

After hearing the Philippe Strack's Bluetooth headphones I think I'm off bluetooth for life, except for my Jawbone Era (I will not look like that **** Joly from trigger happy TV answering my Samsung Note, okay? And with the noise levels on the Tube it would be futile anyway. I originally misheard the name as "Sick Parrot". I was a little taken with the app that let you change the sound like my iCAN's 3D sound but with more to twiddle (maybe not a good thing), but when I tried it at Selfridges with my own tunes the sound was totally pants. It was barely ok via Wire, but via Bluetooth it became subterranean and we were in the 2nd basement already! I think I heard right the first time, a sick parrot, norwegian blue no less.

Ok, my wishlist for iDSD?

Dear iFi Father of Half Time Christmas.

Please bring me for this years Half-Time Christmas on the 24th of June or earlier:


An iDSD that sound more like my NAIM CDS for CD file replay (the NAIM CDS still is better than the iDAC),

an iDSD with a headphone amp that can drive my Audeze LCD-2 really well and has a 6.3mm jack (the iDAC Amp is great for lesser headphones, but not for the Audeze),

an iDSD with 3D Sound (and maybe X-Bass too, as many headphones need it, including my antique Micro MX-1 Electrostatics) I love that one on my iCAN.

an iDSD with a Battery, a big one please, to last many hours, at least Heathrow to Changi or Chek Lap Kok (I am going to do a lot of flying that way soon), if not London to Sydney.


an iDSD that plays directly with my Galaxy Note (the iDAC micro is about right in size, but no battery) without three different silly cables and adapters. If not, throw in a cable that makes it work directly and one for Apple iPhone too, we are paying enough as it is, ok? 

an IDSD that I can Dock with my Galaxy Note and not using rubber bands, okay!? (I looked at photos of the iDSD nano, rubber-bands, what's next?),

an iDSD with a DC Socket and SPDIF in would be nice, I have kit around my house in other rooms (even the Kitchen) that could use a nice and affordable DAC that takes SPDIF (cannot afford a NAIM DAC for every room even with my upcoming promotion). Not sure if that can be combined with making it portable. The iDSD mini looks like it may a better choice in terms of home use, but it looks expensive as well.

So, if you do at least some of these, I'll promise to support the Hammers at all games when I'm in the UK and be a nice casual and not get into rude stuff when I do.

Deal?

Coming to think of it, let me add another one.

Can you make the iDSD charge my Samsung Note when playing? You should have a lot of space for a battery, so put in a really big one (the pieces of fluff like a really big one too). I find phone is always flat at the end of the day if I play a lot of music on tube and and on the train. So, make it give my Phone some juice, will you?

Then I'll be really good and cheer the Hammers to take the Gunners up to the arsenal every time they play them, for life, even if I have to fly back from Singapore (where I will be spending a lot more time soon) for the game.

Cheers Rich

 

Hi,

 

There is a lot of feedback here and after seeing you at the Brighton AudioWorld Show, we ran these by Thorsten and his team as it is involves not only technical but mechanical considerations.

 

Suffice to say, today our Head of Design had to contribute several times to the Swearjar. After being fined for muttering some english profanities he switched to german, but we could tell by his tone. He later tried to get away with being rude in Italian or Spanish (couldn't tell) and finally tried russian, but his tone gave him away. And his face looked a lot like grumpy cat 

 

 

The poor guy is left trying to square several circles in the feasibility study to deliver all the different features you guys want, without any more space to put them and without much more budget either. Yet he needs a new bigger-sized headphone amplifier which in turn needs a much more complex power supply to run from battery. Seems he finally cracked at least part of all of this, as he looks a bit more like his usual Cheshire Cat self

 

 

We'll have some updates tomorrow - maybe even a teaser.

post #84 of 1603
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turrican2 View Post

Wow, just discovered this thread, what a brilliant idea. There's some great suggestions on here.

I would love to see the RCA outputs, usb Input and digital port on the rear (could be squeeze)

Wouldn't it be cool if there was a switch which changed the digital out port to an IN...not sure I've ever seen that implemented.

Looking forward to seeing/hearing the finished article!

On a side note, I'm not sure a battery would be particularly advantageous other than providing a cleaner power source. As clie-Os said (i think) maybe some work could be done to clean the usb power instead, we know you have the technology....if you want battery/portable the nano idsd is there waiting for you,

Hi

 

All these are noted and added to the list. There is def a consensus growing here for certain things in this direction - from FaceBook and emails received as well as these head-fi inputs.

post #85 of 1603
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dixter View Post
 

Which BB DAC will be used??

Hi,

 

The same one as in the nano iDSD.

 

We are not disclosing the exact model as it took us some time to track this puppy down - as it keeps PCM/DSD native.

 

Hope you dont mind.

post #86 of 1603
Quote:
Originally Posted by iFi audio View Post

The Audiolab 8200CDQ is a rack-based component that retails for £999 at Sevenoaks. The iDAC is £275 - by rights, it may be close but we would be surpprised if it did better it.

I would like to elaborate further on this point because, yes, I did expect the iDAC to be better. I did burn it in for 247 hours and I did use an iUSBPower and I used Kimber USB to cable it up same as for the Audiolab. And I used an iCAN and Beyerdynamic T1's on the output side. I love the iCAN by the way. Superb and a great match to the T1.

The 8200CDQ is, as you point out, a £999 component but you get:

i) large high quality casework, ii) a toroidal transformer, iii) a clock-locked CD mech, iv) a full analogue pre-amp.

Strip those bits out and you get the Audiolab M-DAC at £599. You still get:

i) a half-size case, ii) balanced output, iii) elaborate power supply, iv) twin ES9018's, v) a dinky control knob, vi) remote.

Strip out or downsize those and you get the Audiolab Q-DAC at £399. You still get:

i) a half-size case, slightly smaller, ii) a display, iii) elaborate but slightly less so power supply, iv) ES9016, not ES9018

It's not quite an M-DAC but it's not far behind and we are at £399.

Now strip out that half-size case and replace it with a 'cigar box' sized case. Much less material. Cheaper to make. Cheaper shipping.

Remove the display, shrink the power supply. What price would we now be down to? £275 perhaps?

I hope you get my point. Based on the material size and component count, the iDAC really should be comparable in sound to all the others I have just mentioned because in each of those cases you can clearly see where the extra money is being spent and it's not on the sound as much as on material features.

Finally, I must mention again the elephant in the room. The Musical Fidelity V90-DAC. MF have distilled this down to its essence. No batteries. No headphone amp. No remote. No volume control. Just the best damn (PCM only) DAC you can buy for £199. Some people have preferred it to the Arcam irDAC at twice the price. Some have even said it beats the M-DAC. I'm not so sure about that but I do know that Musical Fidelity has changed the game here - just as the M-DAC itself did 3 years ago. New entrants to the market had better be taking this model into account. I was about to buy one until I encountered this thread.

Not everyone sees a need for DSD. Personally I think the music industry will kill high-res stone dead with rip-off pricing just as they did with every previous high-res format. Only a few die-hard audiophiles will pay the price.

Some people will want the battery, some people will want the headphone amp - but then there is the nano iDSD which is far more portable. Others will say, I already have an iCAN or some other favourite headphone amp so those facilities are redundant. Those folks will only buy a micro iDSD *if* it sounds better than the others. I'm going to cross my fingers for now and hope that the micro iDSD is truly stunning. Good luck!
post #87 of 1603
Quote:
Originally Posted by iFi audio View Post

John Westlake implemented heavily ringing filters. AMR/iFi tends to go for non-ringing approach. If you look at the CD-77 from 2006 onwards, we tend to go for non/nil filters or Non-OverSampling.

I've read that AMR paper before but thanks for bringing it up again.

I hadn't realised that John Westlake was stretching the truth a little until I read this review in Hi-fi World:

http://www.hi-fiworld.co.uk/index.php/cd-dvd-blu-ray/62-cd-reviews/642-audiolab-q-dac-filters-.html

You are correct that ringing is not eliminated, only reduced. The effect is still quite audible though.
post #88 of 1603
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by technobear View Post


I would like to elaborate further on this point because, yes, I did expect the iDAC to be better. I did burn it in for 247 hours and I did use an iUSBPower and I used Kimber USB to cable it up same as for the Audiolab. And I used an iCAN and Beyerdynamic T1's on the output side. I love the iCAN by the way. Superb and a great match to the T1.

The 8200CDQ is, as you point out, a £999 component but you get:

i) large high quality casework, ii) a toroidal transformer, iii) a clock-locked CD mech, iv) a full analogue pre-amp.

Strip those bits out and you get the Audiolab M-DAC at £599. You still get:

i) a half-size case, ii) balanced output, iii) elaborate power supply, iv) twin ES9018's, v) a dinky control knob, vi) remote.

Strip out or downsize those and you get the Audiolab Q-DAC at £399. You still get:

i) a half-size case, slightly smaller, ii) a display, iii) elaborate but slightly less so power supply, iv) ES9016, not ES9018

It's not quite an M-DAC but it's not far behind and we are at £399.

Now strip out that half-size case and replace it with a 'cigar box' sized case. Much less material. Cheaper to make. Cheaper shipping.

Remove the display, shrink the power supply. What price would we now be down to? £275 perhaps?

I hope you get my point. Based on the material size and component count, the iDAC really should be comparable in sound to all the others I have just mentioned because in each of those cases you can clearly see where the extra money is being spent and it's not on the sound as much as on material features.

Finally, I must mention again the elephant in the room. The Musical Fidelity V90-DAC. MF have distilled this down to its essence. No batteries. No headphone amp. No remote. No volume control. Just the best damn (PCM only) DAC you can buy for £199. Some people have preferred it to the Arcam irDAC at twice the price. Some have even said it beats the M-DAC. I'm not so sure about that but I do know that Musical Fidelity has changed the game here - just as the M-DAC itself did 3 years ago. New entrants to the market had better be taking this model into account. I was about to buy one until I encountered this thread.

Not everyone sees a need for DSD. Personally I think the music industry will kill high-res stone dead with rip-off pricing just as they did with every previous high-res format. Only a few die-hard audiophiles will pay the price.

Some people will want the battery, some people will want the headphone amp - but then there is the nano iDSD which is far more portable. Others will say, I already have an iCAN or some other favourite headphone amp so those facilities are redundant. Those folks will only buy a micro iDSD *if* it sounds better than the others. I'm going to cross my fingers for now and hope that the micro iDSD is truly stunning. Good luck!

Hi,

 

You put a lot of effort into writing this which is much appreciated.

 

But taking just one example, stripping out the torroidal power supply is quite significant as this seriously impacts sound. This is why USB-powered DACs such as the iDAC benefit from the iUSB as it puts in a clean power supply. Tesco petrol is not the same as Shell V-Power and each is priced accordingly.

 

We just finished exhibiting at the Brighton AudioWorld Show. Suffice to say most interested customers were <£1k DAC people and they really like the iFi micro stack with Alpha Dog headphones. A few guys even brought their own big 'phones to audition.

 

We'll pm you next time we're at another show in the UK and you are very welcome to bring your preferred DAC/s down. Happy to run a comparison for you and your friends with a similar priced setup.

 

Though bear in mind that the nano iDSD and upcoming micro iDSD - play PCM and DSD natively. So the iDSD does not only play just DSD, as some customers enquired about this.

 

Yes - the "battery yes please" keeps cropping up so it is a real front runner.

 

thanks

post #89 of 1603
Quote:
Originally Posted by iFi audio View Post

But taking just one example, stripping out the torroidal power supply is quite significant as this seriously impacts sound. This is why USB-powered DACs such as the iDAC benefit from the iUSB as it puts in a clean power supply. Tesco petrol is not the same as Shell V-Power and each is priced accordingly.

Which brings up a point I forgot to mention rolleyes.gif

The iDAC is £275 but the iDAC + iUSBPower is £450 which is rather a different value proposition. The iUSBPower is supposed to be quieter than even a battery and can provide all the juice the iDAC needs so surely it's already better than a linear supply - or is it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iFi audio View Post

We just finished exhibiting at the Brighton AudioWorld Show. Suffice to say most interested customers were <£1k DAC people and they really like the iFi micro stack with Alpha Dog headphones. A few guys even brought their own big 'phones to audition.

We'll pm you next time we're at another show in the UK and you are very welcome to bring your preferred DAC/s down. Happy to run a comparison for you and your friends with a similar priced setup.

The reason I chose the iCAN was for the XBass control and it stayed because it sounded as good as the direct output from the Audiolab.

The reason I am looking at the iDSD is because I want a more transportable system that I can build into a case of some kind with a small laptop and carry around the house and just plonk it down wherever I might want to listen.

The 8200CDQ is a substantial beast and not easily carted about. It certainly wouldn't lend itself to being built into a transportable system. Bringing it to a show or even taking it to a dealer would be a considerable chore but thanks for the offer. I will ultimately have to find a way to compare the new micro iDSD to the CDQ. I'm nervous about just taking a punt after trying that with the iDAC. I guess I'll have to talk a dealer into lending me one or perhaps find a dealer with a well-used CDQ. Trouble with that is that dealers don't break in their demo units so you never know just how 'cooked' is the unit that you are hearing.

While I'm on the subject of dealers, there isn't one within 80 miles of here. Please could you sign up someone in Bristol or Bath.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iFi audio View Post

Though bear in mind that the nano iDSD and upcoming micro iDSD - play PCM and DSD natively. So the iDSD does not only play just DSD, as some customers enquired about this.

Yes, I do realise that. I would comment though that now and for some time to come yet, most of the music that will be played on this new cutting edge DAC will be good ol' redbook CD so it has to make that sound good.
post #90 of 1603

Coming from the iDAC, I would love to see the upcoming Micro iDSD having,

 

 

 

  1. The same if not similar price point as the iDAC. Maybe it is in plan but just in case iFi plans to increase the price point due to DSD.
  2. 1/4" headphone jack is a must. Supplied with 3.5mm adapter in box.
  3. Better USB "connection" via iUSB since my current iUSB and iDAC keeps having connection issue no matter what method I tried. iDAC direct connection to com no issue though.
  4. Gain switch for sensitive IEMs. Although I don't need them as I have an iCAN but other users solely depending on the iDAC may find them useful as I also started from that.
  5. Better gain switches as I broke one on my iCAN... lucky enough my local dealer changed without even asking how it happened.
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