i think i'll share my thoughts.
the nano was my first foray into computer music. i got it simply for its dsd capability. and it surprised me with its sound performance more than i expected. as excellent as the nano is, by itself alone, i was attracted to the idea of complimenting it with the i tube, for the same reason folks own the itube.
now i also have the micro idsd.
my first listens on the nano and the micro are the more memorable impressions. on the nano, i was on the edge of my seat, and sighed as if to help it go higher.... and higher and sweeter it did ....wow. The micro - it was on power mode, immediately, at past 9 o’clock with a big full sound, the instruments tonally distinct and separated in space from each other that was revealing of acoustic clues to the playing place. The micro, being physically bigger than its brother nano performed also sonically bigger, in my speaker set up.
So I played the micro with my redbooks upsampled to dsd, ( redbook layers of my sacd and some redbooks from windham-hill, telarc, etc.), as I did with the nano going all the way to dsd 512, in my old computer, dual core, 1 gig ram, serving as my evaluation unit to what impact computer music, for better or worse.
Using foobar and its sacd plug-in, I could upsample to dsd 512 and playback on the micro. ..the nano to dsd128 . Using foo-asio, I limit myself to using SDM type B(FB32) than SDM type D (FB32), as it is slightly better SQ to my ears, the 3 or 4 % difference on cpu load could be the reason. The other 4 SDM types present a load twice at 40 % with corresponding poorer SQ. I also disable ‘Windows Search’ on ‘Services’ as it kicks in every now and then with a momentary 40% load to cpu on top of what the asio is using with audible impact on SQ, in fact, very distorted, specially on the 4 SDMs. Something I mistook the USB port and cable then for the deteriorating SQ.
So the redline for good SQ in my system is 40% of asio load on cpu (dsd256- 40% , dsd512 - 50%) which led me play PCM natively - like native DSD - is at 15%. And that was the biggest surprise, ironically, ending up being my own reference against which, my DSD upsampling were compared.
There is something to redbook playback on the Micro (using ifi asio) on my earphone – a seeming ease of flow of musical notes and voices that is so appealingly relaxing to me. There is the rich sparkle to piano sound and other instruments and voice that, in comparison, each step of dsd upsampling seems cleaner, but on closer look loses those sparkle in direct proportion the higher it goes. Now it makes me wonder whether a higher speed quadcore with at least4 gig of RAM and SSD, say, at 25% load to CPU for DSD 256,512 would do wonders. DSD 128 and 256 upsampling are enjoyable, tho, in my system. The downside is not really so apparent unless exerting effort. In my case, a conscious effort not to fall asleep instead, as I immersed into critical listening.
Music, to me, being ethereal and fleeting, hard to assess, is a subjective matter left to individual taste unless some finer gears come along to point out the finer things of music. My old experience on redbook was that of a ghost – a disemboweled spirit that rather disturbed my peace and soul –if I may describe my anxiety after a session of listening. After a hiatus of five years, when my SACD players died on me, the nano revived my interest in music. Its very sound alone then, made me look forward to owning its bigger brother, the micro. As excellent the nano is, and enjoyable in all my listening sessions - if I may compare its magic to a beautiful apparition, the micro on the other hand ........in spite of the original sin – addition, subtraction in the mastering ....works wonder to reconcile body and soul for the music reincarnation around my speakers... and at this early stage this makes me look forward, wondering also, to what forthcoming little miracle could the Mini iDSD be performing....meanwhile there are many hours yet of enjoyable listening on weekends to fully burn-in the micro....and learn more of it.