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Head-Fi Buying Guide (Portable Amps, DACs, & DAPs)
Last edited: 12/10/15
iFi iDSD Micro DSD512 / PCM768 DAC and Headphone Amp. Impressions, Reviews and Comments. - Page 19
Gear mentioned in this thread:
Folks, (yes I am legit all Southern USA, so I reserve the right to use the colloquialism, :) )
My my oh my. The computer audio world is full of landmines. Specifically, NOISE. Switching mode power supplies, internal PC power supplies, dubious internal shielding and isolation, etc. etc, etc.
But today was not another exercise in futility. I have had a very, very slight amount of EMI noise coming through my speakers. Have been spending hours trying to track it down. After re-arranging my various switched mode power supplies, placing components on different surge protectors, and using a few (hopefully safe enough) ground lifts, I killed it. The noise, that is.
Now what does this have to do with iFi? A LOT, let me tell you. In trying to nail this thing down, I took the iUSB Power out of the signal chain. My, my oh my. What a mess of noise that was! iUSB back in, the noise drops to something you can only hear within a foot or so of the speaker. The thing really works! But being a perfectionist, I knew I could do even better. So now, you can only hear a slight hiss when you put your ear right on the tweeter. Just as it should be, that is, at least with the particular amp I am using.
Will the iFi iUSB help you? Very well it could. It performs exactly as specified in my noisy system. Highly recommended product.
iFi. Inexpensive audio that continues to impress.....
do you have any picks of your rig or stack? quite interested to see how its all connected and arranged!
i'm on imac 2009 , audirvana 1.5.12, and same as you. do you have a problem during the playing?
So where do you buy this thing? I found only one seller on the iFi list, Music Direct, but they have it listed for $499. That seems excessive as I saw a listing for $189 but none in stock.
There are two iDSD DAC's the nano at $189 and the micro at $499
$499 is the MSRP.
You must have mistaken the nano iDSD (MSRP $189) as micro iDSD.
this is an issue with DSD bitstream. Mostly software related, as in, not totally a DAC issue.
In my system, pops and ticks are very rare, and pretty quiet when they do happen.
Earlier in this thread iFi posted some other things to try to help eliminate it.
Pops and ticks at the beginning and end of DSD tracks are also a problem in the professional world. Even the multi thousand dollar Pyramix DSD recording and editing system, that is the standard these days for the best DSD recording, has issues with pops and ticks in editing situations. For an example, download any DSD download from Channel Classics. You will hear a pop at the beginning and end of each track. This can be very annoying, especially if you are listening to gapless recordings!
But, it is simply a DSD software issue. Similar problem for 50,000 dollar workstations and for a 500 dollar consumer DAC.
Now, if you want to use signal processing on the bitstream, as many 'native DSD' Dacs do, you can eliminate this. But, you also turned the DSD signal into something that is no longer DSD, strictly speaking. And this is one of the ways of doing things.
But, I prefer the iFi approach. Minimal processing = best sound. Be it DSD or PCM.
Edited by MLGrado - 8/14/14 at 11:53am
You may want to try Essential Audio (listed on ifi's site ). That's where I bought one of three that he had just received the day I called, a week and a half ago. Free shipping and no tax.
After listening to the iDSD Micro for one evening I have one word to say: impressed. No mental burn-in required. We all have equipment that we grow to appreciate over time. This Micro I liked right away. $499 and I don't feel I overpaid at all. It's worth it and more.
I had the Nano iDSD and it was ok, but I had no problem letting it go. This Micro is a keeper for me. Reminds me of one of my favorite DACs, the JKenny Ciunas. Smooth and non-fatiguing, but I never feel there is a lack of details. No digital harshness. Listened to some Coheed and Cambria last night. The Micro easily handled all the dynamics this group can throw at you.
Going from some expensive home rigs to mid-fi portable rigs and now back to semi-portable I do feel I'm in the right place. Sure, I could spend more but I am getting so much out of this Micro and it's small footprint is a plus. I now have to think about headphone pairings. Not quite ready to spend mucho dinero again on the HD800s, LCD-2s, etc. I had the Alpha Dog before and TH600 in the past and I think they might pair well with the Micro. I feel my own self-modded T50RPs are sounding great with the Micro. Which brings up another point, the T50RPs don't always sound good with all amps. With some amps they can sound flat and boring. With the Micro the T50RP has come alive. The power of the Micro is at work here. Lots of air, detail, and sweet mids. If this is my barometer then oh man the Micro has a lot of headphone possibilities to explore. I'm really leaning towards HE-400i or Grados.
Congrats iFi, the Micro is pretty cool. I have yet to explore most of its features. Last night was straight computer use via Amarra. I'm itching to try my CD transport into it as well input from my tablet. I still have to try DSD on it as well. I do spoil my Micro with a Vaunix Lab Brick USB hub, but I'll be curious to read other tweaks (cables, etc.) people are using to extract even more out of it.
I feel my own self-modded T50RPs are sounding great with the Micro. Which brings up another point, the T50RPs don't always sound good with all amps. With some amps they can sound flat and boring. With the Micro the T50RP has come alive. The power of the Micro is at work here. Lots of air, detail, and sweet mids. If this is my barometer then oh man the Micro has a lot of headphone possibilities to explore.
I had many amps that I have used for headphones in the past until now my T50RP has come alive in a big way like yours.
Yeah, I even thought to myself maybe I can get by with just the T50RPs alone for a while. Lets see, how many times have we said that to ourselves and then the next day a HD800 shows up at your door .
I guess they are parallel, but they are in a lot of ways opposite, one of the iFi reps themselves said on the other micro iDSD thread that the iFi/AMR house sound is about as opposite of the Chord sound as you can go. The philosophical approaches are also polar opposite: no/minimal DSP and native playback vs heavy duty FPGA DSP prior to conversion. The iFi isn't cheap at $500, but it's less than a quarter of the Hugo's price. I don't think they are really comparable in any way except form factor.
- iFi iDSD Micro DSD512 / PCM768 DAC and Headphone Amp. Impressions, Reviews and Comments.
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