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iFi iDSD Micro DSD512 / PCM768 DAC and Headphone Amp. Impressions, Reviews and Comments. - Page 28

post #406 of 1944
Quote:
Originally Posted by pearljam50000 View Post
 

Thanks.

So in general, do you think it can compete with much higher priced DAC's like the Benchmark DAC1?

 

Well, that's comparing an old DAC with something pretty new.  The DAC1 is from like 2004-2005 and I never enjoyed my DAC1 when I had it.  I found it overly detailed, verging on harsh with speakers (Dynaudio Contour S3.4) or headphones, even the HD650's.  I prefer an articulate, yet warm and inviting sound.  

 

I replaced the DAC1 at the time with an Electocompaniet ECD-1, which was much better.  I'd say that using the ECD-1 with a nice headphone amp (my DIY PPA), the iDSD Micro with internal HPA is more detailed and refined, yet perhaps a tad less warm (This is also from memory...).  I believe that while using the analog RCA outputs of the iDSD is a good experience, but it might not be as solid as with what my old ECD-1 would have provided.  I believe the iDSD's strength really lies in using it as a headphone amp/DAC.  Don't get me wrong, it is good, and the technology is state-of-the-art, I just mean to say that it may not stand up to a dedicated component DAC that has all the advantages of a great power supply and MUCH more PCB board space with discrete components instead of opamps as well as other luxuries that come along with having less design constraints.  

 

Obviously the ECD-1 lacked a lot of features the iDSD has, so this is really an apples to oranges comparison.  I sold the ECD-1 last year and was experimenting with DSD DACs and I also had, at a point for a few weeks, a TEAC UD-501.  I was one of the first folks with it when it was released in the U.S. and was very excited to get it.  I can definitely say that I like the iDSD more than the UD-501.  At the time, the UD-501 was groundbreaking for offering DSD at such a low price point, but after living with it for a few weeks, I just didn't feel like it had any "magic."  It dutifully completed its job, converting digital to analog, it served its purpose, but it did not evoke any emotions.  I didn't feel inspired by it; I was not bathed...immersed...lost...in the music like when I experience a great component.  It was simply the sound of my music being reproduced...if that makes sense.  It did, however, sell me on DSD.  I ended up selling it because I upgraded to the Meitner MA-1, which is amazing.  It was made even more amazing by a firmware update last month that enhanced the digital filters in the Xilinx FPGA that powers its heart.  The iDSD is no Meitner, but then again, it fits in the palm of my hand and is battery powered and it was $500.  

 

So, in short, below is my opinion, comparing it against other DACs I have owned in the past.  I believe it competes well considering its price.  This is apples to oranges, so take it for what it's worth:

 

iDSD > Benchmark DAC1, yes hands down; I very much disliked my DAC1

iDSD > TEAC UD-501; I have had more fun in two nights with the iDSD than I did in weeks with the UD-501

iDSD > Electrocompaniet ECD-1 for headphones using the iDSD internal HPA, but the ECD-1 was more "enjoyable" through speakers

iDSD < Meitner MA-1; no contest in a desktop DAC scenario


Edited by RHMMMM - 8/17/14 at 7:37pm
post #407 of 1944
Quote:
Originally Posted by semeniub View Post
 

I'm shifting the micro iDSD between 3 different setups at home (not counting using as portable with iPhone/iPad):

 

1) Macbook > Audirvana+ > TotalDAC Usb cable > micro iDSD > Audeze LCD2

2) iMac > Audirvana+ > Elijah Audio Isolaate USB cable with Kingrex Battery or TotalDAC USB cable > micro iDSD > 3.5 Watt tube amp with Mullard Nos tubes (like a modded Miniwatt N3) > Audeze LCD2

3) Macbook > Kingrex uArt split USB cable + iUSBPower > micro iDSD > iTube > Clones Audio 55 Watt Monoblocks with Preamp > Epos Standamount + REL subwoofer

 

Really nice tone and detail with all 3 setups. Setup 2 with the Tube amp driving the Audeze's really ups the energy level on top of the nice tone and detail characteristics - classic Black Sabbath or AC/DC never sounded so good.

 

OK, thanks... I was most curious if you were doing anything like this:

 

Quote:
Macbook > USB cable + iUSBPower > micro iDSD > iTube > ... 2-channel system...

 

I've been pondering the iTube to use as you describe above (except my current 2-Channel DAC) ...or... with a streamer's analog output between it and an integrated amp.  I take it you are a real fan of the iTube?

post #408 of 1944
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krutsch View Post
 

 

OK, thanks... I was most curious if you were doing anything like this:

 

 

I've been pondering the iTube to use as you describe above (except my current 2-Channel DAC) ...or... with a streamer's analog output between it and an integrated amp.  I take it you are a real fan of the iTube?

What I mostly noticed with the iTube in a 2 channel system with speakers is that I could achieve an added sense of space and airiness to the sound in a smallish room, that I couldn't get with positioning due to space and small children limitations. I never found that it took away any resolution from the sound.

post #409 of 1944
Hello,

New member here . Been following this thread after taking delivery of the Micro DSD on Friday.

My Micro DSD is experiencing some power related problems. I can't seem to get to it run off USB power. I have the IUSB power and Gemini Cable. I have gone through the set up numerous times to run it off USB power and it works for a while and then starts blinking that it's low on power.

I know my IUSB is working fine because it works perfectly with my Nano IDSD.

I have followed the instructions closely for USB power. Plug USB in and then turn on the IDSD. It works for a while and then the LED starts blinking red. It's obvious it's still running on the battery.

I can't figure out what I am doing wrong and it's pretty frustrating.

Tom
post #410 of 1944
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnewell View Post

Hello,

New member here . Been following this thread after taking delivery of the Micro DSD on Friday.

My Micro DSD is experiencing some power related problems. I can't seem to get to it run off USB power. I have the IUSB power and Gemini Cable. I have gone through the set up numerous times to run it off USB power and it works for a while and then starts blinking that it's low on power.

I know my IUSB is working fine because it works perfectly with my Nano IDSD.

I have followed the instructions closely for USB power. Plug USB in and then turn on the IDSD. It works for a while and then the LED starts blinking red. It's obvious it's still running on the battery.

I can't figure out what I am doing wrong and it's pretty frustrating.

Tom

 

I know the feeling of frustration. Sounds great but can't get it to work.

I'm still trying to figure it out, hoping it would work (wanting to keep it) as I'm about to return it for something else.

post #411 of 1944
Quote:
Originally Posted by semeniub View Post
 

I'm shifting the micro iDSD between 3 different setups at home (not counting using as portable with iPhone/iPad):

 

1) Macbook > Audirvana+ > TotalDAC Usb cable > micro iDSD > Audeze LCD2

2) iMac > Audirvana+ > Elijah Audio Isolaate USB cable with Kingrex Battery or TotalDAC USB cable > micro iDSD > 3.5 Watt tube amp with Mullard Nos tubes (like a modded Miniwatt N3) > Audeze LCD2

3) Macbook > Kingrex uArt split USB cable + iUSBPower > micro iDSD > iTube > Clones Audio 55 Watt Monoblocks with Preamp > Epos Standamount + REL subwoofer

 

Really nice tone and detail with all 3 setups. Setup 2 with the Tube amp driving the Audeze's really ups the energy level on top of the nice tone and detail characteristics - classic Black Sabbath or AC/DC never sounded so good.

Thanks for your review. I also have the Audeze LCD2 (rev 2) and I am planning on using them with my iphone and iDSD micro (bedroom setup). ¿Are you using turbo or normal mode? ¿How many hours of battery life are you getting driving the LCD2? 

post #412 of 1944
Quote:
Originally Posted by WriterHead View Post
 

Thanks for your review. I also have the Audeze LCD2 (rev 2) and I am planning on using them with my iphone and iDSD micro (bedroom setup). ¿Are you using turbo or normal mode? ¿How many hours of battery life are you getting driving the LCD2? 

Early days yet, I haven't been able to fully test the battery life (most of my source has been from the computer, and USB power has worked well through my cables). Regular listening with the LCD2's and micro on normal mode - turbo mode to really enjoy something dramatic and exciting but watch out for how loud things can get.

post #413 of 1944

I've had my iDSD micro for a couple of weeks now and overall I am totally impressed with its capabilities and sound. My only question or concern is, what does the XBass do? I've switched it on and it's almost like a placebo. I try to imagine I hear a difference but in reality I hear nothing. I've put on bass heavy tracks and still nothing. I've tried low volume and high volume and still nothing. Is it that subtle or is it only apparent with certain combinations of settings or using certain inputs/outputs? 

post #414 of 1944
Quote:
Originally Posted by chawya22 View Post
 

I've had my iDSD micro for a couple of weeks now and overall I am totally impressed with its capabilities and sound. My only question or concern is, what does the XBass do? I've switched it on and it's almost like a placebo. I try to imagine I hear a difference but in reality I hear nothing. I've put on bass heavy tracks and still nothing. I've tried low volume and high volume and still nothing. Is it that subtle or is it only apparent with certain combinations of settings or using certain inputs/outputs? 

In my experience it is very subtle and I'd say tasteful. I'm not a basshead so I prefer it off, but the other day I left it on and left my house for a view hours and when I came back to my computer, put my headphones and hit play, I felt it right away that the bass is a bit more then I use to, so I turned it off. It does what it suppose to, but you also need to try it on different types of music, if you try it on operatic singing, most likely it will have no effect, but an electronic piece of music with a well defined bass line - you should be able to hear it.

post #415 of 1944
Quote:
Originally Posted by bikutoru View Post
 

In my experience it is very subtle and I'd say tasteful. I'm not a basshead so I prefer it off, but the other day I left it on and left my house for a view hours and when I came back to my computer, put my headphones and hit play, I felt it right away that the bass is a bit more then I use to, so I turned it off. It does what it suppose to, but you also need to try it on different types of music, if you try it on operatic singing, most likely it will have no effect, but an electronic piece of music with a well defined bass line - you should be able to hear it.

I'm not a basshead either but I was just curious to see if it actually worked. Subtle is good but I seriously hear no effect at all. The 3D effect is immediately apparent.  Maybe I'll shuffle through my phones and see if it becomes more apparent.

post #416 of 1944
Thread Starter 

Hi all.

 

I ran into an interesting issue last night.  Not an issue with the iDSD itself, but with my particular equipment and how it interacts with the iDSD.  

 

I am using both the headphone amp in the iDSD and the line output to my speaker hi-fi.  So both are active at the same time.  

 

I noticed that when my pre-amp (Integra Research RDC-7) is powered OFF, the iDSD headphone output starts clipping and distorting.   When I switch the pre-amp ON, issue goes away.  No more distortion.  

 

What I learned is my pre-amp has an 'Active Input Stage', that when powered down is still affecting the line out of the iDSD, restricting its output.  Thus the clipping in the headphone output, which shares the same line signal.  

 

 

Again, this is not a problem with the iDSD, but is something you may also run into, if you have a preamp like mine, and are using both the line out and the headphone out of the iDSD...


Edited by MLGrado - 8/18/14 at 9:18am
post #417 of 1944
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnewell View Post

Hello,

New member here . Been following this thread after taking delivery of the Micro DSD on Friday.

My Micro DSD is experiencing some power related problems. I can't seem to get to it run off USB power. I have the IUSB power and Gemini Cable. I have gone through the set up numerous times to run it off USB power and it works for a while and then starts blinking that it's low on power.

I know my IUSB is working fine because it works perfectly with my Nano IDSD.

I have followed the instructions closely for USB power. Plug USB in and then turn on the IDSD. It works for a while and then the LED starts blinking red. It's obvious it's still running on the battery.

I can't figure out what I am doing wrong and it's pretty frustrating.

Tom

I have iUSB power.  It works fine, just like the Nano.  Plug it in and forget it.    Sorry you are having problems... Have you opened a ticket with iFi?  I am sure they can work you through this..


Edited by MLGrado - 8/18/14 at 9:22am
post #418 of 1944

I got my unit together with iRack and Momentum headphones today, unpacked them immediately. I've been listening via the Beats Executive...I'll try out the Momentum with

them later. I've been on holiday and a bit late to the party....:L3000:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by rickyleelee - 8/18/14 at 9:44am
post #419 of 1944

rickyleelee, beautiful pictures! :beerchug:  You have inspired me to take one of my setup (with a DSD file playing).

 

post #420 of 1944
Quote:
Originally Posted by MLGrado View Post

I have iUSB power.  It works fine, just like the Nano.  Plug it in and forget it.    Sorry you are having problems... Have you opened a ticket with iFi?  I am sure they can work you through this..


Yes I have submitted a ticket. It's a bummer because it sounded fantastic..... Until the battery ran down.

Tom
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