1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

ifi Audio Nano iGalvanic 3.0

  • download.jpg


    This will be kind of a 2 part review as I tried out the ifi Audio iGalvanic 3.0 in 2 different systems. I received this on loan from the very kind ifi Audio folks but I don’t have any connection with them financial or otherwise.

    You can read a large amount of information about the iGalvanic 3.0 here https://ifi-audio.com/products/nano-igalvanic3-0/

    and so I am not going to repeat it. This is partly as I don’t really understand the electronics and also as I prefer to concentrate my efforts on the sound improvement or otherwise that such devices bring.

    I am familiar with many of the ifi Audio products and own quite a few. Until recently I had a small ifi Audio stack of iDSD/iCan/iUSB/iP2 which I used as a second system for Tidal streaming. That system has now been borrowed by my younger son for his student flat!!!

    The reason for getting the iGalvanic 3.0 in particular was driven by my purchasing a new Auralic Aries G1 streamer. While I was researching it I came across the G2 bigger brother which has “Galvanic isolation” as an additional feature. As I couldn’t afford the G2 it seemed as if the iGalvanic 3.0 might offer some extra Galvanic isolation and thereby close the gap in performance.

    As it transpired 2 things happened The first was after a brief period of no music once the iGalvanic was installed between Streamer and DAC I learned that I needed to shut everything down and I could not hot plug between the Aries streamer and DAC. The second thing was when I finally did all that and got everything up and running I was shocked to hear very little if any difference. Now I spent the best part of an afternoon trying my system with and without the iGalvanic. Now I am not saying there was not an effect but I could not reliably be sure that it improved the sound. In fairness the Auralic Aries streamer already had an iPurifier in line and it is my understanding the Auralic Aries G1 also features a cleaner power line on the USB line. So perhaps those were already doing a good job and not leaving much for the iGalvanic to improve.

    So as mentioned this resulted in part 2 of the test. This time I tried the iGalvanic 3.0 in line using my very old laptop and an less aging Meridian Explorer 2 DAC

    I used my Meze 99 Classics as headphones for this test as I felt they were more in keeping with the rest of the system and also are easily driven by the Explorer2.

    I used the same mixture of albums and tracks as I had used previously with the Auralic based system. That is to say Eagles, Joan Armatrading, Talking Heads, Eurythmics, Aretha Franklin and Norah Jones. All from Tidal in HiFi or Master (MQA) quality sound.

    Well good news at last! Not only could I hear a difference but it was consistent across the different styles of music.

    Bass was not any stronger but sounded more layered and not just all in one thump. So it was easier to follow bass guitar for example in the bass portion of the track. It did sound slightly tighter but that could also have been a factor of being easier to follow.

    Mids were just as sweet or warm or neutral as before and I could not put my finger on a specific difference or improvement.


    Treble was clearer and cymbals for example sounded more like cymbals not splashy but cleaner and clearer but not with any sheen.

    Soundstage is a tricky one as the Meze 99s are not particularly strong in this area. Nonetheless the individual voices or instruments were easier to pick out in side to side width of the soundstage. Depth of soundstage remained unchanged but perhaps on a headphone that was more revealing of this then it would have been so.

    In conclusion and given the Meze 99s relative strengths and weaknesses I felt the iGalvanic 3.0 produced a worthwhile improvement. Now whether you would consider that improvement is worthwhile in your own system I cannot say but if you are using a laptop and an inexpensive amp/dac with no purifiers or similar products on the USB line then this will be more worthwhile in my experience. I am certain it will be system dependent and so if you can try before you buy then I would encourage you to do so. The ifi Audio iPurifier products are really good value for money and I would recommend them as a better starting point if you have nothing and then you can move up to the iGalvanic

    So while this is not the conclusion I was expecting to make I do hope it of help to anyone else thinking about trying this iGalvanic device and if you can try one out then you can be certain if it will bring improvements to your particular system or not .




    Well good news at last! Not only could I hear a difference but it was consistent across the different styles of music.

    Bass was not any stronger but sounded more layered and not just all in one thump. So it was easier to follow bass guitar for example in the bass portion of the track. It did sound slightly tighter but that could also have been a factor of being easier to follow.

    Mids were just as sweet or warm or neutral as before and I could not put my finger on a specific difference or improvement.


    Treble was clearer and cymbals for example sounded more like cymbals not splashy but cleaner and clearer but not with any sheen.

    Soundstage is a tricky one as the Meze 99s are not particularly strong in this area. Nonetheless the individual voices or instruments were easier to pick out in side to side width of the soundstage. Depth of soundstage remained unchanged but perhaps on a headphone that was more revealing of this then it would have been so.

    In conclusion and given the Meze 99s relative strengths and weaknesses I felt the iGalvanic 3.0 produced a worthwhile improvement. Now whether you would consider that improvement is worthwhile in your own system I cannot say but if you are using a laptop and an inexpensive amp/dac with no purifiers or similar products on the USB line then this will be more worthwhile in my experience. I am certain it will be system dependent and so if you can try before you buy then I would encourage you to do so. The ifi Audio iPurifier products are really good value for money and I would recommend them as a better starting point if you have nothing and then you can move up to the iGalvanic

    So while this is not the conclusion I was expecting to make I do hope it of help to anyone else thinking about trying this iGalvanic device and if you can try one out then you can be certain if it will bring improvements to your particular system or not .

Comments

To view comments, simply sign up and become a member!