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iDSD micro Black Label. Tour details (page 147). Release info (page 153).

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  1. Paulus XII
    Ok, so as promised, the clash of the titans!

    Chord Hugo 2 vs iFi Micro iDSD Black Label

    Tested with Fostex TH-900 MK2 and Dunu DN-2000J

    First impressions are very positive since the BL does everything that the Hugo 2 does and more. First, the BL sounds purer, more detailed, cleaner, background sounds that the Hugo 2 almost masks, are audible with authority in the Black Label. In terms of separation and soundstage they're pretty much on par, but the treble of the Black Label is stunning, more alive and sparkly, the overall experience ends up with the Black Label giving me the most immersion in the music. The BL has also better dynamics with low impedance headphones, since you can't change sensivity/gain on the Hugo 2. The livelier, less recessed treble also contributes for that.

    The Hugo 2 will leave and I think this summs it up. The Black Label is the better sounding DAC for me.

    EDIT: the Xbass+ is great, but I don't seem to like the 3D Holographic effect much. Or at least for now.

    EDIT 2: The experience with the FOSTEX TH-900 MK2 is nothing but incredible. If they sing with the Hugo 2, they jump all over the table with the Black Label. So pure, so refined, so dynamic, so immersive... I think the Black Label opens a new world to TH-900 MK2 owners.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  2. Paulus XII
    Or I could just say they're different. I just prefer the signature and detail/cleaness of the Micro iDSD Black Label. This could very well be a 1000€+ sounding DAC. It's a bargain for what it offers period. For example, it sounds better than the Cowon Plenue 1 (it used a Burr Brown DAC too - 1 vs 2 here) and it was a 1000€ DAP.

    The AMP section is very good. I've just used it now as an amp with the LG G6 QUAD DAC (using the 4 SABRE 9018 DACs) and the improvement was tremendous. Still inferior to the Black Label's Burr Brown DACs though.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  3. jerick70
    I've been saying this for a long time. The Micro iDSD BL is the best purchase in Head-fi right now. The sound and feature set are amazing. I haven't found anything that can beat them in it's price range. Even much more expensive offerings don't touch the BL.
     
  4. felix3650
    Comparing the Mojo (from memory) to the iDSD BL I too am more inclined to the later. The Mojo on its own feels a bit congested and more intimate but when paired with a good amp, that's where it shines. The iDSD BL shines by itself and when you put a good tube or speaker amp in the chain oh boy. The music breathes and is really effortless. That's the feeling it gave me and my friend on his 8000€ 2ch setup :)
     
  5. Jearly410
    Is the BL supposed to work with the Apple cck2 adapter? Almost every time I connect it to my iPhone 6s+, I get the error that the accessory is not supported, and every once in a blue moon it works. With the cck3 adapter I don’t have this problem. I’ve tried different usb cables, same thing.
     
  6. tcellguy
    I could be wrong but I think the iPhone CCK2 support was dropped in iOS 10 or 11. Apple only sells the USB 3 version now as far as I know.

    Update: as of 8/2018 the CCK2 appears to be sold again and it works with the most recent iOS update with the iDSD BL and the DragonFly Red with no clicks or pops.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
    cardeli22 and Jearly410 like this.
  7. Paulus XII
    I've compared the Mojo the other day with te Hugo 2 and the later is far better with superior separation, imaging, soundstage, etc. Now I never thoght the Black Label could even compete with the Hugo 2, but it does. Now it's a question of sound sig preference, Bluetooth conectivity, $$$, etc. However and after listening to the Black Label, I think the Hugo 2 should be priced at 1000€ maximum and if you are ready to spend 2000€ on your end-game DAC, give the Black Label a try first. You might end up saving 1500€ for a Fostex TH-900 MK2 or similar. Just my humble opinion, of course.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
    George Taylor and superuser1 like this.
  8. Paulus XII
    BTW, my most stupid question ever: how do you charge this thing? Just a USB cable? I don't see any provided with the unit.
     
  9. hemipowered007
    Blue usb cable that's included with it. Back usb port next to rca connections, I use a Samsung phone wall adapter with it, works great
     
  10. Slim1970
    I have the Hugo 2 and the iDSD BL and my findings are similar to yours. The iDSD BL is a very competitive and competent product and should be on everyone's demo list. It sounds good with just about every headphone I have and the 3D+ and XBass+ are bonuses.
     
    George Taylor likes this.
  11. Jearly410
    After some research it seems you are correct. Thanks!
     
  12. iFi audio

    Many thanks Paulus XII for your impression.

    I am glad to hear that the BL is performing well.

    Best wishes

    iFi audio team
     
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  13. superuser1
    @iFi audio I want to ask whether its theoreticallyand techinically possible to have an adapter for the 3.5mm TRRS implemented on the BL to a 4.4mm balanced adapter (JIETA)
     
  14. jmills8
    Bl and th900 on the go, 5 days a week. Th900 doesnt need the 3D effect but other hp might. 20170621_130307.jpg
     
    cardeli22 and superuser1 like this.
  15. iFi audio
    4.4mm includes a ground connection, hence a direct, fully functional adapter is not possible.

    Just for balanced headphones however it can be made, but not by us.
     
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    https://www.facebook.com/iFiAudio/ https://twitter.com/ifiaudio https://www.instagram.com/ifiaudio/ https://ifi-audio.com/ info@ifi-audio.com
    superuser1 likes this.
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