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iFi audio EarBuddy

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    The friendly tech note…

    The EarBuddy gets rid of hiss and buzz and improves audio quality.

    It works on the same principals as the iFi audio iEMatch released in 2016 but its functionality has been adapted to suit a wider audience. Its complex name is an ‘attenuator’ which just actually means a device which reduces the strength of an audio signal.

    For those of you into the mysterious technological workings of the iEMatch, you can find out more in the Tech Notes at https://ifi-audio.com/wp-content/uploads/data/iEMatch-Tech-Notes(June17).pdf

    However, if you like the background tech stuff, but not quite as much as some of us, then read on. And if you are a newbie, just joining the iFi revolution, these quick explanations might help!

    In digital audio using pulse-code modulation (PCM), bit depth is the number of bits of information in each sample, and it directly corresponds to the resolution of each sample - imagine pixels on a computer screen or pieces in a jigsaw.

    16Bit audio
    CDs have digital audio that has a bit depth of 16Bits and a sample rate of 44.1 kHz.

    Dynamic range
    In music, this is the difference between the quietest and loudest volume of an instrument, part or piece of music.

    EarBuddy regains what the (digital) volume loses

    Basically, a smart device like your iPhone or tablet or a DAP (Digital Audio Player), uses a digital volume control and most of us typically use just 60% of the available volume.

    On most headphones or IEMs (in-ear monitors) any louder than 60% would blow your head off. And it normally increases annoying background noise in the form of hisses or hums.


    The trouble with this is that you are not getting the sound quality that you expect/deserve.

    Dynamic range is effected so the distinction between the quietest and loudest parts of the music is blurred. And resolution is distorted – it’s like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces – you just don’t get the complete picture.

    In an everyday context…

    If you are streaming music via Tidal or Spotify, you pay for and expect to be listening to music at 16Bits – CD like quality.

    What actually happens, because you aren’t listening at optimum volume, is that you lose 2Bits of resolution, so you are only listening to 14Bits – less than CD quality.

    Now, add in the EarBuddy and crank up the volume.

    The EarBuddy ‘moderates’ the digital volume with an adjustment of -15dB. And at same time gets rid of annoying hisses or buzzes.

    Effectively, you are allow your device to run at a higher volume without going deaf! You immediately get the 2Bits back and benefit from better resolution and an increased dynamic range, vocals may seem clearer and background hiss has disappeared.

    It’s a bit of iFi magic. Give the EarBuddy a try and get your Bits back.

    The retail price of the Ear Buddy is US$20 (ex-tax) or €24 /£20 (incl. VAT)

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/iFiAudio/ https://twitter.com/ifiaudio https://www.instagram.com/ifiaudio/ https://ifi-audio.com/ info@ifi-audio.com
  2. Roscoeiii
    Wow. Very cool!

    Added bonus #1: Less strain on the headphone cable connector.

    Added bonus #2 (for some): For LG V10/V20/V30 owners, this should trigger a higher output mode on the phone's ESS DAC (which most report having better sound).
  3. Matez
    I had no idea that the hissing fight now can be had for even less than iEMatch price. Good stuff.
    Fox2twenty likes this.
  4. gearofwar
    Does this have 2.5mm input version? that would be great
  5. dw1narso
    How this would be different with the impedance adapter (usually available as 75ohm-150Ohm)?
    This earbuddy is in L-Pad arrangement?
    Sp12er3 likes this.
  6. Sound Eq
    would like to know that as well
  7. ranfan
    Where can we get them?
  8. bjaardker

    seriously, where can i buy this?
  9. Soundsgoodtome
    Looks like B&H Photo are taking orders now but delivery shows some time out. There's a $49 ifi model available on Amazon now. It's both SE and Balanced 3.5mm (switchable) and it also has a 2 stage resistor side for sensitive and ultra sensitive iems.

    This may be what I need to lower the volume from my DAP to my car's auxiliary input which is always on the line of being distorted by the line-out of my DX80
  10. iFi audio
    That's our iEMatch right there and it's been out for a while now. But do you use a line-out built-in your DX80?

    The answer is a 'no'.

    Our EarBuddy is trickier than this. It doesn't change the output impedance of a headphone out and if it does, then slightly (2-3 ohms).

    And here's a bonus for you guys: Ashley from the Echobox crew used our EarBuddy at this year's IFA!

    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/iFiAudio/ https://twitter.com/ifiaudio https://www.instagram.com/ifiaudio/ https://ifi-audio.com/ info@ifi-audio.com
    B9Scrambler, Mshenay and Fox2twenty like this.
  11. gearofwar
    "No" for accepting 2.5 to 3.5? maybe i wasn't a bit more clear, not wanting this to have 2.5 male but i would like to have something act as 2.5 to 3.5 adapter for balance cable.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  12. Soundsgoodtome
    Yes, I am using line-out of built-in DX80. Can this product work via line out to my auxiliary input of my car's stereo?

  13. tim0chan
    2-3 ohm increase is too larhe for sensitive iems. Sound signature will change
    HiFiChris likes this.
  14. bjaardker
    You tease us with awesome product, but don't tell us where/when we can buy. :frowning2:
  15. bvng3540
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