iFi audio iDSD Signature - The saga continues!
Oct 10, 2021 at 1:06 PM Post #1,621 of 1,702
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Question about IE Match. I understand it's for high sensitivity IEMs. However I'm using the Signature mostly for supposedly power hungry planars (Hifiman Arya, T60 Argon) via the 4.4mm pentaconn output. In theory, I'd expect to be able to use the signature on turbo mode with IE Match off and still have a decent range of volume control. However, I'm finding that on turbo mode I hardly have any range past the channel imbalance point before it gets too loud. On the other hand, the output powers of normal and eco mode seem far too low on paper, even though the volume can still get way higher than my listening level regardless of gain mode.

I.E match (high sensitivity) seems to allow more range on the volume control while on turbo mode, but it's also quicker to cause distortion. Ultra sensitivity distorts even quicker.

What am I doing wrong here? More importantly what should I be doing to power my headphones properly and have a decent volume control range?

You're doing nothing wrong!

TLDR - Should IE Match be used with headphones or is it designed exclusively for IEMs?

IEmatch was designed for IEMs, but that doesn't mean it can't be used with headphones either. We know plenty of folks that use it with both.

For this situation, our suggestion would be to use turbo mode with high sensitivity or normal mode.

In terms of it being way too low on paper, I'd say trust your ears here. The Signature is a flexible beast that can provide a lot of power for pretty much anything that you can think of.

I'm not sure (hope iFi can chime in) but I think IEMatch is useful not just for IEM's but also for headphones that are very sensitive. Primary use case for IEMatch is if there is audible noise or if there is a lack of usable volume range.

Personally, I use my Sundara with IEMatch off and Normal mode and get to comfortable listening levels at around 12 or 1 O' Clock position. In turbo mode, volume range gets very limited at 10 or 11 O' Clock with no noticeable sound quality improvement. I tried using Turbo mode with IEMatch and noticed distortion after ~3 O' Clock position.

TL;DR Try IEMatch & Power combinations so you get desired volume level between 12 & 2 O' Clock position on volume pot.

I also noticed a slight change in frequency response when using IEMatch with some gear, but the change was not big enough to matter and also gave different results for different IEM's/Headphones.

Correct! Audible noise is the main goal of IEMatch for any setup when it comes to headphones or IEMs.

As @Johnfg465vd said brilliantly, experimentation is the key to finding out what variation of IEMatch and the power modes work best for you.


Thanks. I've had similar experiences with IE match on and turbo mode. But in order to use turbo mode and get to 12 o'clock without going deaf IE match has to be on.

Can ifi please explain how IE match and the gain switch interact?

By using IE match with Turbo mode, is the maximum power output of Turbo mode still available to the headphones?

Or is using both at the same time just boosting the gain on one hand and then reducing it on the other (in which case it may be better to just use the headphones in normal mode instead of turbo)?

Thanks

The gain switch takes priority over IEMatch, and IEMatch will apply to all levels of gain based on whatever high or ultra setting you have selected.

No, that selection would theoretically be turbo mode with a notch of IEMatch, which would decrease the output power by matching the impedance of the said IEmatch setting.
 
Oct 10, 2021 at 1:11 PM Post #1,622 of 1,702
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Oct 10, 2021 at 1:13 PM Post #1,623 of 1,702

Knee Deep In Epoxy

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Oct 10, 2021 at 1:16 PM Post #1,624 of 1,702
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Talking about PS5, @Sebastien Chiu Any news to add the support to the old Signature who only limited to 5.3.
I already talked to support about it, they said on August, now we're on the end of September still no firmware.

I got a response back and all I can currently say is this is still a work in progress. No date yet.
 
Oct 10, 2021 at 4:09 PM Post #1,625 of 1,702

DecentLevi

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Hi guys, someone mentioned I may prefer the Signature above the BL (which I own) and even above the newer Diablo. But here was my take after a critical listening comparison between these at the recent SoCal Can Jam:
Signature sounded better than the BL (Black Label), more open and better overall resolution. But the Diablo took it up a notch or two with slightly better resolution, clarity (and a nuance brighter), better soundstage and overall more lifelike sound.

But to me, the CEntrance Hifi M8 V2 portable DAC/amp was a good step up above all the former: much improved dynamics, more organic / lifelike and analogue sounding. This too however, like both the Signature and Diablo lacks an analogue input. So I guess I'm stuck with two devices whether going with iFi or CEntrance; one for analogue amping and one for digital reproduction.
 
Oct 11, 2021 at 6:53 PM Post #1,626 of 1,702

luishi5000

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All this talk of power levels and IE match....

What is the advantage of say... Eco power mode with no IEmatch at 90db - vs - Turbo power mode with Ultra Sensitivity IEmatch at 90db?

It seems to me you're maxing out the gain stage only to "waste" the power through a resistor to achieve the same SPL.

Also, does increasing the gain/power mode offer more "power" on tap assuming you reach the same SPL?
 
Oct 12, 2021 at 5:05 PM Post #1,627 of 1,702
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What is the advantage of say... Eco power mode with no IEmatch at 90db - vs - Turbo power mode with Ultra Sensitivity IEmatch at 90db?

It seems to me you're maxing out the gain stage only to "waste" the power through a resistor to achieve the same SPL.

Also, does increasing the gain/power mode offer more "power" on tap assuming you reach the same SPL?

In short, it's all about the gain range to use with as many IEMs/headphones as possible. I wouldn't use iEMatch on top of turbo drive and it's a bit difficult for me to imagine a scenario where this would be useful. I see an option to use i.e. the Eco mode and iEMatch for some very sensitive IEMs that pick up a lot of background noise easily, though.
 
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Oct 13, 2021 at 9:35 AM Post #1,628 of 1,702

JoshG1217

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Hey everyone,

I'm in a bit of an audio saga, and figured I would ask for input.

I got an early bonus and so did a TOTAL audio splurge. Picked up Hifiman he6se v2 from Adorama, UM Mest mkii, Sony ier z1r, ifi blu go, hip dac 2, and an ibasso dx300. The dx300 doesn't run the he 6 very well, and the mest don't do it for me generally, which is why I ordered the z1r and the hipdac. Hipdac with Clair sounded great, but dx300 with mest leaves me underwhelmed (I did not do a true A/B, but am basing that on a remembrance of emotional response). So, I am wondering if anyone has either used the signature or diablo to create a stack. I figured if I ordered this phone with the signature or diablo, I would probably have both a better interface and better sound for about the same cost, maybe slightly less. Realistically, I am not looking to use this at the gym, so "portable" isn't really the goal, but using it at my desk or taking it outside to listen while I chill in my hammock, or upstairs in bed while I read. Would love to run the HE 6 and Z1r on it; can it handle actual headphones? The Zen Dac running my he 6 now seems to handle them well, but it's ultimately an entry level dac and the computer music apps aren't as good as power amp or hiby in my experience.

Thanks!
 
Oct 13, 2021 at 3:57 PM Post #1,629 of 1,702
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TOTAL audio splurge. Picked up Hifiman he6se v2 from Adorama, UM Mest mkii, Sony ier z1r, ifi blu go, hip dac 2, and an ibasso dx300.

mdns.jpg
 
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Oct 13, 2021 at 5:23 PM Post #1,630 of 1,702

JoshG1217

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Haha. Yeah, it's more than I've spent on all previous combined most likely or close to it.
 
Oct 13, 2021 at 5:35 PM Post #1,631 of 1,702
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Realistically, I am not looking to use this at the gym.

That's why the Go Blu exists! Ahaha I am that guy with the MEST MK 2 in the gym!

DD0C8524-4D5C-41F2-A194-6B5640016202.jpeg
 
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Oct 13, 2021 at 6:11 PM Post #1,632 of 1,702

JoshG1217

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That's why the Go Blu exists! Ahaha I am that guy with the MEST MK 2 in the gym!

DD0C8524-4D5C-41F2-A194-6B5640016202.jpeg
I meant the dx300 or sig.

Your mest looks sick. I would wear these at the gym with blu go
 
Oct 13, 2021 at 6:26 PM Post #1,633 of 1,702
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I meant the dx300 or sig.

Your mest looks sick. I would wear these at the gym with blu go

Personally, (my affiliation with iFi aside) I would choose the phone x Signature combo any day. Phones are so much more reliable and the Signature matches or beats out the sound quality of the DX300.

I'm a person that strives for practicality and flexibility when comes to driving a wide variety of headphones and IEMs, and that's why the Signature is my go-to (and I would have it even if I was not with iFi)!
 
Oct 13, 2021 at 6:27 PM Post #1,634 of 1,702

JoshG1217

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how is it vs diablo? I tend to agree. I think fiio does the best interface. Ibasso is buggy.
 
Oct 13, 2021 at 6:33 PM Post #1,635 of 1,702
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how is it vs diablo? I tend to agree. I think fiio does the best interface. Ibasso is buggy.

The M11 has the best interface from what I've been able to try, for sure!

In terms of which perspective? Sound or usability?
 

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