iFi Audio Micro iTube2 Buffer
Oct 2, 2019 at 8:46 PM Post #286 of 359

rustyvinyl

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Nope, iT2 has no Phono stage, both the input and outputs are regular RCA analogues. If you're using a turntable, then you'd need to take the Phono out of the turntable to the input of the iT2, and then the output of the iT2 would go to the Phono input on your Marantz.

You meant like this?

Turntable -> itube2 -> amplifier with phono stage.

Thanks.
 
Dec 9, 2019 at 8:57 PM Post #291 of 359

Dobrescu George

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I made an in-depth review about the iFi iTube2 , iPower and DC iPurifier!! :)

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/2019/12/power-of-change-ifi-itube2-ipower-dc-ipurifier.html

iFi-iTube2-iTube-2-Lamp-PRE-Preamplifier-Processor-AMP-Review-Audiophile-Heaven-47.jpg
 
Mar 1, 2020 at 7:36 PM Post #292 of 359
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Very late to this party, I am thrilled with the iTube2.

Thanks ifi - and thanks to all the contributors here!

This thing is a "Swiss Knife" for modifying your sound, with multiple features at the ready.

I rode the controls obcessively, early on, but now, I know exactly what I want as soon as a track starts playing. Here's hoping those toggle switches can take the punishment. :wink:

---

I use "SET" when I want to take the edge off of bright tracks (or bright headphones) - or whenever I intend to enjoy a long, fatigue-free listening session. :)

I use "Classic" when I want maxiumum detail and transparency, yet still retaining a good measure of analog tubeliciousness - this is definitely not a "bypass." I probably spend more time here, than on the other two settings.

I use the "Push-Pull" setting when I want to add warmth, dynamics and texture to an otherwise lifeless recording, but this is my least used setting of the three choices.

---

None of my headpones (or loudspeakers) sound good with the 12dB setting of the XBass feature, but some tracks/transducers really do sound better with the 6dB boost. It somehow manages to maintain the texture and pitch discernment that was there before engaging it, boosting bass energy transparently. I almost wish I had a choice of 3dB and 6dB, instead of 6dB and 12dB, but as a guy who dislikes the use of EQ solutions, as a rule, I'm really happy to have the 6dB XBass setting at my disposal.

---

I don't care for the 30+ setting for 3D+, as it sounds, to my ears at least, as if it's adding some reverb, while bringing up the volume of any portion of the signal that's fully panned to the left or right channel. Not my cup of tea.

The less aggressive 3D+ setting sounds very natural, however. I switch this in or out to taste, but it stays on, more often than not.

---

Thanks ifi!

Mike
 
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Mar 2, 2020 at 5:27 AM Post #293 of 359

alekc

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Very late to this party, I am thrilled with the iTube2.

Thanks ifi - and thanks to all the contributors here!

This thing is a "Swiss Knife" for modifying your sound, with multiple features at the ready.

I rode the controls obcessively, early on, but now, I know exactly what I want as soon as a track starts playing. Here's hoping those toggle switches can take the punishment. :wink:

---

I use "SET" when I want to take the edge off of bright tracks (or bright headphones) - or whenever I intend to enjoy a long, fatigue-free listening session. :)

I use "Classic" when I want maxiumum detail and transparency, yet still retaining a good measure of analog tubeliciousness - this is definitely not a "bypass." I probably spend more time here, than on the other two settings.

I use the "Push-Pull" setting when I want to add warmth, dynamics and texture to an otherwise lifeless recording, but this is my least used setting of the three choices.

---

None of my headpones (or loudspeakers) sound good with the 12dB setting of the XBass feature, but some tracks/transducers really do sound better with the 6dB boost. It somehow manages to maintain the texture and pitch discernment that was there before engaging it, boosting bass energy transparently. I almost wish I had a choice of 3dB and 6dB, instead of 6dB and 12dB, but as a guy who dislikes the use of EQ solutions, as a rule, I'm really happy to have the 6dB XBass setting at my disposal.

---

I don't care for the 30+ setting for 3D+, as it sounds, to my ears at least, as if it's adding some reverb, while bringing up the volume of any portion of the signal that's fully panned to the left or right channel. Not my cup of tea.

The less aggressive 3D+ setting sounds very natural, however. I switch this in or out to taste, but it stays on, more often than not.

---

Thanks ifi!

Mike
It is never too late for getting great sound :)

Correct me if I am wrong but I do believe that some of settings you describe are only for loudspeakers only and not for headphones. Namely the 3D and Xbass. This could be the reason why headphones aren't sounding good with some iTube2 configurations.
 
Mar 2, 2020 at 7:33 AM Post #294 of 359
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It is never too late for getting great sound :)

Correct me if I am wrong but I do believe that some of settings you describe are only for loudspeakers only and not for headphones. Namely the 3D and Xbass. This could be the reason why headphones aren't sounding good with some iTube2 configurations.

I recall reading that, indeed, but it's kind of like saying, "You're not supposed to have white wine with beef." Given how nearly every album is mastered uniquely and the variables of gear and taste, there are no rules to follow here. It's almost entirely subjective.

I have to agree, however that, in my opinion, the 3D+ feature does do more for speakers than for headphones. I really LOVE what it does for the near-field monitor setup I have at my PC:

Tidal > Windows 10 > USB > Centrance DACmini CX > ifi Micro iTube2 > TBI Audio Millenia MG3 (Class BD integrated amp) > Defininitive Technology SM45 on Aurelex Accoustics isolation pads + Sony SACS9 10-inch active subwoofer (that sits at desktop level, not on the floor, centered one meter behind a 27-inch 4K NEC monitor). The SM45 speakers sit on either side of the keyboard, each of them angled directly at my ears, angled upward on the foam isolation pads, and the desk is pulled out about four feet from the wall behind it (leaving lots of space for soundstage depth and avoiding reflections.)

Inserting the iTube2 into that chain has pushed the cost of my PC sound up anither $400, but overall, thanks to the point you were making, it truly does more for that loudspeaker chain than for any of my three semi-permanent headphone setups (in the den, living room and bedroom). I already had fantastic imaging with the near-field monitor arrangement (headphones can't compete), but the iTube2 has fixed problems I had learned to live with.

Not only does the milder of the two 3D+ settings spread the soundstage by just the right amount for my tastes, the "SET" feature slightly rolls off and smooths the treble to achieve a "perfection" I had not imagined possible with that chain. There are other benefits that come with using the "SET" option, that are hard to describe, but it is essentially more "tubey" than the "Classic" option - the latter normally being my preference for all but my brightest headphones. But in this loudspeaker chain, I prefer using "SET" to deal with the brightness of the SM45 monitors as well as the digititis of the DAC and Class BD amp.

That said, I often like using the milder of the 3D+ options with my headphones and depending on the track, DAC, amp and headphone I'm wearing, I'll sometimes also use the 6db XBass option, while usually sticking with the "Classic" option.
 
Mar 2, 2020 at 5:22 PM Post #295 of 359
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It is never too late for getting great sound :)

Agreed!

I recall reading that, indeed, but it's kind of like saying, "You're not supposed to have white wine with beef." Given how nearly every album is mastered uniquely and the variables of gear and taste, there are no rules to follow here. It's almost entirely subjective.

I have to agree, however that, in my opinion, the 3D+ feature does do more for speakers than for headphones. I really LOVE what it does for the near-field monitor setup I have at my PC:

Tidal > Windows 10 > USB > Centrance DACmini CX > ifi Micro iTube2 > TBI Audio Millenia MG3 (Class BD integrated amp) > Defininitive Technology SM45 on Aurelex Accoustics isolation pads + Sony SACS9 10-inch active subwoofer (that sits at desktop level, not on the floor, centered one meter behind a 27-inch 4K NEC monitor). The SM45 speakers sit on either side of the keyboard, each of them angled directly at my ears, angled upward on the foam isolation pads, and the desk is pulled out about four feet from the wall behind it (leaving lots of space for soundstage depth and avoiding reflections.)

Inserting the iTube2 into that chain has pushed the cost of my PC sound up anither $400, but overall, thanks to the point you were making, it truly does more for that loudspeaker chain than for any of my three semi-permanent headphone setups (in the den, living room and bedroom). I already had fantastic imaging with the near-field monitor arrangement (headphones can't compete), but the iTube2 has fixed problems I had learned to live with.

Not only does the milder of the two 3D+ settings spread the soundstage by just the right amount for my tastes, the "SET" feature slightly rolls off and smooths the treble to achieve a "perfection" I had not imagined possible with that chain. There are other benefits that come with using the "SET" option, that are hard to describe, but it is essentially more "tubey" than the "Classic" option - the latter normally being my preference for all but my brightest headphones. But in this loudspeaker chain, I prefer using "SET" to deal with the brightness of the SM45 monitors as well as the digititis of the DAC and Class BD amp.

That said, I often like using the milder of the 3D+ options with my headphones and depending on the track, DAC, amp and headphone I'm wearing, I'll sometimes also use the 6db XBass option, while usually sticking with the "Classic" option.

Thanks so much for your feedback! iTube2 holds a special place in my heart and I'm glad you liked it. But let me ask you about anything in particular you'd like to change in it?
 
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Mar 2, 2020 at 10:34 PM Post #296 of 359
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Agreed!
Thanks so much for your feedback! iTube2 holds a special place in my heart and I'm glad you liked it. But let me ask you about anything in particular you'd like to change in it?

Hi! Thanks for asking!

Five changes come to mind, a couple already mentioned:

1) Add an actual Bypass switch, that works whether the iTube3 is powered on or off. (Others have requested this feature.)

2) You might want to poll other customers, but I would prefer a choice of 3bB and 6dB XBass boost, instead of 6dB and 12dB. The gain slope is perfect, though - very smooth, not lumpy.

3) All three of the 3-position toggle switches should be wired so that the least potent setting is at the bottom, the next most potent setting is in the middle and the srongest setting is at the top. (Currently, all three switches are arranged differently - which creates an unecessarily difficult learning curve.)

4) This one I'm not sure about, but if you really are adding reverb to the 30+ setting for the 3D feature (which I'm pretty sure I am hearing), please stop doing that. It smears the details and makes everthing sound ethereal.

5) Drill some attractive vent holes in the top of the case, for a better look at the tube and for cooling. The tube may like the heat, but I bet the other stuff on the PCB would last longer if the cabinet were vented (on the bottom too.) It would raise the cost a bit, but you might even create a manually retractable, sliding dust cover - for a really good look at the tube, when it's in use. I mean, come on! We want to SEE that tube! Turning off the lights, etc.

Again, poll your customers, but thanks for listening!

Mike
 
Mar 3, 2020 at 2:45 AM Post #297 of 359

alekc

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1) Add an actual Bypass switch, that works whether the iTube3 is powered on or off. (Others have requested this feature.)

+1

3) All three of the 3-position toggle switches should be wired so that the least potent setting is at the bottom, the next most potent setting is in the middle and the srongest setting is at the top. (Currently, all three switches are arranged differently - which creates an unecessarily difficult learning curve.)

This is not just iTube issue, and it is especially well seen when you have an iFi stack: all the switches are in different positions even when default settings are being used. This is very misleading. Especially when you have the stack not in front of you but on a side and you can't see the switch pictographs.

5) Drill some attractive vent holes in the top of the case, for a better look at the tube and for cooling. The tube may like the heat, but I bet the other stuff on the PCB would last longer if the cabinet were vented (on the bottom too.) It would raise the cost a bit, but you might even create a manually retractable, sliding dust cover - for a really good look at the tube, when it's in use. I mean, come on! We want to SEE that tube! Turning off the lights, etc.

+1

I would also return to 3 LEDs on the left side of unit, just like original iTube had with icons. While this does not improve sound in any way it looks more "compatible" with rest of iFi stack if one has one like me :wink:

Another thing is warming up/dc protection: it is definitively timer based and has nothing to do with real temperature of tube. Why not add real circuit for testing state of device?
 
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Mar 6, 2020 at 5:53 PM Post #298 of 359
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1) Add an actual Bypass switch, that works whether the iTube3 is powered on or off. (Others have requested this feature.)

I'll pass this on to our R&D team.

2) You might want to poll other customers, but I would prefer a choice of 3bB and 6dB XBass boost, instead of 6dB and 12dB. The gain slope is perfect, though - very smooth, not lumpy.

I'm not sure whether the 3/6dB gain would gain more thuimbs up that 6/12dB, but I'll pass this on too

3) All three of the 3-position toggle switches should be wired so that the least potent setting is at the bottom, the next most potent setting is in the middle and the srongest setting is at the top. (Currently, all three switches are arranged differently - which creates an unecessarily difficult learning curve.)

Mhm, duly noted!

4) This one I'm not sure about, but if you really are adding reverb to the 30+ setting for the 3D feature (which I'm pretty sure I am hearing), please stop doing that. It smears the details and makes everthing sound ethereal.

Most customers actually found our 3D implementation really good, at least that's the feedback we've been getting since iTube2's launch.

5) Drill some attractive vent holes in the top of the case, for a better look at the tube and for cooling. The tube may like the heat, but I bet the other stuff on the PCB would last longer if the cabinet were vented (on the bottom too.) It would raise the cost a bit, but you might even create a manually retractable, sliding dust cover - for a really good look at the tube, when it's in use. I mean, come on! We want to SEE that tube! Turning off the lights, etc.

The micro range was designed to be visually uniform, but I hear you as far as tube visibility goes!
 
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Mar 6, 2020 at 10:24 PM Post #299 of 359
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(snip)

Most customers actually found our 3D implementation really good, at least that's the feedback we've been getting since iTube2's launch.

(snip)

I very much like the weaker of the two 3D+ settings, with my near-field monitor setup, but the stronger setting sounds to me as if some unappealing reverb was added.

A majority consensus should rule, here, so again, I would encourage you to survey your customer base.

I appreciate your interest. Thanks!
 
Mar 7, 2020 at 4:49 PM Post #300 of 359
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A majority consensus should rule, here, so again, I would encourage you to survey your customer base.

I appreciate your interest. Thanks!

Yup, we gather feedback, see what makes sense, what doesn't plus what can and can't be done. But all feedbak is taken into consideration, so I truly appreciate yours! :beerchug:
 
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